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GreatSchools Rating

Desert Willow Elementary School

Public | K-6 | 731 students

 

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Last modified
Community Rating

5 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 3 ratings
2013:
Based on 3 ratings
2012:
Based on 7 ratings
2011:
No new ratings

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33 reviews of this school


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Posted September 13, 2014

This is a great school in a neighborhood that has a wonderful community feel. The teachers and administration are wonderful. Lots of parental involvement! My daughter (kindergarten- Spanish Immersion) loves going to school ! Lots of specials, computers, art, music, pe, and before and after care onsite. The PTO has been great and there isn't the cliquish and cattiness you hear about on other schools:) This is one of the best school districts and the best elementary school in the area! Many parents out of the district apply here during open enrollment!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 10, 2014

DWES is such an amazing school. I could not be happier with the teachers, staff, principal and the friends my child has made. The teachers have been awesome to work with and my child loves going to school every day. My child talks about her teacher constantly and has learned so much and has had so many wonderful opportunities. I wish every school could be like DWES!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 17, 2014

Went here from the fall of 2001 to the spring of 2007 (back when it was only kindergarten to fifth grade). Being a senior in high school, let me just say this school taught me the most during my 12 years of education than middle school and high school combined. In my opinion, it is one of the best elementary schools in the state. The majority of the teachers are so loving, caring, and supportive! It's so weird to see some of the teachers from my childhood still teaching (Mrs. Peterson was my favorite teacher ever). You can definitely see how great this school. Why else would most of the teachers stick around for 10+ years. The secretaries are even still around from when i was a kid! This school definitely made school fun, and from the current reviews, i can see that they're still doing a excellent job. I'm so thankful for all the childhood memories i made, and i really think that this school should set up a reunion or something (for the older kids still in high school/ the ones that started college). Love this school so much,! Really surprised it's not private or exclusive yet.


Posted October 22, 2013

We love DWES and my child is excited to go to school everyday. The school has a ton of parent involvement and most the staff seems happy to be there. The new principal seems to be engaged and is working on improving things where needed.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 9, 2013

Desert Willow is hands down one of the best elementary schools in the district! We LOVE our school! A+++
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 30, 2013

I bring my two children to this school out of district. They both started here in Kindergarten (we LOVE our teachers we have had so far) and they will be in 1st & 2nd grade this coming 2013/2014 school year. I toured 7 different schools before our family unanimously chose this one. The campus is welcoming starting with the wonderful ladies in the front office to the warm and outgoing principal who always interacts with the families at the school. He is very engaged, we are sad to see him go since he was one of the reasons we chose the school :-( The campus is charming and adorned with artwork that previous students have made in the past. Colorful, creative, inspirational & warm. This school models students with values. It's standards are high and I could not be more pleased with our school! I am proud to have 2 lucky little reading roadrunners!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 27, 2012

I am one of the parents who moved my babes to a new school this year. I didn't move my children because I was unhappy with the school. We did it for economic reasons. Let me also say it was a huge mistake. It's been like stepping back in time. The teachers are overworked, unapproachable and defensive when you try to ask questions or ask for help. The teachers and the school do not communicate as well with the parents. The curriculum is questionable. I don't believe the teachers are being trained properly and this is apparent in the way they treat parents and students alike. We will be moving our children back to the loving arms of the DWES if possible since we are out of district. In defense of the current Principle of DWES, I am shocked by the accusations in the reviews. I strongly disagree. This person had big shoes to fill when he came to DWES. He has handled it with grace, dignity and professionalism. Whenever a situation arose where my children either made a bad choice and needed to be disciplined or were bullied, the staff has handled the situation professionally. The entire staff cares for and nurtures every child.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 16, 2012

My daughter couldn't wait for summer to end and school to start. That says a lot right there. She is learning, she is happy, she is safe, she is having fun. What more could a parent want out of a school? We are so thankful to have found Desert Willow (actually on greatschools.org) and are here to stay (well, until it's time to go to middle school). I just asked her (a third grader) what she thought about Desert Willow and she said "I think it's cool that they have the Spanish Immersion program. And also they do a lot of fun activities!"
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 15, 2012

Both my kids graduated from DW and my son was in 6th grade this year. I agree with the parent below DW has been an excellent school and my kids did fantastic with the Spanish Immersion program. I think sometimes parents feel if their kid is not treated above and beyond others, it's the schools fault when they don't do well. I think it s easy for the parents to blame others/school/teachers/principal when things don t go their way. Seriously school is what you make of it and if you are looking for problems you will always find them.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 15, 2012

Ouch! There are some tough critics out there. I'm not ready to jump ship just yet. This is an opportunity for parents to step in and make DWES the top elementary school in CCUSD. Strength in numbers folks!!!! Looking forward to giving Principal Hill the opportunity to address parent concerns and to tells us what his vision is for DWES now that it is "charter school" Stil not sure what that means. I'm a 2nd grade SI mom with a son (OK, this is Monica Beal folks!) ready to help save our school. If Tahlie Peterson is staying put (she is a saint) then I am too for now....
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 14, 2012

Although this school remains above average in my opinion, if something isn't done about the failed leadership than it will fall below average very soon. Teachers are leaving (the highly qualified, respected ones) and parents are pulling their kids out to go to schools with highly respected principals. The district needs to get involved and do something about this "sinking ship" before it becomes completely abandoned.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 14, 2012

As a parent for many years, I am disappointed to read the previous review. I have had nothing but positive experiences at Desert Willow. My children have thrived and the staff is loving, dedicated, and most excellent at what they do. I have not witnessed staff or students "leaving in droves" and am disappointed that another parent would post such a thing. I am certain that the teachers at DWES are more professional than to speak to a parent so negatively about a principal. I have never witnessed the principal behaving in any way that is not completely professional and above all, caring about students and parents. I highly recommend this school and would not hesitate to enroll another student here.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 7, 2012

As a parent of children in the Spanish Immersion program for several years since kindergarten this year has been a major disappointment. Under the fledgling leadership of Mr. Hill teachers and students alike are leaving in droves, disgusted with the school and the S.I. program and actually going to other districts. Mr. Hill is a master placater but does nothing to discipline students that are misbehaving but will provide ample lip service that he is. When there is a concern about a teacher not responding back to a parent concern, he acts disappointed but nothing changes. The teachers don't respect him as well, "no backbone" is the common comment. The Spanish Immersion program in theory is good but when your child gets low grades in math and science, which are not translated and is not learning the fundamentals you wonder if you're doing them a disservice by staying. Where is Dr. Jana Miller the former principal when we need her??? Time to jump this sinking ship.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 10, 2010

I have daughter in the Spanish Immersion Program and she loves it! We have had good teacher after good teacher. Mrs. Richards, Mrs. Peterson, Sra. Smith, Sra. Arneri, Mrs. Scholer, Sra. Glidden, Mr. Cieslewicz, Sra. Murguia, Mr. Langley to name a few! Great curriculum. We love Student Council! Keep up the good work
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 21, 2009

This school is not only a perfect '10' on greatschools.org but a double A+ school(one for the school and one for their Spanish Immersion program) in an all Excelling Cave Creek school district. It's numerous school and teacher awards are not only impressive but some of them like the FLAP grant are beneficial in ensuring qualified staffing and ensuring current and future programs are somewhat safe from budget cuts. The Spanish Immersion program is amazing and that is one thing my children and I miss most about the school along with the great parent volunteers and community. Dr. Miller was an amazing principal and was promoted to Assistant Superintendant in the school district....so I know she will take care of our school especially the Spanish Immersion program which she headed at DWES. Great job and my kids and I wish you the best:)
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 13, 2008

This school offers a Spanish class 2-3 times a week (30 min. classes) or a partial Spanish immersion track where instruction is 50% in each language. It's an amazing school and the leader in International Education in AZ.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 10, 2008

If you get the right teacher then I would say this is an excellent school. I don't agree with there dicipline policies. I have a child who constantly loses her recess privileges because she has boys who misbehave in her class. I don't feel that having the whole class lose out for a few kids misbehaving. Doesn't teach the misbehaving kids anything. My child is miserable and hates to go to this school! The parking lot situation is a disaster waiting to happen! They need a parking lot monitor to make the flow of the traffic go. Not impressed with this school overall!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 21, 2007

In addition to being an 'A+ School of Excellence' this school is the only school in AZ to be a recipient of a FLAP Grant(Foreign Language Assistance Program) for almost $500k over 3 years, provided for schools who recognize the importance of teaching Critical Foreign Languages. The school leadership is outstanding.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 7, 2007

This is our first year in public school (private bofore). Desert Willow has far exceeded our expectations. My son is in 2nd and has Mrs. Scholler. She is terrific and has great, but realistic expectations of the kids. The school has a lot to offer. They have several programs to enhance your childs learning and plenty of opportunity for parent involvement as well. It is a friendly and warm atmosphere. They just received the states A+ award.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 30, 2007

My daughter has Ms. Scherf for kindergarten and we've been very impressed! She's firm and warm at the same time, and my da is really learning. She'll be in the Spanish Immersion program next year. So nice to see the principal Dr. Miller outside every am greeting the kids! The only issue for us is the lack of parking for parent pickup, but to keep my child in this excellent school I'll do what it takes.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.
Math

The state average for Math was 69% in 2013.

118 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
92%

2012

 
 
87%

2011

 
 
90%

2010

 
 
85%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 75% in 2013.

118 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
94%

2012

 
 
91%

2011

 
 
97%

2010

 
 
91%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 65% in 2013.

103 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
84%

2012

 
 
89%

2011

 
 
88%

2010

 
 
92%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 77% in 2013.

103 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
92%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
93%

2010

 
 
92%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 63% in 2013.

80 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
84%

2012

 
 
79%

2011

 
 
87%

2010

 
 
94%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 79% in 2013.

80 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
96%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
95%

2010

 
 
95%
Writing

The state average for Writing was 56% in 2013.

79 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
88%

2012

 
 
80%

2011

 
 
86%

2010

 
 
92%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 63% in 2013.

96 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
80%

2012

 
 
80%

2011

 
 
84%

2010

 
 
n/a
Reading

The state average for Reading was 79% in 2013.

96 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
92%

2012

 
 
94%

2011

 
 
95%

2010

 
 
n/a
Writing

The state average for Writing was 53% in 2013.

96 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
87%

2012

 
 
75%

2011

 
 
82%

2010

 
 
n/a
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

  • In 2010-2011, this school was designated "Excelling".
  • In 2009-2010, this school was designated "Excelling".
  • In 2008-2009, this school was designated "Excelling".

About the tests


Arizona uses AZ LEARNS Achievement Profiles to indicate schools' overall performance each year. For elementary and middle schools, the profiles are based on current and historical aggregated AIMS results, MAP results and whether or not the school made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). For high schools, AIMS results, AYP status and graduation/dropout rates are used. Schools are identified as Excelling, Highly Performing, Performing Plus, Performing, Underperforming, Failing to Meet Academic Standards or Pending.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2012-2013 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 84% 42%
Hispanic 10% 43%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 5% 3%
Black 1% 5%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 5%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Two or more races 0% 2%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 12%N/A47%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Oops! We currently do not have any teacher information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

What makes a great teacher? Study after study shows the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of his teacher. Here are some characteristics to look for »

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School basics

Fax number
  • (480) 419-7265

Resources

Extra learning resources offered
  • Title I Targeted Assistance program (TAS)
School leaders can update this information here.

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4322 E Desert Willow Parkway
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Website: Click here
Phone: (480) 575-2800

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