We have been at Sangster since 2009. During that time, we've had some great teachers and OK teachers, but over the past two years, this school has become so detrimental to the self-esteem of both my children that we are looking for ways to pay for a private school. If your child tests into the AAP program by third grade, all resources are lavished upon them. Should your child be a "gen-ed", they are allowed to be ridiculed by the AAP students. Gen-Ed students follow a completely scripted curriculum - no thinking allowed. Every student's agenda is scripted and identical every day. Yes, there are flexible math and language arts groupings, but by 4th grade, students know if they are "smart" or "dumb". The PE and music and band and strings teachers are absolutely awesome, but the rigid curriculum and the permission for the AAP program to be lauded over other students has overwhelmed the positives of the school.
Our family has been with this school since 2010. In this time, we have weathered numerous principles and even brief periods without one. Despite the inconsistent leadership, I have never had cause to complain in a public manner regarding our experiences - until now. The newest principle has proven herself to be completely uninterested in the well-being of individual students and fails to communicate with or listen to any concerns that parents raise. We fear this attitude will trickle down to the rest of the administration at Sangster and ruin what has until recently been a great school.
We've had a wonderful experience at this school. The teachers have been excellent. The staff is helpful and friendly. The PTA strives to improve the student experience. My kids are happy and learning a tremendous amount. What more could you hope for?
I had a great experience at Sangster this last year. I come from a military family, and spent 6th grade at Sangster. I had an awesome bunch of teachers. We had some homework, although not a lot. We had fun while still learning. Some of the kids were great people, and I couldn't be more happy with the friends I made this year. Specials were amazing, and I couldn't have been more happy about how the year turned out. But, I give Sangster 4 stars. My gripes are in Musical Theater and the sever GT and Gen Ed division. In theater, everyone who tried out had to get a part, so it turned into 65 kids on a small stage. Also, a lot of people with amazing voices got put in extras, and only her favorites got leads. Some of them had good voices and some there were people with not so good voices. Another thing, the person running it had no control over the kids. Everyone talked and talked, even while others were preforming. And the GT Gen ED division was terrible. There was no real social interaction, and one thought that the other was snobbish and rude, or know it all's and dumb. It was not true in anyway, as both had good people. Overall, it was a good school, but some things could be better.
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.