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
My son attends this school and I love it. This school is rigorous, and very structured. This school is for serious students and parents who want their kids to learn with little distractions. They are strict here, and this school is not for everyone. My son is a high achiever, and is excelling here. He reads at a first grade level, and is also in a first grade level math class, but he is in Kindergarten. He works hard, his teacher does too. The school is not the prettiest (although the interior isn't bad), there is no library, and no computers because the school focuses on other things like Art, PE, Music, and academics. This school receives the least funding of any district 2 school, but still does well. The school does not provide a bus system, because it is a charter school and the district is not obligated to. This school is a Choice School. You must apply in November of the year prior to attendance. They teach direct instruction, and have an open door policy. The front office administration is so helpful and courteous. If you are looking to challenge your child, look no further.
My students attended here for several years. However, this year I have moved them to another HSD2 school and am very glad I did. I work in education and have watched the test scores and achievement data - this school does not grow kids. If a student comes in advanced, they stay advanced. If a kid comes in unsatisfactory, they stay unsatisfactory. Truly great schools are able to take low achieving students and provide them with interventions and supports to move forward WITHOUT the "gift of time" or retaining them. I do not blame the teachers, I simply think they do not have the resources and skills to grow students, their answer instead is to offer tutoring (by unlicensed teachers) or having students repeat grades. My children now have 30-45 minutes of homework (rather than 2+ hours), are enjoying school, and are already showing academic gains.
I am so grateful knowing that my children go to James Irwin Elementary School. The core knowledge they're teaching is remarkable.
I just read a few one star comments. Sad because these parents are blaming the school for teaching their children or child the best way possible. Come on parents. It is our responsibility to follow up what our children had learned in school. Don't be mad for sitting down with your student guiding them while doing their homework. Instead, be thankful that everyday we have at least two hours to spend quality time - and that is learning, with our children. JAMES IRWIN IS ON TOP 100 SCHOOLS IN COLORADO. We have almost 950 Elementary School here in our state and being on top 100 is an honor. Why??? Hey, it is the QUALITY OF TEACHING JAMES IRWIN IS GIVING OUR CHILDREN. I agree, if learning and be the best is not your goal for your kids just go ahead pull them out from JICES because I am pretty sure lots of kids are still on the wait list whose parents are very eager to join the JICES Family. TO JICES - GREAT JOB YOU GUYS.
Our grandchildren attend James Irwin Elementary. We live in Georgia, visit often (6 times last year) and attend school programs and have sat-in during class. So impressive, the teachers know how to hold the children's attention. They learn to chant important facts and historical events, which helps them recall during a test. Great teachers who must perform their duties, NO UNIONS.
James Irwin is phenomenal! If your goal is to raise a child of character, discipline and determination to succeed, what a great partner to help you get them there! If providing a private school level education is important to you (though this one is of no cost) then you will not find a better school in Colorado Springs-I am sure of it. My son started here in Kindergarten of this year, and the amount he's learned up til now (it is May 2013) is MIND BOGGLING! And the best part is HE LOVES IT!! The communication flows freely between his teacher and I...they truly take the time to be sure that you and them are partnered in your child's education. I could go on and on, but there are only so many characters allowed-LOL. I also have a daughter who began in J.I. in 6th grade and is now a sophomore,. The middle and high schools are as top notch as the elementary. Without a doubt...James Irwin has been one of the best decisions I've ever made for my family.
I am so proud of the 4th Graders! You have done an amazing job with teaching them music and specifically the Recorder. My Daughter has enjoyed this so much! She especially loved the challenge that you put out for them to earn the different colored karate belts! This was such a neat program! The poetry and periodic table memorization was Awesome! Thanks to All the 4th Grade Teachers! They were all amazing!
I have to step up here. As a parent of a long-term student at JICES, I am appalled at the attitudes of the REVIEWS here. You must understand JICES is a school of choice and it is a school focused on academics. If your son has the talent and skill to be a great football player, James Irwin is not for him. If your daughter wants be a singer and dancer, James Irwin is not for her. So what? Please understand JICES offering tutoring, a chance to retake a year is a blessing to your child; it's a sink or swim world, there a few "do-overs" in the real world. Would you rather have a chance to move your child to a different school more tailored to your child's needs or lump the F's and have a frustrated child? I'd rather have a happy child and a decent GPA. In all our years at JICES the ONLY disappointment I have is the deterioration of the attitudes of the PARENTS of this school. Honestly, any parent who claims they didn't know the standards and expectations of JICES is not being truthful and posting such is nothing short of petty and vindictive.
I have 2 kids that both started there in Kindergarten. At first I was really excited for a quality education, but later learned this was not the case. First of all, I am not bitter towards the school but simply want to state very realistic facts. The school teaches in dictation style in which the teachers cite information to the students and they cite it back. One day I popped into class and sat in the back. During the citation process I seen kids raise their hands to ask questions but were told not now. If it wasn t bad enough to have to remember things cited to you, they can t ask questions that may slow the class down. I later asked my son if that happened all the time and was told yes. I asked him when he is permitted to ask questions and he told me during independent work time but that he usually forgets Not good. Starting about 2nd grade my kids were coming home with almost 2 hours of homework every night. The school leaves most of the teaching up to the parents at home. If you have time to home school your kids, then this set up will work great for you. If not, then they will fall behind and it will be the child and parents fault, not their processes.
My daughter kept bringing home her report card with mostly A s and B s. I was then pulled into a conference and told my daughter was struggling in class and they needed her to do tutoring. I was confused about how she needed tutoring with A s and B s. I was told her A s and B s were in material below her grade level. My response to the teacher was to then move her to grade level if she s finding the current material so easy. They refused and said that she was behind 20 lessons from the next work group and there was no opportunity to make up those lessons. I then asked what good would tutoring do if they weren t spending the time working on the next set of lessons. The teacher referred me to their lead teacher for discussion someone who doesn t teach or interact with my daughter, but could probably think of a better answer to my real questions. I had to then pay a teacher $40 a week to tutor my daughter , with no changes, and they still held her back and put her through summer tutoring ($60 a week), which didn t get her any higher work group the following year repeating the same grade. Seems like they are the one missing the mark, not my daughter. - Very sad over waisted time here
I work for the school, although I am not a teacher. It saddens me to see some of the negative comments here, as I believe they truly are not justified. In fact, I notice some of the language used in each of the negative entries is the same, and so it leads me to believe it is only one person here that has an issue. I understand the James Irwin Charter Schools may not be for every child (what school is?), but the school does deserve every kudo it gets from the State, the other rating organizations, and even the parents here on this forum. I understand that some parents would find the school "too hard," "too strict," "demands too much of parents." I understand that some parents have a hard time watching their students have to work at school. But it does not mean it's a bad school. The expectations of student academics and behavior are much higher than traditional schools, but thanks to the incredibly wise and talented teachers, this is an expectations that most kids gladly meet because they see the success it brings and enjoy it. You can't argue with the outcomes: children who are successful students and well-prepared to succeed in future schooling.
James Irwin is a wonderful school that has provided the best academic teaching, positive learning environment, and most well-rounded curriculum for my two children. Both of my children have been at JICES for since Kindergarten and are now in 4th and 2nd grade. The school has a high emphasis on Core Knowledge, patriotism, and character. Not only have my children been motivated to exceed learning expectations, but they have also been put to the test to grow their character, as well. I would recommend James Irwin to anyone who is looking for a "top notch" school in the Springs area.
My son is in second grade at James Irwin and has attended since K. I have been very impressed with the teaching staff, who genuinely care about him as a person, not just his academic success. I love that the school provides flexible grouping for reading and math, which has allowed my child the opportunity to speed up where he is able to or slow down on concepts he struggles with. He loves his teachers and strives to please. With the assistance of a timer and incentives at home, the daily homework assignments have not been extreme (as was cited in previous posts). I was welcomed into the classroom as a parent and was delighted to observe administration staff also observing day to day operations.
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.
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