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
We have been at JICES for three years now and love it. We have two children who attend and one who will be in their College Kindergarten Program next year. We have had nothing but good experiences since first being introduced to this school. Granted it is not a school for everyone as it is a fast paced Direct Instruction Academic Elementary School. Math and Reading is front and center. Cursive is taught in K. CSAP scores are high. Ranked 10 on Great Schools. This school is not in our school district but drive a distance each day to get our children to an awesome school.
In my experience the teachers have been great. But The principal goes overboard with her 'zero tolerance' my 9 year old was suspended because she had a nightmare about ghosts and a bad person who wanted to kill her and wrote about it.
Awesome, Awesome, Awesome! Our kindergartener had very little experience reading prior to going to James Irwin and in 2 short months she is sitting down and reading short stories to us. She started cursive 2 months ago and already has better cursive writing than her daddy. And she can tell you the continents, oceans and recite the pledge of allegiance. Great staff and a great school!
My sons first year was last year as a Kindergartner. Writing in cursive and skipping the print is an awesome idea. I love the directional way of learning. I also love that there are no excuses for a child to not learn. My son pulled his share of colors but I do not think that they don't work with you on those issues, in fact I had the exact opposite affect. I loved that they have homework. My two older kids go to a public school and never have homework. My son knows more at this age then they did in 3rd grade. Expectations are high, and why shouldn't they be. Read their mission statement. Practice makes excellence is their motto, so if you aren't willing to work towards excellence then this school may not be for you, or better yet may not be for you.
This is a charter school not a main stream school. If you child has difficulties in learning or behaviors they should be at a school that offers SIED. This main focus at this school is learning, not social hour like other public schools. My nieces both attended James Irwin, one did extremely well, the other has behavior issues so she belongs in a school that offers help with those issues. This is not a school for everyone. Yes there is homework, yes they expect a child to be able to spell (even in math) and they expect to be able to read what that child has written. Most kids, and sad to say parents, have gotten lazy when it comes to education. James Irwin doesn't do lazy. The high school is a college prep school so yes they should be strict.
I agree completely with the last review. If your child has the slighest difficulty in behavior or learning, no matter how minor it may seem to you, do not enroll in this school. They will not work with you. They are interested only in the overall academic rating of their school. James Irwin Charter Elementary School Board take note: The word is out about your intollerant attitude to the diversity of our children and about how you really gain those 'Excellent' ratings. If your child doesn't conform, then they will get kicked out or held back until you have no other option but to look for another school. The homework is excessive and there is no way to assure the homework policies are being upheld other than parental feedback. Teachers are inconsistent in process (grading/discipline) so kids get mixed messages. My son attended the school for 4 years.
I have had one child in this school for 4 years, and my second child is in kindergarten this year. I have mixed reviews. This school has awesome corricullums, and awesome morals and character lessons that they teach these children. Kindergarten, 1st and second grade are awesome. The corricullums have really helped my dislexic son. He is thriving in Kindergarten. But if you have a boy, or a girl that is not able to handle a lot of busy work, or has ADD, this is not the school for you from second grade on. They are really rigid and will not allow interventions to lesson the work load. The teachers grade really strictly on perfect penmanship and spelling even in Math Class. ( I know that the middle school is awesome. The middle school principle is really patient, kind, and works with the kids.) So I would recommend K & 1st.
I have read all these comments and want to say, just wait. My daughter has gone to the elementary since it first opened. Now 4 years later, they think she should be held back. They don't care about her self-esteem or all the research that says retention, especially after kindergarted, is the worse thing for kids. They have no plan for improvement, I don't see anything changing next year. I know some of you are thinking, its only this one child, but it isn't. I know of 4 children in her class last year that were held back. One of those parents had her child tested and found out that she was one whole grade level below. This school does not care about the child's feelings. They can't seem to keep teachers, new ones all the time, they don't have to be certified either.
James Irwin Charter Elementary School is awesome. My kindergardener is already writing cursive and reading at the 2nd grade level. These teachers are highly motivated and they ensure that every student is participating in classroom activites.
I am beyond thrilled with this school and the instructional doctrine. We moved to JI this school year, and I have watched my 1st and 2nd graders go from being under-challenged and bored to confident, excited academic wonders. I am stunned by what and how much kids at this school learn. And unlike my experience in mainstream schools, kids are pushed to their potential, not just to grade level...meaning they are so often working and learning well above grade level. This is a no nonsense college prep school with high structure and major time saving techniques. I love the uniforms and the enforced fundamental disciplines need for uninterrupted learning. I admit, I miss having a bus system, but when I consider my options, I am reinspired by knowing that there is no going back. I love this school. Huge thanks to the founders for their vision!
The school is a direct instruction school, which means that it is geared toward the student who learns by the teacher giving information and having them repeat it back to them. There is no room for students to be individuals. The administration is strict and believes there is only one way to teach - Direct Instruction.
James Irwin is an excellent academic school. If you want your kids to be confident and extremely educated this is the school for you. Don't be afraid of your kids having to work for there education. If there was no challenges in life we would not get anywhere. Our children learn best and retain at there younger years so the academics are not to much for them. Parents need to get more involved with there kids to help them successes and encourage learning and not be afraid of it. The quality of education at this school comes from the teachers who actually care about the students and wont to make the difference in there life and not worried about the work that it takes for them to accomplish success. James Irwin focuses on, not how to push the kids through school but on how to make them successful.
Academics are tough, a little much for Elementary however they Learn so much! I am very pleased with the school, but I think they put to much on the students at their age.
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