This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Van Gogh Charter School1
Posted February 24, 2015
- a parent
I would not recommend this school to anyone. The teachers here have always been mediocre, at best (while they are 10, their similar school rating is dismal). What made this school worthwhile years ago was the community environment. Currently, the environment is toxic, and it is getting worse every day. Avoid the misery-find another school for you and your children.
It is obvious that the review from Nov. 5th is not a parent of a third, fourth, or fifth grader. Those of us who are can tell you that for an upper grade student, these overnight field trips are something they had been looking forward to for years. Let's not forget that starting in second grade (or maybe even 1st), fundraisers take place to help the students pay for these overnight trips. Even though it may not be "written" anywhere, that's what parents and students have been told all along. We understand that teachers cannot be forced to go on these trips, yet when these teachers sign up for these grade levels they know that these trips will be part of their assignment because that's what is done at Van Gogh. If the teachers were not happy with these trips, they should have spoken up long ago so that it could have been phased out little by little. What hurts me the most is that it is clear that for the teachers and administrators, the last thing on their minds is the student. They are playing with the students' emotions and that seems to be of no concern to them.
It's unfortunate that the previous reviewer's personal agenda colored their review and led them to throw an entire school under the bus, teachers and administrators included. While there was a change to the fourth and fifth grade overnight field trips, the field trips are still going on. The only change is that they are no longer going to be overnight due to liability issues. The rest of the field trip has not changed. It is both unfair and inaccurate to imply that this is because the field trips are in any way inconvenient to the teachers. The teachers have valid concerns. How does removing only the overnight component change the school's test scores? It doesn't. It is simply that there has been a change and the only way some parents know how to deal with it is to lash out and be disrespectful.
This school has been on cruise control for a few years. The previous advances came with a forward-thinking principal who retired two years ago, and the new principal simply goes through the motions. Overnight field trips, the standard in high performing schools, were cancelled without consulting parents--because they're inconvenient. The kids at this school are generally high performing, so the question is how much is the school adding to what they already come in with? New test scores will surely show a drop, and it no longer feels like a school-family partnership. The school is safe, and the families do support the school, but the lack of LAUSD funding limits options. Look under the hood because it's not all it seems.
I agree with the last review. Although it is a decent school set in a lovely residential neighborhood, the school is definitely overrated. I have two children attending the school and they are content, but one of them is GATE and has been bored and there is no real GATE program for my child to thrive in. The other child is also very bright and was not challenged at all last year and spent the majority of the year bored. Their after school programs are mediocre and although they do have a school orchestra which children can enroll in for a hefty fee, without extra private lessons it isn't really worth it. Even with a new principal last year, I didn't see an improvement in the quality of the school with the exception of safety rules being enforced more regularly.
I agree with the previous review. This school is completely over rated. The teachers are totally average. They don't provide challenges for above average students. They do however put on a spectacular show for open house. NOTHING BUT A SHOW. My two kids love this school. My daughter who is in second grade is totally bored, but she's happy I guess. Upper grade boy is content. They just wish they could actually LEARN something new. Overall I'm just happy they are in a safe environment. This is supposedly as good as it gets....
We love Van Gogh, teachers, new principle, everything is the best!!!! My children are so happy with this school as we are!!!! Thank you to all hard worker teachers, principle, and PTO as well to make the school BEST!!!!!!
Overall, the school is over rated. The only reason Van Gogh thrives is because of the ongoing parental support, both at home and at school. The parents who run the PTO do a fantastic job; they are fair with all grade levels and extremely organized. The teachers are okay. They are not better than any other LAUSD teacher. There are a few teachers who provide a rigorous curriculum. The new principal seems approachable and genuine.
Van Gogh was our number one choice when scouting public schools for our son. Great extra-curricular programs round out an excellent staff and group of teachers. My son is thriving, and I can't talk more highly of this place. Excellent location, as well.