September 17, 2015
Polaris is one of those schools that is so great, you get spoiled and forget how good it really is until you go tour other schools or hear about them from other parents. Class sizes are 25 or 26 kids. Each teacher also get several hours of para support in the classroom. The school has full-time music, gym, art, and librarian teachers thanks to parent fundraising.
Parents have to work to get their kids into the school which means all the kids have parents that actually care about their kids' education. The best thing about this school is that all the kids are smart (gifted) so there is no stigma about being the smart kid or a nerd. No one gets teased for being smart. Second, because of this, no one here sweats the testing, which means teachers have time to do more than just get everyone to the base level. They have high test scoring anyway. So, instruction is focused on the kids and learning. Art and creativity are incorporated into lessons. They have electives which are fun, enrichment-type classes on Friday afternoons during the school day. There is no need for uniforms or strict rules. The library is huge and full of current books. It's the way elementary school should be. The only real drawback is no air conditioning in the building.
There is a new principal for 2015. She seems engaged and motivated. The previous principal was an administrator to the core, but not bad in anyway. Teacher turnover is maybe 1 per year which is average for any DPS school. (There was no turnover for 2014 to 2015.)
Regarding some people who don't understand the school: First, this is a magnet school, not a neighborhood school. Living nearby does not get you in. Your child must take a test and score as HGT, that is HIGHLY gifted and talented. Testing as GT, or being otherwise "identified", doesn't get you in either. Having a sibling gets you in 1st, but ONLY if the incoming student also tests as HGT. Since this is a great school kids stay here from year to year. They don't add kids unless someone leaves except for when there is a new class at Kindergarten, 1st, and 4th Grade, so just 3 or 4 new kids get in a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. Kindergarten has a huge wait list every year (easier test). So, your best chance to get in is 1st or 4th grade.
- submitted by a parent