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Mountain Phoenix Community School - Wheat Ridge

Charter | PK-8 | 465 students

Waldorf-inspired education

 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 14 ratings
2013:
Based on 22 ratings
2012:
Based on 36 ratings
2011:
No new ratings

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Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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72 reviews of this school


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Posted May 12, 2014

Phoenix Mountain School. I am a grandparent from out of state. Both my husband and I taught school. I am concerned about the D rating from the state for this school. It was posted in the Jeffco Observer. There were only 4 D schools and 2 F schools. How are the schools actually rated? Can anyone answer this question? A grandparent


Posted April 27, 2014

The school is more closely aligned with Steiner philosophy than it claims. This can be ideal if you are looking for this type of education. If you are unfamiliar with Steiner philosophy then it can be a surprise. The imagination that children develop here is amazing. Children learn to be sensitive and kind. Friendships and community are above and beyond wonderful here. The school struggles to provide the education in line with its philosophy and meet state standards. It's a curious blend and brings unpredictability. Science education here is not in line with any other style of school. Academics are soft. Children with behavior problems bounce in and out of this school, teachers are left alone to deal with the disruptions. The adherence to safety and handling of injuries at the school is questionable at best and not in line with district requirements. Children are encouraged to tough it out, which has it's benefits, but parents are frequently not notified in a timely manner when children are injured. This school is not for everyone, but it is good to see it become more available to children as an option in education.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 27, 2014

I was at this school for two years and while it is a beautiful school that offers much more richness than most neighborhood schools can, there is a price to be paid. I have spent twenty years in education and this is the least innovative or creative environment I have been involved with. Children are required to copy the teacher's work and there is very little room for their own thoughts or ideas. In this educational environment, students are taught to rely on others for the "right" answer. Clearly, this leads to less curiosity and innovation than most other alternative schools The leadership is abysmal at MPCS and until the current head of school is replaced, I fear that the school will not be able to truly help kids become the best persons they can be. However, if the right changes are made, this could be an amazing school- there are wonderful teachers who know their profession and will do their best for children if they are allowed to do their jobs in an environment that feels safe, professional and supportive.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted April 4, 2014

I used to work at this school before the current administration took over and during the first year the current principal was in control. The school was always disorganized but it got worse my last year at the school. There was a lot of disagreement and contention with the staff and the principal. The principal seemed more concerned about furthering her career and making a name for herself than the school, the ideology and the kids. Many reviews mentioned their child was kicked out after the official student enrollment count from Jeffco so the school would still receive money for the child. I can confirm this was 100% the case for many of the years I was employed at the school. The structure of the school was alright, I could easily see favoritism from the teachers towards specific students. A school is supposed to be a place of learning with structure and encouragement but this was not the case. It was more of a hodgepodge of crafts, painting and writing with the staff acting like they were in high school rather than teachers.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted March 8, 2014

I looked at reviews before applying, and for the most part I agree with parts of all of them. The teachers are amazing, the program is amazing, the skilled incorporation of Waldorf into public school is the best part, hands down. Teaching children to be well rounded, successful adults and preparing for the rest of life (not just college, competition, or academia) is something that does not happen like this in other schools! Thank you, MPCS, for making that a priority. My kids feel it and I see it. I could not care less about standardized testing; this school is academically strong and instills a GREAT love of learning. The emphasis on the humanities is impressive. I do not have special needs kids. I can imagine that the school would not have the monetary or staff resources to adequately provide for special needs, not by choice but by circumstances. Charter schools are underfunded by their nature. The principal...seems to lack effective leadership including how to foster positive relationships. There is an undertone of conflict between her and the teachers. She has always been polite to us, but we go to the Dean when we need help. My children are thriving. I love this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 28, 2014

Teachers I speak with, and we speak fairly often-the "Community" in the school's name includes teachers who work very well together- feel very well supported by each other and by the administration. I write only to note one alarming bit of disinformation posted by someone last month. He or she reports a high turnover rate among both students and faculty. In fact, faculty retention for next year is well over 90%. It would be 100% but for possible leaves of absence for personal reasons. Retention rates for next year are an astounding 97+% and we have substantial waiting lists for every class except for a few openings in middle school. We are doing something wonderfully different in a public school setting. There are bumps in the road- it is a new thing which takes some route-finding at times, but you will not find a more committed and competent staff anywhere.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted February 23, 2014

I have had our child in this school for 3 years now. This is a great school. Obviously, there are some parents who give low ratings because they have an axe to grind! Don't be fooled by them! My child loves to come to school and is eager to learn. What more can I ask for? From the Principal down to the staff, I have never felt more supported, more appreciated, and happier! Get on the waiting lists!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 21, 2014

My family has been a part of Mountain Phoenix for 2 years now. We came because we so desperately wanted our children in a Waldorf school but could not afford Private school rates. I am overwhelmed at the dedication and love these teachers give to the students! My children love to go to school now! Not only are they learning normal school skills, but they are also learning to be part of a community. They learn so much more than reading and writing, they learn that is okay to be who they are! They learn how to work with others and that learning can be fun! It is amazing that this is a public school, it offers so much more and feels like we are at a top private school. There are always hiccups when organizing things at a school and we have found that teachers and even administration are always available to speak with us and find solutions. If you are looking for a great PUBLIC Waldorf school, you have hit the jackpot!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 17, 2014

This school has great potential but misses the mark. We have been at this school for three years. My child will not continue for a fourth year. It has a very disorganized administration (although fund raising for future needs is very organized). Additionally, the children miss the mark on standard grade level abilities. There is high teacher and student turn over that should be considered before enrolling. Further, if a parent works in the classroom they are allowed access to information that should have been confidential regarding your child.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 29, 2014

Mountain Phoenix is a very good school providing a charter school culture and curriculum that the traditional public school could not, The Waldorf implementation is solid. My daughter has had two exceptional teachers in her three years at the school. (Her 3rd grade teacher tracked with her to 4th grade.) Best of all for my family, the school focuses on development of the whole child, not just the child's ability to take state standardized tests. We lovingly call the school Hippie Hogwarts because of the granola/ earth mother culture of the school. Parent involvement is off the charts at the school. Because of the school's culture, the kids have a real creative bent that has been fostered by the Waldorf philosophy as well as the nature of the projects students take on. While the school has been a great place for our daughter, the school is not for everybody. Because it is such a hive of activity, school culture can be overwhelming. Every child is involved in the school's instrumental music program, whether s/he likes it or not. School communication is a bit chaotic, which can be frustrating. These are just words of caution, however. We have loved this school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 24, 2014

This is our second year at the school. We really love it. Wonderful community of parents, teachers, staff, and students. The classrooms are warm and inviting and teachers truly care about providing a well rounded holistic education. Highly recommend!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 18, 2014

This is our 3rd year at MPCS. Our children are happy, thriving members of this amazing community- as are we. We have seen many changes and are excited about our children exploring their education through 8th grade. At first we had to let go and trust in the track record and the overall vision of the administration. This was not without some nail biting moments, but we have seen nothing but positive movement towards the goals we see for our kids. We feel as though our children are genuinely cared for and are met where they are in their learning and growth. We were made aware from the very beginning of the volunteer hours required and about the financial gifts that help our kids have a whole and rounded education with all the bases covered- music, art, orchestra, movement, PE, Spanish, handwork, a rich academic life, and a beautiful campus that provides a safe environment for our children to move in. Our son has some sensory issues, but this has always been met with open communication, individual help, and an incredibly knowledgeable staff. We are so glad that we stuck it out! Our children are growing into bright, inquisitive people with a love for learning.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 6, 2014

We have been pleasantly surprised by this school for our daughter. We had considered it for a couple of years, but after all of the mixed reviews, hesitated to make the leap until our daughter pushed for it. It's not a perfect school, but it seems to be the right fit for my daughter (who is loving the curriculum, as well as the focus on music and the arts). As parents/guardians are required to volunteer, there is a lot of involvement and energy. More importantly, I have observed respectful, kind, and well-rounded kids there. The teachers have been truly amazing. They go above and beyond, and are so committed to the kids. I can't speak to the principal, as my interactions with her have been limited, but she's had a lot of bad press here on the reviews! While, overall, I like the school, I recognize it may not fit all children's needs, certainly not children with learning disabilities. And this is very unfortunate. And as another reviewer stated, they do regularly ask for financial donation to the school even though we already donate a significant amount of our time.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 6, 2014

In our first year at MCPS, our child flourished under a patient teacher who had the whole child's development in mind. We looked forward to a great 2nd year! Only several days into the new school year, our teacher expressed concern about behaviors in our child, which we had never witnessed typifying our child in a way completely different than teachers of the last several years. The teacher's communication lacked discretion and professionalism. Furthermore, we were concerned with both how she spoke to and restrained our child. We then learned from school leadership that this teacher didn't have an hour of formal study in education at all instead was self-studied for the certification exam. They maintained that the 2 teacher openings had not seen a single applicant. Leadership's tone with us included threats and fear mongering about our child's future. After exhausting all tools to make a change for our child within the context of remaining at MCPS, we left the school. We were not alone. Today our student is happy & thriving in a classroom with a well-qualified teacher at great Jeffco school. If you do choose this school, please know the risks and be ready with a Plan B.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 14, 2013

Really look this school over before enrolling your kids. My experience hasn't been close to 5 stars. It looks really great and has some good elements, however the bad out weights the potential good in my opinion. The administration is really heavy handed and they have quite a bit of turnover with their teachers. That in itself is an issue especially in the format in which they operate (kids stay with one teacher through different grades). This is really not the place if your kids need any sort of extra help - they are not adequately staffed in this area nor are they required to provide what ANY normal (non charter) school would. There is a lot of patting on the back during the events which gets a bit old. The suggested "donations" per student are high as well. I'm not sold and think one should do a bunch of looking before leaping.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 30, 2013

This is our second year at Mountain Phoenix. The school is a nice blend of public and private education. My children are thriving-academically and emotionally. My child started slightly behind grade level in reading and writing. My child is now approaching advanced. Both my children are happy to go to school and are developing a love of learning. There is a high level of parent involvement and disciplinary issues are resolved quickly and fairly. My child had an issue with another student that they were unable to work out. The teache spent 2 lunch periods helping them talk out thier differences and find a way to get along. This seems to be typical in the school. Children are taught reponsibility and actions (both good and bad) have consequesnces-both positive and not so much. Accomodations are made for children that need more- but not at the expense of the entire class. The adminstration has been professional and always helpful. The ciriculum is art rich- which I believe is helping my chidren develop academically. Alternative education is not for everyone, but for me and my children, this has been the right choice.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 25, 2013

Don't get fooled ! Please do your homework, we could not stay here any longer and its only October. I had such high hopes . I tried to ignore the bad reviews but in the end the reviews were right this place is lacking in too many key areas.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 16, 2013

My daughter and I are new to Mountain Phoenix this year and believe we have made a good and important decision in my daughter s future. We were looking for a school that caters to the development of the whole child above and beyond reading and math. Mountain Phoenix believes in a well-rounded education that includes working with your hands, exploring the arts and the natural world, and instilling a love of learning which will help children WANT to excel in school. In the first two months of school my daughter has: started playing the cello; is working on a wonderful knitting project; has explored both algae and mushrooms in botany and can extrapolate what she has learned and apply it to the real world; has delved into philosophy and ancient history; is working on her drawing skills; has been rewarded for using beautiful penmanship; has performed in a grandparents appreciation day where the elders were served tea on tables decorated with china, beautiful linens, and fresh flowers; is engaged in a challenging physical education program; is learning how to play chess; and yes she is working on life skills that include grade appropriate math, reading, and science.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 7, 2013

I am so impressed with how much time and love the school has poured into my daughter's education since starting here this year. If you know about the Waldorf philosophy and are prepared to commit to the program, I enthusiastically recommend Mountain Phoenix. We have had all of our older children go through the "regular" public school system and it was fine for them. Our current first grader, though, was in need of an arts-based, nurturing environment. We found it here and won't be looking back!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 5, 2013

All the criticism is spot on, especially regarding the principal and administration. This could be a great school. But it is sadly a terrible school. I'm a teacher and I am appalled at how little my children learned during their one wasted year here. You are better off putting your children in the neighborhood public school. They will actually learn. I'm appalled at how much my children lost academically while here. The only thing good they seemed to have learned is how to knit. I have so much work to do now to reteach them concepts they once knew and to get them caught up to where they should be so they can move forward and start liking school again. The teachers are unable to do much good in this toxic enviornment. The best solution for this school is to close. I would retract my previous positive review if I could.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

Oops! We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Public and charter school test scores for most states come from the state Department of Education. The most common reasons we might not have this data are either that not enough students took the test or that the school was recently opened, and its scores have not yet been reported.

What is the GreatSchools Rating?

The GreatSchools rating is a simple tool for parents to compare schools based on test scores, student academic growth, and college readiness. It compares schools across the state, where the highest rated schools in the state are designated as “Above Average” and the lowest “Below Average.” It is designed to be a starting point to help parents make baseline comparisons. We always advise parents to visit the school and consider other information on school performance and programs, as well as consider their child's and family's needs as part of the school selection process.

 
 

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

Unfortunately, this school doesn't have sufficient data to generate an academic rating.

Oops! We currently do not have any student information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
Dance teacher(s)
Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
Math specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Nurse(s)
Reading specialist(s)
School psychologist
Special education coordinator
Speech and language therapist(s)
Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff American sign language
German
Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Staff resources available to students
  • Special education coordinator
  • Speech and language therapist(s)

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Math specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
Clubs
  • Gardening

Arts & music

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Arts (all)
Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Orchestra
  • Theory
Performing and written arts
  • Dance
  • Drama

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Staff resources available to students
  • Speech and language therapist(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • American sign language
  • German
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • School psychologist
School facilities
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Kitchen
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
Clubs
  • Gardening
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:30 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:00 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Dr. Donna Newberg-Long, Principal
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 3 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Fax number
  • (303) 728-9801

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Project-based
  • Standards-based
  • Waldorf
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Arts (all)
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • School psychologist
  • Special education coordinator
  • Speech and language therapist(s)
  • Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • American sign language
  • German
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Tutoring
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Learning lab
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
  • Playground
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • Colorado League of Charter Schools
School leaders can update this information here.

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by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Sports

Boys sports
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
Girls sports
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Orchestra
  • Theory
Performing arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Chess club
  • Community service
  • Gardening
  • Seasonal Family Festivals
  • Student council/government
School leaders can update this information here.

School culture

Dress Code
  • Dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Monitor the playground
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
More from this school
  • Mountain Phoenix Community School provides an exceptional educational setting, both academically and on our beautiful campus. Located at I-70 and Kipling, the Wheatridge campus has grown exponentially over the last 2 years. Such quick growth allows us to raise achievement scores over the next years to demonstrate how Waldorf education in a public setting can give students a lovely, meaningful education along with excellent skills. Go to www.mountainphoenix.org for Open Houses and more info.
School leaders can update this information here.

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What are your chances?


7 out of 10students were accepted for the 2011-2012 school year.


Students accepted for the 2011-2012 school year
100
Applications received for the 2011-2012 school year
150
Students typically come from these schools
Waldorf schools
Public Schools
Home schools

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Waldorf High Schools
Private schools
Experiential/Arts-based high schools
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

4725 Miller Street
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Website: Click here
Phone: (303) 728-9100

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