This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Fannie W. Fitzgerald Elementary School1
Posted February 13, 2015
- a community member
This school has a very high teacher attrition rate. School staff does not trust the principle. Most teachers simply move onto another school. School has been investigated (DOJ) several times. Staff motivation is dismal.
This school has a lot of potential. The climate is very negative because the principal is a control freak and a tyrant. She doesn't value or trust the staff. That has a major negative impact on you. It is hard to do your job when you have someone always looking over your shoulder looking for weakness so she can exploit it. I have been here for more than 3 years and have seen how my co-workers have been physically ill because of her behavior. It is challenging to work when everyone fears the boss! When she leaves things will be much better for all.
I have a daughter going to third grade. She has been going to Fitzgerald for two years. The school is relatively new as other reviewers mentioned but the teachers teach the students important skills such as reading, maths, analyzing , and critical thinking. I'm happy that the school doesn't spend to much time for standard test prep. My daughter reads & do maths problems well above her grade level (4/5 th grade). My advice to the parnt will be to supplement what the school teach your children like make sure they read everyday & sign the reading log. And also check Wednesday weekly packages which inform the parents about previous week class work. The bottomline is the school is not as bad as some reviwers put it. However, there is a room for improvment & parents need to do their part. I hope this will help parents to get the best out of the school & share their experience.
I have had boys attend kindergarten, 1st & 5th grade here. To be fair we moved in at the end of the year and I didn't get a good feel for the 5th grade here. Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers and I have weathered through together with my son. He is not the easiest kid in the world and the communication with the teachers has been wonderful! The principal is understanding but fair. This school is still very new and the past few years it has gotten much better! The rating may not show it but this school is at least an 8 in my book!
I have a child that attends this school, he just started his 4th grade year. According to my son some of the teachers are nice and others are mean, I will refrain from saying names but I'm sure any parent who has knowledge of the teachers will easily be able to figure it out. He has some trouble with organization (as I'm sure many 4th graders might) however, he gets bounced around from room to room during the day because they have put all students in ability leveled groups for different subjects (math and reading only as far as I know....which we were not told about or informed of; communication is a big problem). I don't know what happened to a teacher having a class and building and fostering relationships with the kids while teaching them. My son now gets tossed around from room to room for various subjects....no wonder the test scores are horrible and many students seem ill tempered or confused on a daily basis, they don't have a connection with a teacher nor do they have a place at the school (like their classroom) which they can call their own. It seems to me like the main focus has become SOLs and the kids are just being herded like cattle from room to room for test prep.
I have had years of experience with this school and the teachers, so I can honestly say that I felt that I was sending my kids to a safe environment to learn in. They have had some good teachers in K-3rd, not so much in 4-5th; but the fact that the school may not be providing students with a quality education doesn't hit you as a parent until your kids enter the upper grades. Then you begin to realize (as I did) that they may not be able to compete in middle-school and on--unless you get them some type of supplemental education. I've hired tutors and did nighttime-homeschooling with my kids just to keep them on track. On another note, I like the fact that the kids are required to play an instrument in the 3rd-5th grades; the office staff is friendly and the teachers in the lower grades have been very responsive to calls and emails, however that has not been my experience from the upper grades--as they expect your child to be more independent. As a result of the change in leadership (principals) I think the focus has become more on passing the SOLs instead of providing students with a well-rounded education to help them be able to pass any standardized test.
ALthough the test scores don't show it, this is a great school! A prime example is Mr. Bloom, the Assistant Principal - he dealt with a teasing problem my son was having, and was just so compassionate and caring. I don't know the whole staff, but if he is any indicaition, they are top notch. I know he is new (from SC), but very professional, kind and caring. It's just too bad that so many parents don't get involved - this school could be so much more if they did! Great work Mr. Bloom!
My daughter attended Fannie (our base school) for summer school due to a deficiency in READING. The only thing she did in class during summer school was MATH! Thank God for school (we are transfer students at Montclair) of choice!