I became a new student at Shirley C. Heim a few months ago, and I honestly don't like the school. The teachers here aren't hard on their students at all. I took all advanced classes at my old school, but when I moved here the only advanced classes I could take were English and Math. They also don't have many elective options at this school, and if you take a language; you have to go to your high school every other day.The teachers barely give out any homework and the students there are very disrespectful and aren't serious about their work. People are always talking when they're not supposed to, which prevents the students who actually want to learn from learning. I'm a straight A student, and I usually get work that's challenging. At this school, everything is fairly easy, yet students still complain and don't do their work. I was surprised when I got 100 % on a math test and everyone got like a 70% and below. They were all saying I was probably the first person to get such a high score in their class this school year, which is very sad. I haven't been at this school for very long, but so far I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Their lunch is good though.
My complaint is that some of the teachers are overloading students with mindless activities and not fairly grading them for their fine work. The use of harshness, diatribes, and pure meanness displayed by a very few teachers toward very reliable students is appalling. Moreover, there needs to be a greater emphasis on camaraderie rather than simply making high scores on the SAT so that the school can look good. Too much pressure for young people in my opinion cause students to lack of efforts. Lastly, talented students are overlooked while participating in tryouts for sports which again causes poor morale at Shirley Heim!
My daughters and I have been at Shirley Heim for just one month and I am so pleased with the quality of support my children are receiving. The teachers communicate well, they post their classwork and grades on the web so I can check on homework and grades, and they appear to care. There is a very active PTA also that sponsors activities for the kids. Coming from another school district that was horrible, I feel we made the right choice. Thanks Shirley Heim!
This school has very poor leadership SHMS has a large number of teachers leaving EVERY YEAR, in fact some of the most in the county. This mass exodus every year reflects a feeling of discontent that is felt by the teachers and ultimately by the students. Problems in classrooms with very disruptive students are ignored by the principals who come across as afraid of boisterous parents of behavior problems. The school lost many good teachers again this year.
As with most schools, there are good teachers & bad ones. The trick is to pay attention to what's going on in your son or daughter's classroom & move him/her to a better teacher if necessary. (I made a request, and it was granted.) Other than a few bad teachers, as a parent I really like Shirley Heim. They truly are a" zero-tolerance for bullies" school, and the assistant principal and 7th-grade guidance counselor have shown professional competence in this area. I also like the fact that the new 6th graders are kept in a separate wing of the school from the older 7th & 8th graders. Knowing this made the transition from elementary to middle school much smoother for my son. All in all, a good school with no bullies wandering the hallways (besides, the lockers are too small to stuff someone in there!), although I wish the principal would promptly remove the few bad teachers.
We just moved from this school and we were not happy here. My daughter is advanced so the extended programs were nice but there are a lot of trouble kids in this school and the teachers and staff do NOTHING about it. My daughter witnessed quite a few teachers who just YELL at the kids when they are not in the correct classes or late. Her science teacher was nice but a few kids would eat or talk when they were not supposed to and he assigned THE WHOLE CLASS, lunch detention. He wouldn't bother addressing the trouble kids and just punished everyone. Definite disciplinary issues here!
My son will be attending this middle school come September. We are really looking forward to it. In fact he just took the mastery test for 6th grade extended math. If he does superior on this test he will be placed in 7th grade extended math. We also met the focus teacher who seems to be wonderful. We are looking forward to September
I was very pleased with my son's group of teachers as well as the staff, kudos to the miracles they perform with the limited resources they are allocated. My issue lies with class placement. I am aware of three students who were placed in the basic classes after parents stressed that they participated in gifted programs in previous schools. This leads me to suspect that their transcripts were never consulted. I was able to have my son's classes changed after learning from a teacher in another school that he would be unchallenged if he remained in his current classes. Unfortunately it was too late in the year to place him in the appropriate math; as a sixth grader he should have been placed in Math 7 Extended but this was never presented as an option to us. I had to learn from another parent (well into the school year) that this was possible. This entire year wound up being a review of his fifth grade math curriculum and he was understandably quite bored and frustrated. As an involved parent I rely on our educational professionals to place my son where he will be challenged and receive the best education possible; I feel that this district has failed in that capacity.
This school has only been in operation for 3 years! It is amazing the progress that the teachers, administrators and students have made in such a short time. The courses are rigorous and challenging, students SOL scores has improved sustantially since the opening in 2008. I believe within in the next 2 years, they will have a 5 star rating because they continue to make big strides in the education of our children. The students who are truly successful are the students who take full advantage of what the school has to offer.
Shirley Heim is a great school. The teachers are great and so is the administration. It's what you as a parents make it. I'm there (at the school) to advocate for for my kids (which they are open to) and to work with the teachers. Though nothing is perfect, I wouldn't have my kids go anyplace else in Stafford. County.