Lake Bluff excels not only academically, but also at character building. The test scores and placement here and throughout the district speak for themselves, but what can not be measured from the outside so easily is the amazing student community within the school. I have rarely observed anything other than completely happy and confident students inside and outside the school when visiting regardless of their age, gender, race, abilities, and any other factors that, in many schools, mark students for social marginalization.
As a long-term resident of Shorewood and former educational professional, it is disheartening to see the quality of education deteriorate at one of our flagship schools. Even though our family enjoyed the perks of what started out to be a great school early on, we soon realized beyond the basic A,B,Cs that Lake Bluff wasn't providing a solid education for our kids. In such fundamental skills as writing, the curriculum is not well structured and the teachers try and teach through examples but the children have no context. Further, social studies is probably best taught by reading the text book as there is no value add by the teachers. As for math, the curriculum is pretty good although it appears that the math aide is the real value and not the teachers. This school needs an injection of new talent with teachers that actually care about the kids. Unfortunately during all the protesting in Madison a few years ago, the majority of teachers at Lake Bluff where more interested in their medical and pension benefits versus the teaching quality and attention given to the kids. Sad!
While my kids have had positive experiences with many of the teachers at Lake Bluff School, Dr. Juffer and the teaching staff are a little too complacent based on the school's high test scores. Just as low test scores are due to family/home environment rather than the schools, high scores are due to the families in the district, not necessarily to the teaching, especially when it comes to math. As a parent who had concerns about what my child was experiencing in the classroom, I was shut down by the teacher and basically given the impression that I am an overbearing, over-involved helicopter Mom and I should just go away. For such a small district, they are not very open to parent concerns.
Lake Bluff is a truly great, character building school. Principal leads with passion and purpose and his leadership shines through the teachers and kids.
I am really sad to hear about the experience of parents who felt like they and their children were treated differently or were unwelcome. I agree it is kind of cliquey on the playground among the parents sometimes. I work full time and am a single mom, and I just don't have time to hang out and chit chat much on the playground, or go to the parents' organization meetings, etc. I think that unfortunately the people who are more down to earth are busy like me and sometimes seemed unfriendly. But over time I have made friends with some families. I have two boys in the school and they both love it. My kids seem to have a real mix of friends and some very close-knit friendships. My older son is in third grade now, and my younger son in K5, and their experience has been really good overall. Teachers who really get to know them, their strengths and weaknesses, and who talk openly with me about how they are doing. They learn a lot, not just academically but about how to be a good person. All in all Lake Bluff is a really great part of our family life.
we moved here a few years ago, and among the families of our older son's classmates met the people who would become good friends here. yes, on the playground it can seem clique-y, but we have always been treated well by the teachers and have found other parents to get along with. our older son had some behavioral challenges in K5, and the teachers helped us work on those. our child who excels in math has been challenged (the everyday math curriculum 'spirals' so that children review material after a few months. it's a shame a prior reviewer didn't get an explanation from the teachers--you they ask about the material?) also, this school has managed to save art and music for even kindergarten, despite statewide cuts.
The school has a great academic reputation that it doesn t deserve. Having moved to Shorewood two years ago, we are still treated like outsiders. Our first grader had difficulty in reading last year. When we discussed this with his teacher, the response we received was well, he didn t go to Shorewood last year . In addition, the school uses the Everyday Math curriculum. My oldest son stared at Lake Bluff in fourth grade, and as a fifth grader was learning the same thing he was taught in third grade at our failing school in Virginia.
I enrolled my child into this school because of its academic reputation. As a few others have stated, outsiders are treated differently. One parent spoke to me at the new family picnic. Not one parent, not even the room parents, introduced themselves at orientation. I had to approach them and then was met with an "oh hi." I am insulted that many parents had a problem speaking, but did not seem to have a problem calling my home asking for donations to SEED. And yes, my child was singled out and labeled on the first day of school. Sadly enough, my second child, who does not attend this school, has already been labeled by this same teacher. I'm not so sure the academic education is worth the price of my children's mental stability.
I am a parent of two kids at Lake Bluff and I absolutely love it. My kids are challenged, motivated and encouraged by the principal, teachers and other students. They have a fantastic art and music program, and character education and guidance where they give them real solutions to deal with the challenges they might face. They do their best to break the kids out into smaller groups according to their abilities. My oldest (for whom things come very easily) is involved in enrichment programs like the Spelling Bee, Junior Art Docents, even just extra math and reading to keep her motivated. My younger daughter (for whom things can be a bit more of a challenge) got the help she immediately needed to bring her up to speed with her reading in 1st grade within the first month of school. I love the environment and can't wait for my third daughter to start there!
I can relate with any parent who is "out of the Shorewood area" We too feel like outcasts and our child is treated like a outsider. This school is very clicky and the teachers are not as welcoming as should be. A very liberal school and does not support individualism. Unless you live in Shorewood, you will not be welcomed.
Lake Bluff offers a wonderful Character Education program where student-lead assemblies teach various good character traits to classmates (honesty, perseverance, etc.. Also, available is a multi-age classroom as well as the traditional single age classrooms. I cannot speak highly enough about the teachers and principal!
I can absolutely support the opinion of the parent of the African-American child. I saw this first-hand when my son was in Kindergarten at that place, and was one of the reasons we left. I saw the African-American students, in-district or not, largely ignored by the other students on the playground, and their parents ignored by other parents. I did not want my child to grow up in a setting where some people were not welcomed or included. There is no sense of understanding that exclusion is a form of bullying at that school.
My son was a student at Lake Bluff from Kintergarden to 2nd Grade. We had many challenges with MPS schools so we went as far as to relocate to the district to ensure our son had the best education. As a new African American family to the school and district, we were not welcomed with open arms. When I walked in the door the secretary handed me a 220 application assuming we did not live in the district. This should have been a signal to me. While the education program is great, our family was never welcomed by the other parents and parental groups and our son was treated like he had behavioral problems. He was definatly treated differently by the staff because he was African American. We moved out of state where he has excelled tremendouly (straight A's) and is socially accepted by peers and teachers.
I have to give this school a 2 star rating for the absolute hypocrisy of the teachers, Dr. Juffer, and the Board. My son was in 2nd grade when he asked, 'what does 'I'm working without a contract' mean'? I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me his teacher was wearing a button. I told him, I didn't know, but asked him 'how does it make you feel'? He said, very simply, 'like she is not happy' and 'I don't think she likes being there'. Wow! 'out of the mouths of babes'. Dr. Juffer allowed this. The teachers refused to put any art up on the walls They say they care about education. Hogwash, their benefits exceed 40% of salary, they chose the job, and selfishness is killing this district.
What a wonderful school this is. They have a character education program that is fabulous and the teachers are excellent. Dr. Juffer loves our kids and it shows in the way the school is run.
I am a grandparent of 2 Lake Bluff students. The minute you enter the door, you know real education is happening there. Lake Bluff is doing everything right.
My sons have been at Lake Bluff since last year and I am really pleased with the education they are receiving there. I would recommend the school to others. I really love the teachers and Dr Juffer is fabulous.
Talking of Lake Bluff school brings an image of a healthy smiling face sometimes playing soccer with the students and sometimes chatting with them with dearness and friendly gestures. I did not believe that this is Dr Kirk Juffer, the principal of the school. But he is. That a principal can be so nice and easy to his students and their parents was not known to me before I admitted my daughters to ake Bluff School. It is such a nice experience to have him as a principal. The teachers are so kind and caretaking in this school that there remains no concern as a parent about the child's well-being and learning. There is a lot of interaction in between parents but there are some who are seriously constrained within their own status or preferences and a smile is reciprocated by a flash which dies away even before you passed.
I disagree with the parent who says the school is insular. It certainly isn't insular for kids who all seem to find their niche. I am not looking for all of my child's classmates to be her best buddies. The teachers and principal are fabulous at this school.
It is so much fun going to Lake Bluff every school day. I am a 6th grader at Lake Bluff and have been going to Lake Bluff since K4. My Uncle, Aunt, Father,and older brother have all gone to Lake Bluff and LOVED IT! This year our school got 50 new students and we had a meeting to make sure everyone was welcomed there. We also have Character Education Assemblys. If you are diciding what school to go to I reccomend Lake Bluff!
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