School runs from 8:30 AM- 2:40 PM. There is before care from 7-8:15 AM and after care from 2:45 - 6:00 PM. The AM and PM program are run by GLO and its considered a blended PM meaning meaning there are families who pay and children who are there via the EXCEL program. There are “usually” enough PM spots for those families in need of aftercare. The school is K-5 and there is also a preschool onsite which next year will be fully bilingual as well. Everett is the middle school feeder. There are two special day classes on-site as well. Fairmount contracts with PLAYWORKS to provide PE, recess support and various sports. They also have a 40 hour per week greening project grant for the children.
Our tour started off observing the morning rally, which happens every day at 8:30 AM. Morning rally by the principal every day for 15 minutes. If the weather is nice they are held outside, otherwise they meet in the cafeteria.( We could not go into the cafeteria because people were voting.)
Fairmount is a full spanish/english immersion program. Every teacher and administrator is fully bilingual. The goal for admission is 1/3 truly bilingual, 1/3 english dominant and 1/3 spanish dominant. Kindergarten starts off at 90% spanish/10% english and by fourth grade its 40% spanish and 60% english. The children also receive 30 minutes per day of leveled instruction in their
There are three classes per grade (which I thought would feel too big but it didn’t). The buildings have a very 70’s feel but clean and not drabby. The buildings are designed as pods, meaning that the classrooms are in a circle format with a common area in the middle. It seemed pretty logical to look at.
We only went into the kinder classrooms and there was one teacher with 20 +/- kids. This is the norm here and there are no aides/assistants. There are, at times, parents helping out. In one of the classrooms we were observing the teacher got through one example and spend the remainder time trying to get the kids to focus. Granted, there was a group of us in there but it hit my radar.
There is a huge blacktop area for older kid recess and morning rally. Then there is a smaller area with a great play structure for the younger children (which their clasrooms open up to). There is a computer lab with about 20 iMacs.
The school is a TRIBES school. However, when I asked the principal about this he said “we are but.......”. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. He went on that "yes they were, in theory, but....".
The PTA seems active at having raised about 75K last year. they met and exceeded last years goals and they said they have money in the bank for a rainy day. PTA helps to fund enrichment programs like PE, music, afterschool and staff development. They have two large fundraising events each year.
The principal, Jeremy Hilinski, seemed approachable and eager. This is his third year at Fairmount and his first job as a principal. The parents said they liked him, he was hands-on and is proactive. Mr. Hillinski stated his biggest concern is the achievement gaps between english learners and english proficient learners. He stated staff turnover used to be an issue but was no longer and the limited afterschool space.
Fairmount is a Title One school, meaning it has been identified by the State and District that need academic improvement. The principal stated on more than one occasion that they are on the “very high end of lower achieving schools” and their scores continue to rise. Geek mom will probably be able to crunch data for you :)
Fairmount will be somewhere on our list based on the location, dual immersion pathway and active PTA.