The school has no leadership. Teachers are totally unsupported and left on the own battling their own problems with no support from their principal or from the rest of the very incompetent administration. As a result there are a number of growing discipline problems. The school does not have a consistent or effective behavior management system so children do whatever they want. This is particularly true in 5th grade this year. Overall, there is a tone of disrespect and disorganization across the building. The school runs thanks to the very competent and dedicated teachers not the administration. By 5th grade many parents take their children out in search of a more structured and organized middle school that handles problems like these more effectively.
We have had an awful experience with the Spanish Assistant Principal in the middle school campus who doesn't seem to be capable of managing discipline problems or anything else for that matter. Our child has been suffering from constant bullying from the very beginning of the year and nothing seems to be done by either the administration of the school counselor. We are not impressed by the incompetency of the administration to handle these matters. It is incredibly frustrating for parents and students.
We agree with the review below that the environment is that of a big family. To be honest, that is not enough for us. It is important that there is a nurturing environment where the kids feel safe but no when the academics are put at risk. We have been very disappointed with the school's policy of "one size fits all" where kids who have the potential do not get challenged once they get to Middle School. We are also shocked by the incompetency of both assistant principals (one of them has been very rude to us) and their uninspiring principal. The ongoing and increasing discipline problems that don't seem to get resolved are also a problem. As, one parent points out, there are not real consequences for those who do not follow the rules. I agree that most of the teachers are excellent and very committed to the bilingual program but there is not much they can do with so little support from their administration. You can sense their frustrations as soon as you enter the school.
I am well aware that Oyster Adams is not for everyone. It is fairly chaotic, zero leveled math except for one pretty low-key eighth grade Algebra 1 class, and yes, some questionable teachers. But honestly, this school is home. The environment is that of a big family. Everyone loves everyone and tries to make them happy and smart and wonderful. It's not a touchy-feely kind of support, it's more that you know you're loved when you walk in those doors. OA kids are fiercely loyal, unbelievably intelligent, unified, and more than prepared for the real world. It may not be "challenging" or have a GT program, but the unflinching devotion of everybody in these schools is palpable. The middle school is small and by the time the kids graduate, they might as well be siblings. It's not that everything is about bonding, this bonding just happens and it is beautiful to watch. The kids cry on the last day of school. They high-five on the first. The teachers will do anything if the kid tries hard enough, and believe me, many of those teachers are unparalleled elsewhere. I cannot give OA enough praise. Try and look past the critics and into the heart of this school, and you will be blown away.
As the parent below points out, Oyster Adams is about uncertainty and miscommunication which is very frustrating for both parents and teachers. Classrooms are under resourced and teachers are overloaded with work (some of them have over 50 students) whilst the funds are directed to pay for 3 not very effective assistant principals. It would make more sense to invest that money in the classrooms to support the teachers instead. Besides this, discipline continues to be a problem as there are not real consequences for bad behavior. Bullying is also an issue. Students have a lot of power and they know it. The school is falling apart rapidly.
O-A is currently considered the best Spanish instruction in DCPS. It has a more diverse and educated Spanish-speaking population than other public and charter schools. Very international, tolerant, and welcoming to families of mixed heritages. However, it can be frustrating. The teaching model seems to change often because DCPS budget and staff models aren't applicable to O-A being in two locations. Elementary grades are split over a mile apart but DCPS gives one music teacher. Parents pay for a second one. No longer two teachers per classroom. Some teachers work with 50 children. High % of SPED but under-resourced. Middle school is VERY small. Principal is aware of challenges and growing bilingual competition from charters. My children have been happy and the community is generous with money and time. But the school is very dependent on families. More and more are exploring charters. But O-A continues to be the leading bilingual school in the city. If you can handle uncertainty and some miscommunication, but enjoy creativity and diversity, it can be a great school.
We love this school!! The Prinicpals, teachers, the support staff and the parents are so focus on the academic success for the children. Whenever I have any concerns about my child's development. The staff's open door policy and strategies has always help my child make progress and strengthen her confidence. We are a big family that I feel tries very hard to put out the fires that can destroy our children foundation for the future. It's not the building, but it's the people inside that shapes the children's future. Bravo, Bravo to our Oyster-Adams family!!! Let's keep moving forward for our children's future. Ask not what your child's school can do for you, but what you can do for your child's school to make it better.
Teacher morale is low and dissatisfaction very high. Teachers feel unsupported and often disrespected. Staff turnover is very high. We need a more supportive and efficient administration for the school to survive.
What I love most about Oyster elementary is the social environment. Truly a supportive and diverse community, a place to build life skills. I am very happy that my kids are there.
Having a bilingual program is great. The trouble is kids need to master & excel in skills beyond languages later in life and Adams does not offer a challenging academic curriculum in the middle school years. I hope they get it right someday. It's just disappointing my kids won't see the benefits...
Discipline problems are on the increase in the middle school due to poor leadership. In addition quality of instruction varies from classroom to classroom as there is no real supervision to ensure consistency. My kids have had very good teachers and very bad ones too. Teachers receive very little support and are left on their own to battle the daily problems. Many are very fed up. I agree with some of the comments that parents have posted here. The school really needs new leadership to survive.
Great teachers but very poor administration. Both, teachers and parents are frustated with the current principal and her team. The school needs new leadership to survive.
The teachers at the school are great and very committed to make the dual program successful. However the administration is weak and uninspiring. The current principal is not acting as a leader and seems to be unable to make any decisions at all. The assistant principals are just as bad. The middle school campus in particular is badly run. Discipline problems are on the increase because there isn't a clear policy for students. Students misbehave because the school allows them to do so. It is a real shame.
Grade 7 and 8 are relatively new additions and continuing with the bilingual immersion or choosing a different middle school is a hard choice for some (not all) parents. In the early years, this school so inspired my daughter to an incredible love of learning and passion for going to school,developed her values and worldly outlook. Immersion schooling was a privilege, a huge challenge for leaders to deliver but wonderful. And a special aspect of this school is its true commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Each child is taught to feel special for who they are, to develop and value their self-identity and appreciate others. All in all it was an incredible experience for my daughter and I am ever grateful to the dedicated staff, and exceptional community. Now it has middle school years that with support can become wonderful too. The principal is Harvard educated and PIONEERED a bilingual school successfully in a more challenging demographic situation prior to this appointment. I trust her background and leadership. It is complex. Parents listen and support or move elsewhere at the middle school stage. Pre-K to grade 6 is really special, a privilege for sure.
My children will just be starting the Oyster-Adams Middle School, I have received mixed reviews regarding the school. I love bilingual education for my children, however, I will not sacrifice high academic expectations to get it.
I have had a different experience than what the other parents have recently discussed. It's true that they aren't going to offer a lot of leveled math instruction, but that's due to it's small size. Small size=less money=fewer teachers. There just aren't enough teachers to offer the leveled math instruction that some parents want. That is a drawback to some parents. However, the small size contributes to a very close-knit community. All teachers know every student in the school, and my son appreciates that everyone knows him. I also have to disagree about the curriculum not challenging students as well. Just take a look at the 8th grade graduating class - over half of them have been accepted to prestigious private high schools or selective public area high schools. This, to me, tells me that my son has received an above average education and is ready to take on high school.
Huge discipline problems and a very uninspiring principal are the negatives of the school. The English teachers are good and so are the parents. There are very few good Spanish Teachers. In general they tend to be very weak.
Teachers and parents do a great job, Principal leadership is below average, most students don't behave well. This wasn't the case with last principal
After many years in the school we have deciced to leave for another middle school that can offer the academic challenges that our kids need. The current Principal doesn't believe in offering different levels of math instruction, Instead her philosophy seems to be "one size fits all" . Other middle schools offer a much better and more solid curriculum than Oyster does so we are leaving. In adddition, the current administration is very weak. The school has serious discipline problems which they seem unable to resolve. We have tried to speak to the current principal several times and have offered her different solutions but she doens't want to hear. IT is a shame and it breaks our heart, as we really do believe in bilingual education, but not at the expense of putting the academics at risk. We feel that if we stay at Oyster our child's education will suffer.
We are very dissapointed and frustrated with the current principal. She is making really bad decisions with regards to teacher selection and the middle school program. What is worse is that she doesn't listen to parents and ignores any concerns, or suggestions parents might have. As a result of her weak leadership, the program is becoming so average that a bilingual education for our children is not longer a priority , if the academics are going to suffer. We know that many other families think likewise and many are leaving the school. Amongst those there are Spanish speaking families like us. It is a real shame as Oyster used to be a great school.
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