Grayhawk continues to be a great school!! This is our 7th year there.We have 2 children there currently. All of our teachers have always sent out weekly updates on what the children are learning, we also receive info. throughout the week via email. I have 1 child in the gifted honors program, as well as one child with a learning disability. Both my children receive a lot of attention for their very different needs. Whenever I have asked to meet with any of the educators they have always made time to meet with me. Sure Mr. Heimstra was great, but Mr. Pratt is as well. He is very involved and cares very much about the school, the kids, and the families' concerns. Unfortunately it only takes a couple of people to cast a very long shadow on a good light.(BTW-I see many reviews with a lot of typo's-LOL). We really like the families and kids at Grayhawk. We moved to Scottsdale from a very progressive east coast city and have been happy with the "down to earth" families we have met here, many who are new to the state as well.
I agree with the last post completely! This school was once amazing, until Mr. Hiemstra left a couple of years ago. It is so sad that a school of such high calibre was left in the hands of really poor leadership. The school has gone so downhill, the proof is in the the low enrollment numbers. The only good thing left at that school is the PTO!
I disagree with the previous posts. We moved from another school this year and so far we can tell our son has improved a lot. In the first quarter we have seen good changes on our child. There will always be things that parents don't approve about school. Nothing is perfect but we are more than happy with the school. Especially after moving from an expensive private school where we didn't achieve as much as we have here so far.
Beware-Do not go to this school! That past principle, Mr. Don Hiemstra, ran the school like a well oiled machine. Since the change in leadership, this school has continued on a downhill spiral!! Enrollment numbers are down~many families have left. The principal has no control over the school or the teachers. Principals communicates with parents but the teachers don't! You will know more about what the PTO is doing than what your kids are doing in there classroom. They preach they are a technology school (and they have a lot of money and technology) yet many teachers do not use there websites. The classrooms are small and depressing with no windows. The school is ranked highly because of AIMS scores (which are good because study island is part of the curriculum) but BEWARE, there is nothing special about this school!
The teachers are very caring and my son enjoys going to school every day. I can see how much my first grader has learn is great!
This school has good academics, very poor communication on the teacher's part, the principal is useless, he'll make promises but not follow through! The duty aids treat the kids like inmates to where my kid is scared of them, and it's a good kid! There is no communication as to what they are learning in class... so if you want to help your kid you'll just have to guess! Positives: PTO does bring money to facilitate more programs, field trips, books, etc.
I put my oldest into Kindergarten at Grayhawk. Extreme lack of duty aides, the teachers seem disinterested and push for the students that give them the test scores they want. Kindergarten averages about 20 kids per class while the upper grades have 40 or more! The office staff was friendly and I am actually sad to part ways with the administration but do not care to see another one of their teachers again. My sons teacher actually emailed parents asking for what parents wanted to earn "brown nosing points" for volunteering. I could not agree more with previous posts that the money begging is excessive (more than my other child's private school ever begged for). I never have a problem spending money on my child's education but when it comes to holding a whose parent spends the most on school staff I get annoyed. Also huge lack of communication. Parent class helpers were always chosen by the teacher who played favorites. I feel like I spent more time teaching my son concepts he should have learned in class instead of playing 4 times throughout the schooldays. Also found it inappropriate that one upper grade teacher was able to wear short sleeve shirts that showed his tats.
My daughter has been in this school for 4 years and we about to switch. The change in leadership is striking, with many experienced teachers now looking to retire or move on. I don't know about the specifics of why, but it seems more than random retirements and certainly makes you wonder. Over the 4 y, there is progressively less communication coming from teachers and administration, with some significant decisions being made with little or no parental input, or at least none that they have solicited from me. Perhaps if I were one of the parents who was at the school frequently it would be different, but we are both career professionals. Nonetheless it shouldn't alter our opportunity to weigh in. My child also endured some hurtful bullying at the end of last year that was completely invisible to her teacher and staff, which is amazing to me, so nothing was done. I agree with excessive $ solicitation- even teacher appreciation week is now a week of catered lunch, flower bouquets, etc. Can't help but think it's about creating a favorite. We thought the school was amazing early on but believe it's just run it's course.
I think Grayhawk is a fantastic school. I feel like the teachers and administrators are constantly looking for ways to improve things for the students. I have always felt heard, and when I reach out to a teacher or staff member I always receive a timely response. I disagree with the Oct 25th comments about requests for money. With state funding as it is, much of the extras that make our school great are actually paid for with funds raised by the PTO. I never feel pressured to participate in the fundraising efforts, and in fact this past year there has been very little fundraising going on. The PTO also sponsors several free family events that have been a huge hit with my kids. We love Grayhawk, and I feel fortunate that I have such a great school for my kids.
Grayhawk is a good school....not great! We moved last year from another state which my child went to a great school-so I know what makes a great school. The positive is the academics. The negative they always want money from you. They hold an auction and ask that you donate iPads and other expencive gifts as there example. There PTO holds events and always run out of what they are selling. There fall festival is $25 per child and is lame! Anyone can walk into the school at anytime and are not questioned as to who they are and where they are going. Right now there is a huge LICE breakout. The nurse has not keep up on checking classes. The communication is horrible!
I am very disappointed in the change of leadership at this school. It's sad to see it go downhill in such a short period of time.Some of the best teachers and aides did not come back this year. It's unorganized and the new principal doesn't seem to want to handle important issues. He makes promises to parents and students then doesn't fulfill them.
Leadership at this school was essential. What you see on the outside is not always indicative as to what's going on on the inside. Inappropriate remarks covering a variety of "genres" should never be made by "leadership."
Both ny niece & nephew have attended Grayhawk, my nephew is still attending. The principal is the best I've meet & I've meet a lot of principals.
My child has not been there very long but I already want to move back to the Scottsdale schools which are much warmer, friendlier and while they have rules to follow they don't feel like a prison camp like Grayhawk does. When I see my child during lunch, I'm even nervous being there!! It's so rigid and I believe it's probably time to get a younger principal who actually knows how things should run and how kids should be treated in the 2000's. They might be excelling, but there is a lot of pressure to get them there, I'm sure just for the funding. Not a community feeling type school at all compared to Scottsdale school district. that one is top notch!!
I have been a parent at Grayhawk Elementary for five years now. Two of my children attend. I am blown away at the high expectations that are set by the staff, for the students. Don Hiemstra is involved and takes an active roll in maintaining a great environment for the kids and staff. The teachers my children have had, are kind, caring, dedicated & respectful. I have seen many parents leave to attend charter or private schools and end up coming right back because they don't realize how awesome this school is until they experience other schools. Why would any parent leave a wonderfully run school to go to a charter or private school where teachers don't even have to hold a teaching certificate!? That's crazy! All the teachers at Grayhawk are highly qualified. It's the best!
Most of the teachers love what they do and want to help the children learn.
We have lived in the area for about 10 years. We don't have any kids in school today, because they have all moved onto other grade levels. Our experience's at Greyhawk go beyond our expectations. The principal, Don Hiemstra, is very much involved with the students and teachers. Our family has experienced 'exceptional' help from teachers and aids. They have been wonderful people. I have been told that many teachers will loose their jobs next fall. If this is true and you have children at Greyhawk, it's time for you to 'speak out'. My concern/yours should be centered around the teachers/students ratio. From talk amongst neighbors, we have heard that the numbers will approach/surpass 30 students/classroom: this should concern every parent. I don't know what you will do, but you need to respond and take action.
This is a wonderful school. It has extra activities such as spanish, choir and many others. The staff is also committed to teaching your children. Over all this is an excelling school.
Over-rated! I agree whole-heartedly with the Sept 7 posting. Teachers need a more modest dress code so they don't become a distraction to learning.
If you want to attend a school where the principal is full of it, then this is the school for you. He tells you what you want to hear and then does nothing about it. I had my 2 daughters at Grayhawk for a year and pulled them and put them into a private school. There are so many children in the classroom I don't know how they learn anything. My girls would cry every morning and not want to go to school. Now they love school and want to attend on the weekends. Would not recommend this school to anyone.
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