This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
North Beach Elementary School4
Posted May 02, 2013
- a teacher
Hi, this is the, proud Principal of North Beach Elementary School. If you are interested in coming to our school then please feel free to contact me. I will be happy to meet with you, give you a tour and answer your questions about our learning community this might help you gain a better sense of our school-wide plan, goals and support infrastructure along with a plethora of afterschool clubs for all students. I actually rated us 4/5 because we have a growth mindset and will not settle for complacency by thinking that we have nothing to improve on. Our Building Leadership Team read the book, Good to Great and the Social Sectors 2 years ago and this quote continues to drive many of our conversations today, Greatness is an inherently dynamic process, not an end point. The moment you think of yourself as great, your slide toward mediocrity will have already begun. Again, please feel free to contact me to schedule an appointment to see our wonderful gem in the north. All the best, Principal (since fall of 2010)
The Pros: The PTA works hard to provide a lot of extras the budget won't support. PE teacher is awesome. The Cons: The principal is an ineffectual leader and I would be hard-pressed to say what he does with his days other than morning announcements. He does endear himself to the kids, so the kids like him and because the kids do, the parents follow along. If you have any concerns, though, he completely shuts down and you're on your own. The PTA pretty much runs the school, which isn't necessarily a good thing. The teaching staff is very hit and miss - some are amazing, dedicated and caring. Others are frazzled (not entirely surprising given the 25:1 classroom ratio) and snippy. Best advice is to speak to someone who has experienced multiple grade levels.
Wonderful neighborhood feel, great activities, art, pe and library. Hit and miss with great and well less than great teachers. Great parent involvement. Sadly, principal and most staff follow districts decades behind non-compliance of federal special education laws. Over the years, many families have sought legal assistance, ombudsman's assistance or left for private to get childs federally protected needs met. So if you have an "easy" cookie cutter kid it may be a good experience.
We are just completing our 4th year at North Beach. The addition of RJ Sammons as principal has made the school even better than when we started. There's a strong sense of community, a lot of parent involvement and you can tell that the staff really cares about the kids' growth. Even though my daughter tests into Lowell we're going to stay at North Beach because she is challenged and feels so comfortable.
Great News! Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, North Beach has a new principal, a young man who seems very enthused to be there. This has been great for staff, parents, and students, as for the previous 3 years the school had suffered under a principal who simply wasn't a good fit. We've got wonderful teachers who support innovative programs such as our "Walk to Math" and "Walk to Reading" blocks in which students leave their classroom to walk to the Math class or Reading class that best matches their current level and needs. This means a precocious kindergartner might go read with the 2nd graders. For math, if your kid is at grade level they go to one math class, if they are struggling, they walk to another, if they are advanced, they go study math with the older students. VERY innovative for a public school. Huge parental involvement too, and it is welcomed and used well by the teachers.
Because it it large enough to have great resources and programs, but small enough that the principal knows every kid (and most of the parents) by name. We often have 100% PTA membership from year to year. Kindness and inclusiveness are core values along with academics. The 'gifted' program isn't all/nothing: kids who might benefit from advanced instruction in math but not English, etc., can still can access that advanced learning in that one area -- a side benefit of this is that you don't end up with a 'clique' mentality of the 'smarties' vs the 'regulars.' New science shows that that division actually hurts BOTH groups.
Without proper leadership a school does not thrive, teacher's settle for the status quo, and children get left behind. Once principal Morningstar left, this school has been struggling to find its momentum behind its leadership and failing. My child's first kindergarten year was under the leadership of Mrs. Morningstar and our year was stellar. Each year since has seen a steady decline in leadership and it is blaringly obvious when an issue arises. While academically I have nothing negative to say about the school, academics is not the only area of importance. I have been extremely disappointed in our last two years at North Beach (2007-2009) and will be sending my child to another school next year.
Good parent involvement and community. There are some great teachers there who really care and some great support staff in the PE dept and a great new resource center counselor who has been very proactive. The parents within the community are also very active. Two major complaints would be the relatively new principal's lack of ability to deal with the parents involvement and concerns and the repetitive nature of some of the math homework which is skewed for testing purposes - lot's of repetition and learning to do it as fast as possible.