Park Hill is a great school for families who are looking for an "in the box" option. It is a test-heavy, traditional elementary school. Worksheets are a regular at night. Creativity is squelched by a heavy requirement to follow dictated curriculum. I would agree with the other reviewers in terms of the principal. She's average and isn't particularly good with individual concerns. Not seeing she is a good listener when there is a need. This means it is a good school for some, not good for others - thus the average rating. It is a fantastic neighborhood and a good option for a neighborhood school - parents are certainly involved. Heard another parent comment that the principal cultivates parent relationships who become "groupies" and those parents create an environment that can be good for all kids - the parents work very hard to be inclusive and aware. LOTS of amazing enrichment and after school activities.
This is a great school with a wonderful community. Lots of parent involvement leads to a great school and Park Hill has this. My student is in 2nd grade and he enjoys his teacher. She is in tune to his strengths and weaknesses. In his weaker areas she has provided helpful advice and work for us to do at home to accompany his work at school. My child's teachers have been accessible and helpful over the past few years. Park Hill has a great music, PE and Art dept as well as a well stocked library. After school there are lots of kids around playing together and making friends.
I agree about this school being very average. It's location in this particular neighborhood can't be beat. The hometown feel is very nice. There are some really good teachers here- each grade has one (sometimes two) stand out teachers and if you're smart enough and lucky enough, request your child have them. If you have problems, admin can be less than helpful- the squeeky wheel saying doesn't necessary apply here.
This school has really been turned around in the past couple of years by the principal, Tonda Potts. She has improved the teachers and overall feeling at the school. The parent involvement has grown enormously and improving every day.
I think this school is average. Considering the neighborhood, the amount of volunteers, education level of the parents and their incomes, it should be exceptional. Our daughter went there through 3rd grade. The teachers are alright but I agree that the leadership is not. We dealt with some bullying type issues and I felt like I got a bunch of lip service. I felt like Dr. Potts did what she had to do to not get into trouble legally but really did not want to be bothered or do any follow up. If you have a kid that needs extra help, you will get it. If you have a middle performing child I think you will be pleased, but if you have a high achieving or bored child, this is not the place. If you are fortunate enough to easily test into a stronger academic school, you will see the difference between average and exceptional.
I've had 2 children that have gone through Park Hill. The teachers overall were very good, a few teachers were exceptional. Concerning my last child that had attended Park Hill, I kept thinking that we should change schools but I kept holding out for things to get better. I felt like the boys were treated poorly at Park Hill. It seemed as though they assumed that the boys would be doing all the negative behaviors and many a girls behavior were overlooked. My other concern was that the administration was too quick to bring in the police. I felt like some of the african-american students were treated as if they were criminals. It seemed as though during the last few years that the environment was not up to the previous years. Both my children had there ups and downs at Park Hill. Some of the negative experiences at Park Hill pushed them into choosing schools that they were interested in and in the end motivated them to find an environment that works better for them. I feel fortunate that DPS allows for choice in finding a school that fits.
Have to agree with recent posts. Too many concerns about the rigor here. Administration does not do enough to differentiate for higher performing kids. Due to "no child left behind," the higher performing kids get left behind. And don't bother trying to express your concern to the principal here. It won't matter. I so wanted to support my neighborhood school! Sad. The best thing about this school is the wonderful people in the neighborhood.
The principal is riding on the coattails of a fairly high-performing student body. I know 2 parents (both DPS teachers) that had concerns with cirriculum and lack of rigor in the classroom. Both had lengthy conversations with school leadership and unfortunately left the conversation feeling more frustrated than before and completely ignored. She's good with talking the talk but not proactive with parental concerns. You have to engage the higher ups in DPS if you want anything done. When you have parents that live within a few block radius from the school, pulling their children out of Park Hill in 3rd and 4th grade, something isn't right...
We've had a wonderful experience at this school in the 3 1/2 years that my son has been a student here. The teachers are first rate across grades, and I attribute some of their excellence to high morale associated with the strong principal here. Dr. Potts is knowledgeable and decisive. My son has some special needs and the school has been much better than I expected at addressing them. Also, I volunteer a lot at the school in addition to being a working mom. I'm sorry to see that a couple of the ratings here reflect bad experiences with the volunteer and fundraising efforts. I know that most of the strong parent community here (including me) are not privileged in the least, and the fundraising work we do reflects a strong commitment to the real financial needs of this wonderfully diverse urban public school.
I also have two kids at this school. As long as you don't question anything, you won't have any problems. But if your child is struggling for whatever reason, or you have questions about school policies, good luck. My own experience with the principal was dismal; I went to her with what started out as minor concerns, and left with major doubts about her oversight and judgement. Other friends of mine have shared similar experiences - when they've gone to the principal with concerns, she either yelled at them (!!!) or told them she didn't know what to do (the latter in response to a parent who was asking about procedures for a child skipping a grade - hardly a novel issue in elementary school). There's been a lot of hype about this school, but in my experience it just doesn't deliver. It's a good school, but not a great one.
I'm a parent of 2 children - both have gone through Park Hill Elementary from Kindergarten. One is in middle school and the other is (thank goodness) in 5th grade. The main problem here is the principal. She needs to go. She has NO IDEA what it means to provide students with a well-rounded education. The teachers are good and respond well to parents wanting more out of the curriculum but you get a sense that everything has to go through the principal. If you have the patience and wherewithal to talk to the principal when an issue arrises, it's futile. Basically felt like I was talking to someone who didn't know anything about education. The one thing she is on top of is making sure you call her "Dr." instead of "Mrs."
I have to agree with parent of Oct 22, 2012. Though it is a good school. My husband and I question the administration's decisions, conduct, and lack of professionalism. It is in a moderate/high economical neighborhood (highly successful folks) but if you are not in that category the parents and volunteers look down on you like you're not one of them. Reminds me of the parents on Abby's Dance studio on TV. If you're not a veteran of attitude, your not in. The teachers are great, but one has to wonder if they are genuine or acting according to fear of administrations wrath. Love the activities and fundraisers and chating with medium to low income parents.
My two children transferred to this school from another district out-of-state. They loved their teachers here and made decent progress, though they both thought their classes were too easy (and I was a little concerned when teacher handouts had spelling and grammar mistakes). Sadly, the parent community at the school is toxic and I was especially appalled by the nastiness and immaturity of those associated with fundraising. I was similarly disappointed with the principal's lack of professionalism. It's important to me to support my children's school, both on a financial and volunteer basis, but these people thoroughly poisoned our experience there. I had high hopes for this school but it's back to the private school system for us.
I whole heartedly agree with the parent reviewer on Sept 8, 2012. Park Hill is a great school for learning, but has the diversity and neighborhood feel on top of it all. I have been extremely pleased with every teacher my daughter has had, from K-3rd and believe her learning has soared. My kindergartener is just starting out,but I suspect great things as her class has the teacher, a paraprofessional and a college childhood education student. You don't get that in-class room support int he subburban schools.
I am a parent of two children both of whom attended Park Hill from K-5 and are now 7th and 9th graders. I am happy to say that they both had a great school experience at Park Hill-- they were well prepared for middle school and easily joined with other kids from higher ranked schools and performed at the same level. My 9th grade daughter is now in high school with many kids who went to places like Bromwell or Ebert and there is no discernible difference in their readiness for high school work. So I am very glad we went to our neighborhood school and the kids learned with a variety of learners and a variety of backgrounds-- a slice of real Denver rather than a school with 99% white, high-achieving students...
As a parent and a staff member, I KNOW that Park Hill School is a great place. Children are held to high standards academically and are loved.
My daughter has been at PH for 3 years and has had an amazing experience. Every one of her teachers has greatly exceeded our expectations and she feels safe and loved by teachers and administration alike. Parents here are highly involved and make this school even better because of it. We are lucky to have such an amazing neighborhood school!
My children attended Park Hill Elementary for the past four years. I was fairly involved in school activities and the classroom. My opinion and experience is that they have some great teachers there and they have some that I would consider mediocre. Parent involvement and volunteering is what MAKES this school. But in the four years we were there I saw some things within the administration that was concerning and alarming. First off, police are there all the time. This is an elementary school in an affluent neighborhood. I would suspect that there is a disproportionate amount calls to the crime rate of the neighborhood. The school touts its diversity but in the end, the principal has made many decisions that leave out those minority students. I love the school, the teachers, the parents. I REALLY question the administration. Glad we have left.
Our daughter is completing her first year at Park Hill and had a wonderful experience in full-day kindergarten. She tested into Advanced Kindergarten and was accepted at Polaris/Ebert, but we chose to keep her at Park Hill, our first choice school (we are two blocks outside of the boundaries). The teachers are caring and do a great job differentiating for kids whether they are advanced or catching up to grade level. We love the diversity of the student population and feel so lucky to be part of Park Hill!
I couldn't agree more with the posting on November 13, 2009. Park Hill's academic score of '3' does not do justice to the education provided at this school. My daughter is in Kindergarten with a teacher that is building life long learning skills AND she is doing this in a diverse and real-world class room where kids come from all walks of life. PHE librarian is excellent and is teaching the kids researching skills at a very young age. The music program is excellent. But on top of all that the Principle is savy at bringing additional resources to the school in a severely tight budgetary situation through community partnerships. As a first grader at PHE, you can take Spanish, Mandarin, violin, and acting classes, etc... The PTSA is top notch, earning additional dollars to support para-professionals. Don't voerlook this school based on the score.
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