This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Culpeper Middle School1
Posted December 22, 2012
- a parent
Please update CMS data. Principal is now Mrs. Southard who tends to imagine her school just as an extended elementary school. Poor grouping in social studies and science classes, so the classes usually just serve the worst elements (be those children with attention disorders, learning disabilities etc.). Leadership is not focused on moving the top half of the school through the system faster or with more complete challenges in regular classes. Like another reviewer noted: limited foreign languange = Spanish 1 only. Some very good teachers and staff find ways of overcoming and compensating for the principal. Best department by personnel is probably social studies, however parents should realize that an above average child will likely be held back by some other child's behavioral or academic issues. Notably, a number of children in our neighborhood are being homeschooled to avoid CMS and its issues. Both Emerald Hill and the Culpeper High School have tended to be better.
I transferred to CMS in 7th grade and all I can say is that the problem here is overcrowding. Most other things are good, especially the advanced classes, but there are about 30 kids per class, average, and the teachers have a hard time controlling the sheer number of kids in my grade, and blame for rule-breaking is spread over about 1200 kids if the culprit isn't caught. However, the classes are in good variety and teachers are okay.
Culpeper Middle School (CMS) is a physically old building which sets a poor backdrop for teachers, students, parents and administrators. For example, ask them how many of the motors on the gym bleachers do not work; then stroll to their bathrooms. The county consistently provides less to this school (e.g, teacher/student ratio or $/pupil compared to VA averages) than they do to FloydTBinns (more federal $ to them). CMS also trails all of Fauquier County's schools in most categories. Many good teachers regularly migrate to the Fauquier system which does pay more. The one saving grace is that CMS does cherry pick staff from Orange County. Otherwise, the limited staff numbers can only provide limited class choices. For example, language choices are French/Spanish only in the 8th grade; pre-Algebra was lost; science & social studies classes are not tiered so the least common denominator determines class content and speed.
My son just started at CMS. So far, 6th grade is a vast improvement over his 5th grade year in elem. There are very good teachers, but many seem stuck in their ways. The curriculum seems challenging and appropriate. CMS offers many sports, clubs, performing arts, and other activities during the school day and after - this is a plus. The school gets great involvement from a very small group of parents; very minimal support from the majority of the parents. Seeing other comments about disrespect - I feel that many students are disrespectful of staff. Parents seem to believe a lot their children tell them - and many parents are on the defensive. Parents are demanding respect at home - so it doesn't come to school either. Overall the kids are good. All our schools here are short on funds.
This will be my child's third year at CMS. She has done very well, and we have found the teachers to be caring and knowledgeable. Her favorite classes have been agri-science, math, strings, and language arts. There are some 'problem' students, as at any school, but learning to deal with peers who behave less-than-desirably is a life lesson that our daughter has experienced in a positive way at CMS. Our biggest concern about CMS is overcrowding; but we feel that the teachers and administration do a fine job. Our daughter is looking forward to 8th grade.