November 16, 2015
Langley is a very good school. I am especially impressed with the teachers and curriculum. My child has never had a poor teacher, and they are incredibly responsive. However, I have three major faults. 1. The new leadership is too focused on image. The school recently underwent a "rebranding" effort. The old motto was "Every Child, Every Day," which suited the school and children well. The new branding is "Vital Academics," which seems like spin. Also, the school raised tuition significantly, which seems inappropriate for a small K-8 school on 9 acres. Langley has an opportunity to fill in a niche, but it seems to want to be seen as Potomac or Sidwell, which are much larger, older schools with many more offerings. Rather than offering more, it simply priced itself at that level as part of a "rebranding." It just does not have the offerings or physical plant to justify prices at the level of Holton-Arms, Landon, etc. and is at risk of alienating families who value the community feel. What makes Langley special is that it is smaller and focused on younger children. The attention each child receives is very individualized--that is the selling point and Langley should be able to be more efficient with its resources to keep it priced just right. 2. The school does not encourage parental involvement. There are many ways that the parents could feel connected to the school without meddling, but all the school seems to want parents to do is to "attend" events and "contribute" funds. Not that there is pressure to contribute, but that seems to be mostly all of what the PTA does. It is strange for a school that started as a co-op. Parental feedback is never requested on any issue. Even efforts to communicate with the Board and classroom representatives lead to stonewalling. 3. Communication is very tightly controlled by the school. Even emails from the room parents are vetted. There is no room for informal discussion or discussion of a single school policy. When disruptions happen, instead of using them as teaching experiences, the school hides them, as if to prevent harm to their reputation, rather than engaging with the parent community. I am fearful that Langley, in its effort to reach new heights, will lose what has made them so special.
- submitted by a parent