We have removed our child from this school. We wish we had done so sooner. The principal – S. Connor – has a very limited focus and goal for “her” school. She has eliminated any hint of honors type classes and dumbed-down the curriculum in the process. She has no interest in parent feedback or engagement and is quick to shout down any criticism. It is sad because the school is located in a great neighborhood with families who are committed to the community. I have to sadly recommend you pick a different school for your child. We wish we had.
First day of 6th grade I was very excited to start middle school. Within a week Mcclure had changed that for me. It was impossible to concentrate with the amount of kids that didn't want to learn and the lack of control from the teacher. Through my three years I can assure you I didn't learn a single thing in my science classes until 8th grade when I had a better teacher. As much as I hate to say it I often felt unsafe in PE because there were times when students would do foolish things in the locker rooms and there was frequent violent threats. During the 3 years I witnessed 4 students with knives which was extremely frightening. In general whenever someone asks me about my Middle School experience I can only use one word and that is "Sketchy " . At times there would be teachers who I thought were very good and I learned very well with, however they would never stay at the school for more than a year or two while I was there. The old principal was not bad and thought she did her job well, but the new principal (at least while I was there) was trying to over control the students and felt like there was absolutely no feeling of joy in the school. Structurally the school is very old and there are water stains on the ceiling. The honors classes were basically locked down from any students that weren't already in honors from elementary school. Whenever I told my math teacher I wanted to move to honors he would simply tell me I couldn't do it and never told me how I could get there. It wasn't until I brought my dad in to talk to him that things finally started moving forward but long story short by then it was too late and I was off to High School. My first year of High School (Bishop Blanchet, a great school by the way) I realized that Mcclure had not prepared me at all for High school. After seeing the classroom environments at Blanchet (full of students who wanted to learn) I realized really how non-productive the classes at Mcclure were.
We had high, but reasonable, expectations of this school, but have been remarkably disappointed.
1. A tenured teacher (with PhD) who was clearly inebriated at initial orientation and spent a semester showing students sports videos in a class touted as showing the relationship of science/math to jobs.
2. A "special education" teacher who admittedly insulted a special needs student at least twice and, in a phone conversation stated "I don't know what I am doing."
3. A principal (Shannon O'Connor) who is disengaged and has been invisible since pre-school year orientation.
4. If your child is anything other than a privileged, upper-middle class child without any unique needs at all, run away from this school because they do not want you.
Very mixed bag this school. 3 of my child's current teachers are very good (one excellent). Two are utterly incompetent, including one who stated he "doesn't know what he is doing" and another whose lesson consist of showing videos of sports figures and reality TV shows.
We really appreciated the way the former principal did not put all the focus on homework and endless rules. The new principal seems to have taken the opposite approach. My kids report that she seems to have no interest in leaving her office and interacting with the students. When we have tried to contact her, she did not even reply to us but sent a four word email to a teacher that said "take care of this" cc'ing us. We just went to the promotion ceremony for our 8th grade daughter. 90% of it was focused on a few students. The feeling was not one of community and celebrating the achievement of all who were there, but only the achievements of a select few.
Super school.Mine is moving onto Ballard and is ready to go, in a good way as in prepared and looking for new experiences.
Some outstanding staff, in fact I liked every single one that have I met from principal to teachers to custodians, office staff, coaches, lunchroom staff. They all care about the kids and helping them be the best kids they can be.
Is it an academic powerhouse like SGS or Lakeside or SCDS? No. McClure seems to be about getting ready for a successful high school experience which is about having emotional development as well as good study skills. My feeling is my child's class will hit the ground running and for those going to Ballard, will make the Beavers proud.
We have been pleasantly surprised by McClure. The teachers particularly the language arts (Wizenhunt) and math (Jennings) have been impressive. The music program is really coming along and the recently new choir teacher is fabulous. A great benefit for our child has been that the school is very small and as a parent you get to know the teachers and administration. Communication is good. Having a child who needs more attention than most, this has been a great asset. I love that my child can walk to school and grab ice cream or shop in the village afterwards. The parent support for this school is very strong. As parents who looked at private school initially, I am glad we made the choice to give our neighborhood school a chance. It has been a very good experience all around.