Fremont Junior High/Middle School Reviews
Fremont was a wonderful school with skilled teachers and age-appropriate and challenging courses offered. Throughout my elementary and intermediate experience, I especially enjoyed participating in the unique Multi-Age Program (MAP) where I gained maturity and student mentors at a young age.
The administration is very supportive of the teachers and staff. The teachers rave about what a great school it is to work at, and how great the administration is. This makes for a more supportive environment for the students. Administration is willing to meet with parents about concerns. However, the office personnel are not friendly towards parents, and it is made clear that parents are unwelcome in the building for anything but public events. Volunteering is nonexistent due to the philosophy of the administration.
There seem to be many athletic opportunities and teams to participate in. I can't comment on the facilities, since parents aren't let in to anyplace but the gymnasium. The gym is in decent condition and well taken-care of for its age. I would say that there is not a lot of fan support, because it doesn't sound like students or their families go to games unless they are directly involved in the sport.
There are no school counselors. There are social workers, but it is not made clear that they are available for all students and I would not say that most students know that they are there. They seem to be there more for students with special needs. Greatly lacking at this school are facilities for music. Concerts are in the gymnasium, and people tend to treat the performances more like a sporting event and run around during the concert. The bleachers are also very steep, narrow, and uncomfortable. There is pretty much no parent involvement, as it is made quite clear that it is unwelcome, except for rare events like chaperoning music field trips or running the PTO book fair. Otherwise, to quote administration (said with a laugh), "they [the students] don't want you here."
My child likes the teachers, so they seem to relate well to the students and create a pretty positive atmosphere. The teachers seem happy at school and supported by the administration, and when teachers are happy, that creates a less stressful learning environment for students (a big change from the Intermediate School). The ideas about grades and equity of work are very traditional, however. There needs to be more differentiation based on students' needs, interest, and learning profiles. There seems to be a general attitude that "fair" equals "everyone does the same thing," instead of "fair" equals "each student gets what they need to learn." There is a punitive attitude towards students in terms of the executive functioning program, which mostly seems to be based on negative feedback, such as points off for late work, forgetting to put a name on the top of the paper, etc. Parents are sent a clear message to "butt out."
The attendance policy interprets Illinois law in an overly strict manner, with a handbook policy that threatens parents with truancy letters for 10 excused absences, while the intent of the law is for 10 unexcused absences. This encourages parents to send their child to school sick, and the school even had to backpedal with an email asking parents not to send their students to school sick during a recent outbreak of a flu-like virus. The "anonymous" bullying hotline isn't really anonymous, since it is an email address. Any parent or student wishing to remain anonymous in reporting bullying or possible threats would not be able to do so unless they opened up an anonymous, untraceable email address first.