Posted April 25, 2011
I would love to be able to talk with this parent in person. We WANT parents to have their questions answered because we believe "every good question deserves a GOOD answer." If parents are concerned about a lesson their child found confusing, they can contact the teacher of their child's class as a first step. If their questions are still not answered, parents can go to lead teachers or either the assistant principal or the principal. It's always best to start with the most direct communication: when I was teaching, I always appreciated being able to address parents' questions first - we could save so much time and effort that way. But if questions are still there, then a parent can take it to the next level until they are satisfied. The parents are amazed at how carefully designed and refined the whole teaching process is, from curricula to teacher training and coaching, to adding extra structure for struggling students. As for JICES teachers using scripted lessons, we do use a number of Direct Instruction curricula (Science Research Associates publisher), which do have very specific lesson plans that are scripted in order to avoid confusing "side trails" and extra wording that doesn't always help. These highly researched lessons have had numerous studies showing how students can "learn more in less time" and accelerate their success. However, teachers should never leave a student confused. A number of other curricula we use is not scripted, but teachers are trained to use Explicit Teaching methods in these subjects as well. Again, I would love to talk with this parent - please make an appointment or come by the office. As for students with language challenges: yes, we do have a number of students whose home language is not English. In fact we have a number of different home languages other than English represented in our student population. We have opened up some tutoring for all students who struggle with language challenges, whether they "qualify" as an English Language Learner or not. Parents can contact the classroom teacher for more information. Hope to see you so we can explore your questions! EB, Principal
I am delighted to be a staff member at James Irwin! As someone who came to teaching later in their career, I have been highly impressed with the diversity of backgrounds among the teaching staff, as well as the emphasis placed on staff development by the administration. Teacher coaches come into our classroom on a regular basis and provide feedback on teaching style, behavior management, classroom positivity, and educational content. The philosophy of the school is that all students can learn and want to learn. The scripted lessons and direct instruction style help keep classes on topic and learning consistently across classrooms in each grade level. Many teachers come in early and stay late to provide tutoring to students who need assistance to catch up to their academic peers. James Irwin is a no social promotion school that looks intentionally at the test data of every student daily, weekly, and monthly to analyze where a student may be struggling. I have personally worked with a number of students who took advantage of the "gift of time". Those students frequently have a highly successful experience the following year, which sets them up for success in future grades.
This is a truly great school! A great place for children to get the best education possible!
I am continually impressed. My child is taught not only core knowledge and rigorous academic, my child is retaining all of it. The teachers are ideal, and my child actually loves to go to school. The kids are also taught these amazing character traits, ie honor, respect, integrity, deference, ... and the whole faculty displays it. The kids are constantly being encouraged by their teachers instead of being shot down. I've read most of the reviews from parents on here, and it's my observation, so far in this school, that the parents who are upset with teachers or little things about their kids, are usually parents who NEVER volunteer in the classroom or even meet the teacher and don't actually try to help their child succeed so they're caught off guard when they haven't even paid attention to begin with. This is an amazing school. My child's success is cared about AS WELL AS his character and unique personality.
Scores are not everything, but they certainly say a lot!!! And despite some of the comments on here...scores are not the only thing the school cares about. The teachers care about the students succeeding and giving them a wonderful foundation in core knowledge. It is because of those things that the school has such great scores!!! And it is not because of ethnicity, or economic standing or anything else...it is because of the caring teachers who are committed to teaching Direct Instruction with an emphasis in Core Knowledge and making sure that every child succeeds!!! I can't say it enough!!!! Check out the fantastic ratings for JICES on School Digger (schooldigger.com), comparing all Colorado public elementary schools. JICES is 20th in ranking for ALL 874 elementary schools in Colorado! This puts the school in the top 2% of elementary schools statewide! School Digger also ranks JICES as 2nd in El Paso County for all public elementary schools. Way to go, James Irwin students & teachers! You are quite a team!
James Irwin Charter School has a great curriculum and excellent, involved teachers. They are stricter than the previous public school she went to, but my daughter loves it here.
JICES is NOT your typical public shool. This school has high expectations for their students, the parents of the students, and their staff. If you, as a parent, are not willing or prepared to be part of the team effort necessary, you, and your child, will be disappointed and frustrated. Do I agree with every single rule and expectation? NO. However, it is a reality of life. If JICS was in a wealthier area of the city, I have a feeling a lot of the same people who complain JICS today would say the school is only successful because of the wealth! I do wish there were more field trips for all grades. I would encourage a few more "fun, let kids be kids" opportunites during the year. I BEG the PTO/school to be more offer more volunteer opportunities for 8-5 working parents. PTO meetings are held on Friday late morning & all officers and parents involved are the same people year after year, which is okay, but some of the rest of us would LOVE to be involved but we have to work, too.
I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS SCHOOL. They just want Bright and Gifted kids with perfect grades, If your child is like this then go ahead. But if Instead your child is like most children in this planet in need of extra help on math,reading,writing etc. be prepared because this school does not want to deal with it. You will see your kid repeat the school year in order to keep their CTAP score high of the school. they are going to blame the kid AND the parents, but the school never going to take responsability if your child does not learn well during the school year, they will just suggest tutoring after school at almost the end of the school year when there's nothing to do to help your chid.
I would NOT recommend this school to anyone!!! Shortly after receiving my daughter report card that had all A's (she had one 2) I received a phone call telling me that she would most likely have to repeat the 2nd grade. I tried to talk to the teacher and she kept telling me it was the schools policy not to promote socially, I just wanted her to get the extra help she needed in reading, the only subject she struggles with! I then tried to contact the principal and was never allowed to speak with her. After several more calls I got to talk to the VP which is like talking to a wall. She speaks to parents as if they are in Kindergarten not adults who may have valid concerns about their child s education as well as their emotional well being. I was told I could PAY one of their teachers by the hour to get my daughter the help she needed. I believe that the school saw that my daughter was having difficulty and instead of helping her they just wanted to make sure she stayed in 2nd grade in order to keep the CTAP scores high. This school is more concerned with how they look on paper then the children they are teaching. I feel as though I failed as a parent when I chose this school
When searching schools, I was eager to find one that used direct instruction with core knowledge. The Kindergarten program was challenging, yet rewarding. The same goes for 1st.Sadly, the second grade staff has not lived up to the accustomed expectations. I am upset with the lack of communication. Conferences seem to be of no help. The staff at James Irwin appears unapproachable, and intimidating, including the Principal and Vice-principal. I am unaware of any science classes. There has only been one field trip ever. There are few ways to integrate fun and socialization in the school day. Using the restroom at unscheduled times results in recess time being taken away. They are scolded for talking and not playing at recess. My daughter has upheld all character traits, and was still reprimanded for having a physical ailment out of her control. She comes home with an hour of homework four out of five days. She is only in second grade, and is stressed beyond belief. To resolve the problem, I am going to look into Cheyenne Mountain Charter. They use the same direct instruction and core knowledge, have around the same test scores, and they incorporate more anxiety free days.
How rewarding that you found that JICES complements your educational expectations & character values! There are many schools of choice - we appreciate that you chose JICES. Unfortunately, you state that there have been many encounters with school admin where you felt disrespected. This is significant; school leaders must hold the line & hold people accountable for appropriate behaviors; it's never the intention to hurt anyone. No doubt, when such conversations require the admin s involvement, the topics are serious in nature, scope, & content. The admin takes great pains to uphold respectful conversations, no matter the seriousness of the topic. In fact, at times, necessary recommendations are made to agree to disagree so that parties need not resort to disagreeable interactions. Accountability can feel uncomfortable & difficult to accept: it has no bearing on someone being a bad parent or being related to the CEO. The Board has put executive measures in place for any ongoing conflict resolutions; it acts with great objectivity should situations need further assistance. Thank you - we look forward to educating your children to the best of our ability! -the Asst. Principal
When my children began attending JICES 2 years ago I was thrilled to find a school that offered structure, vigorous curriculum and character development. I am sad to say that over the past year I have had numerous negative encounters with school administration in which I was talked down to, lectured and disrespected. While I believe my children are getting a good education and I have had positive interactions with their teachers, I am greatly displeased with the attitude of the administration and the lack of accountability for their actions. If you have a complaint about this school it is difficult to do much about it because the CEO is the principal's husband. I have heard from numerous parents similar complaints. It feels as if once you have disagreement with the administration they are continually looking down their noses at you or looking to catch you or your child doing something "bad". The interesting thing is that my kids are great students, they are not discipline problems, and I am an involved parent. I am not a "bad" parent! I believe that JICES is a great school and can be even better if the administration would treat the parents better.
I don't know about this school. It is our first year and it seems that the school is more concerned with their appearance and their scores than my daughter. They are always saying negative remarks about other springs schools like they are so far better than them, with the exception of cheyenne mountain charter which they appear to be trying to "out do." The teachers are nice, but it feels like a fake nice, my daughter has heard her teacher gossiping about kids in the class and other teachers which really bothers me. The entire way this school is being run makes it into one big popularity contest down to every aspect .
I am very happy with not only the academic achievments of both my son and daughter, but also the social maturity they have gained. My son was challenged academically both years he attended(4th & 5th). My daughter had interferences that hindered some of her growth. The school was supportive and helped my daughter reach her highest potential. The teachers both of them had thoughout the years were remarkable and dedicated educators. The support I felt from them, and both principal and assistant principal touched me and my daughter. She is now a confident student and a leader no matter what situation she is faced with. I am thankful that my children attended this fantastic school.
Best. School. Ever!!!! The teachers truly care and are absolutely invested in ensuring that your child succeeds. Positive reinforcement is the method by which most behavior modification occurs. They have very high standards and it's refreshing to see all the kids able to live up to those standards. There is great ethnic diversity in the school, but very little diversity in how much the parents, teachers and administration care about each child and their success, both academically and socially. I recommend this school to anyone moving to the area, especially if you have a fairly conservative, old-school idea of how education should be achieved!
Our kids have gone here since K. We loved K and 1st, but haven't been impressed since. They are constantly losing teachers. Last school year they had a teacher that taught our 1st grader math and our 4th grader reading. She was amazing, always had time to talk with us about our kids progress and greet us by name. She even tutored our son free of charge and made him love reading. The kids loved her. Halfway through the year she was moved to 2nd grade. Our kids were upset and couldn't stand the new teacher. Almost the end of the year our 1st grader came home crying because the teacher quit and now she couldn't have her next year. You would think they would try to hold good teachers. Each year they gain and lose quiet a few. We haven't had much interaction with the principals, and hope we never do, they are pretty snooty and look down on everyone. Our kids will stay here, we live in D2 so this is the best option for us. we gave teacher quality 2 stars only because we were happy with k and 1st and not since. But k and 1st deserved a 5.
My child has attended this school since Kindergarten. I have mixed views about the school however everything in life has pro's & con's. Even though sometimes I feel homework is rather much for my child - I as a parent sit and make sure that the homework is done and understood. Majority of the time my help is not needed and I'm constantly amazed at the information my child has learned. My child has set a goal to obtain one of the character awards for this school year and with this goal comes my part to help he/she do whatever it takes to obtain such a great award. I'm not too keen with the Principal however I can say she does have a open door policy - I just think her level of thinking on certain situation is not thought out well but she does have a outstanding adminstrative staff to make up for what is lacking. Overall, I truly can say this has not been a bad fit for my child who will be a moving on to the middle school after this school year.
I have to agree with the April 24 posting. The teachers are very friendly but the quality of their teaching is low. Both principals are cold, fake, and uncaring. If your child does not naturally thrive at their school, they will take no responsibility and the parents are to blame. As a previous parent volunteer I heard teachers constantly gossiping about other staff and principals. Not something I wanted my child to pick up.
James Irwin has a friendly staff and good dicsipline. Teacher quality is poor. Teachers do not have to meet state education requirements. The lessons are scripted, we sat through our sons class and when he didnt understand something the teacher was reading it seemed that she didnt understand either and was not able to answer our sons questions. Our daughters math teacher has had her skip math problems telling her that they don't make sense. However, we were able to explain to our daughter how it was done. James Irwin caters to their hispanic students, providing programs like free tutoring which our children are unable to take advantage of because of their last name. We would not reccomend this school nor will our children be returning.
This school has compassionate teachers and staff who love the kids and their jobs! My child is recieving and excellent foundation in math, reading, science, and history. I am awed at how much the children are learning, especially when it comes to the history of the United States. This is an excellent school, and it's a charter school that deserves to be aknowledged for the fine people and citizens it is growing!
Great school I can think of taking my kids out of this school great teachers.
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