Warning, this school is NOT a French immersion school. My daughter came from a French immersion school and she lost about 90 percent of what she knew here. Children are only taught Science and Math in French and are not required to respond in French. I know this school is considered the creme de la creme of Fairfax County, but I think that this has more to do with the socioeconomic group that it pulls from than the teachers. My daughter attended for two years and while one year was a good experience, the other was HORRIBLE. The teacher was rude and abusive to her students, and didn't know how to teach to anyone who was above the top level. We've moved from the area, and our experience at this school is the main reason we moved. I did love the STEM program, but the think tank changed for the worse over the past year.
Our kids attended KGES for 4 years. My older child had great teachers for several years and then got a teacher who was not able to manage classroom behavior. As a result, bullying became an issue in her classroom. However, she refused to acknowledge it was an issue. Then, we raised it to the Principal (whose philosophy seems to be circle the wagons vs. get to the bottom of a situation). She refused to admit there was an issue. Finally, another boy came to my child's defense and emphatically stated there was a problem and at that point a counselor (again, relatively junior) was called in to speak with the class and the situation became tolerable. However, other behaviors (e.g., persistent cursing) continued which made it clear the teacher was either checked out or not able to handle behavior issues. That was our experience. The bigger picture is that there are two huge issues at this school: 1) the principal has a "my way or the highway" approach that alienates parents (and the parents are afraid of her for fear of retaliation!) 2) there is constant turnover in staff so as a result teachers are coming and going frequently and the majority have less than 7 years experience
For McLean, Kent Gardens is a fine school For public schools in general it is above average. The school and the parents generally hold the kids to a fairly high standard. They started a STEM program last year. Although there were things that could have been done better (the engineering week wasn't hands on enough for the younger kids for example), many teachers really embraced it and used the design process methodology throughout the curriculum. I fully expect it will be much improved and well received this year. However, this school is best with the child who needs very little outside the large class room experience -- I have heard many complaints from parents whose kids need acceleration, have learning issues or social issues. I have had specialist refuse to meet with me and the principal dodged me one entire summer.
This was a good school that cared about all the kids that attend here however this school puts more focus on it's french immersion kids that that that did not make the lottery. The engineering focus is a joke. There is not discussion of things like "scientific method" in the younger grades. The engineering program consists of taking trash and making useless objects out of them for instance a back scratcher....really? How about try something that make the kids think a little harder. Also, teachers basically quit teaching right after the SOL (standards of learning) tests are given (6 weeks before the end of school) and there are even some teachers that don't bother working but 1 day a week after the test and are allowed to get away with it. If you can't be at school 5 days a week and teach the kids due to personal issues then maybe you should not be a teacher right now or just be happy with being part time. Lets not forget about the constant miscommunication between the teacher, who is never there, and the reading specialists. How can parents take an active role in their child's education when the staff to his not on same sharing the same information amongst themselves.
My two kids are in this school and i am so happy i get them in there the support we get from the teachers and the principal are very great i will never forget them if i go back to my country i hope them all the best for many years to come
This is an amazing school. The french immersion program really makes the students above and beyond other schools in FCPS. They also have more engineering activites than any other elementary school, and now I hear that they are going to have an engineering porgram at the school this year. I am very pleased with this school.
I too have had 2 children complete 7 years of a Kent Gardens French Immersion education. I am very pleased with the quality of the school and the principles and values it teaches. My children are bright, caring and conscientious, not only due credit to their family, but to a school that encourages learning, diversity, acceptance and self worth. My youngest child has excelled in French where my older child was glad to be through French 3. Each child is different in their ability to maintain multiple languages. They both graduated with high GPA's which proves that a good education starts with a great elementary school. Overall, Kent Gardens rates high with this family.
I've had two children go through the French immersion program at Kent Gardens, and they both came out with a high level of French proficiency. However, the focus of the French program is on math and science, not reading and grammar, so parents shouldn't expect students to become proficient at reading French. My child has had an very easy transition to French classes at Longfellow, and now has the grammar to support oral fluency. My main regret with regard to the French program is that the teachers do not push students to speak French to each other, just in response to teachers. In other subjects, my children generally received high quality instruction and felt supported and encouraged by their teachers. As in other schools, I can find things to criticize, but overall my children were fortunate to go to this school.
We had a terrible experience at this school. Our child 'had' a reading problem that the staff was not addressing. The staff seemed to be fighting us more than trying to address the issue. Long story short. Their solution was retention and special Ed. Our solution was private school and reading glasses. She is now reading at grade level and excelling in school. My opinion is if your child is excelling they will be bored at Kent Gardens and if there is a problem good luck.
Interesting but not surprising the wide disparity of comments regarding Kent Gardens Elementary. Both of my kids attended the school and I'm intimately knowledgeable about the school. My experiences, like almost everyone else, varied based on the teacher. To base conclusions about an entire school on the actions of one or two teachers is not very helpful IMHO. I can honestly say that Kent Gardens ES is a very good school. It is extremely popular because of its location in McLean and the French Immersion program. Some parents are expecting their children to be fluent French speakers but that's not what the program is about. A great majority of the teachers care tremendously about the children and the Principal is extremely involved in the day to day operations of the school. Overall the school is one of the better elementary schools in Fairfax County -- that's saying something.
Excellent, overall. The French program meets the needs of both of my children, even though they are both so different.
This school is not the best school iv ever been to. The french teachers are not very pleasant. The drama department is not very fair and there are too many cliques. The dress code is ridiculous. The french immersion program is a good experience but the don't teach GRAMMAR!!!! When my daughter got to middle school she was unprepared. THis school is only doing the minimum.
I feel this school offers the best in education because it has an excellent caring and committed staff. The idea of using a multiple -intelligence approach to incorporate each student's individual learning style is quite commendable. The French program is also quite impressionable and the teachers are outstanding. The high teacher-student ratio is not a problem because there is a high level of parental involvement in the classroom.
My experience with Kent Gardens has been more unfavorable than favorable. There is a tremendous lack of communication from the administration and individual teachers. E-mail to administrators and teachers on pertinent questions have gone completely unanswered. A few times, after e-mails have not been answered, I have tried to ask questions in person, either at the beginning or the end of the school day, only to be brushed aside with my concerns left unaddressed. My experience has been that parental involvement is discouraged, or relegated to routine chores such as photocopying. So far my child has had native French speakers as teachers, but many classmates have not had the same experience and it shows in their inability to speak or understand French. Classes are large, around 25 students per section, and it seems to me that students are getting lost in the shuffle. I would not recommend this program.
The French program is very good although the focus is on verbal commuication and not written. The teachers are among the best. The French program is challenging and there are many after school activities for the students. The only issue is that the child to teacher ratio is quite high.
Although the students and teacher were very nice, the french program was awful. Many of my daughters friends couldn't even read french in sixth grade!!! Longfellow Middle School french program was much harder then Kent Gardens. I felt my daughter was unprepared for the huge increase in French work. Overall, my daughter had a wonderful experience. I just wish the program was better.
My children have been at Kent gardens in the French immersion program for 3 years and I totally love it. They really encourage the parents to be extremely involved with the children at school. I have been a volunteer in my daughter's classroom and was able to see the quality of the programs. When you have nothing to hide, it is usually a good sign. The french teachers are mainly french native and my daughters are now totally fluent in french and english. What a wonderful school!
Teachers are wonderful. Principal and administration are efficient and effective. French immersion is amazing opportunity. I can't imagine a better elementary school and I am thankful every day that my two daughters have the opportunity to go to Kent Gardens.
Academic- great school! Teachers fabulous. Parent involvement is tremendous. Sports, secondary language (french), art, etc above avg. Teacher - child ratio is very high however.
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