This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Desert Shadows Elementary School5
Posted September 11, 2014
- a parent
I am currently on my 2nd child at this school. DSES has continued to maintain a great atmosphere. The principal has been there for 13 years and has always had an open door policy; and has always been fair when it comes to teacher/parent issues. His longevity is amazing and is very important to the children & families in this community so reading some of these recent comments really have me floored! I think the main issue right now are the test scores. They dropped in 2013 after years of A's and B's. The principal held a forum after school to address the parents. In the meeting he had mentioned his decision to focus on Common Core standards last year to prepare the children for the roll out of the new test. I believe this change in curriculum statewide is going to contribute to growing pains EVERYWHERE and I am glad he was proactive in his approach to the new standardized test. There is an article on AZCentral that warns a sudden drop in scores across the state this year due to the new standardized test. I am interested to see how DSES does on the 2015 test because that is what is going to matter going forward. Hope the few parents don't mess up a great thing for the rest of us!
If you notice a downward trend in the reviews of DSES that's because the school is in a spiral. While many good teachers work there I'd agree with the sentiment about the administration. The principal is aloof, detached, and in general seems anti-parent except when it comes to accepting PTA donation funds. Try meeting with him regarding any teacher issue and he consistently derides the parental concerns. Even though our older kids went through DSES our youngest has a few more years there and when we and several other parents requested specific teachers not ONE request was even considered...TOTALLY ignored. The school recently was awarded a "C" by the AZ D of Ed and the Principal actually replied that "we can only speculate as to why". If the administration cannot even SUGGEST causation how can the execute on a solution? A seriously pitiful response & in my opinion perhaps time to shake up the entire administration including the principal and his longtime gatekeeper.
I am very torn on how to rate this school. That teaching and support staff were always wonderful to my children. My oldest was there from k-6. They teachers my children had would go above and beyond. The issues came from the poor excuse of an office. My children had IEPs and 504s. Their current school could not get the IEPs from the school after 3 requests. I finally had to get very upset with the office to get them. This is not right. It took almost two months to get them. The 504 was never given, but luckily one caring staff member had given me multiples for myself. The principal not only allows bullying, but seems to encourage it. I witnessed him embarrassing a staff member in front of a lot of other parents. There were many incidents that he should have taken care of but nothing was done. There are lot of bright spots. One teacher put on an amazing America show when my child was in 5th. This teacher also always went above and beyond for my child. The man who runs the drama group is awesome. The special ed teacher is so caring. The majority of the teachers are excellent. I would highly recommend this school if there is a change in the office staff.
As a parent of two DSES students, I wanted to say how pleased I have been with Desert Shadows. Many hard decisions have been made at the school regarding class sizes and teachers over the years. The school and the district have made these decisions to keep class sizes small at all grade levels so the students can receive the instruction they need. Classes in the K-3 grades are now 28 students or less this year. I am disappointed misinformation has been posted about class sizes and the way the decision was made to adjust class sizes. The decision to move 2nd grade into 2 classrooms instead of three is allowing the school to take the 5th grade classrooms from 37 students to the middle 20s and keep the 2nd grade classes also in the mid 20s. The school welcomes parents and encourages them to be involved. . As a family, we feel DSES provides a great education for our kids and feel they strive to meet the needs of every student.
DSES is a school lacking on many efforts, I have been a previous parent of a current 5th grader and now return to the school as a parent of a second grader. My previous experience was so mediocre. My son, had many issues with his 504 accommodations, he had over 20 accommodations and they would not consider an IEP. He was a bright kid, bored out of his mind, and he bullied. I transferred to another PV school and was pleasantly heard, and my son was given the help and encouragement he needed. He was given an IEP, resources needed, speech, occupational, and placed in gifted classes. All things that were that I had brought up with the staff over and over again. Now I return hesitantly, with my second grader, and she is having "Mean Girl" issues. She is worried about what she is wearing to school at 7, not to mention I was informed Friday that a big change of grades was being made slipped in with a voting form for a PTA event. NO PHONE CALL WAS MADE BY PRINCIPAL. My daughter's 2nd grade class of 19 is now becoming 30.
I have been less then impressed with most things at DSES over the last three years. The front office staff is rude and typically not very helpful. The principal is very hands off and not approachable for either students or parents. He seems to have his teachers backs to the detriment of the student population. One of the few saving graces has been having great teachers for the first two years. It really made it worth staying with everything else that was undesirable, but after this year we will be going out of district. Test scores keep dropping, parent involvement is lacking and getting help for smart kids is surprisingly difficult.
We pulled our child out of this school after her 5th grade year had her teacher absent most of the time. Continuity of teaching is important, but they ensure the teachers are taken care of and the kids get second best.
I have to disagree with previous comment. Yes, this teacher was absent quite a bit, but her science is awesome. My child is not in her class, but they rotate. She comes home everyday excited by what she has done in that class. Her teacher is also great. She is always excited to teach herstudents. I do, however, have two complaints. Her math teacher relies on videos to teacher her class. Math was my child's favorite subject until this year. The principal allows bullying to continue in the school. He is not a positive force at DSES. If anyone should be let go, it is him.