My Daughter attended Kindergarten at Ponderosa. We LOVED her teacher! But the school does put a lot of pressure on the kids to do the pacer program (although it is optional) which is walking or running laps on the track during lunch/recess. My child was frequently left out, because she was slower than a lot of the other kids. And she didn't want to just play on the playground because she was taught that getting pacers is top priority! I wish they only had a few "pacer" days out of the week. To give the kids some time to relax and have fun.
Also, the parent involvement is non existent. The PTA did very little thru out the year. They were not friendly or encouraging an only hosted 2 events (which were below average) My child did learn well though.
The teachers and staff are very nice and always helpful when I have questions. They are very focus on encouraging kids to be more active, and receive rewards for exercising during recess. My kids have learned well what s in the curriculum for Idaho, but I think there is space for more academic activities in the school. The science fair is the only after class activity during the year that involves academics, and it s very underwhelming. I think the PTA and the staff do the best they can with the little help they get from parents and the state. Overall, is a nice environment, they are very pro-active on preventing bullying, and my kids are very happy in the school.
Ponderosa Elementary puts emphasis not only on the academics of children but also the health of children. The school is known for its ever popular Pacer Program. Children have the option to spend their recess time running on the pacer track. Children are given pacer sticks after every lap which they turn in to get marked off on their 25 mile pacer card. Incentives are awarded after every 25 miles. As an example, my son has earned three necklace charms representing each of his 25 miles this year. For running 75 miles total, he has the opportunity to attend a special Summer Wind Skippers assembly. As a result, he loves school and has a positive self esteem due to his achievement. I have also experienced excellent teachers and an engaged principal.
We have 2nd, 3rd and 5th grade students at Ponderosa and absolutely love the school and staff. They are very aware of each and every student and he/she's personal needs. This extends past the classroom, playground, and into our home. If our kids have a problem related to academics or social issues, the staff at Ponderosa goes above and beyond to make sure the issues get handled. It is nice to see a school in this day and age that really cares what kind of people they are turning out when the kids move on.
Ponderosa school administration told me that my son definitely needed additional help in reading but the districts qualifacations for tutoring wouldn't allow him the help he needs and that I should consider he attend a Boise school thru open enrollment when I live in this elementary school area. I work in Boise so I will make the sacrafice but i would advise other parents to be aware of the lack of support. This district cares more about the bottom line.