This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School5
Posted July 19, 2014
- a parent
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.
Falls Church City schools are amazing with the exception of this terrible school. Mount Daniel wonderful, TJ was also very good - teaching is strong in both, and the environment warm and supportive. MEH is like something out of another school district - it's not a "Falls Church" school in any respect. My daughter's teacher this year was terrible - constantly insulting the students and complaining about his job - she didn't learn very much and wasn't happy (nor was anyone else from what I could tell) and the leadership is abysmal - the environment is so different from the other schools in the system, it's really shocking. With the money this school system has (thanks to the sky-high property taxes), they can afford the best - hiring mediocre educators who could work anywhere else is simply inexcusable.
I agree with an earlier posting. This school has so much potential but the Principal lacks any qualities of a leader. If you go to the principal with an issue she does not know how to handle it and there was never any follow up with things that were suggested at meetings. Special education is hit or miss because there are only two that know what they are doing. All the parents know the good one and the rest -- well good luck. And your child will not be ready for high school. Maybe after this principal leaves things will get better. Let's hope.
For all of you kids who sent a bad review, well you are wrong! The teachers are very nice now. they give lots of high school experience. All the studies are upgraded to a very high level now. Everybody who goes to this school will succeed in their lives by a high chance.
I am in high school now, and I can tell you, looking back, that I absolutely hated this school. I had only one or two teachers my whole school career there that I felt were supportive and helpful. For the most part, they treated everyone in the school at an elementary school level and never let us gain experiences that would prepare us for the high school. When I moved to the high school in eighth grade, it was a terrible experience; I had none of the skills necessary to move forward. My parents and I had problems with some of the teachers and how they were grouping students in the higher levels, which we brought up to the principal. They did not respond to these complaints at all.
I could not be more impressed with the nurturing and talented teachers at Mary Ellen Henderson; however, the principal's inexperience and lack of judgement in crucial areas considerably hampers the learning environment for students transitioning from elementary to middle school.
I am so pleased with this school. My 5th grade daughter has went from struggling and hating math to being in the top group with an A + grade. I think this is thanks to the wonderful teachers she has. She is so happy at this school. I was also worried at the begining of the year that she was too young to be going to middle school but it has been a great experience for her. Also, as a parent I have found that there are many opportunities for parent involvement.