I have had two children go to Lafayette. Both started there in pre-K. One finished and the other is now in fourth grade. Both have had very good experiences. The teachers are very caring and some are quite creative in how they teach. One of my son's had extensive learning disabilities and the staff worked with him and us; he is now a B student in high school which is a huge achievement. The parents group works hard and is very supportive. The new building is also beautiful. Some parents and teachers, however, have complained about the new principal who started about 2 years ago; several teachers left the school reportedly because of the new principal's management style (micro-managing, dictating rather than involving teachers, not using the committee structure, etc).
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.