My two children attend Chinook, and absolutely love it. We have had a very positive experience and the teachers and staff have been wonderful. The art,music,dance, and other classes have been a lot of fun for my kids to try new things. We love all the family events, and things they have for the parents to get involved and see what their kids are doing. We are very happy with Chinook and are very thankful for all the staff and their hard work.
*Beware westside's best kept secret. Test scores do not give the whole story! School administrator's gloss over continued staff mistreatment of students ranging from ignorance to abuse. Worst of all they are all too quick to blame the children and never themselves. Chinook needs some serious housecleaning. The source of our information is our own experience, If you have a perfect child with high self esteem, who needs nothing and can survive despite being in at its best a neutral nurturing environment then you will probably be fine. Otherwise - beware, if you attend chinook and run into problems with staff-do not let them make you feel it is you, it's not!
Our Chinook experience has been negative from day one and has only gotten worse over the years. Many, many tears have been shed by our children and us. The staff is not able to handle common issues, let alone anything approaching serious. They have a nasty habit of chastising the students and it is tolerated quite openly. They have disdain for the Special Needs students. Interior of the school is almost always dirty. Lots of Divas - teachers and PTA-types. Administrators do not handle problems but instead deny they are any and tell you it is your child's fault and you are being difficult. It's has been a very trying experience. It probably will hurt our property values, but I would not recommend this school in it's current state. It's really bad. We pray something will be done. Many families suffer in silence thinking their experience is unique when they are actually quite common.
I have been at this school for 5 years now and being a part of this educational community is one of the best experiences my three children and I have ever had. Most of the teachers have completed graduate degrees, the principal walks among the students and regularly performs for them by singing and playing his guitar. The school averages over 50 parent volunteers on a daily basis. They have several extra curricular activities after school ,including sports and science programs. Family nights are available to attend throughout the year. The parents are very generous and the PTSA works alongside the staff and the relationship is great. The kids really benefit from all the positive aspects of this school. It also has a very strong arts program. I am glad our family could be a part of it during these precious years.
Chinook Elementary School has some really great teachers and a just few that might not work well for your student. The music and art programs are exceptional. There is a core group of parents who remain very involved in the school, and their PTA is very successful in its fundraising efforts and is very generous in its classroom and school assistance. Our students learned a lot academically. What we really liked is that some of the work, spelling, for example, was done on an individual basis, thanks to the help of great teachers and parent volunteers. For example, your student would be tested at words good for his level, whether they are grade one words or grade 12. The only down side for us was that the 5th graders would be out at recess the same time as the 1st graders. The size difference was an issue. This has perhaps
I have had two children in Chinook, one that was there first through fifth and has now gone on to Alki, the other who will only spend Kindergarten at Chinook. During their time there, my children both have blossomed. My oldest has ADHD and the programs that Chinook offered to him helped improve his academic skills exponentially. He was a non-reader in first grade, and now he is reading novels. I credit the school, the administration and the teachers. They are open and willing to speak to parents at all times. If I was given a choice, Chinook would be my first every time.
My oldest child is just starting second grade, so our experience with Chinook has just been over the last two years, but it has been great! She has had 2 fantastic teachers who were very in touch with their students individually. They were great about speaking with me (in person, by phone and e-mail) whenever I had concerns or questions. I was very impressed how they effectively dealt with the children at different levels, for example in reading. They were divided into small groups depending on their level, so that all children were being challenged. In talking with other friends, this is not so in all schools, even in the same disctrict (advanced readers were left to read along with those still struggling to learn). I am also greatly impressed with the high level of parent participation at Chinook. I have seen a great deal of parents helping out in the classroom on a regular basis, as well as for special projects, PTSA, etc. I really believe this allows the students greater opportunities for learning and extra activities that otherwise may not be possible. A new principal will start this fall (2003), so it will be interesting to see what changes come about under his leadership. So far our experience at Chinook has been fantastic!
Most literature suggests parents take an active role in their children's placement and education. At Chinook, parent involvement leans toward volunteerism with lots of paperwork and extracurricular activities outside of the classroom. Parents are valuable resource for administrative tasks, but when voicing opinions or concerns about the curriculum--watch out. Parents are not allowed to survey teacher's classrooms because there are too many 'overinvolved parents' at Chinook (School Personnel, 2003). Yet, only a group of parents (10-20 families) volunteer and are at every function--out of a student population of over 600. Learning resources are readily available for students who are at risk of failing, or those who are extremely successful. Many students in the middle are not given the same opportunities for learning resources nor the same level of committment. These students may not be learning to the best of their abilities and their parents really have to fight to be heard. It's sad that when Chinook needs volunteers, it doesn't take months to get them, but when the parents need help for their children, it takes months for Chinook's teachers and administration to take action. This may be due in part to an adminstration that seems to allow teachers much autonomy. While this must be pleasant for the teachers, there are some teachers who behave differently in the principle's and vice principle's presence. Parent's may attempt to address a teacher's negative behavior or lack of communication, but ultimately, our experience is that the administration may fail to recognize what they do not see with their own eyes.
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