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GreatSchools Rating

Sonnie Penn Elementary School

Public | PK-5 | 664 students

 

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Last modified
Community Rating

3 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 2 ratings
2013:
Based on 1 rating
2012:
Based on 3 ratings
2011:
No new ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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15 reviews of this school


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Posted Monday, November 24, 2014

New principal! New school! My children (currently in 4th and 2nd grade) have been at Penn Elementary for their entire elementary career thus far. Last year, I probably would have rated it lower due to leadership mostly. However, with the new principal, there has been some wonderful changes and the school, as a whole, seems to be evolving in the right way. I am very happy with the teaching staff. I'm also a huge fan of looping. It has been very beneficial for my 2nd grader. The specialty classes (i.e. autism class) is fantastic. I will say, the parent involvement is very lacking. Overall, I'm very happy with the school, the teacher, the faculty and staff. My children are happy and educated, so can I really complain?
—Submitted by a parent


Posted Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our children received a near perfect education at Penn ES. We didn't apply to the traditional school because we felt Penn gave a better education. We highly value the looping where our children have the same teachers for 2 years in 1st/2nd and 4th/5th. The teachers really get to know the children and in the 2nd year could get right to teaching rather taking time to learn how the children learned best. All of the specialty teachers are outstanding. The START/SIGNET program is a nice add. Overall, excellent program; but true, not perfect. One teacher while quite caring did not challenge all the children to their greatest potential, so we as parents supplemented more that year. One teacher was a disaster, but again, it was our opportunity to be more directly involved in our children's education and we used the experience to teach our children that is the world, not everyone is the best in their profession. We often asked other parents of their experience. Consistently, those who moved into this school found what we found, its excellence across the board.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 6, 2013

Subpar teaching. They will not teach more that required by state. Little to no homework given. Especially in kindergarten. No homework and very little learning. More of a child care where they do lots of coloring. Principal is invisible.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 13, 2012

Not a school for the kids with the special needs and the school teacher, at least the one teaching my kid, put no effort to stop bullying. She even was one to bully my kid and hold her hands around my kid's cheeks and said "You are the worst kid in my class!". My kid has language development delay and she was transferred to Penn when she was in the third grade. It turned out a nightmare. She had been bullied badly in her class since she could not express herself well and her teacher had no insterested in stopping bullying. My kid has problems on reading due to the language development delay but she is good at math. Before she transferred to Penn ES, she was in the advanced math class when she was in the first and second grade and in the special education in reading. But Penn ES put her in the special education for both math and reading and didn't want to differentiate my kid's different needs. After a struggled year in Penn ES, we moved to Fairfax County in order to let my kid get better education in FCPS. It became one of the best decisions in my life. My kid has been treated decently in FCPS since then and there is no tolerance on bullying in her current school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 13, 2012

Love this school! Both of my kids have been there from k-5. Super teachers who truly care for the students. This school uses Baldrige In Education. This program really gives students ownership over their behavior and study choices. Behavior trackers and the Zero Hero program again reinforce expectations of quality students. Family Fitness Nights and the running club are two favorite programs that my kids attend.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 26, 2012

My daughter has been a student at Penn ES for five years now and loves the faculty and staff there. The school really appreciates diversity amoung children and their families and supports them in so many ways. The PTO works hard to support the school and offer financial help to benefit the needs of the children. The guidance support at the school is available for children when they need to express concerns and are quick to contact parents if there is something to be shared. It is a positive place and the team there really seems to care about the students there.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 29, 2009

My oldest daughter has been at Penn for the last three years and my younger daughter will begin next year. I couldn't be happier with the school. Teachers care about ALL students, and do everything possible for every child to succeed. The atmosphere is friendly. The PTO provides many wonderful programs events. This is a top-notch school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 26, 2009

This is my child's first year at Penn and so far, I have been pleased with my child's progress. In response to a few behavioral issues, I was notified and sat down with members of the staff to discuss the best way to remedy the situation. I believe they care about my child's progress and well-being and especially the fact that they have a valued interest in my child's future not only as a student, but as a well-rounded individual. I don't find that everything the staff does is always the best way to handle certain issues, such as detention for such young children who may not fully comprehend the meaning of this form of punishment, but I have seen the effort they put forth to do their best in making sure no one gets lost in the shuffle. At least this has been my experience.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 9, 2007

Penn is one of the best school, my son has been in. Great team, great teachers, they really care about the student.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 18, 2006

This is our second year at Penn. I have 2 children attending. I have been very satisfied with this school. I would have no qualms about pulling my child out if I was dissatisfied. Penn has some great teachers and is a safe environment. There is no bullying allowed. They have a lot of great programs that my children enjoy as well.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 12, 2004

Both our children attend Penn Elementary and my wife and I are thrilled with the school! I was on the Advisory Council for the past two years and my wife is the PTO president. We have seen first-hand how 'plugged-in' and effective the staff and faculty are, and our children love their teachers. Our daughter's academic ability was identifed, challenged and improved by all three of her teachers. Our son wishes his kindergarten teacher would teach him 'forever.' We can't speak for anyone else, but I doubt you could find a harder working and caring staff and faculty than the people at Penn.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 25, 2003

My children have been attending Penn for 3 years now. When I compare to the previous school this school by far beats it. I have loved every teacher my children have had. I love the staff at Penn and hope they continue the good work.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 18, 2003

I don't feel as if my child is in danger at this school. Penn is always on top of security. There are some teachers who are dedicated to teaching and treat the Children fairly. I am sorry, but I think the staff only treats you well if you spend all of you're time volunteering and join the PTO. This isn't fair to all families. I also agree with the first post about reverse racism. Because this area is richly diverse all children must be created equal we should not just tip toe around the ethnic cultures and let them get away with everything in fear.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 10, 2003

My son attends Sonnie P. Penn and I've never had a problem with the way they have displined my child. The principal cares about this school and it's students and staff. I have volunteered many times and I believe the staff and principal are caring and concered about are children. I think this is a wonderful school and proud that my child attends here.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 23, 2003

I have never had as many problems with my Children's schools until we moved to Prince William County and my oldest son started attending this school. They have big issues with alot of things. However I do think there are some teachers who are definately committed to giving all Children a good education without being too overbearing and realizing that kids will be kids sometimes. Most of the Senior staff have a problem communicating with parents without being defensive. This is a 'Do no wrong' school. (so to speak) Even though they say they are very interested in tackling issues such as bullies, violence, and such. It is pretty much a cover. My Child has come home several times and so have many of his/her friends and complained of being picked on by other Children constantly and there is nothing done besides talking it out. The 'Bullies' are never told to stop, never confronted by a teacher or anyone else. When My child first started going to school at Penn I was excited and eager to get involved, but after time passed and I saw how different the staff is behind closed doors I began to wonder if I had entered my Child/Children into a Military academy. I have many times (more than 10) seen problems with 'reverse' racism in this school as well. Because Northern Virginia is a richly diverse area I think the schools should be nurturing of all children, ALL races, all sexes etc. This school has a huge issue with this and I cannot begin to stress that enough!


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

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.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.
English: Reading

The state average for English: Reading was 72% in 2013.

90 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
82%

2012

 
 
88%

2011

 
 
90%

2010

 
 
85%
History and Social Science

The state average for History and Social Science was 87% in 2012.

96 students were tested at this school in 2012.

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
89%

2010

 
 
98%
Math

The state average for Math was 65% in 2013.

86 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
76%

2012

 
 
76%

2011

 
 
91%

2010

 
 
96%
Science

The state average for Science was 84% in 2013.

91 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
95%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
93%

2010

 
 
96%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Virginia used the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests to assess students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, writing in grades 5 and 8, and science in grades in 3, 5 and 8. The SOL tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Virginia. The goal is for all students to pass the tests.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

English: Reading

The state average for English: Reading was 70% in 2013.

105 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
70%

2012

 
 
88%

2011

 
 
88%

2010

 
 
95%
History and Social Science

The state average for History and Social Science was 84% in 2012.

2012

 
 
n/a
Math

The state average for Math was 75% in 2013.

105 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
80%

2012

 
 
80%

2011

 
 
88%

2010

 
 
93%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Virginia used the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests to assess students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, writing in grades 5 and 8, and science in grades in 3, 5 and 8. The SOL tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Virginia. The goal is for all students to pass the tests.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

English: Reading

The state average for English: Reading was 73% in 2013.

96 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
83%

2012

 
 
92%

2011

 
 
91%

2010

 
 
93%
English: Writing

The state average for English: Writing was 71% in 2013.

97 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
66%

2012

 
 
93%

2011

 
 
92%

2010

 
 
90%
History and Social Science

The state average for History and Social Science was 89% in 2012.

2012

 
 
n/a
Math

The state average for Math was 69% in 2013.

93 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
88%

2012

 
 
73%

2011

 
 
95%

2010

 
 
94%
Science

The state average for Science was 76% in 2013.

98 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
89%

2012

 
 
89%

2011

 
 
93%

2010

 
 
91%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Virginia used the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests to assess students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, writing in grades 5 and 8, and science in grades in 3, 5 and 8. The SOL tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Virginia. The goal is for all students to pass the tests.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

English: Reading

All Students82%
Female students83%
Male students81%
Black students86%
Asian studentsn/a
Hispanic67%
Multiracialn/a
White students100%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged65%
Not economically disadvantaged89%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities82%
Limited English proficient students55%
Proficient in English90%

Math

All Students76%
Female students75%
Male students76%
Black students64%
Asian studentsn/a
Hispanic63%
Multiracialn/a
White students95%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged60%
Not economically disadvantaged82%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities75%
Limited English proficient students58%
Proficient in English81%

Science

All Students95%
Female students89%
Male students100%
Black students90%
Asian studentsn/a
Hispanic100%
Multiracialn/a
White students92%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged96%
Not economically disadvantaged94%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities96%
Limited English proficient students100%
Proficient in English93%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Virginia used the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests to assess students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, writing in grades 5 and 8, and science in grades in 3, 5 and 8. The SOL tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Virginia. The goal is for all students to pass the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the Virginia Department of Education. Data is not reported when there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

English: Reading

All Students70%
Female students74%
Male students65%
Black students61%
Asian students78%
Hispanic50%
Multiracialn/a
White students93%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged60%
Not economically disadvantaged75%
Students with disabilities53%
Students without disabilities72%
Limited English proficient students50%
Proficient in English75%

Math

All Students80%
Female students74%
Male students86%
Black students71%
Asian students89%
Hispanic87%
Multiracialn/a
White students89%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged73%
Not economically disadvantaged85%
Students with disabilities63%
Students without disabilities83%
Limited English proficient students79%
Proficient in English80%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Virginia used the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests to assess students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, writing in grades 5 and 8, and science in grades in 3, 5 and 8. The SOL tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Virginia. The goal is for all students to pass the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the Virginia Department of Education. Data is not reported when there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

English: Reading

All Students83%
Female students89%
Male students78%
Black students93%
Asian students60%
Hispanic90%
Multiracialn/a
White students76%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged81%
Not economically disadvantaged84%
Students with disabilities75%
Students without disabilities85%
Limited English proficient students67%
Proficient in English86%

English: Writing

All Students66%
Female students79%
Male students54%
Black students57%
Asian students50%
Hispanic60%
Multiracialn/a
White students83%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged50%
Not economically disadvantaged75%
Students with disabilities43%
Students without disabilities70%
Limited English proficient students38%
Proficient in English72%

Math

All Students88%
Female students96%
Male students81%
Black students89%
Asian students70%
Hispanic94%
Multiracialn/a
White students90%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged86%
Not economically disadvantaged89%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities88%
Limited English proficient students93%
Proficient in English87%

Science

All Students89%
Female students88%
Male students90%
Black students87%
Asian students90%
Hispanic86%
Multiracialn/a
White students90%
Students identified as economically disadvantaged79%
Not economically disadvantaged94%
Students with disabilities57%
Students without disabilities94%
Limited English proficient students75%
Proficient in English91%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Virginia used the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests to assess students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, writing in grades 5 and 8, and science in grades in 3, 5 and 8. The SOL tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Virginia. The goal is for all students to pass the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the Virginia Department of Education. Data is not reported when there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

  • In 2009-2010, this school was rated "Fully Accredited".
  • In 2008-2009, this school was rated "Fully Accredited".
  • In 2007-2008, this school was rated "Fully Accredited".

About the tests


Virginia school accreditation ratings reflect student achievement on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests and other assessments in English, history/social science, math and science. The 2009-2010 ratings are based on passing rates on tests taken during the 2008-2009 school year or on overall achievement during the three most recent years. Schools are identified as either Fully Accredited, Accredited with Warning, Conditionally Accredited or Accreditation Denied.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2012-2013 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Oops! We currently do not have any student information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Librarian/media specialist(s)
Nurse(s)
Art teacher(s)
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by school officials and community members.

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Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular special education needs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Music room
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus

Language learning

Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular ESL/ELL needs

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Nurse(s)
School facilities
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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School basics

Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school
  • After school

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Standards-based
Level of special education programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular special education needs
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular ESL/ELL needs

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Nurse(s)
Extra learning resources offered
  • Counseling
Transportation options
  • Buses/vans for students only
School facilities
  • Cafeteria
  • Computer lab
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Playground
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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Arts & music

Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Dress code
Parent involvement
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Volunteer in the classroom
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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12980 Queen Chapel Rd
Woodbridge, VA 22193
Phone: (703) 590-0344

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