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Ricks Center for Gifted Children1
Posted August 17, 2014
- a parent
After several years, we have moved our kids. There is a lack of leadership and lack of integrity and respect throughout the Ricks community. Worse yet, there are glaring academic holes, we were left taking our kids to outside resources to learn math basics. We witnessed bullying among students which was continually swept under the rug. The administration fully acknowledged that bullying was occurring, but refused, or had no clue how, to hold students accountable for their actions. We witnessed bullying of teachers by the administration. Most good teachers leave. There is bias toward female students. It s frustrating to receive no communication and not knowing who is in charge. Communicating with unqualified directors (they are on their 3rd in one year) and unqualified administrators is equally frustrating. How does DU fit in to this, no one knows. There is a lack of respect for Ricks amongst peer institutions. Few 8th graders get into their high school of choice. Other schools privately spoke to us of Ricks kids not being prepared academically or socially for secondary schools. DU should fix or discontinue operation of this unhealthy and unsafe environment for children.
Ricks is an amazing school. The teachers truly care about the students, there is a wonderful student to teacher ratio and, best of all, the students are actually taught to think at this school. It isn't all about learning just facts and figures (they learn these too) but it is more about engaging the student and teaching them how to think critically. This fosters a love of learning that is hard to come by (especially in the gifted and talented population). Our children have really blossomed in this community.
The Ricks model of gifted education fosters critical thinking, creativity, effective communication, compassion and experiential learning to prepare kids for a lifetime of success. The teachers and administrators have one priority, and that is the success of each child; they go above and beyond their traditional roles to ensure every child is well-served. My oldest child graduated after spending preschool-8th grade at Ricks. In every subject, he started 9th grade in AP (Advanced Placement/college-level), Honors, and Concurrent-college courses; despite the "rigor" of his class load, he is not experiencing the meaningful learning he was accustom to at Ricks, nor are most of his high school peers capable of or interested in engaging in intelligent conversation as his Ricks friends are. His high school grades could not be any higher, but he is not learning and therefore not content. My youngest has also called Ricks home since preschool and is presently thriving in Upper School. There is no better investment than on that of my children's future of which Ricks is a vital component.
I echo the sentiments of others who've posted a less than satisfactory review of Ricks. My child is currently in their first (and only) year there. We were thrilled about the prospect of what Ricks said to offer, even despite the ridiculous price tag - expected 2014 kindergarten tuition is $17,000. This does not include additional costs in the form of before/after hour care, fieldtrips, etc. Expectations from this administration are also that families commit additional amounts of time, money and resources. After speaking with administrators about my child s future there, it became apparent that Ricks was not as much concerned about my child s success and as they are about our money. I would advise anyone considering sending their child to Ricks to first assess other options before throwing your money at this school, especially given some reviews that suggest their children have come out of Ricks ill equipped.
Our son has gone to The Ricks Center for the last 2 years , and he is thriving. Ricks is a very academic and loving school. The teachers here care deeply about the children, and the children continue on to do amazing things when they leave ( parents are invited once a year to "Life After Ricks", where alumni speak about their experiences). We plan on continuing our sons education at Ricks because of the wonderful teachers and nurturing environment at this school.
This school has terrible administration that tries to help the students but ends up making problems. If I had the option to give no stars I would but unfortunately I am required to give it at least one star. This school used to be good but now it is not worth the money. The school is also sexist, The boys are always pulled in for bullying and such and when the boys complain that the girls don't get the same lecture they get pulled in and are told to report the boys if they bully. They also take bullying and make it so almost anything you do is bullying. They waste money on Smart Boards that don't work, TVs and security cameras they never check. I caution all parents looking to send there kids there because it is the worst school I ever went to.
I attended the Ricks Center for Gifted Children for 11 years. Before that both of my brothers attended the school one for all 11 years and the other for 10. I have great memories, friendships, and lessons from this school and do not regret a single day of my education there. It is true that the education provided there is a little uneven in some of the subjects. Math and sciences are not the strength of this school and thus the transition into high school will be hard. However, Ricks gave me the tools to work with my teachers and work with the way I learn enough that I will be able to overcome the challenges I face in high school. I could not have asked for a better Language Arts program. I flourished in writing at Ricks and so did almost every single one of my classmates because of our teachers and their teaching methods. Languages at Ricks are not a particular strength either but I do feel prepared enough in my languages to progress into high school. On top of these positive things great things that Ricks provided me with included: Great Speech and Debate programs and skills, Self Advocacy, a wonderful Latin education, a broad knowledge of mythology, and priceless teacher bonds.
Having had two children graduate from Ricks, and gone through the admission process again this year for a third, I am confident of the continuing quality of the program, the staff and faculty. My alumni children developed not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. They were nurtured and supported, but also encouraged to be attentive to their responsibilities and obligations, and to advocate for themselves in the school setting. Their high school and other experiences have been smoother due to the academics and skills they acquired at Ricks.
Although pleased at first with two kids at Ricks we are leaving due to lack of accountability on all fronts: administration, teachers, and perhaps most importantly, our own kids. While proud of our children being categorized as G&T, it became apparent that programming and grading was not nearly as rigorous as we had expected. Instead, the school is free-form, in terms of curriculum, expectations, and results reporting. The school relies upon its own self-appointed title of G&T, rather than earn it with a more vigorous education. Families need to be aware that Rick s doesn't use typical objective grading of students results, instead provides a written synopsis that uses boilerplates and incorrect cut & paste techniques used on multiple student reports. Ultimately, our middle school child was ill prepared for the next step in education despite obtaining "glowing marks" from Ricks. In addition, strong arm contract tactics to commit two months earlier then other schools admission process is just plain bullying on the administration part for families looking to make a possible change that's best for their children. Rather than earn our loyalty, Ricks forces it.
My highly gifted son had an amazing all encompassing school that we called home for 8 years. His continued success, now in his second year at public high school, is owed almost entirely to Ricks. The creator, founder and leader of the school understands and has effectively implemented a unique curriculum that educates the "whole" child. Namely, my son developed not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. Unless you've experienced the many distinct, endearing, frustrating and often quirky personality traits of an HGT child, the magnitude of the opportunity provided by Ricks may not be fully understood by every parent. Not only was my son educated to understand his gifts, but the teachers, administration and the closely knit community helped me to understand them as well. It is a non-traditional and well-reserached curriculum available to the appropriate child that teaches the love of learning (not just how to take a test), the gathering of like minded and behaving children (not just a pull-out program for driven students) and a safe community influenced environment (not just the neighborhood school) that fosters self-expression and individual growth.
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