I will be honest about what I observed as just a parent of TRock. Number 1, world view. This will be pushed from the youngest age, constantly over and over. Recycle, the ice caps are melting etc. OK, two, the kids are KIDS. I think somewhere between the test scores and prestige this fact is forgotten. Where is the FUN? It is also forgotten and replaced with the school's own agenda. Just talk with a student about it and see their response. Bottom line, great place to be a teacher, not so great a place to be a KID. Again this based on my limited observations while my child was attending.
I, too, am a teacher at this school and find it to be a wonderfully diverse learning setting, unlike anywhere in OC. I teach primary and strive everyday to make my classroom a supportive, fun, thought-provoking place. I know that TR is a very academic place. Having taught in a very different district before Irvine, I think IUSD is a great district and TR is an example of that. We are fortunate to have district art, the Art Masters program, and a super music program. I was sad to read comments from unhappy parents. I truly work very hard to make TR a welcoming place, where thinking and learning are more valued than test scores. It seems like many of the issues in the prior comments had to do with the CA Dept of Ed's policies as much as the school's. I agree that there are too many students in K.
I am a teacher at this school. I have experience at 5 different schools in Irvine. All are good with varying degrees, but Turtle Rock is outstanding. I can confidently say every teacher is extremely qualified and good at what they do. Regarding parents comments about curriculum and homework not being creative, much of that was taken out of our hands once the state adopted conformity with expectations and state standards. Most of us try to add creative elements as we can, but it is extremely difficult. With the budget cuts, be prepared for less opportunity for creativity. Teachers are going to be spread thin with 30 students in primary classrooms. Thank goodness for the wonderful parent support and volunteers. Although the future looks dismal, the TR community will find a way to do what is best for the students. This is a fabulous school for all
My kid was in the 1st grade. In 2008 we moved to Bellevue, WA. He continues to be in what is considered one of the best Elementary Schools here. The school here has all the gadgets (such as SmartBoard) in the class. Nevertheless, when compared in entirety Turtle Rock is a notch better. I personally do not think it is wrong in giving homework to kids at this age - the question is how much is too much. At TR my kid used to get homework in varied topics - it made it interesting. Some amount of repetitive work is good, after all 'practice makes perfect'. The teachers are very sincere in the both the schools. I guess it is the framework imposed by the School District that differentiates. Parent involvment is more in Bellevue esp in Fund raising - parents in TR should get invovled in this and other activities.
TR is an outstanding school, a top school in Orange County. It's tops because of the awesome kids, parents, and teachers. Turtle Rock, ROCKS!
I am very disappointed with this so called top school, the staff are obsessed with keeping the school scores high, it is our feeling that the children are treated as objects to this end. The class sizes are too large, way too much homework accompanies the children which the staff requires the parents to teach; I have a strong desire to assist in the teaching process of my children but not be the prime mover. The homework is repetitive and unchallenging for the children, I find no aspects of creativity encouraged, simply put, the children are being taught to pass tests. Never has my child returned home from school and described the day as fun or interesting. The attitude of the staff are that if the student doesn t represent a perfect pass level for there class or grade they should be held back, I and several other parents, feel that this is being done to raise the test average. I for one will not be allowing my children to be subjected to this wholly inadequate school at the next grade, I would recommend any future students parents to think twice before enrolling here, unless they want a child to be a poorly educated but fine test passer for the appallingly self centered staff and school.
Turtle Rock used to be the finest elementary school in Irvine with their old principal and staff. Unfortunately, the school has been going downhill ever since Sharon Adele retired, and was replaced with ChrisAnn Shane, who closed off the campus to parents and got rid of all the fundraisers (they needed to put ads on the front of the school directories to pay for printing). The APAAS program, especially 6th Grade, went downhill after the four original teachers retired. APAAS used to be based on a higher quality of work and thinking skills. Now it just increases the workload on students, and doesn't prepare them well for later years of school.
As a parent that has been in the school for a few years and with chidren going from Montessori to Turtle Rock, I believe that the academic curriculum, though unchallenging for Montessori children in lower grades, do get more challenging in upper grades. There are upper grade teachers, my child was in one, who gets the challenge because of the teacher in 5th grade - she was fantastic as was most of the 5th grade classes last year. Having volunteered in the classroom, I do know that children are taught how to solve the subject questions before homework assignment so if the child does not seem to know how to answer the questions, I would question if the child was paying attention in class? My child did and I normally do not help her with her homework, except for some of the GATE work which is more challenging which is what I expected of GATE. I have to agree that I was not as fortunate with the teacher in 4th grade.
I had heard much about this school but my child has been there for 2 years now and I'm disappointed. They do not teach students, how to think. Only how to memorize certain facts or details, presumably those important for standardized test. My child attended a Montessori kindergarten and I found that the learning skills in that kindergarten to be far superior to 1st or 2nd grade in Turtle Rock
I find it sad that parents are saying that all the school cares about are standardized test. It is a wonderful school where the students are challenged and taught well. Compared with other schools, the curriculum pushes the kids to achieve more without putting stress on them. The staff are very helpful and will take the time to help the kids with all their needs. My daughter loves the school.
Turtle Rock really isn't what we expected, most teachers are not good with kids they take much investigations about the personal life of kid's family, too much homeworks and don't explain enough, the principal just pretends to help but really just take care the prestigiuos school. Some teachers usually take preferences between students, and ethnic racial, they like perfect students but they are not perfect teachers, some others teachers are good and kind but the most not good with kids. too much discrimintarion too, we found since four years we really don't like this prestigious school.
Lower grades at TR are great, with some wonderful teachers. Upper grades are a huge disappointment. Overall, the scores seem to be much more a result of the demographics plus parental tutelage, not the classroom teaching. The upper grade teachers are very reluctant to differentiating instruction (the GATE activities are minimal).
We have been at Turtle Rock for a year having attended several different schools over the years as we have moved about. Our experience at Turtle Rock has been very positive, we have found the teaching to be excellent and the activities challenging, innovative and interesting. The atmosphere is nurturing and positive. Our daughter has responded very well to the high expectations and encouragement.
Turtle Rock has gone downhill over the past few years with the new principal. The old sense of community is gone--parents are banished from the school grounds before and after school, except for occasional 'after-school socials' that few parents or kids bother to attend. Many long-time parents have simply given up and are just waiting for their kids to move on to middle school--or, they're leaving for other elementary schools. Although the lower grades are pretty good (too many kids in kindergarten, though), the upper grades leave a lot to be desired. Too much homework, way too much time spent preparing for the standardized tests by which the school is ranked and judged, and too little thinking. Previous comments about worksheets and filling in the blanks are correct. The goal is to have the kids score well, not think well--the two don't necessarily go hand in hand. Disappointing.
I completely agree with the latest response (aforementioned). Turtle rock is too pre-occupied with scores and not enough student attention. There is way too much homework assignments and majority of the assignments have to be taught by parents at all times. The teachers expect parents to teach the students rather than just aiding the homeworks. Where has the quality of teaching gone? From my personal experience, the principal and teachers are not on the right page with the needs of the kids and the schooling experience. I will not send my child to turtle rock going forward...It's a sad institution for kids looking to enjoy the schooling experience.
My child attended Turtle Rock, and I am one parent who is less than thrilled. Yes the kids score high, but sometimes that seems that's all they care about. There is very little time for art, music, or fun. (They say they have a great art program, but it's really art appreciation, and is about 8 times/year). There is WAY too much homework. And way too much of the work both at school and at home is repetitive and filling in blanks. There is very little emphasis on creativity. The kids never learn to write essays, just paragraphs answering simple questions. Maybe this is inevitable due to the large class sizes. My child was a good student (GATE) and did learn, but frankly, I often felt depressed by her school experience. Maybe all Irvine schools are this way... I'm trying Vista Verde with my younger child.
This is our second year at Turtle Rock and we are proud to be in such a great school where students, faculty, and parents work together to bring out the best in every student. I personally would like for the school to have supervised after school free time for the children so they can play. Great atmosphere.
Turtle rock is a great school. My child enjoys going to school. Even though we were new to this place, they made her feel welcome and the teacher is extremely helpful and affectionate and helped my daughter adjust well. The office is very busy all the time.
Turtle rock elementary is a good school. The teachers are helpful and friendly. My daughter enjoys school.
Turtle Rock is a great school, with a strong all around academic curriculum, very dedicated teachers, and an extraordinary parent involvement. The school has a very active PTA that helps provide the school with wonderful music and art specialists. The upper grade music program is oustanding (especially strings).There is also an extensive after school enrichment program (ACE)that offers classes in art, sports, science, languages, chess,etc. It is a large elementary school, however, and children who are slow learners may feel ovelwhelmed and may have a bit of a hard time catching up with the pace of the rich curriculum.
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