Our child has been going to JFK since kindergarten and is now finishing 4th grade. He has had small (10-15) classes with caring and dedicated teachers. The administration is solid and seem to be working towards a better school for all. Sure there is always a couple disruptive kids in his class each year, but that's public school for you and it doesn't seem to detract from his ability to excel and be challenged. On the contrary, being identified as a top student and leader, he has been given many opportunities to be challenged and grow. We also love that the school is so diverse and he has friends who come from all around the world and bring their culture with them. The challenges Winooski faces are similar to many public schools across the US that serve lower income families. Parental involvement is inconsistent because many parents work off hours or are new to the country and are still finding their way in a new system. I think the school does a great job with what they have and have successful programs in place to promote diversity, mindfulness, anti-bullying, and expected behaviors. Don't let low testing scores and isolated "horror stories" scare you away from Winooski.
When I worked at this school I was mortified by the bad behavior that was reinforced with positive things such as games and playing. The teachers should learn how to use the Responsive Classroom model. However, I was surprised when I asked a student to line up and he gave me the finger, while his parent was standing there. The parent did absolutely nothing to discipline the child. I told them to take a break and sit down. The parent decided this was not an appropriate response and began to argue with me. Really? Where is the teacher support? Not only were some of the parents unsupportive, but two of the first grade teachers were as well. When I began working here, these two teachers were bullying another teacher on their team. The principal was alerted to the problem, but let the bullies stay together. Her solution was to move the teacher who was bullied into another grade. There are some serious behavior issues that the principal needs to address not only with the students but with the staff. This was a horrible place to work. I would never send my kids here.
We have two children at this school, and have generally had a positive experience. Every time I have been in my children's classrooms when school is in session, I have seen engaged children, dedicated teachers, and well managed classrooms. We do hear of occasional discipline problems, but they are a small part of our children's experience. My only complaint would be that, when our kids were in kindergarten, they had a lot of seat time and not quite enough structured play time.
I have two children at JFK and I have been very happy. Our kids' skills are above grade level and I feel that they are adequately challenged. The teachers are very accommodating and we have had nothing but good experiences. Most importantly, our kids are happy with the school. When I have met with the administration on various parent committees, I find that they are responsive to my suggestions and appreciate my input. When I talk to my friends with kids in other school districts, I find that our experience at Winooski is similar to neighboring schools.
JFK Elementary school is a wonderfully diverse school with a very caring and supportive superintendent, principal and teachers. My son has been there for three years and we've had a very positive experience so far. The lack of parent involvement is not because of the school. They have done an incredible job of reaching out to the parents and community encouraging parent involvement and providing childcare s so parents can attend school-parent meetings/events. I think the problem is more to do with the transient population that resides in Winooski. There are some amazing, caring, well-educated & involved parents but there are also many very low income families. The racial, cultural & socio-economic differences that are present in Winooski are some of the reasons I chose to buy a home and have my child educated here. There are many intelligent & motivated students who attend JFK but parents in the community need to be more involved with their child's progress.
We have two very bright children in this school and are very happy with the quality of education they are receiving. The diversity is a plus, but it also makes it a challenging environment for the teachers. Nearly all the teachers we've dealt with directly are engaged, dedicated and hardworking. The class sizes are small, allowing a great deal of personal attention. The teachers have done a good job of providing extra challenges and enrichment opportunities when our children are ahead of the rest of the class. Our kids are flourishing here and we have very few complaints.
Well the school does have its problems, I think that most of the teachers at this school are great. They care for the well-being of my child and do the best with what they have. Based on some other reviews, I venture to guess that many parents now-a-days do not discipline at home. When I go in to pick my child up, I have heard kids some very mouthy kids (to adults!). My child has told me some horror stories and I wonder what has happened to these kids that misbehave. I do not know if there is any consequences for their actions. I like to hope that there is. Even though most of the teachers care, sometimes that is not enough. I do think the academics are not as rigorous as they should be.
The teachers in this school are great! I cannot, however, speak to the administration. My child has never had problems at this school, thus I have not had to go to the principal to have to solve any issues.
My daughter often comes home from school in tears. When I ask her what happened today, she always has variations of the same problems. Basically, she tells me that she is one of only a couple "good" kids in a classroom of "bad" kids. All day she listens to the teacher have to yell at these students. Her learning is interrupted and she doesn't receive much attention. All of the teacher's attention is focused on the kids behaving "badly." She tells stories of kids swearing at kids and teachers, of fights, of police officers being brought in to the room, and a couple times of her teacher crying. Mind you, this is elementary school!! My husband and I have tried so hard to sell our house so we can move out of Winooski, solely because of the school system. I hope that we can soon get out of here.
Avoid this school if at all possible. Our daughter is enrolled in kindergarten there and the majority of her classmates do not speak English or have behavioral problems. This results in a classroom where the teacher spends all her time trying to keep order instead of teaching. Unfortunately, I can not post some of the despicable experiences we have encountered but please take some advise AVOID THIS SCHOOL.
This is one of the most culturally diverse schools in VT, which is a huge plus. The teachers are first rate and the communication between the school and parents is excellent.
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