My daughter is in the enhanced autism program at Forestdale. She has been there since preschool (she is now in second grade) and we could not be happier. We found that Forestdale could offer her all of the same supports that she could get in a private school for learning disabilities. ALL of the special ed teachers are wonderful--real professionals with so much knowledge and experience with special kids. We get daily reports, and the teachers and administration stand by her through good and bad. My daughter is disruptive and has self-injurious behaviors, but the teachers and others at the school love her the way that I do. We could not be happier with the school or with our daughter's progress. I would recommend Forestdale to any parent with a special needs child.
My daughter has been with the school the last 5 years and the quality has dramaticly dropped. We started to notice a decline when she was in 3rd grade. Her teacher was out on medically leave for the first half of the school year. Instead of getting a steady substitute teacher, the class had a different sub almost every day. The parents were not made aware of it and the school year was a waste. 4th grade was better, but the kids were starting to be mean and a new principal was assigned to the school at the end of the year. Then things took a dramatic nose dive. Many teachers left. The principal implemented a no homework policy for the entire school without discussion. So not only was my daughter not having homework, she wasn't brining anything home or having hardly any test. She had 3 the first quarter and we didn't even get her report card at the parent conference meeting. The teacher was "oh well". We pulled her out and she will be attending another school. When we turned her transfer paperwork in, the front office said " well we should talk to you anymore". I was an extremely active PTA member. The principal didn't say good-bye or thank you for your service.
We love this School. I don't know why the scores are so low. I focus more on my own kids grades and how much they are getting out of the school. So far I have not been disappointed in any of their teachers or the education they are getting. One of my kids is going to another school for AAP program, and I really don't see the difference between the two schools. And yet the score for the other school is much higher. That is why I say that as parents if we all focus on own kids and help them to succeed their is no reason why Forestdale's scores will not go up.
Please do not overlook this school because of it's number. Fairfax county is a melting pot of diversity and this school is no exception. My children have learned so much here. The teachers are wonderful! As for why their scores are down, my only thought is that it has to be the parents. The staff has so much experience and education behind them and they patiently work everyday to keep the kids involved. I wonder how much work is done outside the school. Kids know so much more than we did as children and they can be hard to keep up with. :) The PTA is also wonderful and have done so much for the school! I've never seen a school that works as closely with parents as Forestdale. They encourage you to take part when you can and I love being able to stop by for lunch or help in the classroom. On a side note, Forestdale has got to be the cleanest school I've ever seen.