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PK-7
Public district
Scottsdale, AZ
Students enrolled: 637
 

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27880 N 64th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85266

School website
(480) 575-2900
(480) 502-2364
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Desert Sun Academy address.
Teacher effectiveness: Very ineffective
August 04, 2015
There are a few teachers who are articulate, intelligent, committed to assisting students in learning and developing. Most are immature, underprepared, disorganized and inept. Weekly messages to families are poorly written, contain incorrect grammar, and are often without substance (key dates? deliverables? successes? needs?). Teachers complain constantly—and don't offer or create solutions.

- submitted by a parent
Amount of homework: Don't know
August 04, 2015
Homework expectations vary and assignments are not clear. The general process is for nightly reading and math, and a weekly packet of papers. When I helped grade papers, the assignment packets are disorganized and the grading keys were often incorrect. So any amount of homework under this condition is unhelpful.

- submitted by a parent
Develops grit: Disagree
August 04, 2015
Often, experiences are demoralizing. Unclear rules and conflicting consequences plus time demands that prevent gaining understanding leave students feeling hopeless.

- submitted by a parent
Develops respect: Neutral
August 04, 2015
Respect is earned. Respectfulness needs to be modeled consistently. In only 2 student led conferences, with Teacher who said she didn't like her job but had to do it anyway so you just have to do things you don't like (when student expressed general dislike for a subject)—I reframed this to say some days are challenging, find the fun meeting the challenge. 2nd conf. with Teacher, we learned more about her incontinence when sneezing than about my child's competence in Math (student-lead conference thus this was said in presence of my child). All of us need to think about what message we deliver to open minds lest we close them.

- submitted by a parent
Develops empathy: Neutral
August 04, 2015
Teachers model poor behavior. Indicative of this: A child was absent one week. When the teacher was taking attendance, alerted that the child was not present she said “Shhh, don’t jinx it." This is an unfortunate mistake—as an adult, a teacher, a role model—the statement tells students that it is okay to make fun of another’s ill fortune. It models bullying behavior. Upon returning to school, the child heard about the comment from multiple peers, then brought it up to the teacher. When confronted, the teacher retorted: “Now I suppose you’re going to go to the principal,” and dismissed the child who felt diminished and unimportant. Again, unacceptable behavior by the teacher who at this point could have apologized (modeling behavior of taking responsibility for a mistake): “I’m sorry. I made a poor choice and it was cruel. Please accept my apology.” Teachers don’t have to like every child, however, the teacher does need to respect the person that is the child and uphold every student with the same care.

- submitted by a parent
Develops honesty: Neutral
August 04, 2015
Attempts to develop honesty, integrity, and fairness are inconsistent. Messages to students are conflicting and contrasting. Expectations are unclear and vague. The processes are autocratic and arbitrary.

- submitted by a parent

August 04, 2015
Teachers are disorganized, overwhelmed, underprepared. Classrooms are chaotic. Expectations for the student are unclear and inconsistent. Attempts to contact and dialog with the teachers and substitutes in order to improve at-home study and support for learning were oten ignored, answered incompletely, delayed in response as to be ineffective, or replied to without substance—and in cases with the long-term substitutes throughout the year, it was often that there was no contact information for the reigning teacher. Phone calls were difficult and limited. Parent-Teacher meetings/conferences were not implemented. At the two student-led conferences, there was no alert to opportunities for improvement in study habits, comprehension, etc. In general, the teachers seem to place responsibility on the student in order to relieve it from their selves. While each child must take responsibility for meeting expectations and demands, the teachers still need to take responsibility for guiding and coaching and assisting every student to succeed. Conferences could be made more effective with an agenda for review: child's strengths, opportunities to improve, suggested at-home support. Communication could be improved with consistent up-to-date information on the website (syllabus, current subject matter, weekly assignments and due dates, references and study tools, etc). Plus email or text messages could alert parents & students to key milestones (quiz, test, project due dates). Teachers might benefit from a course in managing correspondence with parents —preemptive messages, notifying parents of student progress or needs, responding in a timely manner with next steps at the very least.

- submitted by a parent

April 30, 2015
Our family is so excited that Desert Sun will be starting a new preschool program for the 2015-2016 school year. Finally, my children will be able to go to the same school. It means a one stop drop off - hooray! If you are interested in the program, please take a look at the website http://www.ccusd93.org/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=18317& Wonderful school and wonderful kids and families!

- submitted by a parent

October 23, 2014
That school is awesome. They had a A+ last year. You should came to that school. I had been there before. You should came there.

- submitted by a parent

September 24, 2014
After looking at many of the schools around town, we easily made the decision to open enroll our children at Desert Sun Academy. From the small class sizes that utilize Core Knowledge to the Science Lab & amazing staff, Desert Sun has been nothing short of an an amazing experience. This year, the addition of Dr. Korb has also been a welcome & positive change for the school, as has the new A+ rating! We can't say enough positive things about this school!

- submitted by a parent

September 21, 2014
Desert Sun Academy is awesome especially with our new principal Dr. Micah Korb. He is so open to new ideas, students, parents and staff all working together! He is really creating a sense of community at the school and always available to parents to discuss any matters. We are enjoying the wonderful learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom. I now have all 3 of my children attending this school and can't say enough positive things about our wonderful secretaries, teachers, staff, students and principal.

- submitted by a parent

September 19, 2014
Desert Sun is a gem. The teachers and supportive staff are highly qualified and educated on current teaching strategies, using dozens of technology techniques in their instruction and grouping through documented data that they collect daily. They drive their instruction through the results they see daily in the students and challenge them exactly where they need to be. Students are excited and involved. They have many opportunities for leadership. I'm disappointed in those who would slam a school that has a staff variety that has such professionalism and who works hours that none would accept in their own jobs. They do it for the love of these children. There is always something to complain about, if you don't stop and really see the true beauty in front of you. Avoid the gossip and you will be greatly pleased! My two children have grown immensely at Desert Sun Academy. One has been there K-6. They learn through changes and hard times and love challenging themselves and being creative individuals. I am thrilled about the energy in the new principal this year and the growth that will be seen in years to come at DSA!

- submitted by a parent

September 19, 2014
Desert Sun Academy is an amazing school. I am a parent and have had children at this school since 2008. From the new principal, Dr. Korb, to the entire staff and the families at Desert Sun I couldn't be happier with my 3 kids experience at the school. It is a smaller school with uniforms and we love it! Everyone on campus knows each other and the sense of community is amazing!

- submitted by a parent

September 19, 2014
I've been very happy with Desert Sun. The school has terrific parent involvement. All of the teachers that my children have had have been great. The teachers incorporate technology into the classroom. The science lab is wonderful. I love that the kids were uniforms. Spanish, chorus, band, student council, video club... What else can I say?

- submitted by a parent

September 18, 2014
As a parent, and active volunteer on the DSA campus for the past 5 years, I can not say enough about the dedicated staff and families here. We have been through a lot of changes in leadership, with each principal adding his own touch to the campus environment. While past principal got a bad rap, he did come in and create positive change. Our school achieved A+ rating from the Arizona Education Foundation, test scores improved and the overall look of the campus improved. This year brings us a young, energetic and forward thinking new principal who is out and about on campus daily! He greets both parents and students by name!! The teachers excel in curriculum knowledge and overall dedication to their students. Both my kids have attended since kindergarten and one has only a year left..... My child has received a quality education in a safe, friendly and caring campus!

- submitted by a parent

October 22, 2013
Desert Sun has been on a downhill spiral ever since Dr. Wood arrived! He took away programs that the prior principal put in place-lunch bunch, Junior Achievement & Core clusters. There are some excellent teachers there!! His personality is the wrong fit for the demographic, he is over his head! For 2 years I have watched a mass exit of families, some tried to explain that away with change to 1/2 Kindergarten but when they brought back full day last year...another mass exit occurred. That is a plus for the school this year because the class sizes are so small. He stands by the busses every day after school hiding from parents instead of at the parent pick up which is under-supervised and I have witnessed bullying. Not to mention the two teachers at parent pick up are fending off parents who disobey school parking lot rules and can not supervise the students waiting on the platform. The two 6th grade teachers are apathetic!! Last year the kids NEVER went on one field trip. And beware--Desert Sun is the only elementary school in the CCUSD district that does not go on a 6th Grade trip. Many people say the principal of the school does not matter....I beg to differ!

- submitted by a parent

October 04, 2013
My two younger brothers go to this school. And honestly all I have heard from them is how much the kids swear. They told me that the kids don't listen to the teachers and that when the kids swear around the teacher, they don't mind. I am sick of this school and hope they leave soon. If you are planning on sending your child to dessert sun I strongly disagree and hope that you make a different decision.

- submitted by a community member

September 03, 2013
What a bunch of spoiled, self serving people. Just because you are no longer able to run the school to fit your child's outlandish desires, you have to put down the Principal and staff. I have worked with Dr. Wood in the past and not even once did I see him hide from a parent. You can't expect to just walk into a school and demand to see the Principal that very minute. He DOES have a job to do and it isn't to cater to parents. Shame on you and your self-centered egos.

- submitted by a community member

April 11, 2013
DSA has been an excellent experience for both of my children for the past 3 years. After being at other schools in Arizona and California I rate DSA the best school of all. The teachers here are very informed, up to date with current trends, and caring toward my children. I have always been informed about their progress and welcomed in the classroom and on campus. Teachers have gone the extra mile to help my child succeed. I believe the new principal is working to achieve excellence and has raised the bar. New technology has been added on campus and he instills teacher best practices by allowing teachers to observe one another in a classroom setting.

- submitted by a parent

March 06, 2013
I really thought about the prior post. It's a very interesting point that no matter how good good is there is still always complaining universally. I think I know the schools that were alluded too. They are discussed in the office of KUMON when I take my kids to supplemental learning there. This stretches them and empowers them. You know I think that the more we economically lose, as a society, the more we feel it's our right to call people out or complain. Basically project our frustrations onto other people. I tell my kids never to cyber bully via facebook or other mediums. I think calling out a person by name is bullying. How can they defend themselves against anonymous entries. When you are anonymous it gives you power but I'm not sure that power is justified. Use that energy to create positive changes and the world would be a better place. I too think the principle is doing a great job. Everyone has different things they are looking for in a school. This school fosters a well rounded child that sees the world in a larger context beyond themselves. I value this school and principle because they focus on the total child including philanthropy, academics, core knowledge.

- submitted by a parent

March 06, 2013
Dr Wood is a very caring principle who nurtures student development. The science lab and music room have been expanded under his care. 7 Students placed in the Kiwanis Science Fair, including a trophy! It's a great academic environment! I've worked at having a relationship with the school - volunteerism and collaboration. I think it is far easier to complain than it is to create change. I would like to offer some interesting statistics. I looked at a random sampling of schools. The first school is a charter school that touts high and demanding academics with a student body of over 700. The second is a local charter school 142 students. Great reputation and small student body. Lastly Desert Sun Academy - Core Knowledge. Test Scores for 2012 ranged in comparative difference of 4-10% between schools, in the grade I compared. The level of satisfaction did not improve between schools. It is 4 stars for all 3 schools. Each offering something different to students. Each school I looked at rated Leadership ,Teachers and Parent involvement 4 stars! Each had positive and scathing remarks. It's human nature to complain rather than creating positive outcomes. Let's rise above slamming!

- submitted by a parent

February 28, 2013
My son started here in KG and by 6th Grade was on his 4th principal, Dr. Wood. Dr. Wood sits in his office with his lights off (his tip to the staff that he does not want to be bothered) so that parents won't know he is there. My little kids are scared of him. My oldest is gifted and was so bored in 6th grade he begged us to move him (he read a novel in class everyday and still got 99%+ avg.) It is very disappointing because the previous principal was amazing (Mr. Honigman.) I don't know what the district was thinking when they hired Dr. Wood (no experience with Core Knowledge, not a Principal before, short tenure at jobs.) The biggest thing I noticed the first year Dr. Wood was principal was the change in teacher attitudes (not nearly as helpful, dropped Junior Achievent due to too much work, no before or after school clusters, etc.) I moved all 3 of my kids to new schools this year, meaning we have to drive them now. I would never go back to Desert Sun. I will be surprised if it can keep enough students to stay open with Dr. Wood as the principal. Very, very sad to me since this is my neighborhood school and the Hechts who volunteer in the science program are wonderful.

- submitted by a parent

December 12, 2012
Principal Dr. Woods is awful! Totally incompetent as a principal. All talk and no do! Will tell parents, he can never please you. And then does nothing to change anything or improve relations. Also tells you , that this school is not for everyone, that your the only parent complaining, when many others have too. Sixth grade is the worst, no homework since school started. Kids are totally unprepared for entering 7th grade. Same problems with lower grades. I've withdrawn both my children and am amazed at the difference their new school has made. I totally agree with parent who wrote review on oct 3, 2012. Strange we both experienced the same thing

- submitted by a parent

October 03, 2012
New Principal is awful! He does not care about the students! I imagine it must be stressful to constantly act like you know what you are doing. Wood DOES NOT! He is incompetent, unfriendly, flaky (never available or even visible). This year the school must have lost 25 percent of students--Wood's response "this school is not for everyone." What??? You are trying to go charter--which relies on funding per student--next year?? DSA will never succeed with this principal. Who would work for him? I feel sorry for the teachers, staff and students who have to deal with him. I bet this accounts for the parent apathy. There are only a handful of parents who are still involved. In fact, our PTO co-president didn't even return to the school this year! The biggest mistake CCUSD could have done was hire an unlikable, incompetent principal when the school needed a charismatic, PROVEN principal to turn the school around. The Purdue study (clustering) is a joke and I don't remember ever signing something saying I'd like my children to be a part of it (human subjects violation). As for the science lab, why are our science scores lowest in the district when science is supposed to be our "focus"?

- submitted by a parent

March 29, 2012
I am writing in response to the last few unfavorable reviews. This is my 10th year as a parent at DSES/DSA, having had all 3 of my kids attend from Kindergarten to 5th/6th. I served on the PTO board for 2 years & volunteered for 100s of hours in the classrooms, so I do know it VERY well. 1st, DSA has another new principal this 2011-12 year, whom I have only spoken to once, but my kids like him. 2nd, as with any school, there are great teachers and not-so-great teachers (not horrible), but I believe the great ones are the majority, and do an outstanding job educating the students. 3rd, the Everday Math program has been replaced with Go Math & is working well. 4th, a retired couple, both highly educated, volunteer every school day to run the best K-6 science lab & program I have ever seen! 5th, the gifted are clustered as part of an ongoing national study & I do admit they are only partially challenged (my kids are gifted). 6th, Core Knowledge is wonderful! And, finally, yes, there are a few bullies. But, I have yet to find a school that claims they have none? It is an important life skill to learn how to manage them! In summary, DSA is a good school and worth considering.

- submitted by a parent

March 29, 2012
I have two children currently attending Desert Sun and I have nothing but good opinions of this school. The teachers really seem to care about the students and the overall school environment is very positive. Both of my kids love this school and are developing very well in their respective grade levels. The curriculum is challenging but also allows for individual student needs.

- submitted by a parent

March 28, 2012
Very disappointed with the "gifted cluster" . Children who are identified as gifted are placed with a group of children for 5 years. If that group of identified gifted children have a group of bully's in that class, your child is stuck with very bright, powerful "mean kids" for the next 5 years. This is what I have observed happening at the school at one grade level. Those bullys need to be separated. Also, by the time they reach 4th or 5th grade they are in the "smart" class which makes them feel even more superior.

- submitted by a community member

May 15, 2011
don't be fooled by this school. The leadership promised us everything we wanted to hear and as it turns out, this school is just an overcrowded "kiddy mill" I have never encountered a more inconsistent delegation. They make strict rules and some teachers follow and some do not. There are old fashioned "time outs" and your child will lose several recesses instead of being taught how to act in social situations. The playground is overcrowded and understaffed. Do not choose this school. It is terrible.

- submitted by a parent

February 07, 2011
I agree with other parents here. The great school ratings are definitely off. Do not be fooled by what they tell you - it is all talk! Believe me, I have been one of those parents who was so impressed by what I saw. The reality this school has serious academic deficiencies. In math the district uses Everyday Math, a program that has little focus on the fundamentals. There is almost no focus in Science. The reading program is a joke. Students are pushed to read words with no regard for building a knowledge base with quality literature. There is no gifted program. The principal talks of gifted clusters but in reality NO effort is made to meet the needs of the gifted/advanced. The smarter kids or top students get left alone in the classes. The advanced classes teach the same as the lower classes. As an educator myself , I was appalled at the lack of caring and assistance from the principal. Teachers say all the right things, giving parents hope and belief that things will change. NOTHING DOES. Best decision I ever made was to pull both kids out!

- submitted by a parent

July 01, 2010
I could not agree more with a previous comment. Desert Sun and CCUSD have some serious shortcomings that are masked by the demographics of the area. I transferred to Desert Sun from a charter school and my child quickly became the teacher's assistant, helping other students learn, yet there was no challenge for my child. You will notice that all the praise for Desert Sun is all feel good praise but not praise for the learning, which is why we send our children to school in the first place. Your child will likely receive an adequate education in CCUSD but if you are looking for more you need to keep looking.

- submitted by a parent

June 14, 2010
I currently have 2 children enrolled at Desert Sun and have been extremely happy with the teaching staff, principal and overall campus community. The Core Knowledge program has excited my children since the year it was introduced and I see a depth and width of understanding in subjects. I've seen my children begin critical thinking where they 'connect the dots' and extrapolate ideas, not just memorize facts. The teachers, principal and support staff are all very positive and work as a team. I am thrilled that my children are part of such a positive and successful learning environment.

- submitted by a parent

June 13, 2010
I am very happy with Desert Sun. I have 3 children at this school. I am a mom who is actively engaged in volunteering and am at the school sometimes on a daily basis. I see nothing but caring people, from the front desk staff, Mr. Honigman, the principal and all of the teachers. They all strive to do the best for our children. I feel my children are getting a great education and the teachers are always coming up with new and unique ways to help them learn. Even given the budget challenges that all of the schools face. I would highly recommend Desert Sun!

- submitted by a parent

June 11, 2010
Parents, don't be fooled by Great Schools ratings, AIMS tests & Core Knowledge. Desert Sun has serious academic deficiencies 1 No gifted program. The principal talks of gifted clusters but in reality little effort is made to meet the needs of the gifted/advanced 2 The math program is a joke. The district uses the dreaded Everyday Math, a program panned by experts. Expect little feedback on your child's performance in math as all they do is play math games (stations) and focus little on the fundamentals 3) Science is a forgotten subject. The program is half-baked with the use of FOSS kits passed between classrooms with small amount of Nat Geo lit tossed in 4) The focus on reading is quantity over quality. Students are pushed to read millions of words with no regard for building a knowledge base with quality literature. Do your child a favor and pass on CCUSD.

- submitted by a parent

February 14, 2008
This is my son's 2nd year at this school. We are so happy with the school overall. He has had wonderful teachers who want the very best for their students. He has learned so much. Thanks and keep up the good work!!!!

- submitted by a parent

September 18, 2006
Such a wonderful learning environment. Great school spirit and leadership. I am proud my child attends such a great school. I particularly liked a few of the extracurricular activities such as Horse back riding and Piano.

- submitted by a parent

June 26, 2005
Great experience with Desert Sun. The overall atmosphere is very family oriented and friendly. The principal is wonderful - loves the kids, the teachers, the parents. She is a great leader. We have found the teachers to be incredible, as well. They truly desire success for each of their students. Desert Sun provides a healthy learning environment - very creative, very hands-on. We love Desert Sun Elementary School!

- submitted by a parent

April 01, 2005
We have been extremely satisfied with Desert Sun. Our Kindergartner has thrived at this school and done wonderfully even after two very difficult years in preschool. I attribute this to the skilled teachers, staff, and principle who listened to our concernes and truly care for the education and emotional growth of the students!

- submitted by a parent

August 19, 2004
I have had two children attend Desert Sun, each with very different learning styles and personalities. Each of my children has loved their experiences and has thrived in the caring and supportive atmosphere of the school. The teachers are incredible. Supportive, caring and very in touch with the children s needs both academically and emotionally. The administration is spectacular, leading by example each day. The principal knows each child and spends a great deal of her time involved INDISE the classrooms and on campus. My husband is a teacher and I am a child psychologist. We could not be happier with our choice to have both of our children attend Desert Sun.

- submitted by a parent

June 03, 2004
Very nice 4th grade teaching team Mr and Mrs Gilkey. Wonderful principal. Nice school.

- submitted by a parent

May 03, 2004
We were very happy with the fourth grade experience at this school. I wasn't happy with the first grade experience. I found the administration to be very responsive.

- submitted by a parent

May 27, 2003
After having gone through an entire year, many things have come to light that have created a negative opinion towards the teachers and staff's interest in teaching for themselves - not the children. I have found the staff to be coarse and disrespectful with parents and children alike. I have also found that if you are not 'connected' and do not participate in the 'politics' of this school, you, or your child, will not feel at home here. My child's teachers created an environment that was difficult to learn and build his self-confidence. His self-esteem definitely suffered this year. (There are three families that I know who are not returning next year because of these same issues.)

- submitted by a community member

March 27, 2003
I am so happy with Desert Sun.

- submitted by a community member

March 18, 2003
The school's leadership is wonderful. The front office staff is always friendly and cooperative, and the children all adore the principal. The teachers are willing to work with parents and the parent/teacher organization is very active and involved in day-to-day helping at the school as well as organizing events.

- submitted by a community member

October 15, 2002
From the office staff, to the teachers, to the busy principal of this wonderful school - I can't say enough about how much they really get to know and care about each individual child. I would recommend this school and it's staff to anyone who is concerned about their child's education - they will be taken care of, so you can go about the business of your busy day without worrying about your children Keep up the great job!!

- submitted by a community member

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Desert Sun Academy
27880 N 64th Street, Scottsdale, AZ  85266
(480) 575-2900
Last modified Desert Sun Academy is a Public school that serves grades PK-7. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Desert Sun Academy Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 53 reviews. Top