This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Dixon Montessori Charter School5
Posted June 30, 2014
- a parent
Love the teachers and school grounds. On the othet hand can't wait for a new director the current one lacks the proper communiction skills. I will never go the the fundraising dinner again because of her.
IThe elementary school teachers we had are great! Young teachers have more patience then older teachers we had at another elemnetary school where innapropriate language was used and kids called stupid. My 4th grader started in 1st grade and is doing amazing. All the teachers have been superb. The junior high program and the majority of teachers there are very good. Academically my children are challenged . I go over their work with them and they know what they are doing. The one time my student did struggle on a math section it was required the section was understood and they had to come into get extra help. There is a lot of help there that is not given at the other schools and I know this because I have had 4 kids at other schools in the district. As far as behaviior issues I have one student with them and one without. They try their best to help these issues. I am baffled by the comment about the reading program. In grades 1 and 2 I would help out weekly with kids who needed reading and i felt the kids got much more one on one than given at any school my kids had been at. They also offer a reading support that is easier to get into than at the other schools.
I, like many others, was dazzled by what the school had to offer -PE, music, art, garden, etc. Early in the year, I was told that my kid was acting aggressively and hurting other kids, something that has never happened before. The problem got worse until we had to have a conference with the teacher and the principal had to get involved. We were offered "social skills" resources that never came to fruition, and were assured that there was adequate supervision during recess, when most of the problems occurred. I decided to show up one day for lunch and recess, and there was a good 5 minutes where there wasn't any teacher or school staff around to watch 4 classes of rowdy kids. It was just me and another parent watching over 100 kids. I saw very aggressive behavior, kids chasing other kids with sticks, play fighting and wrestling. This was the environment my kid was exposed to everyday. My kid was almost reading in preschool and completely backslid because of environment-specific behavioral issues taking the forefront. High test scores and student progress are mostly from work done at home by parents, not at school. We transferred schools and my kid's been thriving ever since.
My kids have been attending DMCS for 2 years - we are looking at other options. The good: The director is tough and seems to be trying to improve the school, they offer music and PE, and some parents are very enthusiastic and involved. The not so good: I second the previous reviewer s comments teacher inexperience and limited budget. While I am happy my kids have PE and music, I would prefer the academics are first priority - this is a school after all. Despite the Montessori name, this school is not. There is a lot of mixed traditional and Montessori (DMCS still must meet regular state standards) Montessori materials but traditional teaching. The result imo is a below average academics. Since neither teaching method is embraced, many kids are working at a substantially lower academic level than their ability while kids that need help aren't getting any. Kids have freedom to do jobs but many don t know what to do. I ve seen kids flat out guessing on math problems with no clue how to figure them out. Last, the sense of community is lacking. Students are from Dixon, Winters, Vacaville, Fairfield and Davis. It is hard to build community with so many commuters.
I sent my kids to DMCS for a little over a year. While DMCS has some of the lowest class sizes around, the average DMCS teacher is very young and inexperienced. DMCS operates on a shoestring budget. (Young, inexperienced teachers are less expensive.) The reason I pulled my kids out of DMCS was because (as of 2 years ago) the school had NO reading curriculum. At the time, DMCS was using BOB books (sold by Scholastic Inc.) to teach their beginning readers. For those unfamiliar with BOB books, this is a series of 8 page (or so) booklets which Scholastic markets to parents to supplement phonics instruction at home. Thus, Scholastic does NOT intend for their BOB books to be considered a comprehensive reading program for beginning readers and Scholastic does NOT intend for their BOB books to be used in this manner. Rather, Scholastic presumes the children who are using their BOB books are being taught to read by a classroom teacher who is using a state adopted comprehensive reading curriculum. Also, the teachers worked with my kids (maybe) 2-3 times weekly on their reading, relying instead on parent volunteers and other students to supervise my kids' reading instruction.
We love DMCS! Friendly, helpful teachers that care about the kids and give them extra help or let them excel, don't teach the same thing to all students. Kids K-3 get jobs that they do with a classmate, no desks...the Montessori way! One of my kids had a speech problem and they provided her excellent assistance.