All teachers in this particular school must be "highly qualified." The teachers at Denver Language School are required to take and pass the Praxis II exam. When the school first started not all teachers had taken and passed this exam. Teachers who did not pass the exam by summer of 2012 were not retained. As a parent of a student with extreme emotional needs I know that students with social-psychological issues receive a ton of support. But it's up to us parents to ensure that our students are ready for school, capable of abiding by school rules and receiving what other help they need outside of school. We are also responsible for making those decisions best for our students which at times may involve waiting a year to start school (red-shirting), taking time off school or even changing to schools which offer a deeper level of emotional support. I myself may have my child attend an HGT program but only because that's what's best for this particular child and is not reflection on the school. My child's teacher differentiates as best as possible but a several-year span on abilities is difficult for any school to achieve in a single classroom.
DLS is very good at teaching Math and language and they have an amazing art and gym teacher. For students who learn well in teacher centered classrooms DLS is a good option. There are a lot of wonderful supportive families in this community. DLS has a long way to go to develop a philosophy and a practice of teaching the whole child and of creating a caring warm culture. There is a lot of bullying and shaming that happens at DLS from both students and teachers, which has plagued the school since it opened. Very few of the Mandarin teachers (I can't speak for the Spanish program) are licensed educators so they lack the skills or the knowledge to respond to the social emotional needs of kids. There is a new principal who is very good, but she has a difficult job reforming the culture of the school and teaching teachers about good quality instructional practices. If you have a child who is emotionally fragile or has any learning or behavior difficulties this is probably not a good fit. The new leadership team, may be able to create a school that is about more than just teaching language, but it is going to take several years.
We are a new family to Denver Language School. So far we are really impressed. We have had our children in language immersion at an area private school before getting into DLS, and I can say that we are so impressed with the school, the management, the curriculum, the support services, the wonderful cohort of students and parents, and the safe and exciting atmosphere of the school. Most importantly, my kids love it. They are so happy with the switch. We look forward to seeing how the school year unfolds. For parents considering language immersion as an option for elementary or middle school, it's totally worthwhile to check out DLS. No need to pay for a private school tuition if you are able to get into DLS. The faculty are well-trained and have their acts together. The communication between the administration, principles and parents has so far been awesome, and the after school activities and fun clubs are nearly identical private school we were attending before. The PTA is supportive and also very communicative. DLS has a lot going on, and it's a breath of fresh air to see it all. I am very pleased and thankful that we found a place there.
Great school. Solid academics and wonderful teachers. They have a new principal who seems extremely qualified.
What a joke! Can't keep a Principal for their life and now another one, GREAT! Ran as fast as I could- Lasted one year and in Feb. found out that my sons Chinese teacher isn't even CERTIFIED! Yikes- Good luck. The reason this schools gets the rating it does is because of the demographics of the school, no culture just plain white bread.
Where to start... I absolutely love the concept, vision and curriculum of DLS. Teachers care, kids are learning and thriving in both languages. Parents are a little too much involved...everyone with their opinion on how things should run. Unfortunately I think that takes time and effort away from the admin to focus on more important things. I feel admin is always too busy dealing with parents, never see them in the classrooms with the kids. But the school is amazing, the teachers are great and we are very happy that we chose Dls for our kids.
Some parents freak out about this school because it is academically rigorous, focused and "not what they experienced growing up." But, once I got over the unfamiliarity of my children learning in a foreign language, I could see what's so wonderful about this school. I am so impressed with everything my children are learning; and I have every confidence that our early investment in immersion will pay enormous dividends in cultural appreciation and academic prowess down the road. I only wish there could be more schools like DLS.
We are SO PLEASED with DLS! We have had our kids enrolled at DLS since inception. They are now in 4th and 5th grade Mandarin. Both of our girls are thriving in both English and Mandarin. We have been so impressed by the new principal, Dr. Sara Amodio. She is very responsive and is passionate about giving the kids a great learning foundation!
I understand that everyone has their own experiences with the DLS administration, but I must say that I have been very happy with the follow up that my concerns received earlier this year: my kindergartener was being bullied by a peer in her classroom. When I emailed the principal about it, she replied within an hour, and followed that up with a phone call later that afternoon. She was appropriately concerned and explained to me what was being done to ameliorate the problem. She also encouraged me to contact her again any time in the future with any other concerns I might have. Since this conversation, my daughter has reported no more problems with this peer.
We fully embrace full immersion education for our children and the teachers we have had have been great. The art, gym and music programs are fantastic. Unfortunately, the current administration does not have strong leadership skills, does not know how to delegate tasks or support teachers from different cultures. Instead of having a conversation with parents, the principal's technique is to yell at them or ignore them when they have an issue or concern. We are happy with what happens in the classroom but not what happens outside of it.
I am a parent of a first grade Mandarin student and am thankful every day that my son has the opportunity to attend DLS. Both our kindergarten and first grade teachers have been wonderful - academically strong, nurturing, supportive and everything that I would look for in a teacher. The bond among the students is strong, and the school does a wonderful job of encouraging students to think and act like global citizens. The specials teachers are incredible and the quality of instruction in Art, PE and Music has far exceeded my expectations. The new principal has made great strides in open communication and organization. Most importantly, my son is sad every time there is a day off school as he loves it that much. That, to me, is a testiment to the culture, the teachers, and the overall ambience of the school. Thanks to the work of the dedicated parents, the skilled staff and the involvement of the students/families the school will only continue to get better and better.
This is our 2nd year at DLS & we couldn't be happier! Our child is conversationally 'fluent' in speaking Mandarin, can read age appropriate books & is learning to write characters. The Singapore math model that is used is excellent, as are the science & social studies curriculums. Her teachers are kind, loving & truly care about their students. Differentiation occurs in the class, so small groups w/i 1 class are getting more individualized instruction. Class sizes range from 23 to 30, w/ 2 full time teachers in each class at all times. The PE & art teachers are amazing! The parent body is very involved, including a great & active PTA. Our excellent new principal has hit the ground running this year & has made some great changes. She is very supportive & truly has the school's best interest in mind. I do feel like people have to remember that DLS is just in it's 3rd year & yes, it does have some growing pains. But the administration is very aware of the issues & is tackling problems & making improvements everyday. There are many ways for parents to be involved too, even if you don't speak the target language. I highly recommend DLS & look forward to sending my 2nd child there.
We have two kids at DLS, in first and fourth grade Spanish. We are truly amazed at how quickly they picked up a second language. They're both reading and speaking fluently in Spanish. We love all the extras-- music, PE, art, as well as many after-school enrichment classes offered by the teachers. We also love the diversity in the student population-- much more diverse than our neighborhood school. Teachers are animated, creative, and caring, and great at meeting the needs of all students in each class, including the highly gifted kids as well as the kids with IEPs. There are many opportunities for parents to volunteer in and out of the classroom and parent support is greatly appreciated. Every year the school gets stronger, and the new principal has made many positive changes since starting last summer, including great communication between administration and parents. We hope the school can move to a larger facility soon so we can grow into a full ECE-8th grade.
Wholeheartedly agree with the recent poor reviews and the points raised in each of them. We were ecstatic about sending our child to this school. However, our experience was in sharp contrast with what we were told and observed when we toured the school last year. That said, our child learned a lot of the target language and otherwise, thrived academically. We left mid-year because we couldn't justify staying after hearing our child's reports of what takes place in the classroom. These reports were confirmed through our own observations as well as multiple, independent accounts from other parents and their children. The administration refused to listen, acknowledge, or address these concerns. The reputation of the staff as unfriendly and resting on its laurels of the school's reputation from its first few years, IMO, is well deserved. There ARE a few gems in this school, but they lack the power to effect systemic change. The one star is for these gems.
I am a parent/former DPS educator. This is our second yr at DLS. We were hopeful that with another yr under its belt and a new administrator, students and teachers would be better supported. Unfortunately this is not our experience. We shared our concerns/suggestions with the board of directors & the principal. There was no attempt to follow up. We will be leaving mid year. Areas of concern for Spanish kgarten (imo): class size of 30+, excessive amount of worksheet/desk time, punitive demerit behavior system, recess withheld for all students as form of punishment, papers thrown in trash when incorrectly executed, children urinating in pants due to denial of bathroom access, excessive time spent in behavior management vs teaching due to class size, inadequate small group time, little time spent speaking the target language due to noise level/control of large class, children being "labeled" as bad vs behaviors being labeled, I sincerely hope that at least some of these concerns will be addressed for the other children who remain at this school. That said, the parental involvement is robust and the teachers seem to want to make a difference....they just don't have the power.
Every day I feel fortunate that my children can attend DLS, the 2012 #1 school of choice in the district. I am proud of Denver for supporting the vision that kids raised here will be ready for life in a global economy. Having fluency skills in a second language not only opens the door to opportunity in the workplace, but expands the way one can understand and enjoy another culture. Our family chose a language immersion program because the research stated that the earlier a child is exposed to a second language the better. After nine months in Shirley Li s DLS kindergarten, our daughter was able to write and present a four minute speech in Mandarin Chinese. It was only after being a part of DLS did we learn that kids in immersion programs test higher than their peers in all subjects after 5th grade. Researchers attribute the scores to an increase brain development of 20% because of the bi-literacy. DLS is an amazing place. We can't wait to learn Spanish next.
We are so glad our child attends DLS. We loved the teachers dedication and their effort. There are so many parent volunteers, everybody wants to make the school not just good but great. I think that some of the customer service at the front desk could be better and it is being addressed. We are happy to have art, physical education, and music plus many extracurricular activities. Some activities we have to pay for but some are just created by parents like classroom book clubs which help support English proficiency. Also, the 2012 tcap results for 3rd grade were amazing!!!
Great concept but there is no mechanism in place for handling kids that don't fit their model. They wait until the child is in total meltdown and then determine that special education is needed. My son was MISERABLE, the assistant teacher didn't treat him fairly (this according to the primary class teacher). Instead of ensuring that the adults in the classroom treated children appropriately, my son suffered greatly. The school psychologist suggest I pull my son out as the school doesn't seem to notice they have created an issue. It has taken months for my son to get back to what was close to normal for him. Unless leadership changes I would steer clear. Great parental involvement. I think the teachers are well meaning but completely lacking in self awareness.
I like DLS. The education is good and the goal is better. However I do feel their kindergarten requirements are high which is great but the student teacher ratio is not adequate so when the staff notices a child has a problem and is sent to the so-called specialist they are not helpful either. I think the teachers were nice and curriculum is good but there is just not enought attention being paid to students who need extra help to succeed. Half of an entire kindergarten class gets held back that is not good. My children will return because one is doing exceptional but he also had teachers who are no longer there when he started. So if my daughter does do better this go-round maybe the immersion process is just not for her. Good school for kids to learn a new language overall.
In response to the post from an administrator, I also stated that the staff was very unwilling to help when it came to the process. I had to ask the Registrar if the Principal was available before she got out of her chair to help us. I am not blaiming DLS, I am stating a fact as to what happened to myself, my husband and our children with the registrartion process. I hold firm that there is poor customer service. I am very happy that Denver area students are doing well.
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