No homework is better than too much! Children are in school all day; they need time for chores, hobbies, play, & rest. My kids' former school (a new charter in Loveland) assigned WAY too much homework. So we really appreciate schools that teach academic skills during school hours and just use homework for the habits homework hones best. Quick homework assignments give children practice keeping track of their own tasks & materials. (Younger kids may need the consistency of nightly homework routines; older kids can & should get used to variation.) And occasional long-term projects require kids to budget their own time. My child's class at Ivy had it just right. There was never busywork or drill; homework was minimal & valuable.
Everyone we've worked with was honest, open, qualified, conscientious, passionate, & reasonable. Each day in class, teachers give kids specific encouragement, reinforcing honorable habits. Every staff member (including the custodian!) models stellar character and watches for teachable moments. Standout success may earn a child a positive office referral, which the principal rewards with praise, a small prize, & a call home to the parents. (Referral forms are sent home later, too, so you can post them on the fridge and put them in the scrapbook!) The kudos are meaningful because they must be legitimately earned, but staff seems alert enough to catch even a struggling child being awesome at least once a year. Kids try hard when their good deeds & good attitudes are genuinely recognized and celebrated by both their mentors and their peers. But of course problems come up. When students need correction, discipline is handled fairly, constructively, and with common sense. Kids must pay the consequences, but they won't be shamed or shattered. They feel loved and understood, so while they feel bad for disappointing their heroes & friends, they know that restitution & repentance will bring redemption. The kids seem to internalize these lessons, naturally inspiring each other to be their best, yet forgiving each other when they mess up.
Though disrespect is my ultimate pet peeve, I never caught even a whiff of contempt among the faculty--for anyone or anything. The staff is exemplary. Since Ivy kids see what that respectful behavior looks like and feel the effects of such good citizenship, they actually listen when comportment is taught.
Ivy seems very good at making children want to learn and achieve. Growth feels safe and rewarding. Through personal goals, kids are always challenged to improve. That way, high performing kids won't become perfectionistic underachievers, and struggling learners just focus on the next step instead of feeling hopelessly left behind. But kids are aware of their objective achievement levels, too; it's not a mysterious sliding scale. For the most part, the curriculum seemed to have a good scope, sequence, depth, & pace. Most Thompson schools seem weak on history & civics, however, and Ivy Stockwell is no exception.
Faculty greets each student every day by name--with a smile, eye contact, physical touch (such as a handshake or high five), & warm appreciation or interest. What a tone that sets! Students treat each other with the same neighborly consideration. Teachers intentionally develop a sense of community and meaningful friendships based on mutual trust, fun, fondness, consideration, & accountability.
Absolutely hands down one of the best elementary schools I've been involved with. The teachers there actually care about each other and the community, and most importantly the students. They actually get along with each other and help each other to perform and teach the best they can. They make it fun for the kids to learn. My kids have both told me that they'd rather stay in school through the summer rather than have a summer vacation! Who says that?! Rick Bowles and the staff at Ivy Stockwell including the PTO members and even down to the maintenance crew (Trilby is awesome!) really, truly care about the kids there. I'm so proud to be part of this community and school, and wouldn't have my kids go anywhere else.
I don't believe this is just Ivy Stockwell, but most schools in general. Yes, we need to teach and learn our kids. Yes, we need to prepare them for the future. However, we need to find a way to be able to do this in the 8 hours that they have at school and allow them the time they need to decompress and develop outside of school socially, etc.
Ivy Stockwell is an amazing school with an incredible group of teachers and staff that really put their students first and work together to make sure your students leaves elementary with an incredible education.