Pros: Excellent advanced academic program. A wide variety of clubs and programs available. Teachers , administrators, parents and students all seem very engaged. Cons: The foreign language education is very limited (only Spanish and only offered once or twice a week, though they seem to be experimenting with how to implement this). Additionally, the advanced academic programs do not start until 3rd grade (this is Fairfax county-wide, not a Silverbrook specific issue). Overall quite happy with the school.
We've had a good experience with Silverbrook. My 2nd grader has had a string of truly outstanding teachers. My older son attended for 5th & 6th grade. His teachers ranged from average to very good, and the average one transferred. Our school bus drivers have been fantastic: safe, alert, friendly, reliable. The building is friendly but safety-minded. There are a variety of activities sponsored by the PTA. I've been very satisfied with communication.
Silverbrook is an ok school--just too crowded for our needs. The administration and teachers are all friendly and have good intentions. The 1st and 2nd grade class sizes hover around 30 students. There seems to be no plan to reduce the class sizes as one post mentions below. The curriculum is not suited for classes of that size--the under performers continue to under perform and high performers are not challenged to their ability resulting in average performance across the board. I feel our child spends more time learning about social issues, recycling and how to help mom/dad save water and eat right versus learning fundamentals (math, reading, science, etc). There seems to be a heavy emphasis on standardized testing and teaching kids 'how' to take the tests. In summary disappointed after the rave reviews we read--currently looking into alternatives.
Don't believe the hype. School is OK but not great. - Administration: well below my expectations. Disorganized from the top down; school events rarely take place on time. Limited communication between principal and parents. Front office staff typically seems agitated whenever a parent visits. - Curriculum/Teachers: class sizes are 31 students in my son's class - with a brand new 1st year teacher. Teacher is good and works hard, but such a huge student load prevents the teacher from giving adequate attention to each student. Way too much emphasis on standardized testing. About half of his homework involves logging into a website and practicing standardized tests. - Overall: underwhelmed by this supposedly top-notch school.
My children went to Silverbrook Elementary and it is an exceptional school. The teachers are very professional and caring. Parents support for the school is outstanding. The school itself is laid out well and is maintained.
Silverbook Elementary is a wonderful community based school. The teachers are very responsive to parents and work hard to provide each student with appropriate educational opportunities. Correspondence is answered promptly and parents are invited to volunteer at the school in many capacities. The parents are extremely welcoming and supportive of both in and after school activities. There are extensive after school activities offered and the PTO hosts many family friendly events throughout the year.
Our child has been at Silverbrook since kindergarten, and is now in 2nd grade. The biggest issue that we're having is class size. Our child's 1st and 2nd grade classes have each had 29 students. This year (2011), all grade levels had 28-30 students per class with the exception of 6th grade, which had fewer (I'm also not counting kindergarten since there is a teacher plus assistant). So, I wouldn't trust Great School's student-teacher ratio. When we've talked to the principal, we get the party line about teacher assignments based on affluence in the community, we should be supplementing at home, etc. But there seems to be no plan to reduce class size. I thought we lived in one of the most wealthy school districts in the country--why is this even an issue? Even in affluent neighborhoods, students in early grades need the appropriate amount of educational attention to set them on the right course. Our child is managing the school just fine, and we're pleased with the teachers - but we're concerned about overtaxing them with so many high-energy kids.
I would not recommend this school to friends or family. First grade was hands down the worst. The teacher was pregnant and spent the year counting the weeks through teaching the fetal development process. Upon her early departure from the classroom the principal was so unprepared that for three weeks the classroom had a different substitute every day to every other day. When I visited the principal she looked me straight in the eye and told me that the interaction the students were getting from the substitute was not the level she would like but after all they are just substitutes substitutes we had for 8 weeks of the year. 2008 rating 7, 2010 rating 6... I see a trend forming.