We moved specifically into this district so our girls would go to Watkins/Midlo/Midlo, and we were not disappointed. My older daughter began in '03-'04 & graduated Watkins in '09. My younger daughter followed 4 years behind & stayed thru 3rd grade when we moved out of state. They both LOVED that school. My younger daughter is now in 6th grade & while she likes her new school, she still misses Watkins. Both girls were well ahead when we moved to AZ, but they were both taught such disciplined learning habits that they didn't become bored or discouraged, but adapted and excelled. Dr. Scott leads by example & takes care of any issues with fairness & dispatch. The teachers (w/a few RARE exceptions) are enthusiastic & care about their students. Those of you with negative comments must remember 2 things: 1) This is a PUBLIC school & teachers/admin are limited to how much they can do based on laws & budgets, 2) Children do not learn in vacuum; you can't send your child to school & expect miracles, you must participate & carry over the lessons at home. Work in partnership with the teachers & school and your child will get more out of it. (And yes, before you ask, I did wotk full-time.)
Great school with great teachers. Very security conscious and friendly atmosphere. Love the parent involvement. Great location too.
J.B. Watkins is among the best elementary schools in Chesterfield County. The PTA and staff work together to provide a well-rounded education that includes Mandarin Chinese, Children's Design and Engineering, Performing and Visual Arts that exceed ALL expectations, as well as learner-focused core instruction. The school enrollment is high, but so are the standards and expectations. Watkins is indeed a jewel in the county's crown.
I attended this school after moving to Midlothian from North Carolina. The teachers were more than pleasant, the staff went out of their way to catch me up to speed and make me feel less like a transplant and more like a Virginian, and the pace of the courses was set very reasonably. My education through J.B Watkins is one I hope my own children will receive.
We just moved to the area and did ALOT of research on the schools. I have one at Watkins in 3rd grade and onein Middle school. The new addition is wonderful and the school is really starting to look fantastic. I cannot comment on the trailer situation as my child happens to be in one of the new classrooms. l highly agree with the previous post about the teachers being the most important and not the 4 walls. I am enjoying the wonderful staff and the very involved parents at this school. We have been made to feel very welcome.
We moved here with two elementary aged kids. "Good schools" was what we were looking for. We heard and read that JB Watkins was a great school. Well, if you think 30 students in a detached tiny trailer classroom with very loud air conditioning units is a stimulating environment. I would like to say that the teachers and staff make up for the horribly cramped space but I can't say that is true. After listening to both teachers at back to school night - I am very unimpressed. Huge focus on SOL's (standardized testing), "advanced" or "gifted" classes and AR - accelerated reading programs. The staff is not receptive to any opinions and are defensive about the cramped situation. One of our teachers writes in cursive - I mentioned that my child doesn't read cursive, as it isn't a necessary curriculum for this generation, the teacher said . "Yes, several students have mentioned this but they need to learn to read it some time." Their home work is written on a white board in cursive and to tell you the truth - I can't even read what it says. If you move here - keep your expectations very low - along with your taxes. You get what you pay for.
I am a middle school teacher in the same county, so I am especially critical. Even so, I could not be more happy with my choice to send my daughter to J.B. Watkins. Time and again, I have witnessed the staff at this school put her physical safety and emotional needs first. This school provides an open and caring community that welcomes students and parents. The education she is receiving is as good as it gets in public education. I personally check the surrounding elementary schools (Weaver, Gordon, Evergreen, Robious) on a periodic basis, and J.B. Watkins has the best teachers and an administrative staff that meets the needs of students, staff, and parents. I could not be more impressed with this school. At the halfway point of my daughter's elementary career, I believe that this is the best environment to meet her needs in every way. Thank you, J.B. Watkins staff. You are stellar, and we are so fortunate to be a part of your community.
RE: The May 24 post ... I moved into the JB Watkins school zone specifically for the school and WOULD NOT change that decision if given a re-do. The school is not in decline as was suggested -- it is in improvement. The school is overcrowded because it is a desirable school -- parents move into the zone because they want their children to go to this school. The teachers are wonderful and the administration is supportive. There is an addition ongoing to help accommodate student growth, and scores remain consistent and among the best in the county. According to the state, testing pass rates range from 93-98 percent. That's an A on the county's grading scale. I've had children in trailers and found them to be more conducive to learning because there are not the associated distractions that come from hallways. Besides, everyone knows it's the teachers that make the difference when it comes to instruction ... not the four walls. And JB Watkins has GREAT teachers. Go Coalminers!
Negatives: First the school now has 1050 students and is at 130% capacity. The back of the school contains 11 trailers; 10 single and 1 mega (6 classrooms) and next year there will be only 3, however 2 will be mega (6 & 8 classrooms). An addition is currently being built to include eight new classrooms, a new music room, new art room and new front office however the principal has decided to keep a third of the students in trailers. The teachers are amazing and doing what they can and more, considering the circumstances. The principal refuses to listen to the concerns of parents, stating that it's the school's business and not that of parents. The school is old and in need of many upgrades. Class sizes are too large. Positives: Again, the teachers are wonderful, Chinese is taught from K-5, it's a "children's engineering and design technology school" which means there are a lot of hands-on, creative juices flowing. There is good parent involvement & a very active PTA & many fun events. Unfortunately until the overcrowding is addressed this school and it's test scores will continue to decline and sadly help is way off. I do not recommend moving here for this school.
We moved to the neighborhood because we were told this was the best school. We are now in 3rd grade and it is not going well. They spend too much time on the SOL's. How about just teaching math/science/reading! We had our child tested to go to a private school. He is too far behind. They do not want him. He lacked the basic math/reading skills that the students in the other school had. VERY VERY UPSET. We have tried and tried to get through to the higher ups at this school and we are just getting nowhere. I will say there are 2 teachers who are excellent, but otherwise, we are not impressed.
The staff is very helpful and the teachers are open to communicating with you, if you have any concerns for your child. It is my opinion that this school is overcrowded. It's not just a school problem but a county-wide problem. My daughter has been at this school for 3 years and I think that the curriculum could be a little more challenging. I feel that the teachers are so hard pressed to score well on SOL's, that it becomes their main focus. Which is not ideal if you want your child to be able to grasp things on a cognitive level. The PTA is very strong in the school and are in tune with the needs of the school, as well as the children. Overall, it has been a good experience for my child. She loves her school.
An amazing school. The teachers and administration are child-focused and worked hard to give my child a wonderful start in his education. This school also encourages children's creative side through design challenges and Chinese language instruction.
My daughter has been at this school for 4 years and I am not happy with the school at all. The curriculum is not challenging, the teachers do not differentiate the curriculum and they tend to watch a lot of movies.
My has had an awesome 6 years in this school. I could not have asked for a better grade school education for him!
The Principal, teachers and staff at Watkins have been wonderfully supportive of my childrens' learning needs. They take the time to hear from parents and offer a collaborative atmosphere. Parental involvement is super. Our family is very pleased with our school.
Excellent school with a staff that is very easy to work with as well as showing concern for the students.
THe school is excellent!!! Student dicipline and safety, large amounts of resources, extracurricular activites, etc. make it a very good school. In addition, of all the elementary schools ive been to, it is a very advanced school in all subjects. = )
I have been along for the educational journey of 4 children through this excellent school. I currently have a special needs child enrolled and I am constantly impressed with the staff's attitude and dedication . I can't praise this school enough! The faculty goes out of it's way to make each child feel special and the leadership is superior. This school encourages parental involvement and provides many opportunities for the entire family to participate. You walk in the door and know that this school's philosophy is 'The children come first'...Love it!
The school is less overcrowded than others in the area however still suffers from that. Despite the PTA making efforts at preventing teachers statewide from taking recess the teachers at JB Watkins regularly use recess for punishments or extra work. There is a security system of a sort but the badges and sign in book are completely unmonitored - often it's difficult to get any assistance in the offic - this renders the so-called security system a nuisance without any benefit to the students. The students have fewer opportunitiues for field trips than other area schools and far less homework - that might be good or bad for you.
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