This school has a cliquey atmosphere. It's just like being in high school all over again! The parents who are well off are most involved and the parents who are either single or work, are almost made to feel uncomfortable or a "less involved" because of the others. The Principal enables them and gives them praise for all their involvment making others feel less than. I will look into transferring my daughter to another APS school as my child will happier and so will i knowing my daughter will learn that social skills are important as well as academics, and she is not just a number on a test to bring in funding for the school. Oh, and some teachers are nice and others need not be teachers.
This school is good for people who like to brag that their kid is in a science-focused school. But we're underwhelmed by the curriculum, especially in science and math instruction. Some of the teachers are great, but there are many teachers who are just tired and bitter and take it out on the kids. The principal is very into media bits that say how awesome the school is. I've never witnessed her being interested in my child's personal academic growth in the 3 years he's been there. And really, I don't recall ever meeting a group of meaner people that some of the cliquey parents and their entitled children. The school can't help that, but they can stop enabling it. Our kid would have been happier and better educated in a different APS school.
In theory, this school should be great. But at the end of the day, this school is just mediocre. Our kid is moving on to middle school next year and has excelled academically at ASFS ... but we feel despite the school administration and many teachers.There a couple of standout teachers, but the curriculum and administration are geared toward mediocrity. One of the biggest problems has been the out of control cliquiness of a handful of parents who suck up all the oxygen under the guise of "parental involvement" and rule that school like the worst junior high. Why does the principal pander to these people and their kids while other kids pay the price? For us, it wasn't worth a move into this district for the education our kid got. It is sufficient but not inspiring or excellent. We're not impressed and are looking forward to moving on.
Arlington Science Focus is a wonderful School! I am so excited to have had the opportunity to afford my kids this experience. We came from Alexandria Public Schools where the standard of learning is little different and less challenging. The Principal is amazing, teachers are great! The staff has done everything in their power to assure that my children have not fallen behind they have provided excellent additional assistance and my children are performing VERY well! Thank you so much to all the Staff for making my children feel at home and welcoming them with open arms!!
I cannot agree more with the following review posted by another parent: 'If you enjoyed the "cliquey" feel of high school, then you will love it here. If you live for "fitting in" at any cost then you will have ample opportunities to rush one of the parent cliques that snubs their noses at the rest of the parents... The staff is a hit or miss... One interesting trend is the noticeable amount of teachers who are introverted, timid, effeminate and not very warm people. This is likely due to the overwhelming aggressive and punitive style of the principal who hires more passive types of teachers she can easily control. Remember, you were warned.... " I wish I had known all of this before putting my child through 5 years of this military-style, unfair, unhappy learning experience. Talented staff runs from this school. The principal doesn't have a day's worth of classroom experience, she was just a reading specialist. She's all about politics, she doesn't care about your kids, it's all about the recognition she gets from squeezing by all possible means above average scores from exhausted teachers and students. Miserable 5 years.
The school has a great reputation, but we have been very underwhelmed. If this is one of Arlington's finest, we are in trouble. The principal Ms. Begley runs a tight ship...too tight. I don't think her staff does ANYTHING without her permission. The teachers and staff are micromanaged to an uncomfortable degree. Her praise of the staff seems too effusive at times. This school is ALL about testing, testing, testing and statistics and not seeing the whole child. Great extended day staff though. Lots of parents attend the PTA meetings and school wide events. The PTA (also heavily controlled by the principal) raises alot of money for the school.
ASFS has great academics, high parental involvement, and wonderful teachers. I would agree that there are parental cliques. But you have your child go here for the school, not the parental social life. It's a Type A environment. If you don't like that, then you will not like your child going here.
My son was in Kindergarden class , they were giving us hard time, it was horrible experience, they had lots of concerns that doesn't really make sense, the principle ambushed my husband at the parking lot, telling him how my son was not following directions, we were shocked coz my son never had problems before, his actually shy boy it sounded like if they were talking about another boy, we asked them to have a meeting, after we had the meeting ,It sounded like if they had nothing "serious" to say, my son just needed a time to adjust, and the teacher was upset for no apparent reason, I had to come and stay with him to see how he was doing, he was doing good, I actually saw a lot behavioral problems with other kids, it seemed like they were not treating kids equally, I have seen a teacher on the playground yelling so laud with anger on a student, it was not a healthy environment, and one more thing, most of the kids cloths "disappear" I actually lost 3 jackets in that class, kids are taking each others jackets or when kid leave it you won't find it again.
This is great school with an extraordinary leader and principal MS Begley. My daughter loves the school and its learning environment.
Both my children attended this school for the last 3 years. All you need to do is attend the annual fundraiser that the PTA holds every year. The efforts that parents and staff put into the annual fundraiser is unbelievable and shows the pride and committment they have to the school. After that, go see the Science Center and Space Shuttle in the school. Then see the garden and aquarium that the children maintain year round. The principal, Ms. Begley is a no-nonsense leader who makes the education of the children her #1 priority. On the last day of school this year JUN 2013, I picked up my children from the bus stop and they were sad because it was the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL. Some children on the bus were crying because they love this school THAT MUCH and they truly enjoy going to school. Can you say that about any other school?
This is a great school with a lot of hands on learning. The teachers are good, and the leadership is fantastic -- providing instructional and social supports for the school.
If you enjoyed the "cliquey" feel of high school, then you will love it here. If you live for "fitting in" at any cost then you will have ample opportunities to rush one of the parent cliques that snubs their noses at the rest of the parents who are not one of "them". It's really hard to get past this social handicap at this school so when you analyze the academics ASFS is just an ok school. The staff is a hit or miss. Some teachers are caring and objective graders and others are the complete opposite in that if you bring them gifts on a regular interval your child will benefit from your deeds. One interesting trend is the noticeable amount of teachers who are introverted, timid, effeminate and not very warm people. This is likely due to the overwhelming aggressive and punitive style of the principal who hires more passive types of teachers she can easily control. Remember, you were warned....
The principal, Ms Begley, is a humane and genuinely caring teacher. She sets high standards for our children, and fully expects that they will meet them. In addition to being a fine leader for the school, she is very caring and understanding. As an example, i got lost in DC, and was frantically trying to get to school to pick up my son from extended day by 6pm. I called the school from my car, and Ms Begley answered the phone. She calmed me down and told me she would stay with my son until i could get to school, and not to worry. Luckily, I was able to reach a friend who picked him up, but her assurance meant so much to me.
We also choose to live in this section of the DC area to be in their school's boundaries, and we have not been disappointed. The educators and administrators are caring and go out of their way to tailor their teaching, instruction and program to the student.
My two children are ASFS students. We, and others in the community, have been more and more upset about this school's "teach to the (standardized) test," one-size-fits-all approach in the classroom. Yes, this approach may get a school a "10" rating (based on test scores) on "greatschools," but it will positively demoralize many in classroom. Students cannot be treated as "commodities" to bring funding into the school and inflate the egos of the administration, etc. I am a PTA member, and I've been as involved at ASFS as much as possible, but the administration has not listened to me, and others, when we've expressed concerns or offered suggestions. If you want a school that will treat your children as truly important people with their own educational needs, this school is NOT for you.
By any measure, ASFS is a first rate 21st century school that strikes a wonderful balance between heart, excitement for learning, technology, and self discipline. The dedication and professionalism of the entire staff is evident every day.
Global competitiveness is crucial to the current and future success of our country. ASFS is exciting kids early about science, technology, math and engineering. The teachers and principal are dedicatedand amazing mentors. I'm so proud of all they do. The school has a NASA shuttle simulator and the kids assume many roles, from mission control to astronaut. Way cool!
Exellent teachers ......Super in helpping the kid's in understanding subjects.....Great acctivities....
The best school in VA. Great stuff and excellent curriculum. Tatiana Kolina
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