This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted September 27, 2014
- a parent
My daughter just started kindergarten this fall and so far we are happy with the school. I really love the uniforms and behavior charts that are sent home on a daily basis. I also think it is great that the school teaches character education. I believe my daughter is receiving a very good education in an organized and safe environment. I also appreciate her teacher who is very responsive to questions and concerns we may have. So far our experience has been positive. The principal is by the door every morning greeting the students by name and the classes are small.
We have been very impressed with Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy. Our daughter comes home smiling every day, eager to share what she has learned. Classes are small, and there is an emphasis on good behavior, character, and anti-bullying. We chose to transfer into this school based on other parents' insights and school reputation. And we have not been disappointed. There is an academic achievement focus here, and it is proven by the fact that LCTA was ranked first in scores for elementary schools the City of Alexandria. The principal is not warm and fuzzy, but takes pride in what she does and the school she oversees. She has a more dry sense of humor, but stands outside the building doors each morning to welcome each child by name. The only criticism I have about the school is the PTA, which is very "clubby," and comes off as unwelcoming and unoriginal. But the school itself has been great for our family. And we love the uniforms. The great equalizer, and makes getting ready each morning a cinch. It appears that the recent negative complaints are from one disgruntled parent with a special needs child, who is hellbent on lowering the ratings.
This is a horrible school. We had a second grade child with some reading issues, had requested for them to test our child, in October, to see if he had any reading disabilities and the teacher said he was just a lazy reader. We asked several time throughout the school year for our son to be tested. It came down to me telling the teacher that I had spoken to a social worker and the social worker said, by law, that the school personnel needs to test him if we ask. The teacher, then, forwarded our request the reading specialists. They set up a meeting in June a with me to talk about my child's reading issue. I was thinking, "great, about time." It was a hoax. I was told that they were going to hold him back in the second grade and reassess him in November. I had my son tested through the military channels after telling them the school refused to test him. Within 10 minutes the child psychologist said "I'm painfully aware that your son is dyslexic and that Lyles-Crouch FAILED your child!" In less than four months at a new school, my child is doing great! We're military and move a lot & this has been the worst school they have attended.
LCTA has been wonderful for my children. The principal is amazing-firm and no-nonsense. I see this as a good thing. She is respected by the teachers and I think she knows all the children by name. The TAG program is amazing--I can't say enough about the quality of the TAG teacher. We have had many teachers over the years. Two of the four best teachers we ever encountered taught at LCTA (two at GWMS). These are truly excellent teachers. Most are very good, with an occasional, less-than-stellar teacher, but this is normal. It's a National School of Character: emphasis on good character as well as academics. Classes are small. Weekly music and art for all grades. The perception of a school depends on expectations and personality types. I do not expect my children's needs to be put above all the other students. However, there are good matches and bad matches. LCTA may not work well for some students, but the reviews here are not reflective of the fraction in the school. LCTA continues to provide an excellent education for my children. (To previous comments: One of mine is NOT a "quiet little girl who's uniform is tucked in just right"--she loved LCTA! & One star because of UNIFORMS?)
The only reason I'm giving it a 2 is because some of the teachers do work very hard. Those who do are usually trying to lay low and do their best as to not upset the apple cart. There is a group of teachers who bully students, teachers, and have the principal running scared (she knows which teachers are causing problems but is too scared to do anything about it.... she has had similar issues with these very teachers). The comment about the 3rd grade teacher yelling down the hall........ I've witnessed it myself as have several tutors at the school. Nothing is said because it is understood this teacher can and will continue to do as she pleases without any consequences. This very teacher blatantly refuses to follow IEPs and doesn't allow accommodations. The new superintendent would be well served by asking staff, in person and one on one, if they have had issues here. Most teachers are scared and those who aren't are shut up with threats.
It is interesting to see that several years after leaving this school, the issues remain the same. The same principal is there, and she's still a bully. A rigid, cookie cutter approach to learning that squashes childrens' spirit and imaginations remains. Parents of children with special needs share horror stories of their experiences at the school yet ACPS has done nothing.
This school has a very ridged vibe. Some of the teachers are lovely and do the best they can but if you don't have a quiet little girl who's uniform is tucked in just right, you probably won't be happy with this school. They do not adhere to 504s, one third grade teacher can be heard screaming at the children from down the hall, and the principal is rude. If you choose this school, make sure you have lots of spare time to stand around with PTA moms in your yoga pants gossiping and discussing petty items like what kinds of muffins to serve.. Parents have their children tutored to score high on the tests that get them in to the "talented and gifted" program while the truly gifted children are often labeled as misfits.
My children have received an excellent education at Lyles Crouch. The quality of instruction given by the teachers as well as the incredible involvement of the community make this a really wonderful place for my children to learn and grow. They are happy and I am happy.