This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Fishers Landing Elementary School1
Posted September 24, 2014
- a parent
My oldest is in 5th grade at FL. She came home and cried last year from the stress of MSP testing. Her teacher made them memorize things for weeks leading up to the test, then dropped it when testing was over. My middle child went to Illahee for the Excel program and the difference between schools blew me away. For years I thought the issues at FL were due to school size. But Illahee is even bigger yet I was met with a completely different culture .the teachers and staff smile and the PTO reaches out to you. In general FL is a cold, systematic kind of place, so it all depends on the teacher you get. If you get a good teacher, then year will be ok because you can ignore everything else like the grouchy office staff, inaccessible principal, and rough cafeteria lady. You can be involved, but in very controlled and limited ways. Most PTO work is about raising money. The parent community has 3 groups. There s the group that loved the hype surrounding FL when they got here so they promote fundraisers and hang out with one another like a sorority. And there is the group who work fulltime so they figure that no news is good news. Then there's the rest of us who fall somewhere in between.
we are three weeks into our second year here with two kids. best way to describe this school is organized chaos. everything from the parking lot each morning, to Open House day, to the day-to-day functions...its all organized chaos like the big corporate farms that breed cattle or chicken for mass production. they focus on numbers, not the children, like budgets, fundraising, test scores (i.e. weight of cattle before they go to sale). principal is obsessed with the test scores because she doesn't have much else to use as justification for herself. saw this obsession firsthand when I had a conversation with her recently about it. reputation of this school is sinking. we know more people who are frustrated with this school than satisfied people. the staff likes to keep parents at a distance, its so consistent I wonder if they are trained to be that way. very strange PTO culture too. they do lots of fundraising and superficial events but with an air of elitism. difficult to make real friends. trying to keep an open mind and things will change, but wonder if we should sell our house and move.
My family moved to this area of Vancouver specifically for this school and have not been disappointed! I have 3 kids that have attended this school for the past 3 years and have nothing but great things to say about the teachers, principal and staff at the school! I feel that a lot of negative comments come from people who are unaware of how the PTO and school operates. The teachers do a great job with the class sizes that they have and it's an issue with almost all public schools. There is more parent involvement at this school than any other that I've seen and my kids love all the events that the school and PTO put on for us! In regards to comments about the staff in the lunch room and recess staff being mean to kids, I've never seen or heard of this. They have gone above and beyond to get to know my kids and let me know how they're doing during recess. We highly recommend this school!
Very disappointed in this school. We had heard great things about it previously but they did not materialize. The principal shows poor leadership and most of the staff resembles that of a prison. Principal is a poor communicator and mostly wants to maintain status quo. Our child's teacher was ok but most of the staff had entitled attitude and the lunch room lady / playground supervisor was consistently mean to the children. Too much focus on test scores and not learning. We are not returning next year
It is shocking how poor the administration is at this school with relating to parents and students. After two years with one kid and three with another we decided not to come back which is why I am on this site researching other schools. How this school runs things is not supportive of children or real learning. Very disappointing on all levels except a couple of teachers. The principal is sneaky in how she does things and her way of managing the school wore many of us out. She manipulates parents like intentionally waiting until a Fri to send out letters informing parents that your kids will be moved to a different class the following week (this is after the school year is well underway). The entire school day is broken up by interruptions, a ten minute lunch, P.E. at odd hours of the day, etc. Its done quickly just to check it off the list. The schedule resembles that of an overcrowded jail facility. A positive about the school? The custodian is very kind to the kids. How could this school improve? Better staff and administrators who will treat kids and parents better than the current group in place.
There is nothing special here. It is a public school with more kids than it was built to hold. (The middle and high schools are worse, I have one boy in each. I don t know how they can possibly fit in more kids). Don t be mislead by the high rating. If this school teaches you one thing it will be that good test scores do not mean it is a good school. The good and mediocre performing kids get ignored. For years the PTO funded a tutoring program for anyone who wanted to participate but the new principal decided this year that only the kids who were identified as falling below level could do it. That was an insult to those of us who worked hard to raise the $10K needed to fund the program for everyone. Everything is geared to teaching kids how to take the state test. Creativity? Teamwork? Leadership skills? Developmentally appropriate expectations for the children? That s all too much to ask. I know from my nieces that other schools in the area are not as full and have happier, more inspired teachers. Kids need encouragement and compassion. You will not find that here. But you will find a never ending flow of requests for money from the PTO and rude office staff.
First of all this is a huge school averaging over 100 kids for every grade (K-5). So you know what that will do. Teachers are mostly busy dealing with problem kids, teaching down to the lowest performers, so a kid gets ignored all year if he/she is "at level." The building is packed, there is zero flexibility, and kids have 10 min to eat. The principal Judy DesRochers is not accessible (literally or MENTALLY) and the staff is so condescending and rude to parents. I empathize with other comments!!! My kid got scolded for wearing a tank top (not even with spaghetti straps, but THICK shoulder straps) on a 95-degree day. The cafeteria supervisor yells at kids to eat, walking up and down the aisles like a drill sergeant and getting in the kids faces if she sees them talking. It's all about the MSP test here, it's obviously the only thing the principal cares about. After my oldest son attended for two years, we decided to homeschool because the principal refused to address a bullying concern (she ignores the real issues but proudly upholds meaningless standards like tank top straps). Our daughter just finished her first year. We will homeschool both kids next year. We are done with FL.
My youngest child will entering her final year at this school. Between all of my kids I have been at this school for a long time. I say from experience that this school has changed drastically in just a few years. Ever since the new principal took over (who is not exactly the brightest lamp in the room, if you know what I mean) the attitude of the staff and the whole vibe/aura of the school went sour. Abrasive staff and teachers are enabled to be that way. The previous comments stole the words right out of my mouth and it is all true. Secretaries are rude and the traffic control and lunchroom supervisor (same person) is mean to the kids. Its obvious that many of the staff hate their jobs. It used to be different. Poor customer service was never allowed by the previous principal who was more parent-friendly and kept his staff in line. It is sad to see what used to be so good get run into the ground. Many parents and teachers can see it happening. I don't recommend this school. If you must go here, I advise that you stay very involved in your kid's school life. This is not a place where you can assume that all will be well, including academics and how your child is treated.
I would love to give Fisher's Landing a great rating, but, I simply cannot do so in good judgement. My child has been attending for a few years now, and the front office staff is not welcoming at all, nor has really ever been. When I come in, I am treated as if I am invading their personal space and nosing in on their very private business. I am always kind, smiling and polite, yet, despite that fact, get this very icy treatment every time I am there. I don't know why the front staff are so rude, or why it has never been addressed, but, I personally am sick of it. Most of the teachers are terrific, on the other hand. I am thankful that there is a music program here... the music teacher is phenomenal! A big complaint that I have is how the children are treated during lunch time. Having an adult marching around, and barking orders at you during your extremely short lunch period must be quite intimidating to the children. That woman should not be around children, treating them like that. I am not welcomed by the PTO, either. They ask for volunteers, which is nice, but if I am at an event or need to ask a question, I am treated like a nuisance. I would yank my kid out if I could.
My review of this school is mixed. I agree with the other posts below citing frustration with the lack of arts education (outside of the monthly, volunteer-based program), but that is a district-wide issue. Regarding the school, I also agree with the previous post about the school staff and administrators needing to make more of an effort to create an inclusive community, but I'm not sure how they can fix something like that when they are not even aware that it's a problem (although most of us feel the coldness immediately on the first day we walk into the building). I also agree with previous comments about the general coldness surrounding lunchtime and how the lunch lady walks around barking orders at the kids -- her demeanor makes me cringe. So there's plenty of stuff here that can be improved when it comes to staff behavior and how they interact with parents and kids. Re teachers, we've met some very good ones, yet I hear there are some bad ones, but that is probably the case at any school. When we spoke with principal she seemed very responsive and willing to listen. And PTO raises money to fund a tutoring program for the struggling kids, but tutoring only lasts for 2 weeks.