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Lafayette Elementary School8

Washington, DC | District Of Columbia County

January 27, 2015


Lafayette Elementary School has some good teachers, some excellent teachers and many mediocre teachers. The new principal is a complete disaster, so much so that after a half a year at the school many of the parents and the better teachers are trying to find a new school for next fall. One of the main reasons the school performs so well on testing is not the school's education program, but rather the demographics of the neighborhood, a highly educated parent body.

Submitted by a parent

April 29, 2014


For the amount of $$ DC spends on each child, which is one of the highest per student allotments in the entire country, this is unacceptable. I get the impression that Lafayette parents are just so relived to be in one of the better DC school zones. Other schools in DCPS are shameful and literacy rates are low. If I hear Kaya Henderson brag that DC has one of the largest increases of test scores one more time... Of course DCPS has improved scores more than say Fairfax/Montgomery. Those systems are operating with test scores in the 90 percentile & have little room for academic improvement. DC scores are so low that it is virtually impossible to go anywhere but up. Going from the 16th to the 24th percentile is a gain but an embarrassment. Lafayette is not a great or even good school. It is an okay school at best, academically speaking. The principal leaves much to be desired. I can't think of one positive thing to say about her except she does a fine job keeping the parents in the dark. Ignorance is bliss. New leadership should improve Lafayette. We believe in public education but realized our children would receive years of mediocre education. Can't get those years back.

Submitted by a parent

February 24, 2014


My child left Lafayette during winter break and is doing much better in her new school. She is learning more and has a better teacher. After 3 years at Lafayette, it is nice to have her in a school with fewer problems. I didn't realize how stressful it was for us as a family until we left the school. I enjoy the new parents group as well,. not as much rah-rah and hype as we found at Lafayette, but honest dialogue between mature adults

Submitted by a parent

August 14, 2013


Agree with all the comments about hit or miss teachers. Tend to agree with comment about strong Lafayette boosters not really understanding what a good school is. Strong fundraising has not improved the quality of the school and there doesn't seem to be any interest of the parents to do so, there is more interest and motivation in protecting the feeder to another DCPS. Odd. We will hopefully go charter next year but this will thankfully be our last at Lafayette. Fingers crossed that we will have luck on our side for teachers.

Submitted by a parent

August 10, 2013


I am a former student of Lafayette and I have just graduated from the fifth grade. Lafayette is an amazing school with so many opportunities for all ages. The kids are respectful of one another and I feel I have learned a lot in the past seven years. I only have experience with 2 bad teachers but the others were fabulous. I made so many friends at lafayette and I will miss it horribly. Overall, I recommend lafayette as a school to any child. -Elise R

July 25, 2013


Lafayette may still be one of the strongest elementary schools in DC, but unfortunately it has many problems. My child just graduated from 5th and the experience has definitely been mixed. First and third grade teachers were excellent, second and fourth grade pretty solid. Kindergarten and fifth grade teachers were awful. The fifth grade at Lafayette is a disaster. Our child's teacher was extremely disorganized, unkind towards the children, and left projects uncompleted. This awful teacher was hired just two years ago, which leads one to wonder how a school with a good reputation accepted someone whose standards are so low. The positives are the good teachers, the fantastic art teacher, strong music program and arts integration. Parent involvement has been historically extremely strong, which has helped the school raise money for arts programs and renovations, but seems to be falling off. The kids are mostly great and there is very little bullying or behavior problems but some parents can be cliquey and snobbish to a comical degree for a group of adults.

Submitted by a parent

June 24, 2013


Lafayette is a good school. Maybe not great, but it does a fine job given the limitations faced by any school. The music program is great - there are lots of instruments available to the student to use, for free. The only real reason I am posting here is to provide a little balance to some of the angry comments. I'm disturbed by references to "uneducated" parents in more than one comment. Is this some sort of coded language for differences of race, class, or neighborhood? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. In any case, don't get dragged into the sniping and criticizing. There are pluses and minuses to every school - Lafayette is no different. Show up, get to know your kids' teachers and the staff. Say hello, smile. Be friendly. You might be surprised at the good things you will see and hear.

Submitted by a parent

June 22, 2013


Thank heavens the school year is over! This will be our last year at Lafayette and I won't miss it. No my child is not graduating, we are just pulling her out to get her into a good school. One of the odd things about Lafayette is all the hype and rah-rah that surrounds it. The parents who think it is an excellent school, tend to be uneducated themselves, so are unable to distinguish a good school from a bad one. I am so glad we won't be returning, this is a happy day for at least one Lafayette parent. We are getting our child out before too much damage has been done, and she is not too far behind her peers.

Submitted by a parent

June 22, 2013


We relocated from the SF Bay Area last year and our children (first and second grade) were previously in a small private school. Lafayette as definitely an adjustment for them but at the end of the school year they both had tears in their eyes because they were leaving their teachers and friends for the summer. The thing that sticks out for me is the ownership of the school that the parents have taken on. The previous post has it wrong, we found highly educated, caring, and well rounded parents at Lafayette. Very few schools are perfect but we are very happy to be part of the Lafayette community.

Submitted by a parent

April 14, 2013


There is a high variation in the quality of teachers, but the biggest problem is the literal lack of walls. The school uses dividers, or sometimes rows of lockers or cubbies, to separate classrooms in otherwise large open sections of the school. Unfortunately, this does not reduce the sound from other adjacent classes. The refusal to construct actual walls between classes makes it very difficult for the children to focus on the teacher an also makes it very difficult for the teachers to keep the children's attention. The school benefits greatly from the wealthy families who are able to raise considerable amounts of money to fund equipment and additional teachers.

Submitted by a parent

November 30, 2012


Lafayette seems to suffer from the classic problem of how hard it is to get rid of bad teachers. After 5 years years of wonderful teachers at lafayette prek thru 3rd grade...we have suffered the bad attitude of a teacher this year, While great leadership from the adimin staff seem to be helpful, the end result is the children in this 4th grade class seem to learn nothing other than adults can be mean spirited too. IT is so hard to see how three of 4 teachers in a grade can be amazing and one can be out right detrimental. We had a fourth grader who had an amazing year last year learned a lot and had wonderful and kind teacher. We have our second son in 4th grade this year and have a different set of teachers and a totally different experience. Lafayette really suffers from the hit or miss teacher lotto and complete inconsistent curriculum from classroom to classroom in each grade.

Submitted by a parent

November 28, 2012


The discrepancy between the reviews has to do with the differences between parents of Lafayette students. Parents who have limited education, limited life experience and little exposure to the rest of the country, rate Lafayette high. They don't know anything else. Parents who are educated, have more life experience and know about educational standards in other parts of the country, find Lafayette does not meet their expectations.

Submitted by a parent

July 19, 2012


Our son attended Lafayette from K-4. He received the best marks possible each year. DCPS tests these kids to death and our son consistently scored at the top of his class. Unfortunately, we had an unpleasant wake up call when we moved to Md and he began grade 5 in Montgomery Co. His new teachers reported that he was very behind his new classmates. We noticed that he was struggling. We were so surprised because according to DCPS, he was at a 7th grade level in reading and 6th grade level in math. We assumed that he'd be placed in the gifted and talented class in Mo.Co. Apparently, DC standards are very low compared to most US school systems. A very tough break for a kid who was accustomed to being one of the smartest in his class. His confidence was shattered. I guess Lafayette and a few other NW schools may be the creme of the crop in DC, but in a school system that is consistenly rated one of the worst in the country, what does it mean to be one of the best in the city? Google DCPS ranking/ ratings. You'll find a plethora of information about DCPS being the worst school system in the COUNTRY. We saw what we wanted to see at the expense of our kid.

Submitted by a parent

July 15, 2012


Reading these comments, you might wonder why there is such disparity between the rave reviews of some and the disappointment expressed by many others. My explanation: 1. Lafayette has many talented, motivated, and kind teachers on its staff. If your child is lucky enough to end up with several of these teachers in a row and you don't experience the alternative, you might legitimately wonder what all the fuss is about. Unfortunately, even more of the school's teachers are not strong, and some are downright bad. 2. Parent "leaders" and the principal persist in denying problems and dismissing conflict. For whatever reason, they discourage discussion of opportunities for improvement and marginalize parents who raise issues. As a result, everyone--parents, students, other teachers--knows who the "bad" teachers are, but the principal doesn't do anything about it. 3. Lafayette students perform well on standardized tests due to their socioeconomic advantages, not because of anything the school does. To attribute that success to the school is tempting, but a mistake.

Submitted by a parent

July 9, 2012


Lafayette school is a good public school in DC. Parents are very involved and the school is a center of the neighborhood. Crowding is a problem as it has become very popular in recent years.

Submitted by a parent

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