My kid had been with Smith's Quest program, and the experience had been great! The main classroom teachers are experienced and skilled in both challenging and encouraging students. They did good job in organizing and adding interesting spins to a rigor academic program...we are happy to see our kid matured over years in taking on more and more challenging school work, and yet still happy to go to school every day. Extra-curriculums are also good...library and music teacher are excellent and loved by kids. The end-of-year music concerts have always been a high-note and memorable moment for many. Very good students and parents involvement too...
The academic rigor with new curriculum for 2013/14 is great, BUT there is lack of consistency with teachers understanding and articulating the grading in the new system. Also teachers are not responsive to parents and when this issue comes up, the school protects the teachers not the parents (makes it hard to advocate for your child). Wish they encouraged more of an open communication partnership with teachers and parents.
Curriculum is strong so my kid does not get bored, and that's a good thing. Teachers are nice, lots and lots of after school programs. On the negative side, way too much parental involvement. Helicopter parents doing everything not just for their kids but instead of them. Herding and protecting them as if they never need to get independent .
I agree with the comment about the Kindergarten program not being challenging enough for many students. I'd expand this remark to include the first grade program also. Otherwise, we're pretty happy with the upper grade programs.
I cannot say enough good things about Samantha Smith Elementary. This school has experienced teachers and staff with a true focus on how students learn individually. The PTSA is strong and the after-school activities offer a wide range of interests and arts. Fantastic!
I think the school's kindergarten program moves too slow. The follow the least common denominator approach, making sure all kids are brought up to a minimum standard. This leaves many other children bored and not allowed to move at a different rate.
I can only believe that pushing kindergarteners to learn to write is Washington State policy; I feel it's ridiculous to expect kids that age to master writing. Also, I feel the school administrators are very quick to suggest 'therapy' or 'counseling' for a child who doesn't immediately conform to the rules and rigidity of the school day. We are unhappy with Smith and considering relocating.
We are new here to the Sammamish area and so my daughther is starting out in 6th grade at Samantha Smith. I can only say that the reception has been great and the staff is helpful and friendly. There are so many activites for the children to enjoy and we just love her teacher! The PTSA is awesome as well!! A great school!!