My daughter has been at Don Benito since 1st grade, and now she's in 3rd grade. For kindergarten she was at a Pasadena private school, and we quickly realized that we were not getting $17K worth. The reality is that your child will not get a *better* education at a private school. The grounds will be nicer, but we've come to realize that this is not what is important in life. My daughter has had a lot of support and has improved tremendously in her reading and math skills during her time at Don Benito. I have found Dr. Chang to be very responsive and receptive to my questions and comments. I recognize that she is doing the best she has with limited resources. She and the rest of the DB staff will probably not please everyone 100% of the time, but they care about our children. We have been very happy with the education and experience that we have had so far.
Recent changes are very worrying. The principal often doesn't seem to know what's going on. They used to have an assistant principal who was on top of things, but she left and they hired someone with hardly any experience in her place. Now we hear that several teachers have already quit, and school just started a week ago! I don't have a good feeling about this year.
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.