The academic programs and play space are good. The behavior of the students and parents, however, is sad. A community lacking in morals and ethics. It is easy to see why even 2nd graders are bullying and mean -- they have terrible examples for parents. Sad. Something every day at this school. Sad.
Dapplegray is a great school. The focus on education is always evident. Expectations for students are very high, which is necessary for success. The strong educational program thrives on innovative techniques for learning, which are endorsed and encouraged by the leadership and teachers. In addition, there is emphasis on the arts, science, field trips, etc. which supplement the students learning and allow for a complete learning experience. In addition to what is provided during the regular school day, Dapplegray offers fee-based after-school enrichment programs and a structured child-care program for working parents. It is no coincidence that this school has a 10 out of 10 GreatSchools Rating and a 936 API score. The teachers and administration offer a solid program based on what is proven to result in student success. It is truly a privilege for each and every Dapplegray student to have the experience of attending this outstanding elementary school.
My kids are having a great experience at the school. It's supported by a great community and the teachers are really engaged. Recently, we've found that with funding cuts our class sizes continue to creep up. More disturbing though is that Dapplegray has set acceptable class sizes to max at 36. That means it is acceptable for the school to have classrooms that size. This is incredibly disappointing and had we known this, we may have made a different decision to go here. The California education system is troubled and this year our school has received the brunt of it. I'm hoping these problems are resolved for future students as there is great potential here.
I have two children at this school 2nd and 4th graders that have been there since Kindergarten and it has been great. There is so much parent participation that sometimes it is difficult to even get into the rotation to help in the classroom because so many parents are volunteering. The Art at Your Fingertips and music are great programs in the school and allow the children to not just focus on the tests and scores but to explore the artistic creative sides of themselves. Mr. London is not warm and fuzzy but my kids think he's great so I'm happy. We've had great teachers every year. The grading is a bit weird because in general you get proficient all the time even when you know your child is doing above the bar but I'm actually okay with them not focusing on grades yet. There is an expectation that your child can read at the start of first grade but that's because they teach them in Kindergarten. My son was not interested in learning to read in Kindergarten and I knew the expectation for first grade. I didn't talk to Mr. London but did talk to his teacher and she was very supportive and worked with me to get my son up to speed. Now in second grade he's doing great.
The education my three kids have received at Dapplegray has been adequate though not impressive. I am not crazy about their approach to reading, it seems like there are a lot of worksheets and not a lot of quality reading going on to prepare them for work they will be doing in middle school and high school. At the high school level thank goodness, there are few meaningless worksheets. I think the reason they are so heavy on the worksheets is for testing purposes. Everything seems to be about getting high test scores and not to to attain a joy of learning. However, the parent participation is wonderful. If you want to volunteer, there are are many good opportunities. Grading is interesting. On a five point scale, my oldest kids always received 4s which meant they were "proficient." Interesting, when they got to middle school (and now high school) they have received all A's with the exception of a couple of B's. Worst part of the school by far is the parking situation. To pick up your child is the biggest ordeal at Dapplegray. Plan on spending 30 minutes a day in line to pick up your kid and be at times be yelled at!
Not all that shines is made of gold. Unless you're child is able to read by the START of 1st grade, you're going to have issues. On the 1st day of orientation, we're told your child is expected to write a book report each night as part of homework... the best part? Your CHILD is the one that's supposed to do the reading. Seriously? Get ready for TIMED TESTS including for reading/spelling which is absurd when they're just LEARNING to read. It's like throwing a stumbling toddler into a relay race and expecting them to do well. God forbid your child fall from their "average" learning curve because you'll get NO WHERE with the Principal. He's dismissive and will ignore you until you go away (or pull your kid from the school). The one great thing about the school is the parental involvement (you'd think it was a requirement). MOST of the teachers here are amazing but the CORE STAFF (office/administrative/principal) are RUDE. Ask them a question and you'd think they were doing you a favor by bothering to respond. I wish they'd clean house at this school... there'd be a lot of parents celebrating if they would.
My child has been at this school for 3 years and it is excellent. I was nervous about sending her to public school, because she is a very high-energy child, and I was not sure she would do well in a conventional school environment. But she has thrived and loves it. The teachers we have had so far are excellent - they go the extra mile. Many of them have children here (or did), and so are very invested in the school - there is a real sense that parents and teachers are here to work together to provide a great education for their children. Parent involvement is very high. As for the comments regarding special needs kids, my own child is not , but she has a classmate who has a full-time aid, and I know that the parents are very happy with the support he has received. It's true that Mr. London can come off a bit gruff with parents, but whenever I have witnessed this, it has been because a parent was clearly violating a school rule - usually a traffic rule in the parking lot. So, yes, he could work on his 'bedside' manner, but there's no question he works very hard, and the school is well-run.
First off, Mr. London, a big thank you. You work non-stop to provide a better future for our kids. You attend every PTA meeting, Booster club meeting, and go above and beyond everytime even when you are facing certain struggles in your own life. You have a dream of what you want Dapplegray to be, and our kids will be the benefactors all due to your tireless effort! so once again, Thank you. Thank goodness we have a family enviroment with dedicated parents that understand that the funds that Dapplegray does raise all goes back to benefit the kids. Give what you can when you can. If you need to see the difference these funds make, try visiting a school that doesn't have the support from their community. You will quickly realize what a difference every dollar makes, from teacher quality to soap in the bathrooms!!!
I have to agree with the commentator who posted Dec. 7, 2009.... I know that Principal London isn't exactly warm and fuzzy, but he does a fine job running an exceptionally large elementary school. We have a child with special needs since the beginning of school, and--contrary to so many horror stories we had heard from other parents in the PV district and elsewhere about getting cooperation with the IEP and special needs--Principal London and the school's professional staff have been NOTHING BUT HELPFUL AND WONDERFUL. There was no fighting or resistance in implementing all the aspects of our child's plan, including providing a one-to-one aid. Even with all the budget cuts, they put the child's interest first. Plus, all the teachers we've had have been absolutely wonderful. Too many reviewers on here are obsessed with their competitive fantasies for their own kids.
After reading the last two reviews, I have to say that Dapplegray is one of the best schools on the Peninsula. INCLUDING the principal. He is blunt & straight forward & doesn't beat arround the bush. He is always on the go, trying to do whats right for the kids. How do you make 500 + parents happy? You don't. So you do what is good for the kids, deal with it parents! Hes not gonna go easy squeezy softy on you. Is the world gonna hold your childs hand every time they walk out the door? No. My kids are stronger more independant, they listen and thrive at this school. They LOVE their principal, he speaks to them at their level, he lets them know the bad and good but also what he expects of them. The teachers here WILL make your kid smarter even the special needs child.