My daughter attended MacArthur for K-5 until transitioning to GWMS. I found the teachers were generally good (although some were hit or miss) and administrators are supportive. However, the school is extremely racially stratified. My very friendly, sociable daughter was never invited to birthday parties, sleepovers, or social events held by the White girls in her class, despite being good friends with them in the classroom, starting in kindergarten. All the parents of color I spoke with recounted similar experiences. I'm a Georgetown professor and my husband is a lawyer, so I have to assume the exclusion was based on race, not class. By fifth grade, most of the White students in the class were placed in TAG, which meant they were on a separate track and not a single student of color in the fifth grade was in TAG (MacArthur had 50 students in TAG, 49 of whom are non-Hispanic White and 1 of whom is Black, in her fifth grade year), which means that each block was either entirely White or entirely students of color. My daughter was never recommended for TAG at MacArthur despite testing in the 96th percentile on her standardized tests in all subject areas, but in middle school maintained a 4.0 in all honors classes for the duration (and is now preparing for TC Williams). The curriculum at MacArthur was not very challenging and the teachers would consistently yell at the blocks with all Black and Latino students and praise the blocks with all White students. My daughter and her friends were constantly complaining that they thought the fifth grade teachers were racist. However, other than the fifth grade teachers, my daughter experienced a succession of excellent teachers.
Horrible experience with this school. A teacher displayed incompetence, bullied the students, and called them names and the administration defended her on multiple occasions. She kept her job. The administration blocked our attempts to move out child out of the class, and made it difficult to get concrete answers to hold them accountable. We were greeted by the same lack of accountability when we brought our concerns to the superintenden's office. The district has many layers of obfuscation and denial to prevent anyone for suffering repercussions for their actions. Avoid this school and district if at all possible. If you can't avoid it, stay alert and be prepared to fight.
D.M. exemplifies the type of personalized education our son needed. Our home school is Samuel Tucker but due to overcrowding we chose to send our son to this elementary school. Best decision ever!! Douglas MacArthur is run like a private school. I moved to NOVA from New Orleans for the school system and I am very pleased with this school.
Excellent school, both for academics and social skills. Both the principal and asst. principal are dedicated to creating a good environment for the staff, as well as the children, and the teachers are wonderful!
This school has a very active PTA and does a wonderful job at getting many parents involved in school activities. The principal does a tremendous job with the kids and is very involved in their day to day activities. They have an excellent staff including the art, music and gym teachers. We are always impressed with the curriculum that our children are being taught.
Probably the best elementary school in Alexandria - very active PTA. We have a problem each winter though that we are not allowed to discuss anything about Christmas in the school - only Hanukah, Kwanzaa, etc. Renowned art teacher