My three children have had terrific teachers at Dranesville the past four years, and my wife and I have been impressed by the breadth of after-school activities offered (including plays, sports, and zumba). The administration has been great to us too. I also highly recommend the school's SACC program!
Dranesville is a great school with wonderful student to teach ratios. The small class size promotes individualize attention for the students. The PTA and teachers provide special afternoon activities (some with a fee) like yoga, zumba and special clubs for activities like running. The school has an AAP program and students start receiving advanced study materials as young as first grade.
As I review some of the negative comments, I find myself laughing out loud3. I wonder how much time these people, who have so much to complain about, actually spend at the school. I am at Dranesville daily, and volunteer weekly. I have worked for FCPS for many years, spent time in many elementary schools, and wouldn't send my children anywhere, except Dranesville. I am very impressed with Ms. Manoatl's involvement. I visit schools where principals spend most of their time in their office with the door closed. Ms. Manoatl is always visible as well as an active participant in every aspect of the school day, and the myriad of after school activities. Further, Ms. Manoatl doesn't tolerate incompetence; she sets the bar high for herself; she sets the bar high for all of her staff. And unlike many other administrators in the county, she is quick to identify, and get rid of, ineffective teachers. In regards to previous comments made about the numerous non-English speaking students, and not enough staff to support English Language Learners, research shows full immersion is the fastest, and most effective way for children to acquire a new language.
Two of my 3 children have gone through this school and the changes that have taken over the years have been quite shocking. Enough so that I yanked my 3rd out and put him in private school. The principal and now two vice principals appear heavily focused on the students who don't speak English while the average to above average kids are all forgotten. They have added a GT program, but oddly there are kids in there with SIGNIFICANT behavioral problems and causing great disturbances for the others that want to learn. All the schools resources seem go to those students that have difficult with English. (Gotta boost those test scores to save jobs.) When your child is being partnered with another child to teach the other child BASIC ENGLISH something is wrong. My child is supposed to go to school to LEARN, not to be a teacher to someone else who doesn't even want to be there much less understand what's going on. Many of the veteran teachers are running away from the school in droves (or being forced out by the administration) so the turnover rate is high.