Carson is a well-regarded elementary school in the Hilltop area. There are tons of active families, pleasant children, committed teachers, and ample extracurricular / after school activities. It has a fabulous character ed program that really differentiates it from other schools. On the whole, it's a very safe, fun and enriching place to attend elementary school in Denver. This year, the school has implemented daily use of a class planner and binder, which models how neighborhood / charter middle schools provide organization tools for students. This is a very positive step as parents can easily see what children are working on in class. The math program is also new this year, and so far, it looks much better than the Everyday Math program. Kudos to Carson for switching out of the DPS curriculum. As far as administration, they have worked very hard to clean up the school -- new paint, new tile, organized classrooms, tidy office and entrance, no mouse droppings, no foul smells -- a HUGE improvement. As for the previous reviewer who is irritated with "entitled" Hilltop parents who want a small neighborhood school for our children....yes, we do. We do not want a magnet HGT program that excludes the majority of our neighborhood students. Additionally, it is a huge improvement with car drop off / pick up zones that encourage student independence and keep parents off campus. Parents have trolled the halls for years and it's not professional or useful to the majority of students. This policy of letting teachers do their job without parent interference is no different than all schools in the area. There are tons of volunteer opportunities for parents who work outside of Carson to raise funds and support faculty and staff. Thanks to the new admin for making these changes and cleaning up Carson. Thanks to the hardworking teachers who make the school amazing!
Our family spent three years at Carson and regret wasting a large part of our children's elementary education. The first two years were spent with one child being bullied by her combination first/second grade class teacher. The interim administration acknowledged the behavior, but there were no consequences for the bullying teacher. Third grade brought a brand new principal who doesn't care about the school's families - only "her test scores." She pushed out the HGT certified teachers only to replace them with non-certified teachers. Her inability to budget correctly cost the PTA well over $30,000 to fill the monetary gaps created by her limiting student enrollment to well under district averages or standards. The limited enrollment is partially due to the above mentioned test scores, but also because "the neighborhood wants a small, neighborhood school." That's all well and good, but this is a public school with two separate magnet programs funded by the state. The school administration doesn't support either magnet program or their teachers, but the school is completely dependent on the extra money that funds the magnet programs. What was once a vibrant and involved parent community has been squelched by the new administration's demand that all ECE and kindergarten students be dropped off at the curb - she is very specific she doesn't want parents on campus. Parents on campus is how you get volunteers and without volunteers Carson doesn't exist. Carson was once a lovely, welcoming school community. The new administration bowing to the white, entitled residents of Hilltop will be the ultimate downfall of the school.
I concur with the reviewer below about the Carson classrooms and teacher absenteeism (in some cases). The school is becoming more popular because the neighborhood is drawing a more affluent and educated crowd hence the overcrowding. The admin should not let out of bounds students enroll during choice until the registration numbers are confirmed. Moreover, the admin needs to think about the curriculum more thoroughly and strive to unify this highly divided school. The constituency of bright, high achieving neighborhood students in "traditional" classrooms is underserved due to the separation of the HGT program, even when most of the traditional students are advanced themselves. HGT students get better curricula, more commitment from teachers / students, and higher expectations resulting in better grades. The HGT students have an air of superiority, telling the traditional students that they are smarter, more "talented", and deserve better treatment (like being first to lunch, etc). Yes, there is a huge division between the traditional and HGT programs, and it is unclear why the administration needs to continue this course. Historically, the HGT program was put in place to keep neighborhood children in the school but now it serves as a discriminatory tool pitting neighbor against neighbor. As George removed barriers to their IB Diploma program so too should Carson. Of course, HGT parents will insist on their entitlement by reserving Carson's advanced coursework to the few, but it is the right thing to open up the program for all to access. HGT and all related monikers are programs designed to track students thus limiting non-HGT students' exposure and ultimately limiting their opportunity. It's not in keeping with great neighborhood schools (see Steck and Bromwell), and Carson needs to adjust accordingly. Besides, Carson scores lower than Steck and Bromwell on DPS assessments yet the student demographics are identical so clearly having high expectations for only the few leads to a lesser oucome overall. Choicing into nearby Steck / Bromwell is impossible so the neighborhood is stuck with this discriminatory school. Generally, a raw deal for this fantastic neighborhood.
Character education is the best thing going at Carson. The (new) administration has been a disappointment. Emphasis on rewarding teachers for mostly mediocre performance. Schoolwide attendance initiative should include teachers, not just students. The advertised student/teacher ratio is misleading since all classrooms are taken into account- DHH and some HGT classrooms are small while many traditional classrooms are overcrowded. Behavioral issues in the classroom take away from learning time. The school has a lot of potential given the involved parents, but leadership from the top down needs to be stronger.
Very out of touch with the needs of the students.
Focus is on patting teachers on the back and donating towards monetary rewards for the teachers.
No individualized help.
Admin is horrible.
Very dedicated towards student "fun days" which are just extra work for parents while students required to make homemade projects and try to sell them to the other students.
Do not recommend at all.
Very disappointing school. This school has high teacher turnover, we have lost two teachers during the school year. I am a full-time working parent and communication is terrible, no lead time to make any plans for child care, school parties, picking up school supplies, etc. if I had to do it over again, I would never have enrolled my child at this school.
My son started Carson in 3rd grade and it has been a terrific experience. The staff is wonderful, his teachers have his best interests at heart. The parental involvement is outstanding and I am so happy that I chose Carson for my son. I was worried because of all the bad you hear about Denver Public Schools, but this school is amazing and I would not change a thing. The character education that they have at Carson falls right in line with how I raise my son and the small class sizes mean that each child does not get overlooked. I would recommend Carson to any parent looking for a great learning environment for their child!
Carson is a terrific school. The teachers and school leadership are exceptional. The academic level is advanced. I feel fortunate to have my child attending the school. Very impressed. I would also like to highlight the kindergarten program, it's excellent.
Carson is fantastic! I observed the school before sending my kids there and recommend you do the same before making a choice. The positive atmosphere inspires my children to want to learn. I couldn't imagine sending my kids anywhere else.