We relocated to Springfield and chose the Orange Hunt area in part due to the high ratings/reviews. In hindsight, I wish I had access to more personal experiences, opinions, and information about the school. Another post here speaks of Orange Hunt having a strange vibe, and that is an accurate description of my feelings as well.
I believe students receive a more-than-adequate education geared towards passing end-of-year state SOLs, and my child did quite well academically, but there is little done to inspire education in creative ways beyond basics. My child was bored with a monotonous weekly routine. Educational field trips are essentially nonexistent. Teachers seem to be uninspired to be creative. Students are required to sit at a lunch table with their homeroom classmates rather than being able to sit with friends in other classes. This is an example of a diminishing enjoyment of school during noninstructional hours. There is a large grassy field, but games of tag and soccer are prohibited, so even recess is throttled back. The FCPS 24-7 Learning site is rarely updated by teachers.
On the last day of school, I saw my child’s homeroom teacher and said “hello.” The teacher looked at me and didn’t say a word. I chalked it up to her not having a clue who I was. That's how disconnected it felt the whole year. Even if the teacher didn't know I was the parent of one of her homeroom students, a courtesy response is good manners. There were at least two other occasions that were equally as odd with the teacher. The vibe at the school is different . Orange Hunt is our child’s 4th elementary school, so I have a basis from which to make comparisons.
I volunteered once to help with an event and was rudely spoken to numerous times throughout the day by the coordinator (who is part of the PTA). I got the feeling there is clique of folks in the PTA and newcomers are not entirely welcomed.
In hindsight, I'd say this school just wasn’t a great fit given our prior experiences at other schools and the expectations that this school would be comparable. Our child did well academically, and if that's all you are looking for, then you'll probably find that your needs will be met. The overall school experience for our child and our connection with the teachers, school, and PTA was a real bust.
Orange Hunt is a wonderful place to learn! Students are nurtured, challenged, and have an excellent environment in which to learn. Having access to the German program, whether through immersion or weekly instruction, is a wonderful opportunity! I have worked as an elementary school specialist in several other area elementary schools and Orange Hunt is one of the best. The teachers, administrators, and families in the community provide a wonderful place to learn and grow.
Orange Hunt is a wonderful place for children to learn and grow! The staff is fantastic, students are delightful and the community is very supportive. I cannot say enough positive things about my children's teachers and appreciate their dedication. The school has an excellent balance of rigor, differentiation and creativity. Orange Hunt gets an A+ from our family!
Orange Hunt is WONDERFUL! My children are academically challenged and enriched daily (we are not in the German program) by EXCELLENT educators who are top in their field. In addition, the office staff is delightful and helpful. My children love going to school every day and my oldest was very prepared for the AAP Center in 3rd Grade. We have no complaints about the quality of instruction, and school environment, at Orange Hunt. What a great place for kids!
We are very happy with the academic and social environment at Orange Hunt Elementary School. Orange Hunt has a strong sense of community and we are pleased that we chose to purchase a home in this school district.
My daughter is in her 3rd year at Orange Hunt and she as well as us love it. The teachers are engaged and friendly, respond quickly to emails and always have an open ear for concerns. To the topic of the not so friendly office staff - yes, they are not the warmest people on the first gimps. But if you are nice to them they are friendly and nice back, it is that simple people! They are very helpful when you need them to be and that counts. To the Principal Mr. Pensler: I do not know what some people understand under the term "not a people person", in my understanding of it it just does not match the person I see at school. He is at every event we attended, always friendly, outgoing and sweet with the kids. I especially liked his responds to an email from me with my daughters question if it would be possible to stay together with her best friend for the next year: That he believes that school is not just a place to learn math and sciences but also a place for kids to be happy and grow as human beings. Now, who would not like such an environment for their kids?!
In a nutshell, Orange Hunt Elementary has the potential to be a very good/great school. Many of the teachers care deeply for the students. Mrs. Kettler was amazing with our son a couple years back. Mrs. Frederick and the entire band/music department is excellent. I have heard lots said about the front office staff - mainly negative. I agree that this group of ladies is quite unfriendly, unwelcoming, and generally make you feel like you're "putting them out" when you ask the simplest thing, like to check out your child for a Dr. Appt., etc. This is a shame, because they are on the "front line" of interaction with the public and set the tone for the school. However, I believe the REAL problem is with leadership, or a lack thereof. The Principal does not demonstrate the traits of a leader when he is in front of parents. He comes across as inept and I believe he is in over his head at this school. It amazes me that the district would allow this to happen. This year, the entire PTA board resigned after struggling with school leadership. A change is needed at OHES. We've had an overall good experience sending 3 students here, but COME ON FFX CTY ISD....get a REAL leader please
Yes the office staff is horrendous, very unfriendly & rude. Orange Hunt School & neighborhood does have a strange vibe. They are either warm, fuzzy & fabulous or extremely unfriendly. I have lived here for several years. We have had mostly great teachers and good experiences with the teachers. I have 1 in German & 1 not in German. I have not experienced the separation of German and not, quite the contrary. My kids have many friends in both programs. Also I have been to only a few of the German events and you do not need to be in the German to enjoy them. Actually most people who state this have never attended a German Event. Try one before you judge. Like any school it has some annoying parents, kids & teachers, I don't think that differs from most schools.
We are very happy with the school. Teachers are accessible and creative. We love the German program. What a great opportunity for our children! An additional bonus are some cultural events like the lantern walk for Saint Martin. The office staff, principal and assistant principal have always been friendly and helpful.
This is my daughter's first year at OHES. She was in another Fairfax County school for Kindergarten. This has been a great transition! Her teacher has communicated when needed and answered emails within a day. The principal is involved in events and you can tell he has a great relationship with students; he is friendly, positive and supportive. I was worried about being accepted by parents based on previous reviews but I have not experienced this. You just have to get involved where you can. I work full-time and can only volunteer if it is an evening event but everyone has been nice so far. I had no issues with office staff when I was checking on her transfer status. No school is ever going to be perfect, but my daughter is happy and I am happy and I am glad we moved to this school.