I would consider this the best school in the district. The Spectrum (grades 1-3) program is top notch. The school and district should take note and model the school after the program. Fourth grade is less than stellar. Most parents know this is the year that you just have to power through and hope for the best. Fifth and sixth grade does a good job at prepping students for jr. high. The kids seem well bonded to each each other and happy. My kids don't care for library time, but the library is beautiful and well stocked. Computer lab is great. Classrooms have several iPads each. It's hard to read the staff as far as how well they work together, but by grade level it seems okay. My son also has also received help in the resource room. It was a very positive environment that motivated my son. The teacher seemed knowledgeable, and even sent stuff home for him to work on over the summer. There is a new principal, I've seen him attending several school events but I've never spoken with him. He is also in the lunchroom with students every time I bring my kids lunch,. Overall...four stars!
We moved to Idaho Falls for the 2011 school year, and enrolled in Sunnyside based in part on the reviews found on GreatSchools. What we found were very involved parents who helped make this year a decent experience for our kids. However, the quality of the teachers varied greatly. My daughter's teacher was wonderful, caring and competent. My son's teacher was cold, unmotivated, and behaved as if she did not like children. She was often the last person to arrive in the classroom in the morning. We spoke to the new principal several times about concerns in the school (a verbally aggressive male gym teacher, bizarre bathroom policies) and found her to be disengaged, absent and generally lacking passion for the position. I asked to observe the gym class on one occasion, and was told I was not allowed to do so by administrative staff. Walking the halls, and observing the behavior of the children, teachers and staff, I can't help but recognize the lack of warmth and general tension in the air. I believe a strong principal that could promote a positive, loving attitude conducive to success would help remedy many of these problems.
Sunnyside Elementary is arguably the best elementary school in Idaho Falls with excellent parent participation and computer resources that other elementaries in the area don't have. The teaching experience is variable with some teachers definitely 'favored' by parents more than others. The school has a PACE program for gifted and talented children as well as a Spectrum Program that has students from three grade levels in the same class.