Teachers and staff set clear expectations for the students and give them a lot of independence to manage their workloads. This responsibility is important so that kids are ready for the rigors of high school and college. They are given opportunities to correct mistakes and get back on track, as well.
We transferred into MEH after school began and were nervous for our son. We chose Falls Church City for the smaller schools and community atmosphere, but sometimes that can mean new people have a hard time fitting in. Our experience could not have been better. The faculty and students welcomed him right away and made the transition smooth. Academically, the school is on par with what we'd experienced in private schools out-of-state.
We had great experiences with the teachers at the school, particularly in Math and History. There was excellent communication between the teachers and parents. One teacher even spent an hour talking with us on the phone well after school hours following up on a simple question I had emailed him. Amazing dedication to the students!
Homework lines up with college. Students have blocks of classes that meet either M, W, F or T, Th in a given week and homework is due the next time class meets. We liked this set up as it required our son to keep track of his workload and plan accordingly. He wasn't always successful, but those lessons came early and helped him get back on track.
My school has given me many opportunities to perform to my upmost abilities, whether through extra/co-curricular activities like T.S.A., and Science Olympiad, or opportunities to take advanced classes that I am ready for ahead of my technical grade level. Although it has been somewhat stressful, I have learned a lot in the past two years that I have been taking advanced classes, and have experienced many inspirational teachers. Unfortunately, I have experienced some teachers that don't even seem like they want to teach/dislike students in the past. This has made me quite frustrated, but the 7th grade team appears to be mostly strong, and unlike last year there are no core teachers that are truly incapable of providing inspiration to work hard.
MEH faculty really worked to understand my child and help her gain acceptance at her new school. Even though she hadn't been through the FCCPS system, they worked to help her fit in and keep up academically. You do have to ask a lot of questions when you are new to really understand the difference between this school and other non-VA schools in terms of academics. We should have enrolled our child in the higher level math but didn't understand the differences. So a little more help in that area, beyond the entrance test, would have been appreciated. Still, thanks for a great first year.
It's hard for me to assess this school because we've lived out of the country for much of my child's education. I can only say my child has not learned as much as I would have hoped and has been comparatively unhappy. As a parent, I have been unimpressed with communication. Speaking with anyone, teacher or administrator, requires a lot of effort and persistence, even for seemingly simple matters like getting assignments for child who's been absent . With a few exceptions, the teachers I have met seem disinterested, too. I have volunteered and overheard some talking about ways to "kill time" with their classes. I felt that summed up my child's experience over the last year: killing time rather than thriving. There is also an emphasis on technology in the classroom which has translated into students spending a lot of time in front of a screen rather than interacting with a teacher, which I think exacerbates this problem. Many parents I've talked to insist that despite its flaws, it's better than the surrounding schools. That may be so, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
I really like the new principal, but have some concerns. The school brought in a number of new teachers this year. So many of them act as if they don't want to be in the classroom. Given the rigorous academics, why wouldn't the school hire upbeat and motivating instructors? Seriously. I don't understand the choices. Also, as a parent who has dealt with my kids being bullied (not at MEH), I think the school needs a more clear and logical framework for determining when and who should be suspended. It seems that in their zeal to create tighter behavior standards for the kids, common sense and fairness get sacrificed. MEH is a wonderful school, but not without some problems.
I currently attend George Mason High School, and i attended MEH. I hated MEH with a passion, but I'll try to be objective here. MEH has great educational standards. My middle-school self was always learning new things and had to work for her grades. Like all the Falls Church schools it's competitive. I had some great teachers in sixth grade, a mix in seventh grade, and horrible teachers in fifth grade- I'm honestly sorry they're still employed there. My Spanish teacher was great, but on of the others is supposed to be horrible. From what I've heard and from my own experience, most students hate going there. It's academics might be great but it's a horrible place to attend. I was miserable for my entire three years. When I went there, the school had a huge bullying problem, which admin completely ignored; if you tried getting help with it, they wouldn't. I know from experience. I see they now have an online bullying- reporting form on their website, and if you get bullied, report it. Maybe the new principal is more helpful. Please send your middle schoolers somewhere private if you want your older kids at the high school. I wish I'd been able to go somewhere else for those years.