We are leaving this year. A pretty package with too much craziness and drama for us - particularly in the area of administration.
My child is now in Upper School after having joined the Ricks Center as a three year old. She has flourished in the school with guidance and support from teachers, other students, families, administrators and the University. The curriculum is challenging and exciting to kid with varied interests, she has had opportunities that I could only have dreamed that she would get as a student. She loves to come to school each day and has formed warm, caring relationhips with many. Her teachers have been extraordinary people who have listened when we had concerns, celebrated her successes and helped us mourn in times of sadness. Administrators have always been available and while I many not always have gotten the results I would have hoped for, I understood the school's point of view and knew that they had the best interest of my child. I love the other famlies as well.
I am very pleased with the school and surprised at the reviews. School policy is a 24 hour response to parents and my meetings with admin have been scheduled in a reasonable time frame. I may not have always heard what I wanted to hear, but in the end understood the school's position. There are parent meetings at the start of school where cirriculum is presented and any and all questions are discussed. There are also mid-year meetings if your child is transitioning levels (e.g. K to 1st/2nd grade). Principal holds 4 or 5 meetings per year consisting of an open question/answer type session. Teachers and ciriculum are exceptional, e.g. my 7th grader will graduate completing Algebra I, II & Geometry. Diversity is far and above our local school district. Definitely visit the school!! See what's going on in the classrooms and discuss your questions with the admin.
Many of the teachers are exceptional, but the staff seems to experience a major amount of turn-over. This last year they lost the majority of their most revered teachers. The other reviewers are very accurate in their descriptions of the administration of the school. I have not ever been witness to so much unneeded drama and it stems from the incompetency of the administration. They discourage parent involvement and input- except, of course, when it comes to fund raising and field trip drivers. I would agree with other reviewers that, although my child really loves the school, I continue to be uncomfortable with its foundational pieces. Our family is strongly considering other options.
I am a seventh grade student at Ricks, and my experience of six years has been amazing. I haven't had a teacher I didn't like except for one of my foreign language teachers, and at Ricks I feel more like I fit in. Everyone is right about the administration being lousy, but the curriculum, at least for me, is exceptional after you hit fifth grade. (In first through fourth grades, I wasn't challenged enough, but my fifth/sixth grade teacher and my seventh grade teachers are amazing.) I love the environment at Ricks--we are pushed to so our best but the teachers are open for us to talk to, provide fun classes and creative assignments, and try and help us whenever possible. I think this school isn't for everyone, but I love it. The assignments and the teachers are second-to-none.
I must agree with most of the other reviews. My child has spent six years at the school and his experience has been a hodge podge of good and bad. The school focuses on meeting the needs of the 'whole child' and this is done by 'integrated' units. What I have seen is a lot of emphasis on the social sciences with lots of engaging projects and in depth learning. But my child was never really taught to read or to do math. We have had to provide outside tutoring at a phenomenal expense to get him up to grade level in these. Once tutored, he was fine, so it wasn't like he had a huge issue. Just lack of teaching. And the rest of the reviews are right on about the administration. Very cold and uninvolved. I've heard stories fromt other parents that make me uncomfortable leaving my child there.
The administration at this school is horrible. There is no communication between program directors and parents. The school principal seems very removed. Teachers are hit and miss - some of them are wonderful, some are absolute waste of your child's time and your money. There is music, art, sports and extracurricular activities available - but this can hardly make up for the poor science program. The parents are very involved but this involvement is mostly limited to various fund-raising activities.
Our children found have a school home. They are understood, appreciated and inspired. The teachers and administration get the gifted child and all of their sensitivities and intensities. They teach children how to think, not what to think.
Ricks has been a great school for my daughter. It has been a good fit for her. The school is not for everyone. I love the curriculum. The quality of education comes from the teacher. Some years you get a great teacher other years not so good. Not so different from other schools. As a parent you can participate a lot in the school or not so much. There is NO ethnic diversity. Majority of the kids come from rich, white families. School seems to have problems with boys with high energy. You meet and hang out with the families you like. There are some crazy parents who live through their kids. I just avoid them. I'd like to see ethnic diversity. I'd like to see more support for the middle class families. Extracurricular activities are outstanding. They lack in the area of social studies and science.
I disagree with most of the other reviews. The education is great at Ricks. There is definitely some intellectual elitism (from parents as well as the staff), but generally the teachers and staff seem caring and interested in the overall well being of the children. Kids are definitely pushed academically, but there does seem to be a good balance between rote learning and experiential learning. The upside is that they do a very good job at the learning process, especially for very young kids. The down sides are that they do not encourage parent involvement (except when it comes to raising money), and they definitely believe that they have all the answers, no matter what you might think as a parent. Another down side for us was that this is about as far from a 'neighborhood school' as you can get - expect playdates all across the metro area.
This school is only appropriate for children who are meek, quiet and completely conforming to the teachers expectations of perfect children. If you have a twice exceptional child or a child who needs emotional or social support, this school is not for you or your child. They do not practice what they preach. Academic program was exceptional in EEC, very remedial in EC. Teachers do not provide differentiated learning, nor do they work with children one on one. Extracurricular activities are wonderful. Level of parent involvement is exceptional. Communication from teachers and administrators is very poor - this is a closed door environment.
The quality of the academic programs are hit and miss. If you have a great teacher, great. Not all teachers are that great. Music is fairly good, art and sports lacking. Foreign language very good. High level of parental involvement
This school has wonderful teachers that are enthusiastic and appreciative of the eccentricities of the gifted population. However, the communication between teachers and families, administration and teachers and administration and families is quite poor. Best of these three seems to be the communication between teachers and families but only when solicited. The organization within the administration and planning needs to be improved upon with more timely notice for events and more thorough information given to families. All in all a good placement for our child who thrived there, but very frustrating for parents due to the poor communication and organization.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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