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Old 11-04-2009, 06:40 AM
 
9 posts, read 24,270 times
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Default Severna Park Middle School

Hello everyone. We just purchased a home in Severna Park and our son would be going to SPMS next year. I called the school to see if we could meet with someone to get a feel for the school since with the move and transition to middle school, it would be a big step for all of us (nervous about the middle school experience...) and we were basically blown off. I was told that they do not meet with new parents at all. No tours, no appointments. They just want you to come during registration, which is the summer before they start, and get aquainted then. Its all very troubling to me, considering the school has 1500 kids. I wanted to get feedback from folks whose kids go there as to whether it is a good school. Are the kids treated well or is it a herd mentality. So far my experience makes me VERY nervous. If they can't make time for a prospective parent now, how will we be treated as parents if we have concerns once our child goes there? Please tell me whether I have cause for real concern or whether I'm being paranoid. I know they have great test scores but my son scores Advanced on the MSAs anyway so that's not really the type of info I'm looking for. Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Maryland
296 posts, read 579,280 times
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I used to work in the office at a school and would have parents want to come and take tours before their child attended. Sometimes we were accomodating but there were times when we were just so overwhelmed (office is short staffed) that we just couldn't meet separately with families. From what I have heard though, Severna Park is a good school.
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:40 AM
 
43 posts, read 106,372 times
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We toured all the public schools our children have attended. The principals gave us tours. I would call back and see if you can speak with the principal directly. It's unacceptable that they will not give you a tour. Tell them you are thinking of moving to the area, and want to see the school. If they still say no, then show up at the school one morning, walk in and ask to speak with the principal. I would be very nervous about a school that shuts me out.

Test scores alone do not make a school "good." All good scores tell you is that the kids are from educated families and are probably middle class. The highest rated elementary school in our town (which won a state award recently) is a miserable place, IMO. The principal is awful, the school's philosophy is rigid, and the kids don't seem to be having any fun. My child went there for one year, hated every second of it, and we moved to private after that and have been happy ever since.
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:00 AM
 
407 posts, read 737,918 times
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I am a retired teacher and principal and I have never heard of a school that would not allow parents to tour. They might have asked that you wait until school was out for the day so you would have more freedom to roam around and not disturb classes but to not allow it, no way. Test scores simply mean that the majority of kids in that school test well and you don't want to get me started on nationally normed tests. It means nothing. You can demand they allow you to tour but after the initial refusal, I would not put my kids there.
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Maryland
296 posts, read 579,280 times
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I worked at a yellow ribbon school and we would have people coming out of the woodwork trying to get their kids enrolled when they didn't even live in the district. After I enrolled them, I would get calls from their neighbors saying that they lived elsewhere and found out that they provided fraudulent proof of residence. I guess that is one of the reasons I quit as well as being the only office staff member with 500 students and high maintenance parents. Too much work with very little pay--but that's another topic.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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I agree with everything everyone is saying here. And just for the record, samstersmom, we are closing on a house in Severna Park on Monday so we definitely will be living within the school district.

I agree that test scores don't tell you anything about the quality of the school, especially if the demographics are pretty homogeniously upper middle class. That's exactly why I was looking to meet with someone and get a feel for the atmosphere at the school. But, everytime I called the school, I kept getting referred to the same individual and consequently running into a brick wall.

I don''t think my request was too out of the ordinary, especially considering the fact that we are coming from a smaller school district and this middle school will be twice as big as our current one. I don't know if I should try again and get labelled a "troublemaker" parent. That's certainly a stigma I don't want to have my child suffer because of.

Anyway, I guess I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has kids or recently had kids go through SPMS. If so, was the child's experience a positive one? Is the school and staff nurturing? Do they encourage and challenge the kids to the best of their abilities? Is it just about testing or is it really about learning?

Thanks everyone
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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I am a teacher in the county and my son will go to SPMS next year too. They usually don't give tours this early for the next school year. From what I understand from other parents, in the summer before school starts, they hold a get together for the incoming sixth graders. That way, the kids will meet new kids that might not have gone to their same elementary school. Right now, SPMS is under construction, and it should be all finished by the start of next school year. It is a very good school. What community are you buying your house in?
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Old 11-25-2009, 05:52 AM
 
9 posts, read 24,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lau3 View Post
I am a teacher in the county and my son will go to SPMS next year too. They usually don't give tours this early for the next school year. From what I understand from other parents, in the summer before school starts, they hold a get together for the incoming sixth graders. That way, the kids will meet new kids that might not have gone to their same elementary school. Right now, SPMS is under construction, and it should be all finished by the start of next school year. It is a very good school. What community are you buying your house in?

Its a small older subdivision off Cypress Creek road. I did speak with some other people since my posting and I have a better feeling about the whole thing at this point. I think I was just nervous and not prepared for the response I got.

Since we're moving during the summer, I'm also thinking of putting my kids in some camps in the area, hoping they'll meet some other kids and get acclimated. Are there any good summer camps that you recommend around Severna Park? I was thinking that maybe AACC may have some interesting stuff.....
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Old 11-26-2009, 06:27 PM
 
35 posts, read 116,498 times
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That is nice back there. A lot of kids go to Anne Arundel Recreation and Parks summer camp at Severna Park Highschool. The website is Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You are also close by the private school Severn School. They also offer a summer camp. Anne Arundel Community College also has a lot of kids programs too. They are all very good programs.
Severna Park Middle School is great. Your child will love it there. The teachers all seem caring and want to help kids do well.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:18 AM
 
18 posts, read 54,926 times
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SPMS is a great school and they will get your child ready for high school, trust me. I attended SPMS and Sharon Morell was the principal while I was there. I graduated from Severna Park HIGH School in 2003. I can tell you that the Severna Park schools are top notch, with excellent athletics,academics, and music programs. SPMS is a large school, but not all of the kids that go there will attend Severna Park High School, some will venture to Archbishop Spalding, Mt St Joe, or even Severn. I can tell you that my class of 2003 from SPHS had a graduation rate of over 98% and I believe it was over 95% of kids that went on to a 2 year or 4 year college.
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