People looking at this should know this school was completely revamped last summer. It's no longer grades 3-4-5 in a single undersized building. It's now Pre-k to 3rd at the additional Lower Campus (a former high school) with 4&5 at the Upper Campus (previously the only school). It's a great improvement. Years of underfunding and shortcuts by the anti-public-schools-Board members are visible: the lower campus playground equipment in January, provided by the PTO; classrooms equipped with improper clocks for an elementary school (should have hands); woefully outdated technology. Hopefully, new elections and an economic uptick will allow the system to catch up, and provide the excellent teachers and staff with the appropriate resources in what could be a top-level school system. We have no regrets on our decision to put our children in this system, and will stay involved to help it improve.
My child is moving to the 2nd grade this fall. So, I can only comment on the lower campus. My family are local and we have live here in the county most of our lives. I am a little tired of people who have moved from larger communities complaining. We are a small county. We do not have many large industries here in the county that provide tax monies. This is a public school and with that there are going to be things you don't always agree with. My child has only had the best of experiences with the teachers and support staff as well as the principal. The school takes bullying as a serious problem and have programs to help students understand and know what to do in these situations.
Finally, I understand the vast bullying problem my child had at this school. Several teachers are secret "bullies" themselves. The school board is attempting to increase the salary scale which will hopefully attract a better caliber of teacher, but so many who are tenured are left. And there's nothing anyone can do about them. So very very sad to have such a poor performing school in such a beautiful county.
Had a not so good year 2011-12. My family moved here from the Prince William County school district. We had made the mistake of not checking into reviews of the schools before moving here. There is so much bullying and nonsense that goes on in the schools here, it's unbelievable, and NOT talked about. My older daughter was in Johnson Williams and she had a terrible time. My younger one in cooley cried everyday before and after school. We will be moving back to Northern VA this summer.
Lots of changes in 2010-2011. I currently have a daughter at Cooley. Several of her teachers are wonderful! Two are not clicking with the children (and my daughter tends to like everyone) and one is not returning next year. I give props to Dr Geyer and Mr Carmichael for weeding out the staff as quick as possible. Thankfully the old principal is gone. She was the holdback for this school for way too long. So many teachers genuinely love and care for the kids. And staff. They implemented an excellent and creative PE program this year. May not be perfect, what school is, but they are quickly heading in the right direction. To the negative comments, I blame parental involvement. It is either too much or not enough. It is not ONLY up to the school to teach the kids, look in the mirror. I have 3 kids in Clarke schools and can count my serious complaints on one hand.
2010 saw so many changes in this school. New super in the last couple years. Old Principal out, Dr Geyer in. He has removed many problem teachers and ones riding the wave to retirement. It is no longer multi-age learning as one called it. It is now grades 2-5. Some teachers are still unrealistic about homework especially upper grades. They implemented a creative PE program and Arts program with new teachers. I have a child at Cooley now, and look forward to my other 3 kids coming up thru this school. In a year or two, this will become the prek-1 school. Cooley will relocate to the soon to be former high school. I feel our kids get a great public education because we the parents are on top of things. If my kid fails in school, it is my fault not a teachers. If my child has a bad teacher, report them and move the child. I do know of 3 less desirable teachers (one is a screamer as children see her) that is not returning. We will miss the principal Dr Geyer! He seems to have his thumb on the pulse. Clarke Schools are wonderful.