My son has been at Bailey's since kindergarten, and he is now a 5th grader. We have been blessed to have him at this school. The teachers and administration and the support staff have all been very engaged, professional, and innovative. My son has thrived through the teaching of content through the arts. I wish that all students could receive the kind of education and care that students receive at Bailey's!
I really love working in this school because of the programs it offers. Teachers are exceptionally hard workers and determined to teach students according to their learning styles. Because Bailey's is one of the few CETA (Changing Education through the Arts) schools in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area, teachers have the opportunity to take courses from the Kennedy Center and be trained to use a variety of art integration strategies which makes teaching and learning in any content area accessible for all students independently of their socio-economic status and language acquisition level in English or Spanish. This is one of the vast of reasons what makes Primary Bailey's unique from all the other schools in FCPS!!
I am a Bailey's alumni. I went and I was part of the immersion program as well. I loved Bailey's I didn't fit in with all the kids but the best part in my opinion was the teachers they were so loving and smart really knew what they were teaching and never made it feel like one student knew more than another (although some do) it was a terrific experience my mom loved the school too so many fields trips and so many programs for the kids. I think it might be overwhelming like some said but now as an adult it's something I'll never forget the things and places I was able to be all because of Bailey's. The actual Reason for my Review is also that my Daughter is going to be starting kindergarden and we are inbound and I'm so excited for her to learn and make friends. My daughter is active and loves working with other kids! We can't wait for September!
My son is a first grader and we are in the spanish immersion program - which is excellent. It amazes me how effective - and wonderful - the teachers are given the incredibly diverse student population. My son went to a private pre-school (montessori education) and I feel like Bailey's is along the same bend (as you can be in a public school setting). The experiences the children receive - with the arts and sciences magnet ad the CETA program are unparalleled. Is the school overcrowded - yes. FCPS has identified a solution to ease the overcrowding and return the current Baileys building to a small-school environment (it will be a lower school, K-2, beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.
I have two children at Bailey's and am very happy with the school. Maybe we have been lucky but we have not had any communication issues. One of my children has sensory issues and received extensive speech and OT through preK. We had him privately evaluated before kindergarten and were told he had caught up and didn't require services anymore but later, after we expressed concern to his teacher at Bailey's, the school was very proactive about evaluating him, providing suggestions, and monitoring his progress. I was a shock to us after hearing from parents at other Fairfax schools that you have to fight for services. My youngest is in the Spanish immersion program which is an amazing option.
Bailey's could be a good school, but it has simply grown too large to be manageable. While there are many different programs available to kids I think for some kids it is just too much and does not leave enough time to focus on the basics. Also the teaching for us has been hit or miss. We have had some excellent teachers we have also has some bad experiences. If your child is outgoing, thrives in chaos and loves the arts then this is a great school. If they are reserved and enjoy focused structured days then it may not be a good match. I think the enrollment this year is more like 1400 with no good way to reduce that in the near future. Although the class size has remained a constant 20-22 kids. To do that they have put trailers on every possible piece of open space leaving much less space for play.
If you measure the school by your children's happiness then Baileys is great. If communication is important to you well then look elsewhere. I learn more from my third grader than from any representative of the school, which is sad. The teachers and administrators seem used to dealing with less involved and less informed parents who might not ask questions or exhibit interest. Homework is non-existent. Not sure we will stay.
We have had a great experience with Bailey's. My son is finishing kindergarten and is sad the school year is over and that he has to wait until September to go back. He had a terrible preschool experience (not at Bailey's) that destroyed his confidence and left him hating the idea of school. His wonderful teachers at Bailey's were a key reason he reagained his confidence and now loves school. He is leaving kindergarten able to read, write and do basic addition and subtraction. The full day kindergarten program was very important to us (as opposed to the half day offered at many other Fairfax County elementary schools) and the wide variety of special classes (art, music, pe, dance, etc).
I have had one child go through Bailey's and a second one almost done. Both have done Spanish immersion and seem to thrive in the creative and diverse environment. It is not perfect and is not a school if you think homework is an indication of scholastic rigor. Instead, the teachers encourage the children to think critically and learn facts in an interesting way. More work needs to be done with the Spanish Immersion program, mainly given the children need some grammar structure and the middle school doesn't really have the capability to continue the program well. But it has certainly given both children good accents and a solid start. Parents who get involved see the beauty and the magic of the school--others, who may view it from a distance, are quite likely to assume the worst. I"m pleased my children have had this experience and hope that Fairfax County Public Schools continue to ensure that it can continue.
Don't let the low GreatSchools rating fool you--Bailey's does NOT "teach to the test". It is a science technology and fine arts magnet school. The teachers emphasize hands-on exploration and collaboration. My first grader loves science and comes home excited everyday. This week she wrote observations about the eggs hatching in her classroom, she ate a salad made of vegetables she grew in the school garden, and in her creative movement class they are working with their teacher to choreograph a piece on slavery. Her field trips this year included two trips to the portrait gallery to study portraits of Americans including George Washington and Rosa Parks; trips to the Kennedy Center (who the school partners with); and visits to the Lincoln Memorial to see where Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. She wants to be the first woman scientist President. The teachers and the administration--in our experience so far--have been fabulous. Bailey's has more county teachers of the year than any other elementary school. They are dedicated to the students and to the mission of the school. Bailey's is a unique school and not for everyone, but we love it.