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Students enrolled: 632

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10204 E McDowell Mountain Ranch
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

School website
(480) 484-6100
(480) 484-4601
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Map of Desert Canyon Middle School address.

September 04, 2015
We had a child in the self contained gifted program. This school was unfortunately a failure. After two years (2012-2014) of trying to work with staff and faculty we eventually had to leave. All the ingredients seem to be there, good teachers, nicely equipped campus, etc. However there is a huge disconnect between the needs of the children and the administration. It was very disappointing to find that asking to work with faculty and staff on behalf of our children was met with aggression, intentional bureaucracy and a generally negative reception . There was an embarrassing lack of understanding of well established education principles and child assessment methodologies. Total lack of any skills in how to work with the children and families. A great disappointment.

- submitted by a parent
Teacher effectiveness: Somewhat effective
September 04, 2015
it appears there are good teachers, but they seem to be greatly diminished by the administration

- submitted by a parent
Amount of homework: Too much
September 04, 2015
there is an inappropriate amount of work that causes undue stress and has questionable educational value. Horrible systems and support for tracking assignments, no assistance from teachers or administration for kids he need to develop better organizational skills. Unlike the low income schools throughout the area, there is no parent checklist/signature system for helping students complete assignments

- submitted by a parent
Develops grit: Neutral
September 04, 2015
Yes, if you fit their specific idea of how a student should be, if not, it will be very difficult there

- submitted by a parent
Develops respect: Strongly disagree
September 04, 2015
It comes from the top down, Administrators are difficult to speak with and work with and have a condescending attitude towards parents, that affects the entire school and hampers teachers from being otherwise effective and compassionate as I think they would under different leadership

- submitted by a parent
Develops empathy: Strongly disagree
September 04, 2015
It's all lip service, if you don't fit the profile of a "proper" student you will have a hard time, conform or be cast out

- submitted by a parent
Develops honesty: Strongly disagree
September 04, 2015
The campus feel more like a prison than an uplifting educational environment. They seem to value conformity and test scores above true education and the needs of individuals.

- submitted by a parent

November 27, 2014
Fabulous school experience for my kids. School environment is positive, gifted program excellent, teachers & staff engaged.

- submitted by a parent

April 15, 2014
I have children in both private and public schools, as well as a daughter in college. Two of my kids attend this school and are moving to a different SUSD school for the 2014/2015 school year. Disappointing issues with the school include: outlandish student/teacher ratios (38:1); lack of responsiveness from the teachers (after several e-mails over the course of three weeks did not receive a response until I copied the principal); poorly designed curriculum (not the school's fault because they are bound by SUSD policy/rules but disappointing none the less); overly lenient grading practices; lack of communication with parents from teachers and administration. This school will not do your children any favors if they attend a competitive high school program (IB or AP course study).

- submitted by a parent

February 27, 2014
On Tuesday 2/25/14, three 11-year-olds were held in a room and interrogated by the vice principal and a police officer. Please check with your children to see if any of them were held. Parents were NOT notified by school officials or the police.

- submitted by a parent

October 31, 2012
My child was a happy, energetic student who could not wait until school started each day. Unfortunately, attendance at DCMS has changed all of that! The Assistant Principal singles out certain children (unfortunately my child is one of them) and no matter what the children do it is not right. They are policed by the security guard, watched in the cafeteria at lunch, and receive some sort of nonsence reprimand once or twice a week. My child's spirit has been broken! It is horrid! Bathroom visits are not even permitted sometimes in times of urgent need! (What I am saying here is female students personal hygene needs are being ignored and disrespected)!! Even when my child has explained why a trip to the restroom is urgently needed it has been denied! And my child is not the only student this has happened too in just the past 2 months! The SUSD really needs to conduct some serious retraining at this school or in the alternative replace some of the personnell!

- submitted by a parent

January 25, 2012
I am a student here at DCMS and boy, am I glad that I'm finally moving on to HS next year. It seems like the administration really does not care about you, and if an incident happens at the school, their views become very biased. They favor certain students and totally dislike others, including me. I'm not a bully or a bad kid by any means, but a certain incident happened in which nobody was really a victim, but they totally stretched the story and made ME out to be the bully. While sharing my side of the incident, they kept calling me a liar throughout and threatened to mark me as an argumentative and rude student. They told me to tell the truth and be more like the other student who was involved, and while he got off easy, I received a longer suspension. When I was allowed back on school grounds, I noticed that the vice principle and security officer would eyeball me whenever I ate lunch in the cafeteria. I now feel like I can't go to them if I get bullied or get involved in a situation. The teachers, however, are great for the most part. They seem to be good, hardworking people who are dedicated to their job and are excellent teachers.

- submitted by a community member

November 01, 2011
I wanted to follow up on the review dated December 24, 2010 and note that the teacher in question has been replaced.

- submitted by a parent

October 23, 2011
I have 3 children who have attended DC. I feel the teachers are sincere and dedicated. Parental involvement is excellent. However, I have been underwhelmed by the leadership demonstrated by the administration. School morale seems poor and leadership inconsistent, information spotty. Despite volunteering for 2 years and many hours on campus, I feel no closer to understanding the rudeness of the administration. I have stopped volunteering and am in the process of moving my children out of the school.

- submitted by a parent

April 17, 2011
I am a parent of two students that have participated in the gifted self-contained program, which is a rigorous academic program for kids that have excelled in the the core subjects. This program has an excellent core of teachers and administrators, and we have been completely impressed with the quality of learning and growth that both our daughters have experienced in this program. Also, strong kudos to the choir program at Desert Canyon - the teacher is outstanding as well.

- submitted by a parent

December 24, 2010
I can't speak for much of the school, frankly, but for the part I am in, I have some comments: The 'comprehensive gifted program' has some major flaws. The English teacher assigns many assignments but has NEVER returned any this year. It is safe to say that her class is a complete waste of time. As for math and science, the curricula is well thought out, and taught by wonderful teachers. Overall, I believe if your career goal is more involved with mathematics and science, it's a fantastic program. Otherwise, your best off at another school, or gifted program, anyhow.

- submitted by a community member

December 30, 2009
I've been through a variety of schools, private, charter, and public. This seems to be the best yet. The gifted programs gives every thing you need to succeed. If you want a real challenge. Try the gifted program.

- submitted by a student

March 01, 2007
This school is one of the best schools I have attended,I wish there were more diversity in the school but over all its an amazing school

- submitted by a student

June 04, 2006
They never go on any field trips. There is no hands on learning.

- submitted by a parent

November 28, 2005
My daughter attends Desert Mountain and although the quality of their academic program is good, Scottsdale schools have had to cut much or their music and art curriculum. Parents are not that involved (myself included) but the teachers do seem dedicated to teaching our kids. Being a middle school, there is a lot of 'mean girl' type things that go on, but that's everywhere nowdays.

- submitted by a parent

July 30, 2005
I would highly recommend Desert Canyon Middle School. The faculty is very nice and supportive and strives to put student's needs first. Parent involvement is high as teachers and parents work together to achieve the best results for the children. In addition, expectations for academic achievement are set at high standards. My kids love attending DCMS and I wouldn't send them anywhere else.

- submitted by a parent

July 09, 2005
Wonderful experience, great parent involvement and good variety of sports programs too. Very happy

- submitted by a parent

July 19, 2004
My step-son was failing 8th grade back in New York. We moved him out here and enrolled him in Desert Canyon. The staff worked with us to make sure that my step-son not only passed the 8th grade, but raised his grades from D/F to B/C avg

- submitted by a parent

June 10, 2004
Desert Canyon dumbed down my daughter in her 6th grade year. No clear direction was given, there seemed to be a lot of behavioral problems that were not addressed properly by the administration and my child spent more time protecting herself from verbal and physical abuse from the problem kids than concentrating on schoolwork. For 7th grade we placed her in an advanced placement school where she was given high expectations and clear direction. She excelled tremendously and finished the shcool year very successfully as a high B student. I would not recommend Desert Canyon as a place to go if you expect your child to be in a safe learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
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Last modified: September 4, 2015

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Desert Canyon Middle School
10204 E McDowell Mountain Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ  85255
(480) 484-6100
Last modified Desert Canyon Middle School is a Public school that serves grades 6-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Desert Canyon Middle School Rating: 3 out of 5 based on 29 reviews. Top