Madison Simis is a wonderful school with a long heritage of excellence. Parents are involved, teachers are caring and hard-working, students are eager to learn. It is nurtured by an enlightened Phoenix community and enjoys a beautiful setting. We take pride in all that we have accomplished and are ever in a mode of continuous improvement. Thank you for your continued interest in Simis, and for your support.
June 09, 2011
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
I would not recommend Madison Simis if your child has an IEP. The current administration (Dr. Flowers) is not supportive of kids who have IEPs and need extra help. Originally, the school's program was working well for my child, but then they made several changes to the program and class he was in. The class size got larger and he didn't have the same tools. This was really stressful for my son and even though we knew we could have the school do a behavioral plan and re-evaluate his needs, we felt like he was not welcome there. They kept suspending him (which they were not allowed to do) and they kept saying "we just cannot help him" and their solution was to move him to a private special needs school that was very rigid and had older kids with serious disorders. We did not agree to this and they were also not allowed to do this by law. Thankfully he is in a different very supportive public school district. Thank goodness for the good schools.
I have 2 children that went to Simis one 8 years ago and it was awesome for the oldest child. My second child however a completelly different experience, one of teasing, not understanding homework and dissengaged teachers. Class size not issue as the size was about the same 8 years ago. I think the push for the IB and other programs spreads teachers time thin, they just push kids onto i-ready and computer for learning and testing which is awful. The math instruction is so confusing parents were given a math night traing/presentation and supplemental information on how it is done as the teachers sure do not explain it well in class. There is a saying if it isn't broke don't fix it, not sure why the school's approach to teaching has changed, I don't think Common Core has anything to do with the change in instruction but will explore further, maybe some school board members need the boot.. That said for Phoenix Urban school Madison is good but if comparing to past performance it is declining.
My daughter just finished her first year at Simis (2nd grade). She absolutely thrived. She is a fairly quiet, shy child and after a year at Simis, I've noticed that while she is still quiet and shy, she has so much confidence. She tested into 'gifted' and I've been very pleased to see what that curriculum entails. The principal and the assistant principal have both been very receptive when I've talked to them (and they reply to emails immediately). The school is officially an IB school. While I don't have a strong understanding of how that will impact the children, I do see it as a positive thing. Simis is a big school, and if you want to keep your child in a smaller environment, this may not be the best choice for you. I like that it's big - I've seen my daughter change in a positive way and I believe one reason she's changed is because of the size. She's not living in a bubble. She stands up for herself. She has so many different types of children to interact with and she's found a wonderful group of girls (and boys) that she feels comfortable with and who look out for one another. The families at Simis area very special.
We have had children attending Simis since 2003 and have loved every year of it! The community and parent support is second to none. We are thrilled with the new I.B. curriculum as it really allows students to delve deeper into subjects and see how they inter-relate with other subjects (and the world)! The PTA is excellent and I truly believe you get out of Simis what you give so if you are stand-offish and un-involved you will not get the full experience. Everyone is very welcoming and I wouldn't send my kids anywhere else.
we went to the open house because my son is attending kindergarten in the fall and we were completely impressed by the school. The students seemed to be working on really interesting projects. The principal was very friendly and so were all of the teachers we spoke to. I was also really impressed that they even had an open house. It has been difficult to get a peak into schools that help me make a decision as to where to send my son, but this was very helpful.
I am stunned at the cruel reviews by some parents and their ease with using social media to attack Dr. Flowers anonymously. I have had three children attend Madison Simis and they all have had impressive academic experiences. These same children now attend a charter school (ASA) and were well-prepared academically. Every school has teachers that are superstars and others that are simply competent. At Simis, there are more superstars than I've seen elsewhere. In addition, charter schools rely heavily on parents and the community providing additional financial resources (we're talking $1,800 per child per year), which public district schools such as Simis would be criticized if they did. The reality is that there is insufficient money from the Arizona Legislature funding all public schools, both charter and public district. As a result, all schools have class sizes that are too large. The impact of Simis' IB program on Simis' students can best be summed up with this quote: "If you want people to learn, you have to stimulate their curiosity, get them asking penetrating questions. Make them wonder." (Mel George). IB makes them wonder....it is magical.
Both our son and daughter have gone here. The teachers are fabulous. The administration tough, but then again that is their job. Facilities always kept up well, even when it's a water play day, the right areas are ready for the kids to wreak havoc on the grass and mud. After 9 total years as a Simis parent, I wouldn't have chosen anywhere else.
My child attended from K-4 but I was unhappy the whole time with the administration. Dr. Flowers is absolutely horrible. She sets the tone of the school which was rather blas . She was curt and secretive and enjoys hiding in her office. She is not very supportive of PATS which is such a shame because they are the ones who are on campus and friendly to other parents and visitors. My child had 5 teachers at Simis. Two were fantastic, two very good and one not so good. I was a retired teacher and was there a lot helping out as homeroom parent and classroom volunteer. Music and art were great , PE was very week. She was not prepared for middle school. My child and many other Simis students attend Arizona School for the Arts where the middle schoolers have voice and an instrument or ballet 5 days a weekend piano 3 times per week as well a a high level of academics and a Life Skills class. After school tutoring for an hour each day is free. My child participates in an after school program in drama. All after school programs are run by their very qualified staff. (Simis hires others to do special after school programs and receives a financial kick back from those who teach.)
My kids are thriving at Madison Simis. They both look forward to school. Despite the size of the school there is a sense of community. The International Baccalaureate program has helped my kids to learn and understand about different cultures, people and ideas. The testing that some complain about helps teachers see if children need extra help. One of mine did and was given the help she needed. This brought her to the top of her class. The teachers really do their job, covering a lot of ground at school instead of loading them down with homework. I also love that the children get to walk across the tree lined campus between classes. love this school.
This is our neighborhood school and I wanted to like it but I agree with a lot of the people on here that the principal just seemed really cold and not that informative. She gave a power point presentation on their International Baccalaureate Application Status but never really described or talked about what exactly it meant to the students, or what it really is. It seemed all about impressing in a very abstract way. The school looks like a prison and there are 200 kindergarteners!!!! And they all eat lunch at the same time, recess at the same time. Seemed overwhelming. The art room looked incredibly sterile but the music room looked really fun and the kids seemed to be having fun. We also saw two different kinds of testing going on which was very depressing. So much testing of kids and yet it doesn't seem that their education is getting better. Needless to say, we will hopefully find a better option for our child.