This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Denver Language School4
Posted October 21, 2014
- a parent
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.
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.