As the Advanced Learning and STEM Specialist at Keister, Mrs. Gulino wears many hats. For the past three years, you made school fun and exciting for my son. William looks forward to your teaching and group activities. Thank you for playing such a crucial role in his learning! We love you!
It bothers me that the school is overcrowded and it's hard for all children to be taught equally. There are many things talked about with education and learning but getting it done appears not to be happening and maybe that's why they haven't been making their bench mark. Parents and problems are still being dismissed at Keister and at the leadership level it seems they don't have much interest in working hard to meet what is needed.
Mrs. Lintner is a great example of how to lead a school successfully and sensitively. She nurtures Teachers and allows them to work in teams for the best results in the classroom and students benefit from the happy teachers who get to do what they love!
In some ways i appreciate a de-emphasis on homework, but there could be a little more and it would be perfect. My son, a third grader, has 2 math problems, 10 mins of reading and 2 sentences to summarize what he read.
There is some emphasis to sensitivity towards economically-disadvantaged children. During a book fair, for example, funds were used to ensure that each child in the entire school could go home with one book, regardless of the ability to pay. The school has a large ESL population with 18 languages other than English spoken in the home. There is also a large population of speakers and a dual-immersion program in it's 3rd year. The Administration has shown great leadership in cultural sensitivity. For example, there have been informal evening gatherings with the largest cultural groups to listen to stories and gain cultural understanding. Finally, the 3rd grade team this year has decided to scrap a behavior chart and instead integrate a system of remediation between students. They have talked about empathy and making amends, which I feel has a better connection to real life than stars or colors on a chart.
It's time for a Keister review update as the previous reviews do not reflect my family's experience, nor the experience of the many families we know. The administration of this school is excellent and is not just "warm and caring" but attracts many of the best teachers around. Teachers are nurtured, work in teams, and are encouraged to use best teaching practices rather than focusing on the ever-changing tide regarding high-stakes testing (while completing the necessary steps required legally). It appears, that the teachers thrive and are empowered in this school to teach with the focus on deeper learning. Teachers are happy and teaching, and as a consequence, kids are happy and learning. The dual-immersion program, in it's third year, is very strong, as a result of hiring teachers with experience in addition to being qualified to teach Spanish/English. Keister is also a school with a true "neighborhood" feel and not only focuses on academics, but the individual child as well as the Keister Community. There are 18 languages spoken at Keister, but the school manages to have one voice.
Some of the other ratings are old. My family's experience with Keister allows me to say it is an outstanding elementary school! Other comments refer to over-crowding and a principal who is no longer at the school. Over-crowding is no longer a problem for two reasons; 5th graders now attend middle school (they used to be at Keister) and city-wide there is a slightly lower number of children in the lowest grades. The current principal and leadership at Keister is outstanding. The mission of the school is clearly backed by action and responsiveness to individual students, teachers, staff and the school community as a whole. The school has great scores in regard to testing. But what sets it apart are the many and diverse programs that are not dictated by standardized programs; Keister involves families in every aspect of the school experience; they are attentive to students' needs and are willing to empower teachers. Keister has "walking days" three times a week, when they encourage all children to walk (or bike) to school; bused students walk upon arrival. The school has a garden that students get to work in, and provide food for the cafeteria. A dual immersion language program.
Keister is over crowded, and has really let instruction slip. There is a lot of talk about learning, but not a lot of anything except SOL prep worksheets. A huge disconnect between what gets said and what actually gets done makes it difficult for anyone to change anything.