I am very satisfied with this school given the time and era that we are in right now - where various educational approach rival with the good intentions of the old-school method. It seems like Decatur is doing really wonderful things for my daughter despite just being academically focused and test-driven. It is not a gifted school and I think parents should be aware of that. It is a school for the academically advanced. My daughter was reading at 4 and was doing simple addition which was why she was accepted into the school with a score in the 99th percentile. She had an average score for the gifted test and was not accepted into any of the gifted schools. It is comforting to know that my daughter is getting a wonderful education through Decatur because they are being prepared for life in the real world.
Parents appreciate this school because it filled with children of other like-minded, academically focused parents. However, like many selective Chicago Public Schools, Decatur is really missing the mark on gifted education. All children learn a curriculum that is one grade level above their current focus, but there is little focus on depth of understanding or higher-level thinking. The students at Decatur succeed on tests because they are learning a grade level ahead and because the teachers focus significant time and energy preparing them to test successfully. Most Decatur students would succeed in any school because of their dedicated families but could truly thrive if given increased opportunities for higher level thinking during the school day.
It's diversity - the most amazing thing for my daughter! And it's one of the top elementary schools in Illinois.
Decatur provides a stimulating and challenging curriculum for the students and has phenomenal teachers and a PTA that is out of this world.
My daughter has been going to Decatur for 2 years now. It is a great school with good teachers and a lot of family involvement. There is a lot of home work some weeks but that is what school is all about....learning. For 2nd grade she is learning things I didn't learn until I was in 4th or 5th. All children take Latin and tap dancing. To me, Decatur is one big family. My daughter loves going to school! There is no violence at this school and I know it wouldn't be tolerated. We started working with preschool workbooks like reading, comprehesion, math etc. when she was around 3. This really helped her with the testing. The only downside to this school is that it only goes to 6th grade and then you have to test again to get into a 7th & 8th grade program like Whitney Young, Taft etc.
Our son just graduated from the school. In four years as a Decatur parent; we recall zero violence. Some are upset that their child cannot get the test scores needed to get accepted. Many of the parents have nurtured and worked with their kids before kindergarten, which pays off. Competition to get accepted is a challenge. Regrettably, some may lack the parental commitment to help their child succeed at Decatur. Others may have not put in enough time. If you want to be a Decatur parent, then you need to accept some responsibility; there is a significant amount of homework, but the teachers care and so do the students. Jealousy by those whose kids are not accepted, understood! Violence, no!
This is a very bad school. Its good reputation does not fit the school itself. The hall ways are chaotic, noisy , and messy. There is too much student violence. There are too many bad students. This is a very bad school.
As a former student from Decatur, I can only offer praise for their program. I am currently a student at Whitney Young Magnet High School, and I thank Decatur for preparing me to enter such a prestigious high school program that allows me to challenge myself as a student. Decatur has always concentrated on academic excellence and it is rare to find a student that does not enjoy the atmosphere and sense of family. As long as there is sufficient parental involvement, the students will thrive.
If you have no-nonsense, high academic standards for your children Decatur is your school. Plus, it is very refreshing to observe a like-minded parent community ...parents that raise the academic bar to prepare their children for anything they want to take on in the future.
I used to go Decatur and it is one of the greatest schools on the planet! No questions asked! Because it is so small, everyone knows each other and that makes it easier on the younger kids. The vice-principal is so fun to have as a teacher in sixth grade! And everyone in the faculty and staff is great! It was sad leaving Decatur because of the great experience I had there!
decatur is a good school. it teaches a lot of things ahead of other public schools. but there are downsides. some teachers are not as challenging/organized as others. and decatur does not focus on a child's individuality or creativity. they rank high and test well. but the students are treated as one as they focus too much on test taking and not enough on real world situations. my child is smart when it comes to vocabulary and math. but my younger child who is in different school has come home telling me things they have learned in a primary grade that my older child never learned at decatur. every school has its good and bad. i'm just saying that deactur is not all that it's cracked up to be.
This is our first year here, coming from a Catholic school & I am VERY impressed with the academics, parental involvement, teachers, we are VERY happy here. Thank you:)
Decatur is a great choice for children who are advanced academically. The facility is small, but everyone knows each other. The children are amazing and, in general, discipline is not an issue. The principal is mediocre- not of the caliber of the student attending the school.
I am extremely impressed with Decatur. My child has attended for the past five years. There are two classes per grade. My child, along with many others in the class, qualified to take the ACTs this year.
I am a student here at Decatur Classical. This school can't compare to any other. The teachers are above excellent, and the learning standards are unbelievable!
This is a great school. If your children want to hone their academic skill, this school is definitely a right choice. As to limited extracurricular activities it is quite understandable due to the ever lean public school funding. It is always better to have a school use their resources well on one or several areas than just superficially touch upon many things with mediocre performance. Besides, parents can always input many such activities that you think necessary to ensure a well-round education for your children.
Decatur is supposed to be one of the best public schools in Chicago. The school has lots of potentials (parent involvement and motivated students) but it has a lot of limitations. We think that the school is not teaching student as a whole child, but mainly teaching the subjects to maintain its high test score. With only 1 class per grade, from KG to 6th grade, the class size is still pretty big, 29-30 kids in the early grades per class (less students in later grades). Although music class is available, sports and extracurricular activities are limited to almost nothing. No art class offerred. No cafeteria (children will eat in the classroom or gym). Limited access to the faculties. In the end, the school is still the best bargain in the city (and the state perhaps).
Decatur Classical School is an exceptional place. Our neighborhood school couldn't support our son's needs,and he was saddened that more of his peers didn't share his interests. At Decatur, we've found a new home with great friends, parents and teachers. The only issue for us is that it ends at 6th grade.
Doesn't live up to the hype. Teaches only to the test and lacks interests in a child's overall well being. A school in decline.
The best thing this school has going for it is the children who attend it. The many old guard teachers are so stuck in the past and resistant to change that they prevent this school from being all that it could and should be. The newer or more open-minded teachers and administration are energetic and well-intended, but lack the power to take control. Too few parents are involved, too many are detached, and without a unified front, they are ineffective and are not heard as a credible voice by either the teachers or the administration, playing right into the hands of those who would keep things as they are. The lack of a unified vision has hog-tied the LSC. The PTA does it's able-best to stay motivated and focus on the children, despite the tug-of-war this school has become. How these children continue to thrive is a credit to the children alone.
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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.
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