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
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
James Irwin Charter Elementary School5
Posted May 23, 2014
- a parent
This is an exceptional school. Recently my Kindergartner recited a portion of the Gettysburg Address in a school-wide assembly. My son's progress this year has been amazing, and he is excelling at this school. He is nearing the 2nd grade level in both reading and math. There is very little downtime at this school -- kids stay on task because of the direct-instruction method and high standards enforced by the teachers. I also love the open-door policy. I drop in at any time I please to help out in the classroom, or to just sit and observe. I don't even have to let the teachers know I am coming. At the Landsharks Running Club meets, which are community-wide events, our students are the ones to sing the National Anthem before the running begins. This school is big on American history and values and character. I could not ask for a better school or for more dedicated teachers. Thanks to the wonderful staff at James Irwin.
I am so happy that I listened to my friend and enrolled my daughter in this excellent school. From the CEO all the way to the people who keep up the appearance of our school, they show that they care for our children and our school. When you walk down the halls you hear learning in progress. You don't hear children screaming and teachers pleading with them to calm down and be quiet. I love that I have the opportunity to sit in on classes in session and volunteer everyday. I get a chance to see education in progress. At other "neighborhood" schools, you might actually feel like they don't want you to sit in on classes. I feel like we all are Blessed and lucky to have our children in this school system. I say system because they don't have to worry about going to a "new" school because the schools are connected. You can actually walk from the elementary to the middle and from the middle walk across the break area to the high school. Our children are safe and well cared for while in school. They are greeted in the morning when they walk through the main doors and again when they enter their classrooms. My daughter brings home a math "book" rather than a math "sheet". Thank you all.
We love the school! The entire staff is very friendly and they greet the students when entering the school. Every morning the principal is waving to and greeting the students and parents as they enter the parking lot. The principal is also involved in everything that goes on at the school. Students are placed in groups for reading and Math with other peers of their level. My child has learned more in 9 weeks than the whole year in their previous Charter school last year!.
We love this school. The strong character first program is brilliant. They are not pumping out kids that can rattle off numbers but teaching, training, and guiding students to be strong, smart, confident citizens for the world. Two teachers per class is so helpful to the students. They are easy to talk to and so loving to all the students. Its rare these days to see students rushing to hug their teachers but I've seen it day after day from the kindergarteners to the 5th graders.
LOVE this school and am thankful that all my children are enrolled. If you want a school that embraces our Western heritage and tradition then you will enjoy this school. If you just compare the TCAP scores to the district and state results you will see that JICES is in the mid-90% while the others are about 75% proficient. There are rules and guidelines, uniforms and pride in appearance so if that is not for you then this school would not be for you. Personally, I welcome these things as life lessons for my children. The classes are small and there is individual attention. For example, my son was below average in math and he received intensive instruction until he caught up. There is a second math class after school called "double dose" and that sort of boost helped him catch up. Now, 4 months later, he is in advanced math. I also like that they are an all-cursive school. I can't say enough in this small space about how much I love JICES. I recommend that you take the tour (sign up at the front office) and see for yourself.
I thought sending my child to JICES was the best choice but let's just say I was completely wrong. I want my child to have a great learning environment. I feel as if the children are treated like robots. The sad part is that the teachers are the same way. They have to teach in a dictating form that well it's hard for children to flow unless they are exceptional. I would love to say that my kid is a perfect students but let's face the fact my kid isn't. They will struggle and sometimes the environment is the one thing that needs to be change. I wish this school would reevaluate how they do things. I have had the opportunity out to observe all three schools and let's just say that the things they stress at the elementary school aren't a priority in the at the others. Our kids struggle for excellence but why isn't it followed through???? I will be moving my child next year into a school that will care for him rather than be concern with appearance and scores.
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.