This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Van Arsdale Elementary School1
Posted August 13, 2014
- a parent
If you want your child to learn, stay far, far away from this school! I have a long history with this school and can tell you, VanArsdale was among the greatest. Their time has past. They refuse to really look at what is best practices and student achievement continues to suffer. They need to take a long, hard look at themselves and make some difficult decisions. A few years ago, the VanArsdale community was told they were going to be placed on academic watch due to the lack of student achievement. Test scores continually go down. And somehow the watch never happened. This school has been swept under the carpet. Do yourself and your child a favor and look elsewhere.
Van Arsdale has something most schools are lacking these days - a sense of pride. Not only are the teachers exceptional in communicating curriculum, they are also instilling qualities such as kindness, respect, endurance and friendship in our children. Open communication is a focus here from the top down. Any parent can use their voice at PTSA and Vault to make concerns known. In then end I dont just want my kids to receive an education, but to also feel safe and respected while doing so. If you are looking for an exceptional elementary education look no further than Van Arsdale!
This is our second year at Van Arsdale. My son had a wonderful Kindergarten experience. Even with a relatively large class, his teacher and aide were amazing. They immediately gained the kids' respect (and parents) and were able to effectively teach children with varying social and academic abilities. This year brought initial concerns with class size. I now appreciate the position our principal was in as she made difficult decisions (in my opinion correct decisions) on school staffing given district budget constraints. My son's class has a dedicated and optimistic teacher and a full-time aide. The principal is an advocate for the school and students that attend this school. This is her second year at VA, and she wants to help VA be the best school it can be. VA has a great community feel with active parents and open communication among principal, staff and parents. Most importantly, though, my son loves going to school each day and always has positive things to say about his day.
This school is strong in literacy but at the expense of other subjects. The curriculum is not well rounded. The teachers we have had seem to be going through the motions and seem to be sending children to the office all of the time.
I think this is one of the best elementary schools in Jefferson County! The teachers and staff always go above and beyond to support the students. I am very fortunate that my daughter goes to Van Arsdale. Keep up the good work! :-)
I feel very lucky to have 3 children at this school. We've not been 100% happy with one teachers organization/ tidiness but have had great communication and an abundance of support from all of their teachers. Each class has at least 20 children. I'm grateful that teachers are not taking time away from 20 or so children to focus on one "outside the box" child. There are specialty schools for those children that are "outside the box" and I really find it appropriate for the staff to focus on the curriculum without taking away from the 20 plus children to suit the needs of one. I feel our children are in very capable hands and in an environment that is preparing them for success in middle school, high school and higher education. There's a reason there is a wait list for open enrollment. This is an amazing school with an amazing staff.
I am not a big fan of this school. My kids have had some mediocre teachers and then been lucky to have some great teachers. I was happy to see a change with the principal but I'm very disappointed with the interim principal. You can walk right past the front office into the school mainly due to the fact the women in the office like to sit around and gossip all day. The PTSA is more geared towards stay at home moms with meetings during the day and the school website is fair to poor at best. Communication is very much lacking from this school.
The District needs to open their eyes regarding this school. There is no reason a school within this community with the students from the background mentioned in the earlier post, should be performing the way it is. This school is not a 9/10, should be a 7/10. The parents, language and economics are not the problem with this school unlike other schools in the District. The teachers are the problem with Van Arsdale. The District needs to identify who wants to teach, help kids excel, and reconsider the classroom content. The math and writing programs are weak, with reading being ok. In our experience the teachers were complacent, burned out and wanted to blame the parents for any misbehavior - refused to consider the kids are b-o-r-e-d. New students are labeled new and little was done by the teachers to help the students adjust or be included. In the third grade, one of the teachers seemed like she was great earlier in her career, but she needs to retire and the other one had the paradigm that boys will be boys which led to bullying behavior towards the new students. I moved my kids to a charter school after less than 1yr at VA, and we're thrilled with the teachers and the students.
pros- great literacy program. Kids who attend here generally come from professional, upper middle class families so the peer expectation is to be fairly serious about school and homework. My son has attended from 2nd - 6th. He had 1 FABULOUS teacher, one mediocre teacher, 2 above average teachers. and this years teacher seems great. He has learned to write very well and to read with a lot of critique skills. cons- Math program is weak over all and not differentiated. Kids who attend here generally come from professional, upper middle class families so peer expectation is to have the latest electronics, wear name brands, be a jock. There is a lot of keeping up with the Joneses and new kids are labled as such (new) and are not welcomed in to the cliques. Also, there is an interim principal (like her!) as the previous one left and hopefully the new one next year will provide more solid leadership. If your child has any special ed learning needs think twice about Van Arsdale.
Pros: -Students and parents who've been a part of the VA community since kindergarten love the school. -Clean school -Kids loved the playground -Library is solid, the library staff is extremely knowledgeable -- also very open to volunteer help Cons School Overall: -Communication between new parents and teachers/pto/school was non-existent. -The Great Schools 8/10 rating is correct for the great community it does NOT reflect the 6/10 VA should be ranked. -In my children's and my own personal experience the school was extremely cliquish. Cons Teachers: -Prior to VA, my kids loved school and were excited for Music, Art, P.E., and recess. They lost that excitement at V.A. - The two teachers we experienced seemed complacent and burned out. - The kids' first exposure to student council was based on a popularity vote, no speeches given. - VA is a C rated school inside and out and until they're open to outside ideas they will remain so. - Be careful as a new parent in all communication with other parents re: questions about teachers b/c of the close relationships. **Kids started at a new school in Arvada and they thanked me for putting them in a different school.**