Before we started Olympic Hills Elementary, we were very nervous. We really didn't know other kids in our area and we didn't know much about the school. (It was not one of the highly sought after schools you always hear about.) In fact, we were banking on an option school which didn't happen. Now, we have only been here a short while, but so far we are very encouraged. Our Kindergarten teacher is very engaging. (Mr. Whiting.) The interim principal, Stacy Crum, seems very caring and apparently teachers love her. (Good sign.) There is a very strong sense of community here. The PTA is very active and friendly. The school staff seem caring. There are some initiatives I appreciate such as: they will never let a kid go hungry regardless of financial issues, they give away books, and there is always interpreters at all meetings which I think is an important community service. (We don't personally utilize any of those things but they are appreciated by us.) There is a very open door policy and parents are encouraged to volunteer or spend time at the school. Also, next year there will be a brand new school building which is very exciting. Lastly, and importantly, there is a great emphasis on reading and social skills here which I think is very important. To that end, the educators here believe play is important, which studies have shown. The math teacher even said she wants kids to practice reading as it will eventually help with math. Instead of traditional homework, they are sending kindergarteners home with practice problems and encouraging them to work practice problems with parents and family so there is time together. Comprehensively, these qualities are what we wanted in a school and we found them. We are grateful. I think this school is a hidden gem. Time will tell, but I am optimistic.
When my son was entering Kindergarten we looked at every school in the area, contemplating going to Catholic School even though we are not Catholic, thinking about dishing out $20,000 for Kindergarten, etc. What I can tell you is that I am really glad that we choice Olympic Hills. The school itself is a great scaled building for young children. It doesn’t feel overwhelming.
What it came down to for us when choosing a school was - Will our son love school as much as he loved preschool? Will he have a teacher that cares about him? Will he have classmates that represent the real world? Will he be safe? Will he leave Kindergarten at the end of the year just itching to go back for first grade?
I will say that he is thriving there. He absolutely loves school. He has friends from all over the world. His teacher is so caring that he has actually sent me updates and photos during the school day. The entire staff is dedicated to making sure that all kids succeed. They work hard to make sure that kindergarteners learning to write their names and kindergarteners that are already reading chapter books are challenged, appreciated and encouraged.
The Kindergarten class has already gone on two field trips to the Children’s Theater this year. They have an awesome librarian - the library is small but Ms. Rham is the best! They have a computer lab and my son will probably surpass me quickly in that area! The thing that seems to be lacking there are things that I think many of us provide for our kids anyway - there aren’t big class holiday parties or birthday parties, no costume parade at halloween..
It has a small but strong PTA. They host Movie nights, Science Fridays, Science Fair, STEM programs after school, a walk a thon, a pancake breakfast and much more.
I’m not saying that it is the fanciest school or a school that has a ton of money. I”m just saying that it’s a real good school with amazing teachers and staff. We plan on returning next year for 1st grade.
This school everyday become butter.. Yes it needs your care and your fallow up about your kids status and improvement, but they are always there to support you and help you and they really care about your kids.
The whole school is centered around ESL students and families. Art and music is not taught here. My student received low grade on social studies because her class had not covered the material. My experience is there is no discernment and ALO does not occur. There are very few teachers who go to the PTA meetings.