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McDowell School - Preschool-Elementary

Private | PK-6 | 156 students

 

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Living in Laguna Niguel

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $456,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $2,190.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
No new ratings
2013:
Based on 2 ratings
2012:
Based on 3 ratings
2011:
Based on 1 rating

Teacher quality

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19 reviews of this school


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Posted August 28, 2013

I checked out McDowell and decided not to send my child to this school. My decision was based on the following: 1.) the children conduct PE in a parking lot; 2.) the teachers seem to turnover a lot; 3.) they do not seem to invest in the school facilities, i.e., no science or math lab; 3.) no high level of parent involvement. For us, the class size seemed too small. I don't think it would prepare a child to learn to interact with different personality types or learn coping skills. Also, the school only went to 6th grade so we would have to find another school for our child to attend before going to high school. Overall, it did not seem like a good fit for our child.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 19, 2013

we came from VA to CA .MY dauther had to go to public school for 2 years until we found Mcdowell school. I can not be happeir for my daugter, her math is stronger than than before in other school . Her teachers are all kind and helpful.I wish they had middle school too so l didnt have to move some where else for her.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 30, 2012

This is my second experience with this school. My child was a previous student here. Although there have been many changes since our first child, we are happy that McDowell has continued with it's small class sizes and academic excellence. Having been here before, I know that when students leave McDowell for whatever the reason, they are more than prepared and most often end up in very high math, english, language, etc classes at other schools. As to the previous comments about it not being a family environment, I wholeheartedly disagree. McDowell's student body size makes that inevitable. For the money, you can't get a better education! We couldn't be happier here! If you considering McDowell, do yourself a favor and check it out.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 22, 2012

Over the past year I have come to realize that this is not the same place we committed to in kindergarten. There is not the same kind of family atmosphere governing the school which made it the special place it once was. This appears to be due to the change in ownership and management of the school. Also beware that there are some very influencial parents who feel it is their perogative to dictate their childs grades. Hardly a fair and even situation to students who come by their grades honestly!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 28, 2012

Avoid this school at all costs. It has turned from a wonderful family environment that is rich in learning to a cold, hard business. It has been bought by a corporation, has a new director and alot of the staff have left. Changes abound and many of the families that have been there for years have left. Think twice before putting your child at this school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 18, 2011

We are so happy with the quality of education at McDowell. The classes are small, and the level of hands on individualized education is high. The spanish, art, computer, music and athletic teachers are exceptional. Parents are very involved here. Very caring, family oriented school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 13, 2010

McDowell is amazing for anyone who wants an incredible academic and well-rounded educational experience for their child. The best teachers, staff and parents in town. The school has been there for 34 years and continues to grow with today's high standards of excellence. I have never been disappointed with anything there, and my boys love going to school each day.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 7, 2010

This is a for-profit school now owned by the same people who own Sylvan. It is great for younger kids and the class size is small but there's only one class in most grades which isn't enough for older kids. The classrooms are very small and there are very few facilities; a small playground, PE in the parking lot and no science labs or art/music rooms. There are some great teachers but there's no ongoing teacher training so some are stuck in a rut. Unless your kids have been here since preschool it's very hard for them to break in socially. The school doesn't have a middle school, it has one very small 6th grade. If your kids are very young or if your older child has need of such a small environment then it is a good school but it's very much a niche school. Most kids need more.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 7, 2010

I have been a parent at McDowell for eight years and I love this school! My children love to go to school everyday and I attribute that to an amazing staff of teachers who challenge my kids while making learning fun! The small class sizes allow every student to get one-on-one attention and help bring out the best in each of them. McDowell teaches kids confidence, high self-esteem, and great sportsmanship, along with above grade level academics. The teachers are amazing and really know how to inspire the kids. Parents are encouraged to be involved in daily school life and the result is a family environment that is one-of-a-kind! Everyone genuinely cares about each other and it shows! If you are looking to academically challenge your child while making sure they are being nurtured and guided into becoming well-rounded, confident, caring people then McDowell is for you.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 6, 2010

McDowell Middle School has an individual approach to education. The class sizes are kept limited to ensure each student reaches his or her potential. The teachers are extraordinary and the level of learning is outstanding. There are a number of schools in this area with a good reputation for high academic standards, but McDowell goes beyond academics by encouraging leadership and personal growth. The principal is a great leader and has hired teachers who are commited to teaching and encouraging young people to reach their potential. The students feel at home here, which gives them a greaet deal of confidence and promotes high self esteem. This Middle School program continues to exceed my expecations.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 6, 2010

I am in 6th grade, and I have been at McDowell for 8 years. The student government program at McDowell is very involved in fundraisers and activities. The teaching philosophy at McDowell is very exclusive. They make sure that every child gets the attention that they need to fully understand a subject. McDowell also has a belief that all students should have the opportunity to be involved in extra ciricular activities. I am glad I've chosen McDowell as my middle school because every teacher has their own, fun way of teaching. Also, class sizes are very convenient, because there is enough time to teach everyone what they need to know. Another convenience is the school size as a whole. It is nice to know that as I walk down the hall, teachers, staff, and students all know each other.
—Submitted by a student


Posted February 5, 2010

I have been a parent at McDowell for 7 years and have experienced all the school has to offer. The preschool is nurturing, the elementary gives a strong foundation and the middle school program prepares them for high school and beyond! There is a focus on strong academics, with an importance placed on the whole child. Children are challenged in Math, Language Arts, Science, Computers, etc....and are taught respect, sportsmanship and a caring for our world and community. The school s relationship with the community allows them to have access to fields, courts and theaters which has only strengthened its sports and music/performance programs. The small class size allows students the opportunity to have Spanish, Art and Music on a daily or weekly basis, gives the teachers an opportunity to work with students on an individual basis. There is a very low turnover of teachers. I would recommend checking into this school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 19, 2009

This school has great teachers. The facilities are lacking for the upper grades in all areas. If you are looking for a preschool/kindergarten this would be a great school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 3, 2009

If you are looking for a smaller class size, this school is one for you. We love this school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 17, 2009

If you are looking for a small class per grade school with a focus on academics then I would recommend this school. There is a lack of facilities for the older children to play and do sports etc In the past there has been a realatively high turnover of teachers given the few grades and now there is a new Principal so things may change.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 21, 2008

We have been at McDowell now for almost 5 years and what impresses me the most is that every year the school has improved in all areas. This year, third grade, without a doubt has been the best year. The teacher is outstanding and the work is challenging. McDowell asks for your input and takes it seriously; they are on a continual quest to always go to the next level academically and our children are the beneficiaries of this.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 21, 2008

The focus of high level academics built to challenge children from K-6th grades at McDowell is building the foundation required to further the education experience, and prepare my children for the future. In addition, McDowell offers extracurricular programs that far exceed expectations, with options that are not provided by most of the surrounding schools. I highly recommend all parents to look into McDowell.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 16, 2008

I am very impressed with the level of individual attention my son is receiving in the third grade this year. He is constantly being challenged and is thriving as a young student! This is the way school should be!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 2, 2007

I was looking for a parent/child friendly preschool for my daughter. Many of the schools I looked at did not encourage parents to drop in unannounced! Mcdowell is terrific letting parents watch anytime and the teachers and administrative staff is always available to answer any concerns. Now she is starting Kindergarten at Mcdowell and she cannot wait! Thank you for making education fun!
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 80% 26%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 11% 11%
Hispanic 8% 52%
Black 1% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Dance teacher(s)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Speech and language therapist(s)
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by school officials and community members.

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Special education / special needs

Staff resources available to students
  • Speech and language therapist(s)

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Science lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile design
Music
  • Theory
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing and written arts
  • Dance
  • Drama

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Staff resources available to students
  • Speech and language therapist(s)

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 7:00 am
School end time
  • 6:00 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school
  • After school
School Leader's name
  • Ms. Donna Jeffrey
Gender
  • Coed
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • NIPSA

Programs

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Speech and language therapist(s)
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Computer lab
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Playground
  • Science lab
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Sports

Boys sports
  • Basketball
  • Flag football
  • Soccer
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile design
Music
  • Theory
  • Vocal lessons / coaching
Performing arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Volunteer in the classroom
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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29028 Aloma Avenue
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Website: Click here
Phone: (949) 495-5162

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