The school is a true reflection of Pasadena. The students are from all backgrounds and classes are integrated with students with special needs. Great opportunity for our children to learn about all the different people in our world and make friends with someone unlike themselves.
Don Bonito is a great school. Teachers have a tremendous amount of experience. Parents are super involved and helpful. The new principal is energetic and enthusiastic about our children and the school.
We feel so lucky to be at Don Bonito school. The highly qualified staff, parental involvement, diverse population, and educational opportunities are everything we were looking for in a school for our children. The new principal is wonderful. Her energy and enthusiasm she brings to the school everyday is felt by all.
Don Benito is truly a special place, nestled in the quiet Upper Hastings Ranch neighborhood, where children are nurtured and taught by experienced teachers and staff. We feel very lucky to have our two children there. The PTA is truly astounding and partner with the teachers to round out a rich elementary experience. There is special care to accommodate a diverse student body -- this means making everyone feel included and an active part of the community at DB. It's a community where you see students and families truly caring for each other, making life-long friendships, and learning to work with each other. Don Benito, along with its volunteers and community sponsors, work hard to offer art and science docents in each class, Instrumental Music, Choir, Tech Lab, and after school programs like Lego Robotics, Mad Science and Art Studio. If you are prepared to be involved in your child’s schooling and contribute in ways that are appropriate for you — this school will not disappoint.
Don Benito is going through a rough patch after losing its stellar principal, who left for district administration. The new principal, clearly a nice person, is having typical newbie issues. She's tried to institute too many new "fun" activities and programs too quickly, instead of taking time to observe, ask questions, and learn more about what has been successful in the past. She's also WAY too eager to be liked by everyone, which means that formerly strict rules and policies have been loosened, and some knucklehead kids and pushy parents are taking advantage, with predictable results. Fortunately the teachers we know and love are still holding things together pretty well, but they also seem to be getting pretty frustrated. The new principal seems to have a basic level of competence, so let's hope she figures things out before teachers and families start jumping ship.
My child spent over 2 hours on homework almost every night in the 5th grade. He is an above average student so this was not because he struggles academically. It is because the teachers expect the parents to pick up the slack due to class overcrowding. There were also at least 4 major projects that consumed our weekends throughout the year in 5th grade. The kids do not do any of the projects in class. The work falls on the parents' shoulders to teach the child how to organize a large project.
This school is seriously lacking adult supervision. The playground is filled with kids and the one or two teachers on duty barely pay attention. As an example, my child was punched in the face on purpose by another child and not one adult saw the incident. When another child told the teacher, I did not receive a phone call or a note home. In addition, I am sorry to say that 5th grade is a complete disaster at Don Benito. My child did very, very well through 4th grade at Don Benito and I was pretty happy with the elementary school experience. The teachers were excellent and my child was performing well academically. However, I wish we left the school before 5th grade started because my child received below average teaching. I am considering hiring a tutor over the summer to help him catch up. If you choose this school, I strongly suggest you leave after 4th grade. I should have listened to other parents who warned me about the sub-standard 5th grade education. Now my child is paying the price.