This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Christa Mcauliffe Elementary School5
Posted May 09, 2013
- a parent
McAuliffe is tremendous! True, there are stellar teachers and a handful of inferior ones. Principal Howden has made great strides toward more differentiated instruction instead of the "one size fits all" approach where the gifted kids are bored & the remedial kids struggle to keep up. I really can't say enough good about the principal. (I completely disagree w/anyone who would call the administration a "disaster.") Howden is by far the best elementary school principal I have met, and I have now had experience with five principals at four elementary schools. He really loves the kids, and it shows. If there's a fundraiser to raise money for a child with cancer (or some such cause), he will do things like let the class that raises the most $ dunk him in a water tank or spray him w/whipped cream at an ice cream social. Not an "uppity" bone in his body! Character is emphasized as much as academics, but I can honestly say from experience that McAuliffe's work is on par w/my child's gifted ed. And the PTSA is phenomenal! They put on the best programs I have ever seen by parents. Their dedication and ability to execute on it is unmatched by any other PTA or PTO I have encountered.
Half day kindergarten is awesome. I had my doubts but I was convinced otherwise by February. These little kids learn just as much in 3 hours a day as the full day kids all day. The teacher is one of the best I've ever seen. Caring, attentive, all the kids love her. Yes, second grade is tricky in a way that there definitely are teachers you don't want to have and of course you cannot pick your classroom. All in all a good school, but only for the under average kids. Even average kids get really bored with the curriculum. Most of the teachers are helpful, though. The administration is a disaster.
I can't say enough good about this school. No school is perfect, and there are a handful of teachers you really hope your child *doesn't* get (especially in second grade). However, most of the teachers are very strong. There is a huge emphasis on character and civic responsibility, which the kids really take to heart. They love getting rewarded by the principal with certificates and prizes for good citizenship. My child also attends a pull-out gifted ed program, but I can honestly say that at times her McAuliffe teachers have challenged her every bit as much as her supplemental teacher. Parent involvement is astoundingly high. We are moving to another state where the parents & district administrators are constantly patting themselves on the back and are quite arrogant about how great their district is. Meanwhile, I long to return to McAuliffe where the staff, no matter how good their test scores, keep striving to do an even better job. Most of the staff is deserving of praise, yet they are humble and appreciative of parents and students. It is truly a gem of a school.
My daughter attended this school during grades K-5. She was very happy here, felt secure and did very well. Unfortunately, we had to relocate to the midwest. I always felt McAuliffe was special, I now know how fortunate we were to have been able to attend this wonderful school. It has a warm and nurturing environment, while at the same time skillfully challenges the students. (For example my daughter's current 7th grade class recently read a book that at McAuliffe was read in 5th grade! Her current teachers are amazed by how much she knows before they teach it here.) Most of staff at McAuliffe truly are concerned about their students success. My only negative thought is that the school seems too focused on doing well for the WASL.
My son hated kindergarten at McAuliffe. The teachers made no effort to give him more challenging work even after I asked them to. He felt horrible and bored all year long. Fortunately, he loves his first grade teacher. She is accommodating to his academic needs (and to the other advanced kids in the class). Many teachers dress in tight, revealing clothing. On my son s first day of school (kindergarten), no one was there to help him get to class when he stepped out of the bus. I am sure glad I was hiding and checking on him that day. The kids line up outside the building, and the lower grades are in the back, so if you just want to drop off your kid, he or she needs to walk all the way around the building (it rains a lot here in WA) to get to class.
My two children attend McAuliffe and it is a good school. I think you will find outstanding teachers, and not-so-outstanding teachers at any school anywhere, and this school is no different. It is very pricey, for public school. The fees for this and that seem endless, and students provide pretty much all supplies, including copy paper and kleenex.
McAuliffe is an excellent elementary school. For the five years my child attended, I found a caring, involved principal, good staff, and a modern facility. The tradeoff for us was having my child in a very politically-correct school with strict rules for what the children can and cannot do, and those rules often seemed unnecessary and over-the-top. Having moved to a small town with a smaller school where teachers are much more personable with the parents and students, and children are allowed to be children, my child has blossomed and enjoys school much more. I also felt that McAuliffe's desire to have students excel at WASL and ITBS testing became too much a focus for the kids, including such things as high-sugar snacks before tests to give the kids a 'boost'. And while the school is in a high-income area, Field trip fees and expected contributins were too high.