This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Drew Model Elementary School5
Posted August 08, 2014
- a parent
Both of my children will be at Drew in the Fall. We are beyond thrilled with our daughters teacher. She has been an inspiration and has instilled a love of learning in our daughter that we never knew was possible. We are above the moon that our younger child will be with our daughter's teacher in the Fall. Our daughter feels safe in her classroom, loves school and even jokes at home pretending to says some words with a New York accent like her teacher. We look forward to many years to come.
My twins are in a primary montessori class. This school has been wonderful in their approach in making the whole school one community. It has a small but active PTA and the teachers have been amazing. Very responsive to questions and concerns. This school is very diverse in socio-economic areas, as well as hosting various programs for special education, including a MIPA class. Drew also offers a peace program with a peace room that allows students to work out conflicts on their own with an adult moderator.
We have been really happy with Drew. Our child is in the Montessori program and her teacher is top-notch. Contrary to the previous poster, we have seen no issues with bullying. The school administration seems to work hard to make sure this isn't a problem. Also contrary to the previous poster, my child's montessori experience last year included multiple (5+) "going outs" -- experiential learning in the community. My child ate lunch in her classroom. Drew is still in the process of forming a strong community. However, I think it is well on the way to doing so -- the PTA is now quite robust. The school is incredibly diverse, and if you value the opportunity for your child to learn in an environment with children from many different backgrounds, this is it. I'm not sure you can find this level of diversity in any other Arlington school. But most importantly, my child learned a lot, and is getting a great, student-driven, well-rounded education -- not the cookie cutter experience of many other elementary schools.
Drew has alot of issues that they are working through. Compared to other Arlington schools, I think it is well below average. Just this year I know of at least 5 parents who have pulled their student out of the Montessori program at Drew because of issues relating to bullying and the qualtity of instruction. I know of at least 3 others that might do the same. There is a disconnect between the philosophy of Maria Montessori and the actual practice at Drew. The principal is well aware and is trying to address the issue of rudeness from some of the teaching and office staff towards the children. Multiple parents have complained about this. There have not been any going outs in the 4 years my child has been at that school (despite that it was in a promo video of theirs), and most of the Montessori students eat in the crowded loud cafeteria, not the classrooms due to a previous mouse problem and the teachers preference. There is a lack of community and the PTA struggles. Their budget is way below other N. Arlington schools. There are great Montessori teachers at Drew but some really bad ones too. I love Montessori but think Drew doesn't deliver.
I have 2 kids in the Montessori program and could not be happier with the quality of their teachers. Drew has an incredible faculty. Both my kids are excited to go to school every day and totally thriving. The librarian and library are excellent, and the school has a fantastic arts program bolstered by a relationship with the Kennedy Center. The Montessori program is a welcome alternative to traditional education with mixed-age, diverse classes where each child learns at her own pace and the teacher never has to teach to the middle of the class. There is far less homework than in a traditional school, and the Montessori math materials that teach even complicated math concepts through concrete beads, checkerboards, and blocks mean students really understand the concepts rather than simply memorize math equations. Housing the Montessori program within a traditional school is not ideal, but the building and grounds are spacious and kept up relatively well. Because it is a county-wide school, there is less cohesiveness and parent involvement than there might be in a neighborhood school, but since the PTA was established 3 years ago, parent involvement is improving each year.
Our child is attending the Montessori program at Drew as a first year student. We have been impressed by her development and constant motivation to learn new lessons. The staff is amazing...from when the children enter onto to the school grounds to the follow-up call from the office making sure your child is missing a day from school with your permission. Great place to have a child start their education and develop life friends.
Drew is a unique county-wide school offering both a Montessori program and traditional graded program. We feel fortunate to be a part of the Drew and Montessori community. It is wonderful to have the option of Montessori education in the public school system. We also appreciate the school's diversity. The programs at Drew are thriving and growing because they are in such demand in the county. In my experience, the teachers are dedicated, creative and well-qualified, and the administration is responsive and caring. The Library and its staff are top-notch. The PTA has a small but very committed group of parents and is actively working to increase parent involvement (frankly, this a challenge for any school that draws children county-wide with a large percentage of bus riders). A school is more than just test scores, so if you are interested in Drew I highly recommend looking beyond the numbers. Ask to see the data of test scores by program, and in particular look at the improvement in scores in the last several years. I am completely confident that my children are getting a first-rate education at Drew.
One very impressive aspect of the Drew total education program is the unique integration of special eduction students with those in the Montessori classroom. On a daily basis, the Montessori children host one or two of the Special Education students, accompanied by a teacher or an aide, I have observed this process for three years, and I salute both the Special Ed as well as the Montessori teachers for making this an incredible learning experience for all. And thanks to the Principal for fostering this kind of an environment.