Updated from March 2012 (Kindergarten review): We're nearing the end of fourth grade and I'm still very happy with the education our son has received so far!
Reading the most recent reviews can provide prospective parents with an adequate perspective of our school and the drama that exists. There are two major groups of parents that act like children; taunting and bullying each other both in person and on social media. If only they could put half their energy into making Rilke Schule a fantastic place for everyone! Recommend avoiding the parent organizations, as they typically lead to discourse.
The teachers are wonderful! Our principal, Herr Ball, is leaving at the end of this school year--a big loss for us. His shoes will be very hard to fill. The school is in the process of hiring his replacement. It's a difficult position, especially when a group of parents are "the boss."
All in all, it still is and will remain a great option for parents in Anchorage. Hopefully we will weather the fiscal storm that is brewing. Very few schools offer a middle school option combined with language immersion and dress code policy. This caliber of education would cost tens of thousands of dollars anywhere else in the country! If parents focus on students and making the school a success, Rilke Schule will continue to provide a superior education for kids in our community. Our son has benefitted greatly thus far and we are planning to stick with it all the way through middle school.
We withdrew our child midyear
because on several occasions our child was hit or shoved on the rocks by another kid in the schoolyard during outside recess. We told our child to contact noon duty staff,
but they did not care.
Our child also visited the nurse after such encounters and we were never notified by anyone. We saw the bruises at night.
They also had cases of lice on multiple occasions which was known before Christmas already. Unfortunately, the parents got one notification letter at the end of January.
As with several charter schools, there are some issues with the politics. Glad we were not involved in that. It seems ridiculously dramatic. There are a few German parents who could provide great resources to this school if they hadn't been accused of having a sense of entitlement. Instead of interpreting it as entitlement, which seemed far-fetched, utilize it and appreciate the contribution!
Lunch time is stressful and seems so chaotic!
There is no lunch room and no library.
The school was not for us and we are glad to have the freedom to choose a different school.
Overall we have had a pretty good experience with Rilke Schule until they moved into the new building.
The school is not adequate at all. Music class is held in the hallways which is very distracting to the students in the classrooms. Lunch takes place in the multipurpose room (aka gym). There is no lunch program so you will have to pack lunches.
They are allowing special needs children that are mean / violent in the school rather than placing them in a program that is a better fit. This is not fair to the child or the rest of the children in the classroom. We had on several occasions where the special needs child was violent towards our child and had our child moved into another class. It wasn't long after this occurred that another parent asked why our child was moved and when I told him he said that child had punched his daughter in the stomach. The child is still at the school.
The same year we had another issue with our other child who is in a different grade. We learned that the school was moving another special needs child whom my child told me she didn't want in her class because he was so mean and shouts hateful things. I then learned again that rather than placing the child in a more appropriate program they moved the child to our child's class. This is not fair to child or the other children in the classroom. This was the final straw for us and will be pulling our children out of the school as we feel the school is more interested in the extra funding they get for special needs children because they can't afford the building.
The teacher turnover rate is high. Three teachers left mid school year. More will be leaving at the end of the year.
Rilke Schule has the least amount of PE / Recess of any school in the ASD.
The music and art are exceptional. Again I do not like how the music class is held in the hallway though.
We do hope that the school will improve over time however we are not willing to put our children's education at risk just because we want them to learn German.
Still no language path for students beyond middle school after 8 years of promises. Some of the German teachers' proficiency (in German) is below that of 5th graders. Staff turnover is tremendous (quickly approaching 50% in less than a year), the majority of teachers seem inexperienced and are left to their own device since there is no written curriculum and little teaching materials given to the teachers. Attrition among students is high as well, especially for middle schoolers. The climate is unfriendly at best. Opinions are better not voiced openly without having to expect repercussions from the governing board. Test scores are declining steeply. This is sadly no longer a 5 star school. The biggest areas of concern are math and science proficiency - very ironic for a school of arts & science. Overall, leadership is sorely lacking and the result is chaos, lack of discipline and organization, and lack of community.
No school is perfect, so I'd never give a school 5 stars but this one merits 4. The school has strong academics, the language immersion program produces great results (and has been recognized by the German government as one of the best German immersion programs in the world!), and there's a very involved community of teachers and families. It also has very clear curricula for each grade, contra what other (former) parents here have stated perhaps they didn't know where to look (i.e., they don't seem to have asked the principal), but I've seen the documentation, so I know they exist. The main problem with the school, paradoxically, stems from its greatest strength some families get so involved with the place that they start to feel an unhealthy sense of ownership. This has led to pointless feuds (such as the fight over retaining the principal that spilled over into the television news a couple years ago), but there is now a strong governance structure in place that has managed to push much of that off stage, and ground has been broken on a new purpose-built facility that will provide things like a library space and better security, so this already solid school can improve further.
CONS: No approve curriculum PROS: Great teaching skills and dedication from Music, Art, Sports, 6th grade and below German & few English teachers. You may want to think about not sending your child here for middle school.
The school has been in existence for 7 years now and does not have a written curriculum. There is NO library (all those donated books are in storage) and the SPED dept is all but non-exoistent. The language immersion and front office staff is the only plus to this school. There is no full time nurse, nor there a lunch room. We were there from the doors opening and finally gave up and put our children in another program that supports them as individuals and has CURRICULUM. It's not that the teachers are new as another parent stated there is NO ASD approved written curriculum. THe teachers have no back up, and the principal has NO regard for confidentiality or even ordering enough books for core subjects. We had to buy Math books for 2 of our 3 children so they could do their homework correctly. The heart and soul used to make up for what Rilke lacked in building and supplies. That is gone and only getting worse as the APC insists on RULING rather than managing and doing what is best for the STUDENTS. As one who put 1000's of volunteer hours in, I hope it goes back to the Family and heart it once was. But we are out. My kids now thrive at a neighborhood school.
We have two children at Rilke. We have been through the old building and principal, and are now looking at a new building. The other reviews are correct, that we have limited funding and the building is inadequate. I don't know that the new building (15-16 school year) will fulfill that need. I have heard it will not. We love Rilke. We love the education, the attitude, the dress code, and the families that are involved. We do not love the founder and her disrespectful attitude towards families or that she's referred to as the founder when she was one of many that started the school, including a parent that still is involved with the school. There are issues with the curriculum, the Academic Policy Committee and the Principal that never seem to resolve themselves. Probably because parents are passionate and that can cause drama. We DO have an art room, and every year my children have had art once or twice a week. The music teacher is fantastic. As a professionally trained musician I am so grateful for his level of teaching. Some of the teachers are inexperienced, and therefore can lack in curriculum, but even that has not stopped my children from excelling. We love Rilke.
PROS: Parents are very involved (4 hours/month/family). There is a nice dress code and the kids are fully emerged in German for half a day. They are fluent by second grade. RSV (PTO) does a ton of cultural activities. They have a great art program but a very small art room. Administrative staff is very polite and helpful. CONS: The school is leasing and sharing the building with a church, therefore the classroom size and the hallways are narrow, not enough restrooms, no lunch room, library, computer lab or science lab. The gym is shared space. There is a discussion about a new facility, but since a charter school gets less money/student, the budget will not sustain a bigger facility. The new administrator has less than three years of Principal experience, all three Rilke. There is a different classroom structure every year, due to staff turnover. NO CURRICULUM, just a narrative. Each teacher runs the classroom based on their own experience. So if you are lucky to get a more experienced teacher your child will do good, and vice versa. SBA test results from the past two years are below state average. Overall a school that has potential to be good, but it is far from it. Go see it
Excellent, very diverse. we love the teachers. parent involvement is high. Highly recommend! we have 2 children at this school, soon to have a 3rd. why not learn a second language and specialize in math and science!