Agree with 2010 review: Cooper School is not always the best choice for your kids - particularly if they are boys. Despite the AAP program across town being considered more demanding, Cooper MS is VERY demanding. Cooper's goal is to make the students self-advocate since they need this skill in high school and beyond. They encourage students to help themselves." It does not matter if it is considered age appropriate. Children can struggle and not know what help to ask for and help is not offered until the student is really struggling. When children do speak up, they are frequently denied the request. Don't bother speaking up for your child or asking for help, Cooper does not allow it. Teachers are not required to respond. A good amount of the boys shut down from this. The myth is that all kids in this pyramid go on to College. Langley calls it taking a gap year. Often, it is a nice way to say that the student did get into a decent college because of poor grades. Soon, we will expect self advocacy from Elementary students, as well. The argument will be that they will need this in middle school.
There are some good administrators and teachers at this school but overall the standards are very low. Subjects like Science, History and Music are taught by caring and engaged teachers. The Art teacher is self absorbed, petty, and simply should not be a teacher. English grammar is not focused on in the English "Department", and that is very clear by the quality of the student presentations. Math, like English, is poorly taught and expectations are very low. Even the Librarian clearly does not want to be around children. My child transferred from a poorly performing school district and my expectations were very high, we could have stayed where we were and received, in many ways, a better education. Academically the school is a great disappointment. On the plus side the kids are generally nice, I feel that my child is safe and will not be bullied.
My daughter has had a great experience at Cooper. The students, teachers and administrators create a supportive environment in which a child can thrive. The curriculum is challenging and engaging - and the teachers are highly motivated to teach and support the students. Thank you to the Cooper community - -keep up the great work!
I found this review dated Feb 2005 and could not agree more with this parent. Our child just completed 8th grade and so glad to be out of this school. There are some excellent teachers at the school, its just not the majority of the teachers. This school is filled with bureaucrats who dislike children, they are rude, immature, and irresponsible administrators. This school should be audited and the staff relieved of further responsibility. They intimidate students and parents utilizing dictatorial beureaucratic policy and proceedural arguements. They are skilled at deflating the confidence of children and are intollerate of parental rights. They do not respond to emails or parental concerns except to dictate their own position. They are non-negotiable and non-cooperative and most unpleasant.
Things I like about Cooper Middle School: 1) if you reach out to the teachers with a concern, they are very responsive. 2) The frequent emailed progress reports. It makes it much easier to keep track of how your daughter/son is doing at school. 3) The curriculum is challenging, whether you are an advanced student or not. 4) The band program is comprehensive and successful. Things I don't like about Cooper Middle School: 1) "My house is bigger than your house." I know it's endemic in schools with a lot of rich kids, but since when have we quit teaching our kids that it is in poor taste to brag about how much money you have? 2) Like most bigger schools, you must be ever-vigilant and an advocate for your child if they are struggling. 3) No school sports. 4) The crazy-long bus ride down Georgetown Pike if you don't live in McLean.
Cooper School is not always the best choice for your kids - particularly if they are boys. I think every parent I have spoken to that has boys has a story to tell about a bad experience their son has had. Some of the administrators were good, some not. Our experience is that girls are overwhelmingly favored. Not a good situation for your son. I did notice that they have new male VP's. Hopefully that's been a good move. Cliques start early in McLean -- many form by 4th grade. This is a very cliquish school. That can be hard for some kids.
I currently go to Cooper Middle (8th grade) and while I think it's an excellent school I would like to make three points 1) in my grade we have had some outbreaks and issues 2) the grading scale is set to change in September of 2009 and 3) there is actually a new principal at our school, Mr. Tyrell (I don't think I spelled that correctly) I have had a great time at Cooper the teachers are all very kind and like to offer extra credit (good for kids who fall off the blck a lot) !