As a transplant from another state, I'd say this school has been less than welcoming. The communication from our teachers this year is disappointing. Unprofessional behavior such as, one teacher who yells at students to "shut up" and comments such as, "I want to punch you in the mouth," referring to a student that was talking back to the teacher are outrageous. When another teacher said, "you kids are driving me crazy," it makes me wonder why that particular teacher has even chosen her occupation. The school is very test-conscious and if your child is struggling, there is no guidance for improvement and individual assistance. Hiring a tutor has helped. Bottom line is likely that if you have been in the neighborhood since Kindergarten, you'll probably be better acclimated than a newcomer. I chose to live here, expecting the "10" rating to be an excellent choice, but now realize there is an air of "our school is the best" and that combined with high test scores is carrying the school, instead of a truly rewarding educational experience.
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.
We are new to Slavens this year--our son just started 6th grade and our daughter is in 3rd. We are so impressed with the dedication, knowledge and professionalism of the teachers and staff. Our kids are challenged and valued as learners and leaders--the new Leader in Me program has established a strong school culture and character development. The students get PE every day, full-time paraprofessionals at each grade level, and state-of-the-art STEM lab instruction all supported by community fundraising and involvement. We are so happy to be at Slavens!
This school is amazing! 5 stars all the way! I had 3 kids here one who just graduated and he loved it! He liked the teachers and students. He made many friends throughout the year. He had very many academic troubles in the beginning of the year but by the end he was an advanced student! I also have a now 7th grader who couldn't love slavens more she was new last year and they all gave her a warm welcome. She is advanced in all subjects and her teachers helped her be this way. She comes home everyday having a new story to tell and has new friends! She's a very popular girl. Her friends love her and they are great influences. Also, I have and 4th grader and she is a genius because of her teachers who are amazing they have helped her south this year! And she has great friends and I couldn't be happier with my kids experience with slavens! Slavens is an amazing school I would highly recommend for you to send your kids to slavens they will love it!
This is an awful school there's so much racism going on here. Not only the students but the whole administration. I've wrote a few reviews on our experience here at Slavens and for some reason someone keeps deleting them. Please be aware if your not white or rich this is not the school for you because you will definitely be treated different. It is sad that such a great school has much racism going on.
This school is exactly what it is proud to be: A public school that offers a private school experience. The parents are elitist and pass that attitude on to their children. Low-income need not apply. My daughters were both bullied throughout their middle school years for not wearing name-brand clothing, for wearing band T-shirts, and for being on the reduced lunch program. I was told by one of the teachers that we would have fewer problems if I would just "make her wear pink more often." My older daughter's best friend was bullied for being gay so constantly that he transferred out of the school at the end of the year because the attitude of the administration is that "our children know better" so there are no consequences handed down. Slavens is a good school academically, but it's also a socially elitist school, and does not provide an equitable experience for all students.
As a parent of two children (a boy and a girl) on her 10th year at Slavens, I can say without reservation that Slavens is a unique and wonderful school. The parental involvement is off the charts, and various fundraising mechanisms allow this school to have all the "extras" associated with private schools, including paras in all elementary school classrooms, an arts program, a brand new STEM lab (2013-2014 year), and thanks to the DPS Bond offering, a new building wing with a large gym, cafeteria, library, band room and more. At the same time, the school only has 3 classrooms per grade (including in Middle School), so that is a nice bonus. The only downside is that it is not very socio-economically or ethnically/racially diverse.
My niece moved to Denver last year and we were so excited for her to go to Slavens because that is where my siblings and I went. However, she has had a terrible time there. The school is very elitist and if you are not in the clique, you don't count. She has been bullied to the point that she doesn't want to go back. Her mother is looking for another school for her. The academics are O.K., but the atmosphere breeds snobbery and condescending attitudes among the children. Something we certainly don't need anymore of in this world!
I went to Slavens from kindergarten all the way through 8th grade and although the education side is fantastic the teachers, parents, and even the children have this sense of "entitlement." My brother was bullied quite a lot by the kids because of his learning disabilities and the administration didn't do anything to see that this was no longer an issue. Hardly any diversity and there's a "no liberal" think attitude towards anyone that isn't a rich, white republican that has some kind of title on the school board and this is exactly the sort of thing that makes kids that transfer school enjoy their new school better. Overall, great school but too conservative in their thinking.
We are relocating back to Denver, and I have made three attempts to contact the staff to schedule a tour and to find out how the middle school transition works. The office staff is not welcoming and seems to have a sense of entitlement, I suppose because of the school's reputation. Calls do not get transferred properly, so I have yet to successfully reach or leave a message for the administrative staff. These communication failures by the frontline staff are very concerning because, since they are being tolerated and perpetuated, it signals that there are communications breakdowns that run much deeper, likely from the top down. The impression I get is that this is a school that is riding on coattails of prior performance and that genuine caring and continuous improvement efforts are dwindling. I also get the impression that this school is over-burdened because everyone is trying to funnel into the best dpsk12 schools. There are just not enough "excellent" schools to accommodate the population expecting strong education options. I am not impressed with what I have experienced despite the scores and reputation.