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.
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.
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