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Nina Bjornstal

Henry David Thoreau Elementary School9

Kirkland, WA | King County


March 26, 2015

Toxic leadership and a drama infused population sum up this school quite well. It's been a very disappointing experience to have had our child here, and counting the days until we can leave. I've never seen the principal at any event held outside of school hours.

Submitted by a parent

March 13, 2015

I've had two children attend Thoreau and could not disagree more with the reviewers who called Mrs. Mallon cold. In the many years that I've interacted with her at school events, PTA meetings, volunteering in the classroom, and other activities, she has always been warm, engaged and enthusiastic about supporting her students. It is true that she is also very professional but that does not, in my opinion, translate to cold. Through the years and in various situations, I have found her to be an excellent principal. One of the best example of this is that she hires top-notch teachers who my kids have loved and blossomed under. Mrs. Mallon attends ALL school events, she never fails to greet me and my kids by name, she asks about my child that moved on to the middle school, and I feel that she really cares about our family. Having a daughter, I also really appreciate that we have a woman modeling being a strong leader at the school. Without reservation, I feel that Mrs. Mallon is a great principal and Thoreau continues to be a wonderful school and nurturing community for my family.

Submitted by a parent

March 6, 2015

I am so saddened by what I have read. With three children in the school, I am an active parent at the school and have spent many a day volunteering for this and that. I have only positive things to say about the school. The PTA is great with excellent communication. The faculty is amazing. The office staff is friendly and knowledgeable and I've seen Mrs. Mallon in almost every situation imaginable. She is fair, extremely on top of her job (which is HUGE), involved in the classrooms, exceptionally supportive of her staff and has made it very clear to me that ALL the children are her top priority. Someone mentioned that several teachers and staff left year, but they neglected to mention that the three that did leave were pregnant. Two of those women are regular subs. I am uncertain as to what the people with such negative remarks were hoping to accomplish. I feel it is a form of cyber-bullying with no positive outcome. I don't judge others for their opinion as I don't know their story, but I wonder if taking it up with her wouldn't be more productive. From a very, very happy family at Thoreau!!

Submitted by a parent

February 24, 2015

Thoreau is a fantastic school! The PTA promotes a warm and welcoming environment with its many sponsored events for families as well as diverse enrichment opportunities after school. The teachers are kind, creative and show a genuine love for kids. The teachers we've had, (8 total so far amongst my kids) have been encouraging and supportive of my children's different learning styles. Most of all, my kids love them! For parents, there are many ways to get involved volunteering in the classroom, as well as at special events. Overall, it's been a very positive experience!

Submitted by a parent

February 24, 2015

The teachers and staff are top notch, but the principle, Malinda Mallon, is very cold towards the students and parents, especially if your child has any kind of issues, be it learning disabilities or just can't sit still all the time. She is more of a bureaucrat than a principle. She is worried more about keeping the budget than the welfare and happiness of the students. She will never admit when she is wrong. If there is ever a conflict she will turn it back on the parent or blame a staff member. At the end of last year, a lot of great teachers and support staff left the school. The teachers and staff try to help any way they can, but can only do so much under the thumb of Principle Mallon. I have had a child move on to middle school from Thoreau and I feel that they were not as ready as their classmates from other elementary schools. They are happy to not be at Thoreau any longer. If someone tells you that Thoreau is a great school, it means that their child fits the mold of Mrs Mallon's perfect student and they never get in trouble.

Submitted by a parent

January 10, 2015

Thoreau is a great School with great Staff, there is one thing they are lacking and that is a Principal, I agree with the Parent that wrote a review on October 8th, Mrs. Mallon is lacking everything there is to be good Principal, and yes Parents be careful because she will turn a conflict around and blame it on you or one of her staffs.. (this is the second post I wrote the first one did not get published, not sure why?)

Submitted by a parent

January 6, 2015

HD Thoreau is a special school supported by an incredible community and staff. We recently moved and were able to stay on wih our friends at Thoreau, and what a priveledge it has been. The thought of leaving this gifted, warm environment is a bit unnerving. If every elementary school could have even a third of the talent and support portrayed at Thoreau our nation would be in a much better way. Thank you to Mrs. Mallon for fearlessly leading our children to heightened academic standards and social development.

Submitted by a parent

October 8, 2014

Finn Hill is a great community with wonderful parents & kids that deserve much more from Thoreau Elementary. The principal Mrs. Mallon cares more about being under budget than anything else. The parents don't feel that they are heard, so they choose to not get involved with the school. Bullying continues to happen and get pushed under the rug in hopes that the parents will forget. She is unfriendly and is really good at turning around a conflict into the parents problem. Not only does she enjoy having large classrooms (34 students), but doing what's best for the children is not a priority or concern. The parents won't make a stand & continue to bad mouth their experiences instead of making it heard. The truth hurts & a change needs to be made from the top. If you like negative reinforcement than this is the school for you. Take it from me, don't go there! Several families & facility are thankful they have left and I urge to do the same. It's sad because the staff & children deserve much more.

Submitted by a parent

March 6, 2014

My son just got transferred to a different school in the area and while I am glad he going to new school, I feel like he was very judged at Thoreau and given up on. I completely agree with what others said about the principle. She is ver cold to students and parents, esp kids who need extra help. She seems more like she should be working in politics instead of with young children. The special ed team is awesome! I really appreciated everything they did for my son but in the end I think they had no say and the principle just didn't like my son and my family. Sad.

Submitted by a parent

January 9, 2014

I agree with some of the previous posts. Mrs. Mallon, the school principal is very cold and unpleasant, which can set an unflattering tone for the feeling of the school. Although, most of the teachers and office staff seem extremely helpful, dedicated, and caring - which makes up for Mallon's inadequacies in this area, at least for the most part. The school curriculum seems basic and at least on par with most other schools in the area. And the attention focused on each child's personal needs seems satisfactory. If not for Mallon, I believe this school would be receiving higher ratings.

Submitted by a parent

June 8, 2013

I am a grandmother of two who attend Thoreau now & a mother of two who attended Thoreau from 1982 through 1992. The school is now K-5. Lake Washington School Dist changed this year to all elementary schools K-5, Jr Highs 6-8 & high schools 9-12. Thoreau is a GREAT school! It has the lowest population of students in the Lake Washington School District which makes it great for the students who attend here. Everybody knows everybody & the kids get lots of one on one time with the teachers. They have lots of fun & a great Quest program for higher learning. My son & daughter are looking to buy a house in this area as they rent now & if they find one that is in the Juanita or Sandburg area, they will still send the kids to Thoreau.

May 26, 2011

The staff is AMAZING, the office staff is AWESOME but the new principal they have had revised their carnival making it boring and dull and she isnt very pleasant. She does not relate to the children well and many parents dislike her rigid ways. VERY harse and cold to the students.

Submitted by a parent

May 2, 2011

I just wanted to clarify some information based on the last post...Fun Friday is only done in the First and Second grade classess. Kids who complete their work and have good behavior during the week get to choose a "Fun Friday" room for the last 1/2 hour of the day (not all day long as the previous post implied). The students can go to an art/games room or watch a movie. Kids with unfinished work go to a quiet room to finish up their work. Dance week is a huge hit with most of the kids. they learn line dances, square dances, and popular dances like the Makarena. Parents who don't want their children to participate just have to let the school know and another activity will be found for their child to do during dance time.

Submitted by a teacher

April 27, 2011

The principal and the staff are extremely pleasant and friendly and the school has a nice community. But the culture promoted in school is "the lowest common denominator" culture. After attending the school's "dance week" my 2nd grade daughter came home singing "Who let the dogs out" and doing some increadable pelvic movements. Every Friday in the school is "Fun Friday" meaning the teachers catch up with the students who are behind and everybody else does... nothing. They simply watch videos, lots and lots of videos. I thought that the school was doing well academically but after moving to a different state we are doing lots of catching up.

Submitted by a parent

December 16, 2010

have had 3 children attending this school the past 9 years. Thoreau has overall excellent teachers very caring and commited. The office staff and principle are wonderful. The Principle and Special Ed teachers were very supportive when my special needs daughter could not handle the crowded Juanita Elementary School where they sent her for ESL since we adopted her from China at age 7. The Thoreau principle visited the school in preparation for transfer to Thoreau and my daughter 's anxiety decreased and she was able to really learn in the classroom again. My two boys are thriving-one in 5th grade loving the new Math Cirr that lets him work ahead to some 6th grade math. My Jr High son went on to Honors Classes at Finn Hill Jr High. I would highly recommend Thoreau-it's a wonderful caring community where our children get a GREAT education!

Submitted by a parent

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