I am a Lafayette graduate that now goes to Alice Deal Middle School. Previous comments have seemed to be extremely harsh while saying their opinions but I don't think they realize this is an elementary school. There are bound to be problems, and unfortunately many families do not have the money to find some other private school as an alternative. Fortunately for me I seemed to end up with very good teachers my entire time except for 5th grade... That, I admit was a disaster. Though, it is a possibility to get switched from different teachers. 5th grade was the one year that seemed to be very disorganized. Also, when I was there, they had no walls, but "dividers." Luckily Lafayette will be going through an all out renovation through the 2015-2016 school year, which I think everyone is excited for. Though they have these problems, I have had my favorite teachers at this school, and have lots of good memories.
For the amount of $$ DC spends on each child, which is one of the highest per student allotments in the entire country, this is unacceptable. I get the impression that Lafayette parents are just so relived to be in one of the better DC school zones. Other schools in DCPS are shameful and literacy rates are low. If I hear Kaya Henderson brag that DC has one of the largest increases of test scores one more time... Of course DCPS has improved scores more than say Fairfax/Montgomery. Those systems are operating with test scores in the 90 percentile & have little room for academic improvement. DC scores are so low that it is virtually impossible to go anywhere but up. Going from the 16th to the 24th percentile is a gain but an embarrassment. Lafayette is not a great or even good school. It is an okay school at best, academically speaking. The principal leaves much to be desired. I can't think of one positive thing to say about her except she does a fine job keeping the parents in the dark. Ignorance is bliss. New leadership should improve Lafayette. We believe in public education but realized our children would receive years of mediocre education. Can't get those years back.
My child left Lafayette during winter break and is doing much better in her new school. She is learning more and has a better teacher. After 3 years at Lafayette, it is nice to have her in a school with fewer problems. I didn't realize how stressful it was for us as a family until we left the school. I enjoy the new parents group as well,. not as much rah-rah and hype as we found at Lafayette, but honest dialogue between mature adults
Agree with all the comments about hit or miss teachers. Tend to agree with comment about strong Lafayette boosters not really understanding what a good school is. Strong fundraising has not improved the quality of the school and there doesn't seem to be any interest of the parents to do so, there is more interest and motivation in protecting the feeder to another DCPS. Odd. We will hopefully go charter next year but this will thankfully be our last at Lafayette. Fingers crossed that we will have luck on our side for teachers.
I am a former student of Lafayette and I have just graduated from the fifth grade. Lafayette is an amazing school with so many opportunities for all ages. The kids are respectful of one another and I feel I have learned a lot in the past seven years. I only have experience with 2 bad teachers but the others were fabulous. I made so many friends at lafayette and I will miss it horribly. Overall, I recommend lafayette as a school to any child. -Elise R
Lafayette may still be one of the strongest elementary schools in DC, but unfortunately it has many problems. My child just graduated from 5th and the experience has definitely been mixed. First and third grade teachers were excellent, second and fourth grade pretty solid. Kindergarten and fifth grade teachers were awful. The fifth grade at Lafayette is a disaster. Our child's teacher was extremely disorganized, unkind towards the children, and left projects uncompleted. This awful teacher was hired just two years ago, which leads one to wonder how a school with a good reputation accepted someone whose standards are so low. The positives are the good teachers, the fantastic art teacher, strong music program and arts integration. Parent involvement has been historically extremely strong, which has helped the school raise money for arts programs and renovations, but seems to be falling off. The kids are mostly great and there is very little bullying or behavior problems but some parents can be cliquey and snobbish to a comical degree for a group of adults.
Lafayette is a good school. Maybe not great, but it does a fine job given the limitations faced by any school. The music program is great - there are lots of instruments available to the student to use, for free. The only real reason I am posting here is to provide a little balance to some of the angry comments. I'm disturbed by references to "uneducated" parents in more than one comment. Is this some sort of coded language for differences of race, class, or neighborhood? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. In any case, don't get dragged into the sniping and criticizing. There are pluses and minuses to every school - Lafayette is no different. Show up, get to know your kids' teachers and the staff. Say hello, smile. Be friendly. You might be surprised at the good things you will see and hear.
Thank heavens the school year is over! This will be our last year at Lafayette and I won't miss it. No my child is not graduating, we are just pulling her out to get her into a good school. One of the odd things about Lafayette is all the hype and rah-rah that surrounds it. The parents who think it is an excellent school, tend to be uneducated themselves, so are unable to distinguish a good school from a bad one. I am so glad we won't be returning, this is a happy day for at least one Lafayette parent. We are getting our child out before too much damage has been done, and she is not too far behind her peers.
We relocated from the SF Bay Area last year and our children (first and second grade) were previously in a small private school. Lafayette as definitely an adjustment for them but at the end of the school year they both had tears in their eyes because they were leaving their teachers and friends for the summer. The thing that sticks out for me is the ownership of the school that the parents have taken on. The previous post has it wrong, we found highly educated, caring, and well rounded parents at Lafayette. Very few schools are perfect but we are very happy to be part of the Lafayette community.
There is a high variation in the quality of teachers, but the biggest problem is the literal lack of walls. The school uses dividers, or sometimes rows of lockers or cubbies, to separate classrooms in otherwise large open sections of the school. Unfortunately, this does not reduce the sound from other adjacent classes. The refusal to construct actual walls between classes makes it very difficult for the children to focus on the teacher an also makes it very difficult for the teachers to keep the children's attention. The school benefits greatly from the wealthy families who are able to raise considerable amounts of money to fund equipment and additional teachers.