I have found Principal Maria Breuder to be excellent. She has always been responsive to any concerns I've brought her way, and she is smart as a whip. She is an asset to the school. I am in total agreement that the community is great -- parents pitch in and there are fantastic events at the school, most of the teachers have been great (one awful exception -- I'm sure there is a mix of good and bad everywhere) and that the relentless fundraising is a bummer. The funding goes to support teachers and kids, so it it a great thing, but it is relentless.
Some teachers are great about fostering honestly, integrity and fairness while others couldn't care less. I don't think the principal has much integrity, so it would be impossible for her to foster it. She's more concerned with test scores than students feeling safe and appreciated. Safety is barely addressed on any level, from bullying to the aggressive drop-off and pick-up mess on either side of the school. The principal all but ignores parent concerns about safety.
Too much pressure on kids for fundraising every week.
Principal is detached and test score driven.
Cares more about teachers jobs than educating students.
There are some great teachers, but a few horrible teachers.
Great parent involvement.
Terrible traffic jams on both sides of the school.
The school district should hire traffic guards for safety of the kids from aggressive driving parents..
The principal is more worried about her orange cones being touched than to be outside to monitor traffic.
The principal is a poor communicator. Sends horrible emails to the parents every week, ranging from hostile to ineptly written.
Most parents have written her off as useless, over her head and a poor leader.
Great teachers for most grades, but a few bad ones with bad reputations.
The kindergarten and first grade teachers are exceptional and well respected. Second, fourth and fifth are great and easy to work with. There's a drop-off in student numbers that start to show in third grade and extend after third grade. It's common to hear that third grade is the least enjoyable year at McGilvra for kids.
The homework amount is just right, but the math is especially ridiculous involving complex, unnecessary writing and drawn out process that take 5 minutes for a problem most could solve in 10 seconds using methods parents learned. For those of us who became attorneys, executives, engineers, doctors or almost any profession, we did it using non-Common Core math. Our kids could focus on so many other things if not spending 40-60 minutes a night on common core math.
The Principal (Mrs. Brueder) is horrible. She is very unprofessional and unwilling to hear parents concerns. She rules the school with an iron fist and is not well liked by the teachers. There is a mix of good and mediocre teachers at this school. Test scores have degraded over the past several years with more parents in the area sending students to private schools. Parent involvement is high in the schools with parents paying for the extra teachers and support resources
My child attended McGilvra for only one year, 5th grade. It was her worst year of school thus far. Her home room teacher, although a very nice person, had no control over her students. The class was in constant chaos which detracted from other children learning. She was also unable to challenge or raise the bar academically for my child often saying in frustration "what am I supposed to do with you?". The students were very "clicky" and alienating. The other staff were helpful and attentive to concerns raised save for the current principal. There was an incident last year where there was a bank robbery in the neighborhood. Following protocol the school went into lock-down. My child was in the restroom when this happened and had to bang on the door to be let into her classroom. I address this concern to the principal via email multiple times--suggesting that a sweep by an adult through obvious places like restrooms should be part of the protocol. She never responded to my concerns and when she saw me in person, she was cold and dismissive. My child's teacher quit after last year having taught for many years. Overall, one year at McGilvra Elementary was huge disappointment.
McGilvra has been a wonderful neighborhood school for my children to attend. As a small school, robust parent volunteer pool, dedicated and hard working PTA along with all of the wonderful teachers and principal at McGilvra, it has proved to be a top notch school. As the school district continues to struggle with budget constraints and cuts, schools are faced with larger fundraising needs to help supplement all of the wonderful specialists and programs that we have. While there are a few asks throughout the year, it is comparable with that of other area public schools as we all face similar challenges. All of our teachers have been dedicated, kind, energetic and able to meet my children's needs and we are pleased that our Principal (in her 2nd year) has our student's best interests in mind and as top priority. As the demographic of our school community has continued to change, she is working hard to help meet the needs of all students and families.
McGilvra Elementary is blessed with some of the most dedicated teaching staff I've ever experienced. To augment this (and ongoing School District budget constraints) the school also has extremely active parent and PTA bodies. I sometimes flinch at the number of fund raising initiatives, then I walk by a brand new computer cart containing 30 add laptops recently purchased by the PTA for in classroom technology training. I'm not sure what this investment entailed however, it has been confirmed that all of these funds came directly from PTA contributions. Kind of takes the sting out of the various fund raising asks when you see these proceeds going directly to support your child's educational needs. I frankly wish that McGilvra was a K thru 8 as I can imagine a number of parents opting for private middle school whereby I can't imagine teacher engagement could be that much better. In summary, we are extremely satisfied with McGilvra!