This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Marion W. Cross School5
Posted November 10, 2014
- a parent
MCS is just a gem of a school. The collaborative and supportive culture is led by a AMAZING principal, "Mr. Bill" -- and put into action by wonderful teachers, staff and helpers. We chose Norwich specifically in the Upper Valley community because of the tight-knit and hands-on approach of the school and because of all the ways that our educators work to integrate the culture and approach to education throughout the experience. The best part of this school is seeing the light in my daughter's eyes when she gets ready to go to school in the morning, and when she shares experiences later that night about her day. I am just a huge fan of MCS -- its been terrific for our family!
With two current Marion Cross students and one graduate now in high school, I have nothing but resoundingly positive comments. Each of my children, with his or her own unique style of learning, personality and interests, has been nurtured, encouraged, and made to feel safe in every sense of the word. The principal at Marion Cross, "Mr. Bill," is, quite simply, an inspiration to the children, parents and staff of the school every single day. He is open to new ideas from the top down and the bottom up. He connects with every single child at the school in a way that makes them feel special and proud. What more could you want for an elementary school? And the teachers are phenomenal and happy to come to work every day!
Such a great small, community school I almost don't want to write a review and open the floodgates! But I feel like I owe it to our teachers and the special leadership at this school. Quite simply, they have built an incredible school with a tangible sense of community and a real care/concern for each child. Our children are all so different and they have all found passions and great challenges at Marion Cross. We specifically chose to move to Norwich because of the elementary school--and I'm so glad we did. I'm not sure what some of the comments about the music program are about my child is in the school band which meets twice a week before school and they all seem to enjoy their music instruction during the school hours. The quality of the teachers is unmatched and we are lucky to have such a dedicated, involved principal--we often joke that he is cloned because he shows up at every school and community event ready to support.
We have two children at Marion Cross for over 5 years, both started in Kindergarten. The school has been incredible for them. The classes are small, the teachers are excellent, and there is a solid community feel that builds safety and confidence to be themselves. We got a well needed breath of fresh and inspired air when the new Principal, Mr Bill, started a couple of years ago. He is an incredible leader-he treats each and every kid with respect, knowing their names and interests and engaging them in conversation and magic tricks. He seeks out parent's thoughts and is always available for questions. As a career-long teacher himself he inspires the teachers to be their best. This year they are taking a deep dive into embedding "Growth Mindset" philosophy into the school. Other highlights for our kids: the environmental education program (in which they explore in the woods behind the school, plant an organic garden, and take field trips down streams), the weekly "rep" at which every kid finds the comfort and confidence to perform, and playing on the green in all seasons, including on the ice rink in the winter! We HIGHLY recommend Marion Cross!
My daughter attended Marion Cross School (MCS) from K through 6th grade and my son goes to the school now. They're very different kids. One is quite academically-focused and the other is much more sports-inclined. Yet, they both love the school. And I do too. I was a classroom teacher for ten years and have been consistently impressed by the principal, teachers and community. I am so happy we made the choice to live in Norwich and send our kids to MCS.
I hesitate to write about our little slice of heaven here in Norwich because much of what makes it so special is our humble community. It truly is a thriving community, where teachers are accessible and parents are present, welcomed and involved. Plus, kids here are happy. That may sound trite, but when they are happy, they can focus on learning. A family recently moved here because they visited the school and the kids noted how happy the students were here compared to their current very reputable Boston private school. Happy AND getting a topnotch education. A teacher who had to move away for her husband's job said she wants to move back and send her kids here--not to the expensive, highly reputed Boston private school at which she taught prior to Marion Cross. You could not ask for a better principal--engaged, communicative, a great listener, collaborator, fun, passionate about kids and education and always reaching higher. The list goes on. Although there are other wonderful schools in the area, I would choose over and over again to live in Norwich so my kids could attend Marion Cross.
We are so happy that we chose Norwich and Marion Cross to send our kids to elementary school. We were choosing between Lyme, Hanover and Norwich, and chose Norwich for the following reasons: 1) MCS is a true community school. It is the center of activity in town and you really get that Vermont, small town community feel. Everyone is extremely welcoming and friendly, and we all made friends very quickly. Norwich feels similar to Lyme in this way, and quite different from Hanover. 2) MCS is part of SAU#70 and hence our kids will attend Richmond Middle School and Hanover High School. Both schools have an excellent reputation, and HS kids in SAU#70 can even take classes at Dartmouth College for free if they meet course requirements. This is a huge plus for us. 3) MCS parents are very involved in the school and the school administration actively seeks parent input in almost all decisions that the school makes. MCS Principal "Mr. Bill" is a dedicated, friendly, kind, and smart person who LOVES children. Kids love Mr. Bill! I would encourage any family with young kids moving to the Upper Valley to look at Norwich and MCS. It is a great place to raise a family.
Marion Cross School is an excellent school on all fronts. The principal is amazing, the students are amazing, and most of the teachers are phenomenal, except for a few crabby or inexperienced ones. The school goals are great and we have a lot of traditions. People come home happy every day, unless they have too much homework, and then it is for a good cause.
MCS is an excellent school with committed teachers and a focus on education that is beyond cramming as many facts into the child as possible. I pity the children of the parent reviewers who criticise the school's lack of elitism and hot housing! (And there is competition in the school, so not sure where that comes from...) Our only criticism is that the music program is very weak and fails to inspire. Let's hope this is on the list of the new principle.
I am truly amazed by and completely grateful for this school. High goals are set for students, and teachers put in a great deal of effort helping everyone reach them. Emphasis is also on educating the whole child, and the school walks the walk when it comes to lessons of social responsibility. Arts and Nature instruction are a bonus, though the music program is weak.