The school principal is the main reason I am giving this school 2 stars. She buries her head in the sand and does nothing to resolve problems. She sticks up for bad teachers 100%. She has poor communications skills, is not approachable and it is obvious that she hasn't been in an administration position for very long. Most of the teachers are very good but there are a few who are not and there is nothing a parent can do about it.
We were a bit surprised by the poor review below. Our experiences with the 1/2 gifted class don t resemble that post. The class is great. The self-contained model is project-based learning, and in this class there is not a lot of homework. But gifted kids learn better that way. The amount of homework doesn t mean we don t know what s happening. We can log into our kid s online programs to see progress. In-class work is available on request. And there are weekly newsletters and near daily photo uploads. Parents are welcome to come into the class, and Mrs. Jones has been responsive and available to us outside of school. The principal usually responds within half an hour to email. Earlier in the year when a parent was concerned the principal called a parent meeting for the entire gifted program to address the issues. The earlier complaint with specials was that they are scheduled so that some of the special-needs kids were in the same class. After one family raised a concern about the specials, we understand that the principal and someone from the gifted office observed the classes. If there was an actual problem with the mixed classroom we re sure it would have been addressed.
My child attends Desert Trails in the first/second grade gifted classroom. I know gifted classrooms don't resemble a "traditional" classroom and for that, I am thankful. The teacher facilitates opportunities for the students to learn and apply their knowledge through blogs, open houses, slideshows, and problem based learning activities. My child comes home excited about learning and the connections that they're making. They adore their teacher and it's obvious that the teacher cares a lot about her students. The administration is wonderful as well. I feel confident in her ability to lead a strong school. I would definitely recommend Desert Trails to any family.
My child attends the 1st/2nd grade gifted class at Desert Trails Elementary. This will be our third year within the PVUSD gifted education program. We have been so impressed with this school, our child's teacher, and the program itself. The principal has been completely helpful The principal is supportive of her teachers, backing them completely with her care and concern. My child's teacher has exposed the children to various technology. I am impressed with how informed she keeps her parents, posting weekly classroom pictures of the children working, sends out weekly classroom letters, and has the children complete their homework online so the parents can view their progress. This teacher encourages students to expand their creativity while challenging them to the next level. This teacher truly understands what it takes to teach a gifted child as she ventures away from the worksheet practice and instead opens the minds of the children through various hands on projects. I have been to gifted conferences and the experts have reiterated that worksheet homework does not work for gifted children, and this is the first time I have actually seen it in action. A+ school.
Our family made the choice to move schools in the fall of 2014, when our child was accepted into the self-contained gifted program 1st and 2nd grade combined classroom. It was the first year the program was offered at this school and the small class size appealed to us - only 12 kids. We soon learned that the lack of communication between the teacher and parents was of concern. Our child never came home with any school work or homework. There was no follow through and we were unable to gauge our child's success or struggles. Emails to the teacher would usually go unanswered. The principle is not supportive of families with concern, especially if this is not your home school. We were told that we chose the school and if we do not like it, we could leave. If you are considering this school for the self-contained gifted program, please make sure that you ask which other class will your child be having specials with. The lack of communication, the lack of follow through and the lack accountability was a serious concern with our family. If we couldn't be treated in a respectful manor as parents with concerns, what was it like for our child?
Desert Trails is a great family school. The principal and the teachers are very accessible. I feel like my son is getting more one and one attention from his teachers as well as the special area teachers. We are glad we are there!