This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Mountain Phoenix Community School - Wheat Ridge2
Posted December 26, 2014
- a parent
This is a school's story of how to go about grabbing defeat out of the jaws of a clear victory in a Waldorf-inspired charter school that for a time was a model for the country. It was clearly bringing great creative-thinking education to our kids. But, with martinette precision, sheeplike Board members listen to and follow uncredentialled leadership as two individuals are in total control. Waldorf-trained teachers will soon be leaving. Even though a research showed lack of support for the new Principal, the Board voted to extend her 2 more years. She works with the School's Board Treasurer. As we seek for our children to become reasonably moral & socially presentable but if the Board is not so inclined how can we expect our children to be as well. Waldorf requires meaningful work keeping the curriculum healthy. Looks like that train has left the station. So sad.
I have two children at this school. My husband and I are educators and are exceptionally invested in our children's education. We chose this school because of its great emphasis on developmentally appropriate work, educating all aspects of the human, family importance, and preservation of childhood. There is a confident, philosophically-sound, gradual developmental unfolding that is allowed to happen here; something that is strongly missing in the other, almost panicked, school environments we experienced elsewhere. The curriculum is designed to go deep using a variety of avenues rather than just prepare them for the next test. Time to ponder, create, move and play is all a part of this. If you are simply looking for an alternative school vs. a Waldorf-inspired, it may not be for you. To love this school, it takes trust in the philosophy and an appetite for stepping outside the electronics-filled, fast-paced, mainstream culture in a quest for a far more creative, holistic education. We are relieved to be backing a school which so closely matches our values and is reinforcing and furthering the love of learning we've worked so hard to instill in our children.
This school is terrible. They ask for too many "donations". Also, if you were looking for a school where you can learn, just leave. There is too much play time. For example, most middle school classes get two recesses and a snack time. Really? The is much favoritism in the school. I looked at other reviews and saw that people were happy with how artsy this school is. Yes, it has a good art system, but the students are only copying the teacher's work and are not able to be creative with their own ideas. There are no sports at this school, which I find sad. The students don't do very much homework and will NOT be high school ready. This school is terrible and I will not recommend it to ANYONE.
Sadly we had to abandon Mountain Phoenix. We were sold on the idea of positive reinforcement fostering individualized academic growth. I was told that a student would be encouraged to meet their potential. What happened instead is my student was encouraged to find something quiet to do. This did not grow his skills in any way. In fact, he left the school with less proficiency, then he arrived. It appears to be a good concept, but it fails.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.