This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted August 17, 2012
- a parent
My son was fortunate enough to attend this GREAT school-we bought our home specifically to be in this district, and it was definitely worth the effort. Manzanita was what an elementary school should be, safe, nurturing, great staff and amazing teachers. (except for one, who we chalk up to a life learning experience!!) This school offers the education and experiences one would expect from private school, in fact, we had planned on moving to private school in 5th grade, but after the first years at Manzanita, decided he was in the best possible school. Our son has now moved on, but we are still in awe of the entire experience we ALL had while he was at Manzanita; Science Camp, Civil War Re-enactment, staff and teachers who noticed and cared, not to mention preparing students for middle school and contacting the new staff/teachers re each child's strengths/needs. WOW! Your child will not get lost in the crowd here-We cannot say enough! Thank you Manzanita!
This is a mediocre school with poor leadership. Like any school, it is luck of the draw with teachers -- some are excellent, many just adequate, a few totally objectionable. Class sizes are too high (25-30) -- it is institutionalized learning at its worst. It is style without substance - the building is newish and the students nicely dressed which masks real underlying inadequacies. The curriculum is mundane and they try to engage the children through technology, which is no substitute for an excited and stimulating teacher. The third grade math class consisted of the children watching video game-style lessons in the classroom. There was very little human engagement. The lack of responsiveness of the Principal to real problems with faculty is unacceptable. After months of trying to work with our child's educational stewards, we learned that our child's borderline abusive teacher had a history of behavior that was suppressed by school administration. (That teacher is still there, despite years of complaints!) Horrendous experience. Look elsewhere and don't believe the hype.
Our son just finished his years at Manzanita-we could not have been more pleased. An absolutely excellent school, better than most private. We too purchased our home to gaurantee eligbility. The teachers are amazing. The amount of work and effort they put into educating and nurturing in the kids was a constant source of amazement. Manzanita is a safe and happy school, the staff and kids feel like family-and they learn!!! As a parent-when I walked in the door they knew who I was and which child was mine-they also knew him, what he was like, what his strengths/weakness were-and looked out for him-as they did all students. They also did not let him get away with anything and reinforced the expectations we have of his behavior-This is most definitely the best elementary of any type in Tucson, probably the state-their scores speak for themselves, but the atmosphere and sense of belonging and being cared about are what make this school so special. Great education with happy kids.
My son was enrolled here for his K year and overall I was pretty satisfied with the exception of a couple instances I had with his teacher telling me thru email whenever I asked for updates on my sons progress his teacher telling me he was doing great only to find out that wasn't the case. He recently started his 1st grade year and by the first month he came home quite a few times in tears because of his teacher telling him he wasnt ready for 2nd grade yet and making him feel stupid. My son is very smart but does need help from time to time which I think all 6 year olds do. They refuse to give him help in the classroom and then punish him for not finishing his work. I feel that my son s level of educational performance is being specifically identified and assessed as a weakness to the overall class. Moreover, rather than assisting in teaching and developing his skills, he is being overlooked and not well supported by the teacher. I have since pulled my child from this school.
My son got into Manzanita K this year. This is the first year that AZ state cut the budget and resulted in only 1/2-day kindergarten program that is free of charge. Anyone would like to have full-day program that is called Kindergarten Plus would have to pay $300-320 extra per month (excl. snack & lunch). We paid and were pleased. The ratio is 1:10 (20 students to 1 teacher and 1 all-time aid). So they get more individual attention. Regular-school teacher in my son's classroom is also nice, but with 23 kinders to 1 teacher (with 1-hr aid) , this program rely heavily on parent volunteer in class. 1-2 parents volunteer during 'learning centers' to help the kids in 8 different centers finish their work. Good thing is that I saw volunteer sign-up sheets pretty occupied. Of all works that sent home , I don't see any science project at all.
Class sizes can be as high as 29 per teacher at this school. Kindergarten class size ranges around 23. Most teachers are outstanding. There was one Spanish teacher who was insulting and frightening. it took a long time to get rid of her--administrators kept defending her instead of disciplining her.
I have two kids at Manzanita and overall, we are happy with it. But we've been there for 4 years now and there has never been the 14:1 student:certified techer ratio that your website says. That's completely misleading letting parents think that is the teacher student ratio.
Always a good choice, I chose my residence based on attendance district for this elementary. Just sad state funding has gotten so bad that my daughter will not get the same smaller class sizes her brothers did.
I agree with the comment that the teachers are overworked. But hey, nobody's making them take the job and they get summers off... I think they're willing to work with such intensity because it's worth it for them: they get an appreciative student body who really learn, get great scores, and don't cause the sort of problems that kids in other schools have. Hey, the teachers in those schools also are overworked: putting out fires that they wouldn't have to if they put more 'work-smarter' effort into fostering a better learning environment. A few of the teachers that I've met have been kinda too dramatic, but I can tell that it's because they really care about having a quality educational experience for the kids. And it works... The principal has that place running like a top.
Have had a son who has attended Manzanita for 3 years. Great Values, teachers are great as well after school care program. Principal is very much a part of the kids school day. Special needs could be better for those who have minimal special needs. Could not imagine any other school!