We are a military family transferred to northern Virginia. Sangster is it is a typical southern school. The Fairfax County Public School system as latched on to the Common Core fad where profiteering belies education. Typical of Virginia schools, we were met by the "sorting hat" for pigeon-holing based on some nebulous criteria. Students in this school are either college bound or McDonald's bound; there is no middle. Students are either taught critical thinking skills, or fantastic regurgitation skills. I've never encountered a more scripted curriculum than at Sangster. Students who are not deemed college material are discouraged from thinking outside the box (it interferes with the script). The grading system is as cryptic as a Nostradamus prophecy; students are graded 4,3,2, or 1 in two areas - academic performance and "effort." Academic performance is based what you would expect - graded tests, papers, and homework. Effort considers subjective factors like academic endurance, group dynamics, and personality traits such as introversion and eye contact. Applying for advanced placement programs is worse than filing taxes. We'll be glad when this assignment is over!
Good school. High academic standards. Impressive counseling program. Very engaged and helpful to students and parents. Most teachers huddle in groups to gab while bullying and other rude behavior between the kids occurs outside. Unbalanced tech program. Gen Ed kids don't have the same access as GT kids. Parents are generally split on new principal and assistant principal. They are doing a good job implementing new behavior program inside school for being quiet in line, etc. I wish it extended to being kind to others, sharing, being friendly, etc. Principal hired a lot of parents and other inexperienced teachers. PTA can be exclusive. Anyone can join but leadership positions and choice of programs are pushed through by new president who frequently gossips with parents and administrators. She literally laughed at a parent giving an opinion during a PTA meeting. Very different from previous years. A lot of parent involvement during the school day. Not a very culturally sensitive school that doesn't seem like a priority. Nice emphasis on exercise and healthy eating. Great library, music, art and PE programs.
This is a huge elementary school with tremendous parental involvement. This is our first year at this school and overall have been happy with it. Our child's main teacher is responsive and dedicated. There are always instructional aides in and out of the classroom for extra help and supervision. There is a lot of team teaching which is a great concept but there is a lack of communication with the non homeroom teacher. Academically, for our child the work is rather easy and it would be nice to see her more challenged in the core subjects. I am not thrilled with the language arts program but that seems to be a county guideline not school specific. There is a heavy focus on preparing for the SOL testing this time of year. I think time could be bette than on test taking but that seems to be the way of the world now. The music teacher my child has Ms. R seems to be really great too. My child seems to enjoy art, library and sometimes PE as well.
Our family thinks that the last review is atypical. The Sangster community is a grounded, middle-class bedroom community with friendly families, many of whom work for the military or government. In Fairfax County, there are snobby, exclusive, name-dropping, competitive communities, but these communities are NOT located in Springfield or Burke, which is precisely why my family relocated here (I grew up in the FCPS system and then moved quite a bit). Sangster is very welcoming and helpful to new families. Many students who have voluntarily transferred here from other local schools are very satisfied with the switch. Based on personal experience, the satisfaction of our kids, and the experiences of the other families in this community who we've known over the past eight years, Sangster is a fantastic elementary school. The teachers are kind and helpful. The academics are challenging. The homework is fair and does not burn out the students. We agree with the majority of reviewers who think Sangster is a wonderful school in a down-to-earth neighborhood with tremendous opportunities for kids both in the school and within the community.
We moved to the Fairfax system and the Sangster catchment area on the strength of its profile. We are ready to move just about anywhere but here. What the scores don't tell you is that the parents are competitive, materialistic and exclusive snobs who breed competitive, materialistic and exclusive children. Parents with children who have trouble adapting to the unwelcoming environment are told their kids are the ones with the problems. They shunt them into useless "lunch bunch" support groups or recommend professional counseling rather than admit that perhaps they are not creating a welcoming environment. The kids, who were happy and well-adjusted before, are now miserable. Be aware if this if moving here.
Sangster is a great school! I have 2 kids at Sangster and they are happy and challenged. The school has a new young principal - he is available to students and parents and on the cutting edge. The class size is larger than I would like but that seems to be an issue across the county. I am very happy with the atmosphere of the school - a wonderful place to be. On a side note - the new young principal could be a J. Crew Model!
Two years ago, I would have rated this school a 3-star based on agreement with the two 2010 posts (and the previous principal's over-interest on non-educational issues). The new principal (Chris Summers) seems to have better interest in parent involvement/support (not defensive/paranoid/interested in gossip-y issues like his predessor). And more importantly that frees up his time to focus on what's important: all the kid's education and the best tools possible for the teachers to succeed. Under his leadership, we fully expect the PTA to grow as well. Not important to us but may be to others: Sangster lost some sort of AAP rating this past summer (where as Hunt Valley got theirs)-- they got below passing score on their advanced academics programs.
I am very happy with the school. I have a 2nd grader in Sangster right now. This school has the best SACC (School Age Child Care) staffs. As a working mom I really appreciate it. PTA is very active. But, the school still offers half day kindergarten.
As a parent of two kids in 4th and 6th grade, who both started at Sangster, this has been a wonderful experience that I wish all family could have. Principal pretty much knows all kids by name as she greets them when they leave for the weekend on Fridays. Mrs Kinsey even finds time to teach math to younger kids. Teachers have all been wonderful, and they have caring counselors, like Mr Gillum. PTA is active and while we can't compare to other schools, talking to parents from other schools gives us an idea that we have simply been blessed with a "perfect" school.
Do you know how every school you walk into has an "air" about it? Sangster's "air" is positive, welcoming, and as child-centric as you will find in a public or private school. I have three children who have spent a combined total of nearly ten years at Sangster--the youngest is still there--after coming from a private-school environment. By all measures, Sangster provides an outstanding experience for its students. The single biggest factor in this, I believe, is the school's incredible emphasis on meeting each child where s/he is and doing whatever is necessary to ensure his / her growth and development. That focus on each child as an individual--along with the maintenance of a strong school community--starts right at the top with the Principal and carries through the entire staff. When you have people who are ready, willing, and able to do what's right for your child, you know you've hit the school jackpot. With the single-minded focus on the kids and as kind, caring, and professional a staff as I've encountered in any setting, Sangster merits every one of those stars.
Due to the lack of emphasis on teaching basic reading skills, the school routinely forces a number of parents with children who are below grade level readers to find outside resources to increase reading proficiency. Agree with previous comment regarding principal s heightened sensitivity to school gossip. The principal appears more focused on the winning the Governor s Award for Educational Excellence then simply meeting the needs of special education children. PTA and parent involvement with school activities is very good.
Both of my children came from local private schools, and we are absolutely in love with Sangster! Mrs. kinsey, Mr. Summers, and the entire staff take such a strong interest in every child. Although the class sizes are a bit more than I would like, I do not feel that my children have been disadvantaged in any way. Additionally, the SACC staff is the best. My children have enjoyed extending their school day with the SACC staff at Sangster. Sangster's interest in Odyssey of the Mind, drama, Science Olympiad, scouting, running club, etc. prove that this school is for all students - whether GT, special needs, etc. We love Sangster and wish our kids could stay here forever!
This is our second elementary school in this particular area of Springfield & since we are a military family, our 3rd elementary school experience overall. We couldn't be happier! Fairfax County schools are known for excellence, but Sangster stands out as one of the best of the best & certainly the best school in Springfield. The principal, vice-principal, guidance counselors & teachers all seem to really care about their students & to strive to meet their individual needs. As the parent of a child who is gifted with special needs, I feel that both his strengths & weaknesses are addressed & am eternally grateful to the faculty & staff at this school for everything they have done & continue to do for my children.
We have had 4 children attend this wonderful school. Mrs. Kinsey and Mr. Summers are exceptional administrators. They have both served as reading mentors to first grade students and give freely of their time to students and parents. The assistant principal is outside the school rain or shine every morning to greet the children as they arrive by bus. The principal seems to know all of the kids by name. the school 's academic focus is on helping all of their kids be successful. One of our kids was served in the special ed department, another in the GT program and the other two in general education. All have been treated to a private school ed in a public school. Love that they do flexible math grouping!
Overall this is a typical Northern Virginia public elementary school mainly geared toward educating and supporting their gifted students. There is much less emphasis on special education children and their needs. It has an excellent counseling program and several gifted and highly involved teachers, but many are mediocre. The principal and vice principal, while engaged are average and bureaucratic. Parental participation and PTA are excellent.
I've had 4 kids attend Sangster, starting in kindergarten. It is without a doubt an exceptional school and it all emanates from the top dog, Mrs. Kinsey. She's absolutely the best.
Sangster is an OUTSTANDING school! We (as a family) have loved it! The principal, counselors, teachers, staff and PTA are very engaged with the children. They ensure the children receive a great education but also life skills -- friendships, sharing, coping --traits that last a life time. I recommend this school to anyone; it has been a completely positive experience.
We are an active duty military family and have had our kids attend schools in three different states on 4 different tours. I rate the quality of Sangster the highest & best experienced yet. Very organized, homework is just right and targeted at my children's abilities. They always challenge my kids. Lots of school activities & the community is just great. Teacher experience is excellent and the atmosphere at school is very professional & no nonsense. I would recommend the school to anyone! Music program is excellent. They are adding language immersion programs this year which is outstanding.
Wonderful close knit school. Very high quality of teachers and academic standard of learning
Excellent school, principal is very visible and attentive to the details that matter. Staff seems to feel supported. My two gifted children are happy, safe and challenged by caring teachers. Sometimes there is too much homework, but so goes the Northern VA lifestyle.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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