I feel that a "4" does not accurately reflect the quality of North Springfield. Unfortunately using test scores to grade schools gives an incomplete and often incorrect picture. As both a parent and staff member, I know that North Springfield is a great school.
First, it is a happy school. This is not a school that bleeds staff each year unlike many higher rated schools in FCPS. Teachers come to North Springfield and rarely leave. This provides consistency and improves the quality of education. It also builds community.
This is another area in which North Springfield excels. We have an active PTA and teachers who give freely of their time with before- and after-school clubs such as Knitting, Young Scientists, Get Up and Move, and the annual 5th Grade play.
One reason teachers are so happy is the amazing administration. Mr. McRae and Mrs. Usher are supportive, caring, and present. They are in the halls and in the classrooms in a positive way. I've worked in schools where some students didn't even know who the principal was. That's not the case here. They have a vision for the school that includes educating the whole child. Student well-being is just as important as SOL scores. They encourage creativity in their staff and believe in open discussion, treating teachers as professionals.
Many staff members, including me, choose to pupil-place their children here. This is another testament to North Springfield's greatness. I don't know any teacher who would choose to place his/her children in a poor quality school. My daughter loves North Springfield.
The teachers are amazing. The children are incredibly nice and there are few behavior issues. Our population is ethnically, economically, and culturally diverse. This makes for some fantastic International celebrations and great life lessons for our children.
Yes, our test scores aren't the best, but they're improving. It's sad that so much emphasis is still being placed on standardized tests. They measure so little, really. Happy students and staff, that's the true measure.
My daughter has been going to NSES for the past 4 years. We are very pleased with the school and have enjoyed every teacher so far. The principal and vice principal are a good team - they are both approachable, communicative, and have fun with the students. The counselor has a positive influence on the school community with fun programs that promote school spirit, discourage bullying, and value diversity. The school is very diverse, which is a reflection of the greater community. Parents are welcome to the program and all support is appreciated. The emphasis is on learning, but children are still allowed to be kids at NSES and that is something our family appreciates. Our daughter was going thru a tough time and her teachers were so patient and understanding. I feel like they sincerely care about her and the well-being of all their students.
We have twin daughters in the 1st grade who love the teachers and faculty. The school building appears to be in great shape. High level of parental involvement and extracurricular activities. Art, PE, & music are fully integrated into the curriculum: 3 days per week.
Both of my children have come through the NSES system. I have been extremely happy with the quality of the administration, the teachers, and the active parents. I have never encountered any issues with overly stringent 'behavior modification.' Like any school system, some teachers are more very active and engaging than others. I would strongly suggest attending the PTA meetings to learn more from the parents and administration. Also, the grade level teachers rotate through the PTA meetings giving the parents a change to speak more frankly and directly to the teachers. We have also loved the diversity represented in this school and the events held to celebrate this diversity.