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Desert Sun Academy

Public | PK-6

 

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Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
No new ratings
2013:
Based on 6 ratings
2012:
Based on 5 ratings
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

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28 reviews of this school


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Posted 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


Posted September 3, 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.


Posted 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


Posted March 6, 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


Posted March 6, 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted October 3, 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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.


Posted 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


Posted February 7, 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


Posted July 1, 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.
Math

The state average for Math was 69% in 2013.

79 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
80%

2012

 
 
83%

2011

 
 
83%

2010

 
 
80%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 75% in 2013.

79 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
90%

2012

 
 
88%

2011

 
 
89%

2010

 
 
88%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 65% in 2013.

87 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
83%

2012

 
 
82%

2011

 
 
79%

2010

 
 
94%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 77% in 2013.

87 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
87%

2012

 
 
90%

2011

 
 
93%

2010

 
 
93%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 63% in 2013.

74 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
82%

2012

 
 
81%

2011

 
 
78%

2010

 
 
84%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 79% in 2013.

74 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
88%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
92%

2010

 
 
95%
Writing

The state average for Writing was 56% in 2013.

74 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
62%

2012

 
 
81%

2011

 
 
74%

2010

 
 
84%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 63% in 2013.

70 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
75%

2012

 
 
81%

2011

 
 
80%

2010

 
 
n/a
Reading

The state average for Reading was 79% in 2013.

70 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
87%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
89%

2010

 
 
n/a
Writing

The state average for Writing was 53% in 2013.

70 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
54%

2012

 
 
85%

2011

 
 
66%

2010

 
 
n/a
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

  • In 2010-2011, this school was designated "Excelling".
  • In 2009-2010, this school was designated "Excelling".
  • In 2008-2009, this school was designated "Excelling".

About the tests


Arizona uses AZ LEARNS Achievement Profiles to indicate schools' overall performance each year. For elementary and middle schools, the profiles are based on current and historical aggregated AIMS results, MAP results and whether or not the school made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). For high schools, AIMS results, AYP status and graduation/dropout rates are used. Schools are identified as Excelling, Highly Performing, Performing Plus, Performing, Underperforming, Failing to Meet Academic Standards or Pending.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2012-2013 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 86% 42%
Hispanic 9% 43%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 3% 3%
Black 1% 5%
Two or more races 1% 2%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 5%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 11%N/A47%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Oops! We currently do not have any teacher information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

What makes a great teacher? Study after study shows the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of his teacher. Here are some characteristics to look for »

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School basics

Fax number
  • (480) 502-2364

Resources

Extra learning resources offered
  • Title I Targeted Assistance program (TAS)
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27880 N 64th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85266
Website: Click here
Phone: (480) 575-2021

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