I have seen many many situations where bullying has occurred and not been handled well at all. Bullying is glossed over with nice words and empty apologies but persists. Racial microaggressions are rampant and unchecked/not acknowledged.
The principals are top notch people who seem to really understand the kids and work hard to create good environments. The head of school is very polished and professional. They are all nice people and very thoughtful about the curriculum. However, there are so many places where the talk/theory doesn't match the actual results of the school that it is hard to say they are totally effective.
In theory Prospect Sierra develops these qualities in their kids. However, in practice, we have seen so many incidents of bullying, overt racism, and disrespect from students. It has been a huge disappointment from that angle. But the curriculum/theory is really terrific on these issues.
They are great teachers for a certain kind of student. If your child loves to sit and learn curriculum/academics, and complete worksheets, the teachers are wonderful! If your child has any different learning needs at all, it is very challenging.
There is a lot of meaningless homework that seems really unnecessary. It is less than some schools (they say about 10 minutes per night per grade level so in 2nd grade it is like 80-100 min a week) And a lot of it is busywork.
Prospect Sierra is full of extra bells and whistles- lots of learning specialists, great music program, art, a special science room and even robotics. The facility is also great. However, it is a school for one type of kid and is very curriculum driven. If your child has trouble sitting still for long periods of time, trouble focusing on worksheets and lessons (none of which are custom tailored to the needs of your individual child), then they will probably struggle at this school. It is a very academic school and while they talk about their social emotional and social change curriculum, it is really secondary to the hard driving academics. Also it is not a good school for black kids or hispanic children - many of those kids leave after a few years for various reasons. If you have an african american or hispanic child and are considering this school, talk to some other black/latino parents who have been through this school because the experience they sell you on is very different from the reality.
Prospect Sierra is an exemplary school. The teachers are all very enthusiastic about their respective subjects and take time to help each student. The school provides extremely rigorous classes for students. Especially, I would like to note that the humanities program is very strong. A recent graduate from Prospect Sierra, I find that I was prepared in excess for high school. The drama and music programs are extremely strong and provided a fantastic outlet for students' creative interests. I have personally taken part in many music and drama performances and found them to be extremely valuable experiences. I performed in roles in two plays. In music I have played with the orchestra, rock band, jazz band, and with my own student led group. The math program is very thorough and caters to students of all mathematical backgrounds, while providing advanced students with the opportunity to enrich their knowledge. In 7th grade, I explored topics in trigonometry, combinatorics, and the basic theories of probability. The science at Prospect Sierra takes a hands on approach. Students initially learn various topics in several branches of science, while learning scientific procedures. In 8th grade they take a thorough and current events centered course on biology.The visual arts program is very challenging and students learn many advanced skills and techniques. I found the art teacher to be extremely patient and enthusiastic. Prospect Sierra incorporates technology in modern, inventive ways, although occasionally they overuse it. The robotics program was a very good experience for me and my team won innovation awards two consecutive years. The athletics program at Prospect Sierra was also extremely well developed. I participated in the basketball team, cross country team, track and field team, and ultimate frisbee team. The coaches helped me improve immensely so that I could win third place in the 800m. The student council at Prospect Sierra was an amazing learning experience. Being President, I had the opportunity to play a role in the many student activities that exist at Prospect Sierra. I found this to be a very gratifying experience. Prospect Sierra is very welcoming to new students. 5th and 6th graders have a chance to participate in an orientation led by 8th grade student ambassadors. Having been a student ambassador, I found this experience to be valuable.