This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Madison Elementary School5
Posted January 03, 2015
- a community member
I am not a Madison parent but I do substitute at Madison regularly. Madison is my favorite school to substitute. The staff is friendly, the children well behaved and respectful, and the teachers leave great lesson plans! (This shows me that Madison teachers plan their lessons ahead of time, and they plan them well too!) The Madison principal (Mr. Spatola-Knoll) is the only administrator who has ever visited me before students arrive to introduce himself and ask if I need anything. (He even offered to bring me a cup of coffee from the staff room!) He seems to visit the classrooms several times throughout the day and interacts positively with the children. Classrooms are tidy and colorful. Unlike some other schools where teachers are allowed to wear t-shits, shorts, and old sneakers, the staff at Madison dresses nicely. The atmosphere at Madison is relaxed, positive, and professional. Madison is great place for kids (and substitute teachers). A+
Madison is one of two Olympia schools with a part time principal, the other is Boston Harbor The school district says student numbers at Madison and Boston Harbor are too low for a full time principal. Is that so? In that case how does the school board justify a full time principal at the alternative HS which only has 120 students? As of today, Madison has 280 students and Boston Harbor 170. At least three other elementary schools have student numbers only a little higher than Madison. Why is the district so adamant on saving a few dollars at the expense of these two schools while at the same time they are over staffing the alternative programs (Avanti, ORLA, Lincoln, and Leyland Brown) with full time administrators and free transportation? With the passing of Initiative 1351 the district will need to step up to its responsibilities and gives Madison and Boston Harbor full time principals.
My school has teachers and staff that always show great empathy and compassion for the children. As a parent I am able to be involved in all aspects of my child's education and the principal has an open door policy which makes him widely available to staff and parents.
My family moved to Olympia from Oregon and moved in with my parents who live a block away from Madison. The school has many benefits for families including before and after school care, great enrichment programs, and a great staff. The children are well behaved. My daughter has had two good teachers at Madison and we have no doubt her new teacher will be just as good. The Food Cart and Gardens are a great resource for the school. My daughter can t wait for the Food Cart and the monthly cooking lessons. Last year she really enjoyed the radish milk shake! The principal is very nice and is liked by the parents and children. On days he is not at school the children miss him. (My daughter came home in tears one day because, Mr. DSK wasn t at school today! ) He has made a positive impact on the school since his arrival last year. The new teachers he has hired are excellent. Madison is lucky to have this new principal.
My son has been at Madison since preschool. He is now in 5th grade. Madison has been amazing for him as a student and for me as a parent. I have seen the school improve in many ways. His teachers have been top notch. The sense of community at Madison is like nothing I have ever experienced anywhere. The teachers, parents and even the neighbors are all incredibly focused on making Madison one of the best elementary schools in Olympia. I have found the new principal and counselor supportive and responsive to student and parent needs. Teachers have responded to my phone calls and emails quickly. There is a good balance between enrichment like the garden or art, and the academics. Thanks to the new principal Stop and Think and the A Team have been replaced with PBS. My son likes the new PBS program and says that his friends like it too. I have been very pleased with Madison and so has my son. We will leave with many good memories and friends.
Madison is AMAZING. All three of our children have attended Madison. The past two years with the new principal have been the best. The teachers are wonderful. The principal really is approachable and a good listener. My children s teachers send regular updates of their work and will meet with me if I have questions. The school atmosphere is positive and friendly. My children are very happy at Madison and enjoy learning. The school offers after school programs like chess club and art. Children are stewards of the Vegetable Garden and grow food and donate it to the food bank. Class sizes are relatively small, but now that Madison is the school of choice with many parents, the school is getting a little bigger. The children know each other and the teachers know all the children by name. Madison does a good job with academics too. Last year my son s 5th grade class had the second highest MSP Reading result in the district. My daughter s 4th grade had the highest result for MSP Writing. Madison scored higher than many of the elite schools in the school district! I agree with other parents who say Madison should have a full time principal.
Madison school is beyond words. The teachers interact positively with students and parents. School programs support student learning. Our son loves it there. In his previous school he learned how to knit and weed flower beds, but all this fun was at the expense of academic learning. At Madison he has really started to enjoy learning. He now loves to read and write stories and is exceling at math. The principal is very involved. You usually see him walking around the school interacting with parents and students. My son really likes the principal. The principal seems to know the children well. He will phone parents if he sees their child not being themselves. As parents we have appreciated his caring for the children. Our experience with each of our son's teachers has been very positive. All teachers we have known are kind, caring, and have communicated well with us. There are opportunities for parent volunteering. The PTO is not aggressive in its fund raising or recruitment. Teacher helpers are not mean. Some of them stay after school to teach art classes. Except for the principal being only half time, Madison is pretty much as perfect as you can get with a public school in Olympia.
Madison is everything a great school should be. It is small, has a garden, staff is friendly, and students are kind to each other. The teachers and principal know all the students by name. We have had no problems at Madison. Our son is happy and has many friends. We are impressed with the teachers and programs. Some of our friends have tried to get their children into Madison, but there can be a waiting list. This is our neighborhood school and our son will have a space at Madison through 5th grade. The new principal is from England. His name is Mr. Spatola-Knoll. He also goes by Mr. DSK. He is kind to the children and has made the school friendly and welcoming for families. As others have already said, the school district has given him two jobs. He is only at Madison only half time. Madison has had a high turnover of teachers and principals because of this. Parents are concerned Mr. DSK will leave Madison for a full time job at a different school. This would be a big loss for Madison and for the neighborhood. Some parents will be asking the school board and superintendent to give Madison a full time principal. If you are Madison parent you too should ask!
Pros * After school enrichment classes. (Art, Choir, Drama, etc.) * Computers and iPads in all classrooms * Cute building * Emphasis on safety. (ID s checked, single door entry into school, adult crossing guard, etc.) * Good communication from school (Email, newsletters, etc.) * Monthly assemblies * Organic Food Cart with Chef! * Organics/Recycling program * Parent volunteering * Positive atmosphere in the building * Principal is visible and interacts positively with students * School gardens for students (Vegetable and Native Plants) * Small school * Strong sense of community * Student discipline handled respectfully * Teachers & Aides are kind * Teachers and principal know all the children by name * All the advantages of an alternative school except volunteering is optional, and your child WILL learn how to read Cons * Parking is limited (Arrive early for school events!) * Can t enter the school from Legion Way. It s a long walk if you have to park in the street. * No Passport program * Principal is only part time * Some district programs are placed at Madison at the expense of classroom space
Based on the recommendation of friends who live in Olympia we rented a home near Madison. Before moving we left the principal a VM. He responded the next day. He made us feel comfortable with our choice and encouraged us to contact him again if we had more questions. We have been at Madison a year and still find him approachable and helpful. We agree with other parents who feel Madison should have a full time principal. There is a growing concern that this principal will soon leave Madison to get a full time position at another school. This would a great loss to the Madison community. Teachers, aides, and office staff are kind and friendly. Our daughter improved in reading and math with the help of her fourth grade teacher, Ms. Starr. The school has a novel way of encouraging children to use cursive. Those who complete a Cursive Packet are given a free ink pen by the principal who also teaches them how to fill and use the ink pen! Our daughter received her ink pen in January and has been using her ink pen every day. We have been very pleased with Madison. We are glad we moved into the neighborhood and made Madison the school of choice for our children.