This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Lawton Elementary School4
Posted August 03, 2014
- a parent
I have 2 children at Lawton - they just finished 1st and 3rd grades. I have found the teachers to be quite good. There is variation of course, as there is always when people are concerned. The principal seems to be highly involved. He has phone me 4-5 times personally about any concerns about my son being bullied (he's very sensitive) and has been able to speak directly and explicitly about education plans for him as he is high-performing and I was concerned about him becoming bored and dis-interested in school. I am not overly fond of the music teacher but overall, the school exceeds my expectations and my kids' like it.
Lawton is an absolutely great school with strong parents/teachers involvement and a great community overall. Teachers are very involved and seem to be genuinely caring about your children's education and character building . We started at Lawton and then had to be away for a year in a different school - so, we truly know the difference! It is a great environment where my kids thrived. We are very lucky.
Our son is just wrapping up his first year at Lawton, in kindergarten. I am amazed at the involvement on campus and how much time and energy caring parents put into this school. Lawton has more resources and parent-involvement than private schools we toured. The teachers devote much more than their time into their students - teaching them compassion and the love for learning, in addition to spending evenings and weekends preparing for activities. The physcial education program is outstanding - teaching all sorts of fun like rollerblading and more! Each classroom has Apple technology and iPads. There is a teacher's aide for kids who need a bit extra help, and parents who spend concentrated time with kids in class. This year Lawton implemented a highly-successful art docent program, and to top it off we have a wonderful music teacher. The class schedule seems to work very well with plenty of recess and time to eat lunch. No school is perfect, but any issues that we have seen at school, have quickly been delt with and parents have been communicated regarding what happened. I only wish they taught Spanish! Lawton is a warm, caring community and we are glad to call it ours.
We looked forward to our child attending this school from the time he was old enough to walk, until we actually stepped inside to see what was going. During parent visits, it appears that the PTA runs the school much more than the principal does. It was difficult to get straight answers about special education and it was clear that safety & supervision is an ongoing issue. This was mentioned by staff and observed during visits. Additionally, I have heard from several parents & students that bullying is still a big problem. Thank goodness for open enrollment, if we had not gotten another school, we would have homeschooled until we moved. This is how serious we are about our child not attending Lawton.
Love the elementary vibe at this school, the kids seem happy. Our daughter has enjoyed great teachers so far in kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. The pre and after school offering is also great - she likes chess, jump rope club and choir. The PTA is very active and supports music, art, guest authors etc... I like the new principal and he seems to communicate well with the parents. Spectrum progam is another plus to this school as it is integrated into the classrooms, not separated.
School has not had positive leadership since Mr. Noh left 3 years ago. Some good teachers, but also some that prove certification and degrees do not mean you can actual teach. Ongoing issues with bullying problems and lack of supervision.
Lawton lacks strong, sustained, consistent leadership and, thanks to district 'appointments' has had five principals in two years. Two of whom were/are completely new to principalship. The cluster model for Spectrum in now in place so there are no more self-contained advanced learning classes which, depending on your preference may be a good thing. Differentiated homework, according to school policy, is not available although homework is essentially optional. The school has an active core of parents but a lot more parent bystanders. It's not a bad school but not a great school either. There is potential.
Lawton is having trouble. The staff(some) and principal are not comfortable with the Spectrum self-contained gifted program, so they have "blended" the program into general ed assuring parents the kids will do just as well. It's so ironic that this bastion of white privilege (Magnolia) is so anti-elitist when it comes to placing kids by ability. Otherwise, it's nice to see people who could go private, money-wise, staying in public school. Staff ranges from very good to old school and a few lazy-bones. Principal is so green she squeaks and has her hands more than full with some pushy staff, noisy parents and ill-managed district. Nice building, should handle a good quake, and the janitor, playground guy and gym teacher are A+. Cliquey? Oh ya, but if you live in the attendance area, I would go and enjoy the ride. Definitely a bargain.
We have young children so I cannot comment beyond the second grade. Of the 5 teachers we've had are, two should choose another profession. I was appalled when I witnessed a teacher habitually using "old school" techniques of embarrassment to gain control of the class. To be fair, large classroom sizes can be overwhelming, but a seasoned professional educator worth their salt should have other tools. The real problem has been the response: Lead administrator response borders on incompetence. Charitably, one could say she has LOTS to learn. There are more concerns centering on communication. As for parent involvement, it is high but you're either part of the "in" crowd or the "out" crowd. Sadly, much like high school.
We have had fabulous, OK, and not OK teachers at this school, so our experience there has been spotty. We are not nearly as satisified with this school since the years when Ed Noh was there, due to the principal juggle and the new leadership. Parent involvement is strong, but a bit cliquish. The class sizes are large, which might be typical of other public schools, which makes it more difficult for teachers to address more individual needs or the social/emotional aspects of development. So that is not a reflection on the teachers but rather a reflection of "the system". Walk to math and reading are good. The school has been topsy turvy on deciding how to deal with Spectrum, and the communication about decisions and implications of that have been extremely poor. If you are interested in Spectrum you should ask lots of questions about how they are going to implement the program for the 2011/2012 school year.