This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Ricks Center for Gifted Children5
Posted December 22, 2014
- a parent
Ricks is the best school ever! This is not a school for people who want to stress their children with an overload of rote learning and old school teaching methods. The children learn through experimenting, exploring and thinking creatively to solve problems. If you want your child to be surrounded by other gifted learners and grow in a safe environment, then Ricks will be the perfect home for your family! We absolutely love it!!!!
We are currently in our fifth amazing year at Ricks. Each year the teachers have been truly outstanding and the program is exactly what our kids have needed. From our first day there, Ricks has been a great fit and we have been thrilled with the quality of the teachers and the program. Everything about the school is tailored to help gifted kids thrive. Now, no one school is perfect for all kids. We have been with many of the same kids and families for our entire time at Ricks, and the community has been strong and supportive. But sometimes it has just been the wrong fit for either the kids or the parents. The hard cases are where Ricks is clearly just what the kid needs but something is not working for the parents; one can only hope they find as good a fit for their children somewhere else. If you have a child that you think may be benefit from the approach they take at Ricks, I would strongly encourage you to visit the school and talk to some long-time parents. There are many of us there who have a hard time imaging what we would be doing with our kids if Ricks were not here.
I have been a Ricks parent for the past 4 years. My wife and I are hyper-vigilant about the education our kids receive. I am satisfied that Ricks knows what it's mission is, is currently able to accomplish it, and is growing stronger under its new leadership. Recently, I picked up a book about gifted kids. I was struck that the majority of the book was given to helping the gifted child feel "ok" about themselves, and to strategies for finding a peer group. I put down the book, and felt relieved. My kids are thriving socially at Ricks. They do not view themselves as different at all, because at ricks they are normal. Before Ricks, my children struggled. Right now, both of my kids love to go to school, they are well above grade level in all subjects, and show evidence of education that is more than skills: they display thinking strategies that allow them to make subtle connections, social strategies that allow them to work in teams and resolve conflicts, and deep curiosity and engagement with the world. Ricks is a great fit for our family.
This is our 7th year as Ricks parents; we have two children here. In that time, I have been amazed by the dedication, creativity and passion our teachers demonstrate year after year. It is a community in which teachers, administration and parents work together to create a place where students can be challenged and love learning. After a period of transition in leadership, I feel more strongly than ever that Ricks is a great place for my children. We ve felt consistently supported by both teachers and administration. Beyond the incredibly rich and engaging lessons the teachers work very hard to prepare; it's clear that they want to be there and sincerely care about their students. When challenges arise (academic or social), students learn to be problem-solvers and responsible, caring members of their school community. I see why my kids love school and don t want the school year to end, and I can t imagine being anywhere else.
This is our fourth year at the school. Both my kids are considered 'twice exceptional' and no other academic program has given the importance to this issues as the Ricks Center has. Our teachers - all of them thus far - have been truly exceptional in their response to our special needs. My kids have never been so fulfilled emotionally and socially nor have they been as academically challenged as they have been at Ricks. I can't say enough good things about the overall 'big picture' experience the Ricks Center has provided to our family.
Please beware the negative posts by parents on the way out for whatever reasons. Ricks has had leadership changes and the reasons behind them can be explained to those interested. The leadership in place now is strong, engaged, and actively improving administrative aspects of the school. Ricks' relationship with DU has many more positives than negatives, the dynamics of which can also be explained to those interested. Parents are involved, friendly, and active in a positive way. Ricks doesn't purport to be the right fit for all kids, but there are many families that find it to be an amazing place. If you're interested in learning more, please ask. There are many teachers, faculty, parents and kids that would be happy to speak with you.
My two children have attended Ricks for five years and are very, very, happy there. Personally, I have found the fourteen teachers (and countless paraprofessionals, language teachers, art teachers, etc.) who have taught my kids to be professional, courteous, incredibly nurturing, and responsive to my kids' needs. I have chaperoned numerous field trips and classroom activities and continue to marvel at the degree to which Ricks kids are sweet, creative, funny, and engaged. Any social issues that have arisen have been handled quickly and proficiently by the teachers, usually in a way that engenders constructive conversation and encourages problem solving. One warning: if you are a parent with a strong preference for "drill and skill" learning, this is probably not the best place for you. These parents tend to struggle with the unique, nationally-acclaimed gifted learning model applied by the school (which emphasizes experiential learning through an emergent curriculum over worksheets). In my experience, the Ricks parents who remain tend to be very engaged, nice people who are committed to doing whatever they can to improve the school.
I am a single mom, and frankly the idea of a school community intimidated me. I wasn't sure how I would be treated because I don't have the same kind of time to volunteer at school as other parents, and I was just insecure in general that parents and teachers would think I was disengaged when really I was just trying to survive. Ricks has been a godsend to me and my child. Not only have the Ricks teachers and staff helped me raise my awesome kid and given me 100% support while doing it, but the community is so cool. It's a diverse group, with lots of working moms and working dads, and also lots of stay at home moms and dads. People could not be kinder to me when I sheepishly slip them a $10 because I can't help plan a party, and I honestly feel like I have a community helping me raise my kid. I can't imagine being anywhere else.
I have two children currently attending Ricks, and this is my 5th year as a Ricks parent. I think this school is fabulous. My children get lots of support and individual attention not only from the teachers, but also from the staff and administration. My children are thriving, learning, improving, and having fun. As a parent, I get many, many opportunities to participate in my children's classrooms in a variety of ways. I have helped classes with dissections, planting gardens, field trips, cooking classes, and reading. My whole family feels connected to this wonderful community.
We are now in our 2nd year at Ricks and have two children attending. We looked at other private schools in the area and left feeling underwhelmed. We heard great tales of friendships formed by parents, but we were evaluating schools based on educational benefits and opportunities for our children and ultimately their future. When we found Ricks we knew it would be an ideal fit for our oldest child (our youngest was not in school yet). Feeling nervous about our decision and asking ourselves constantly, "Did we make the right choice? Are we 'those' parents that think our child is gifted? Are we setting her up to fail?" On the 3rd day of her first year, she was walking inside holding her younger sister's hand. With a slight skip and an excited smile on her face, I overheard her say, "This is an exciting place." A great wave of comfort and relief swept over me as I realized that even though I fail daily as a parent, I didn't mess this (school decision) up! We nailed it. If you are an engaged parent, want to be a part of the school community and plan to involve yourself with your child's education journey...then I encourage you to give Ricks an hour of your time and schedule a visit.