We were at this school for one year in the regular classroom (gifted cluster). The school cannot claim they differentiate whatsoever. I have been in two fabulous differentiated classrooms, and the 2nd grade here is not it. My child came from another PV school known for rigor and a great cluster where I wish we would've stayed. The cluster at that school was amazing for K-1. At Fireside, it's almost as if we lost an ENTIRE year of academic progress. Now in 3rd grade at yet another new school, it's heartbreaking to see how far my child fell behind in the past year in every academic area. My child is now having to re-master areas that she had down cold in 1st grade. Her writing completely fell off last year. Hardly any writing homework whatsoever the whole year, no reports, no paragraphs... no thinking. NO reading assignments. NONE, ZERO. Math was laughable. In our old school, it was not ok to be a "minimizer" or to do the least possible work to get by.... but in Fireside there seemed to be no high expectations. It instilled some incredibly bad habits in the past year that I'm going to be spending the next year breaking. Even the "security" is a joke - no locked gates, no oversight.
This school has wonderful teachers and a new principal who has demonstrated a lot of enthusiasm and great ideas. We have been at the school since it opened, and we love the PTO, the energetic teachers, and the addition of the self-contained program into our school. Very safe environment and an efficient office staff make this an awesome school!
Fireside is a fantastic school and 1-2self-contained gifted is no exception. The teacher goes above and beyond each day to provide engaging experiences for her students every day. My child adores school because the experience in this program and at this school. Highly recommend to anyone seeking an exceptional education for their children. Truly world class.
This is our second year at Fireside and the new principal has been a breath of fresh air. The PTO and front office have been helpful, and my child's teacher has been great. We have been a part of the self-contained program in 3 different schools, and are very impressed with all of the teachers and the rigorous work that my kids are challenged with. All of the teachers at Fireside are professional and caring, and my daughter can't wait to go to school everyday :-)
My family is one of a large group of families that moved to Fireside to follow the truly exceptional team of teachers leading the self-contained program. The teacher leading the 1/2-SC class is widely acknowledged as a national leader in the field of gifted education & as a model for the successful implementation of 21st century learning. She is passionate about enabling profoundly gifted children to reach their full potential, nurturing their academic, creative, and emotional needs. The proof is in the numbers: currently, one third of the students in the class have had an older sibling in her class. It IS a very rigorous program, yet this teacher manages to keep the children engaged & encourage their natural curiosity. Her personal desire to continuously learn with & from her students is contagious & motivational. More than teaching these highly motivated students what to learn, she teaches them how to learn, honoring every part of the child. Largely based on the firm foundation she provides, her students continue to excel throughout their academic careers, distinguishing themselves among their peer group in Arizona as well as on the national stage.
I was recently made aware of the bad review of the 1-2 Self Contained teacher. I was surprised to read it and could not disagree more. We transferred to Fireside from another school in the district because of the strength of the self contained program, in particular the teachers. The progressive nature of the class has been incredibly stimulating, and my child thoroughly enjoyed the class last year. We as parents were kept up to date of class activities using an online blog and weekly emails in addition to the traditional parent teacher meetings. Parents also had opportunities to be involved with class parties and field trips. Our child thrived in the classroom, and we were pleased to find such a great fit. This teacher has been excellent for our child and we couldn't be happier.
I am curious - if the self-contained teacher is so bad, did you pull your daughter out? Because if not, it sounds like she wasn't as bad as you are saying, because a good parent wouldn't have let their child continue in this kind of setting.
The school is new and pretty with all of the new school technology you want to see in a school. Maybe because it is a new school, it just doesn't seem to have all jelled together. Everything is by the book without allowing for kids to grow as individuals. You can find some "hidden gems" like the chorus program but there is little that doesn't cost a bucketload of money to entice students into before or after school. I admit some things annoyed me last year when my daughter tested very high into honors math, was moved into it without me knowing, and since it was part way into the year she wasn't given the instructions to catch up. The honors math teacher I assume was frustrated with her not immediately knowing what they were learning because she told my daughter when she asked a question "You should know this by now" My stubborn daughter (age 9) decided she didn't like the class and refused to do the work. She was sent back to her original class, and sat on top of the class with A's that didn't challenge her at all. All of this happened without me knowing and I only found out after in a conference. If there had been communication with me, I am sure I could have worked it out.
We have been here from day one and love our school. We were concerned because we moved here to go to another school, then they built Fireside. Teachers and staff are all about a positive, healthy & caring learning environment. As a parent of a child who was being bullied. I found Mr. Davis & Ms. Jolie to be concerned and willing to make it a positive experience for all the children involved. I spoke & saw everyone from other parents, kiddos, teachers & staff everyone is knows everyone's name. I found it to be a place we're a child can learn and grow into a well rounded individual. 3 years and only getting better.
This was a highly touted school as it is new and just opened in 2012 and has a very clean new building with all the latest gadgets/technology and facilities for the students. It shows well from the outside. And probably caters well to those kids who follow directions blindly without curiosity. However, if your child is curious, high-energy, highly inquisitive, who is hands-on and likes to take things apart and put them back together, or social and verbal and very intelligent, this may not be a good fit. The culture is to develop and encourage robotic kids who blindly follow what the school hands down. In such an environment, it is highly unlikely that a parent will get the true feel of the culture as most parents are very busy and are just happy to let the school mold the kids. If you are a parent who is willing to see the erosion of your child's individuality and curiosity, then this maybe the school for you.
The teachers are great & the school is beautiful....the principal & his assistant, not so much. Mrs Joley is the only point of contact at the school if you have any concerns. This is our second year at the school & Mr Davis has never returned any of my calls, only Ms Joley, to say "he is out of the office" and she can help me instead. I agree, he is silly & kind to the kids and he is visible after school, getting the kids in the cars...but in no way does he demonstate leadership qualities. My biggest concern is that EVERYTHING is considered "bullying", calls from the office, kids missing class, because one told the other he was better at a sport than the other one. I do think kids should be nice to each other and we should encourage that, but jeez, isn't there a way to say, "hey, that wasn't very nice, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"?? I don't think a child should EVER miss class unless they are disrupting class, period. I also wish they had after school sports for the kids that was funded by the district & didn't cost $100+ dollars for a 4 week session.
We came to this school for the self-contained gifted program and in the primary grades it is excellent. The things they are doing with technology will blow you away! However, the self-contained kindergarten program is just terrible. The teacher has told us our child is not gifted and she gives piles and piles of busy work. With the rest of the program being so spot on, it's a shame that K is lacking so badly.
We are blessed to have our son in such a wonderful school. He adores his teachers and is learning so much wonderful information. Kindergarden with Mrs. Wolkis was amazing he still watches the video she made for the class. Mrs. Kapur this year is just as wonderful for first grade as they are using ipads in there class. Great program.
I am extremely pleased with every single staff member I've come in contact with at Fireside. My oldest just entered Kindergarten and we searched and searched for the school that would give her the best foundation for her upcoming school years. After looking at 5-6 different schools in the area, we decided on Fireside (even though it was just in the process of being built). We are so happy we did! I've yet to hear one negative comment about any of the Kinder teachers and her teacher is absolutely outstanding!!
LOVE LOVE this school. We have been impressed from day one with the teacher quality and leadership. Opening a new school can have its challenges, but the staff and administration has made it as smooth as possible. SPARK behavior using PBS is exactly what kids need. Catch em being good and reward like crazy. It works and helps them problem solve what to do next time if they mess up. STEM is a wonderful addition as well.
I love Fireside! We were at Wildfire for the past 5 years but made the change when they opened Fireside. We were nervous about making such a big change since we were so happy at Wildfire. It has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. My son's 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. T is wonderful! Caring, approachable and as my son says "sunny and happy". My daughter is in 6th grade and changes classes. I adore the 6th grade team and Mrs. Schenk is fabulous! She not only is a wonderful teacher but focuses on character and teamwork. The principal, Mr. Davis is very visible and wonderful with the students. He's not afraid to be silly and really get to know his kids. A very positive male role model for our children. The PE teacher motivates the kids to get active. The choir teacher is also loved by my children. My kids also attend the Mascot club after school. Michelle, the director is superb! I feel so lucky and blessed to have my children in such wonderful care!
This is its first year up and running and I couldn't be more happier! My daughter was just recently hospitalized for pneumonia and her 1st grade teacher took the time out to come and visit her during her stay, :)
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