I enrolled a 4th grader and a kindergartener at Robert Down last year. We moved from a very rigorous academic school in Virginia, ranked 10 on Great Schools. While the academics at RHD are good (maybe a 4/5), they are not as rigorous as our prior school (5/5). However, school is more than just academics. RHD does an excellent job at instilling independence and a sense of community in the students. I love that the older grades are paired with a "buddy" student in a younger grade (5th paired with 2nd, 4th with 1st, etc.). Another positive aspect is the significant parent volunteer opportunities in the classroom, from reading to small group instruction. The students have two 10-min recess periods AND PE every single day and music once a week. The learning Garden and the STEM opportunities are very good, and this year we have started a 4-5th grade robotics team that will compete in a regional competition.
The administration is strong and incredibly caring. When I brought to light my concerns regarding the district publicity policy, the principal took it up with the school board and it was changed for the next school year.
I would like to see improvements to the afterschool and enrichment offerings. For example, I signed my son up for after school chess (for an additional fee) assuming he would improve his understanding of the game with a short strategy lesson, but the students simply sit down and play. Likewise, the school could stand to build a stronger gifted and talented program.
Overall, I have been incredibly happy with our experience at RHD. My family will move to another state for the next school year and I'm sure that we will miss RHD very much.
I move to pacific grove from France with my son hardly speaking English and could not write or read in English. Within 6 months he was up to grade level thanks to an amazing team.,
Amazing teacher that cater to every child individually.
They have great resources to make your child's year as successful as possible.
Overall this school lacks innovation and creativity because the leadership is shortsighted and unwilling to take risks. After school math program is not much more than a babysitting program, at the very least. The Resource Program is stuck in the dark ages to the point of being oppressive and children with learning disabilities do not receive equal curriculum opportunities as do students without special needs. Children with learning disabilities are often given assignments within the classroom for drill and kill work in outdated paper/book programs. Teachers teach children to read mainly through repetitive, visual learning modalities which works for some students, but not for many, especially students with dyslexia. I knew of one parent whose child had been in the same resource program using the exact same materials for years with little progress but the school did not try to use alternative programs with this child for success. Sometimes, one size does not fit all. This school will benefit from taking risks including trusting that children with special needs grow from challenging and diverse curriculum that engages rather than bores students to tears.
I know nothing about Robert Down, other than the extreme positives that neighbors of my rental home tell me. Its reputation is so good that i'm informed that I can get considerably more rent for it than in any other area around the peninsula. People forego pricey private schools for it. The teacher student ratio is 12:1. Its rated 9 of 10. Its on an upward spiral. That speaks volumes for the neighborhood and the school itself.
Overall this school lacks innovation and creativity because the leadership is shortsighted and unwilling to take risks. The Resource Program is stuck in the dark ages to the point of being oppressive and children with learning disabilities do not receive equal curriculum opportunities as do students without special needs. Children with learning disabilities are often removed from the classroom for drill and kill work in outdated workbook programs like Reading Mastery, a program the school has used with little change for more than 15 years for K-3 students. Reading Mastery teaches children to read mainly through repetitive, visual learning modalities which works for some students, but not for many, especially students with dyslexia. I knew of one parent whose child had been in the same resource program using the exact same materials for over 4 years with little progress but the school did not try to use alternative programs with this child. Sometimes, one size does not fit all. This school will benefit from taking risks including trusting that children with special needs grow from challenging and diverse curriculum that engages rather than bores students to tears.
My family moved here from SF specifically to attend Robert Down. My wife is a teacher and we are both Ivy league educated so we understand the value of education and how difficult it is to create and maintain a great school. I have friends w children attending SF private schools paying $40k per year who have stated they are jealous of our school and community. RD may be the best value on the planet. Supply and demand dictates many things. Try to rent a 3BR home in the Robert Down district, its nearly impossible because so many want to attend the school.
If I could give less I would.Teachers kids get preferred treatment when they get in trouble.If your not in the right social circle, it's definitely your kids fault.The budget, the school scores have nothing to do with making it the best school for your child, rather stress the kids out and spend much needed funding on landscaping when there is clearly not enough manpower in the classroom.All seems to be a big scheme because the higher ups have real estate in the district.But you'll enjoy the parade.
Robert Down Elementary school is truly excellent. The principal is great, very reasonable and no-nonsense. The teachers are very experienced and handle children of all types with ease. The school has great learning facilities and approaches to teaching and learning. They have plenty of very well organized fun events for the children and parents and it really brings people together to feel part of the community. If you work in the Monterey Peninsula area it is worth moving to Pacific Grove just for your elementary school age kids to go to this school
My child attended RHD for all 6 years and we couldn't have been any happier. We had excellent teachers, great admin support and the principle is top-notch! I volunteered in class every year and was always greeted warmly by the staff! My child had outstanding grades every year and is now in middle school continuing to have outstanding (4.0) grades. I recommend this school to anyone living in our district! Keep up the great work Otters!!!!
I like the School in particular. I am very dissatisfied by the politics of the Administration. Which is supported by the Administrations Superintendent and his Assistant Superintendent. They do not truly encourage parental involvement, as they claim like many schools want parents to participate. They have gone out of their way to knock down one individual who was very interested in the Kindergarten Program and its overcrowding. The Principle has since the beginning of 2013 -2014 school year to banned him because he has a supportive but non-participatory group of parents listening and expresses his thought in a group e-mailing. I was not interested in being involved, as I had heard from previous teachers that they (The School District) will drag anyone down that stands up to them for the students entire school years at PGUSD. Their agenda is not the same as the parents they represent in all cases. If I were to do it again I would have gone to the school board meetings and spoken up, as he did. Then again would I have been banned as Disruptive or Assertive? A parent in the middle at RHD