November 17, 2015
We live in the Slavens neighborhood. I would agree with the comment that the office staff is not very welcoming and a bit standoffish. It seems as if there are so many potential students interested in the school that likely are not current neighborhood residents that the office is really overwhelmed. With class sizes sometimes over 30, we've heard? and everyone "choicing" into Slavens, it seems they don't have to care. On the whole, it is still a traditional school; somewhat antiquated in curriculum and teaching methods, lots of seat time, even if the kids are in groups instead. Our 1st grader was asked to read books for 30mins a day silently...this was before he even read! They are pushing reading and writing REALLY early and seem to turn their head to the suggestion that some kids may not be physically ready to read yet until 2-3rd grade. Foreign language, building (engineering), creativity, etc are either not built into the curriculum or taught. Thus, many boys struggle, especially in first grade. Though many parents say their kids eventually "got better." Integrated arts, offered in Kindergarten, sounded really awesome but is the kids sitting for 45 mins, reciting songs and memorizing things. From what we can tell in K-1st grade, our kids don't get higher level thinking activities. It is all about how many sight words you can memorize and how well you do on timed math tests. If you do well, well give you more! Rigor is defined by quantity of work, not quality or higher level thinking. We've had our kids at private schools before Slavens and don't think Slavens compares. On a whole, even this very "advanced" school has a curriculum that is generally a year behind private. IE Kids do in 1st grade what the private school does in Kindergarten. We used to think it was a great place for the "average" kid. But after a year, we feel it is a lot of pressure for all kids without a lot of engaging/higher level thinking activities. Dads are outside kindergarten classrooms with flash cards for their boys. Kids are expected to sit SO much throughout the day and everything is for the "positive" reward. No building time is ever allowed except as "free time" that you earn of course. Great school in the sense that the community is supportive, the money is there. Wondering about it's potential to produce thinkers that aren't burnt out.
- submitted by a parent