Disney was a great experience for me. There was nothing negative about the teachers. They're just direct.
My child was in the K gifted class this year. The teacher was wonderful, skilled, and trained to work with gifted kids. it was obvious during the year that there were children who would have done better in a less demanding classroom within the pod. The open pod setup was too loud and I was surprised to hear about (and witness) the use of a megaphone in the pod to get students' attention. Communication with teachers is excellent; with administration/others outside of the pod, fair. The head of security and security officer are wonderful; they are strict yet very positive and not demeaning when interacting with students. Excellent art programs. 8 a.m. start time makes for a long rush-hour commute.
My daughter went to Kindergarten this year at Disney and really enjoyed it. She was in the gifted class and at the beginning of the school year it was a great deal of work. She also learned Mandarin every day. Wow! The hours are early, but I liked that it was 'full day' kindergarten and the school does have tuition-based after school programs as well as academic and art enrichment (free) after school programs. We really enjoyed this year at Disney, but I have to agree with the other comments about the open pod classrooms. My daughter's teacher said that she was able to concentrate and do her work even with all the noise around her, but my daughter complained about it herself. Luckily, next year we will be going to a different school (largely based on this reason alone). The gifted program is great, but the open pod classrooms are not.
I felt lucky when my son was accepted into Disney for 1st grade. My expectations were very high, but they were soon dimmed by the administration, 'open' classrooms/pods, and the monotonous work my son was being given daily at school and for homework. My son's 1st and 2nd grade teachers both have admitted that it was hard for THEM to acclimate to the noise level, and I think this open classroom doesn't work for a lot of the teachers AND students now.I enrolled my son in FASTFORWORD and found it to be a lot less than I expected. The school has been no help in helping me find tutoring or other ways to accommodate him during class. I am looking to transfer my son out asap.
My son began Kindergarten this year at Disney and he absolutely loves it. He is learning quickly how to read, he has friends, and he is suddently very interested in art. He also loves his teacher. I was nervous to send him to such a large school after he attended a small, private, pre-school. However, I have been very impressed with the school all around.
So far my daughters's experience has been great. She loves the class, she just started pre-school. But I have to say that I have some concerns about the upper level classes after reading the reviews and I will keep a close look as she continues school at Disney.
My son started 1st grade at Disney this past fall; it was a bit overwhelming at first, but we are very pleased with the experience and his progress there. We have been very impressed with his teachers, they all seem to be committed and genuinely care about the kids. Several times we have had concerns, called the school, and his teacher has called back within a short time. My son LOVED the Art After All program and we definitely will continue it next year; our only complaint is that it doesn't run through the entire school year. We appreciate the diversity and liveliness. The staff recognizes the noise issue, due to the open classrooms, and so they have some enclosed rooms for reading and other subjects. Disney is very large so it does take time to figure out the system, and the hours are quite early--8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Disney seems great for the younger elementary grades (Pre-K to 2nd grade). However, as with any school, it does depend on the teacher that your child is assigned. I would not feel comfortable having my child exposed to some of the negative influences which seem to be present in the older (middle school) grades.
After researching all kinds of schools in Chicago for a year we moved our 1st and 2nd graders to Disney this past September. We have been really happy.The atmosphere in the school is lively.The leadership is strong and very accessible.We have found the teachers (some male teachers!! great for sons)are energetic and committed.The focus on acedemics is there, they are always working on expanding and improving their programs.If we wondered if the 'open classroom' system would mean that no one was keeping track of our kids it's been just the opposite.Hey,there's an Animation Lab,a Digital Music Lab, each grade does a 2 week Intensive in the CommArts Center. This year my 1st Grader's class did Endangered Species.Pretty cool stuff. No school is perfect. It can get a little loud in there, but that is largely the result of the open nature of the class set up. Would definitely recommend a visit.
BE HONEST! I was reading the reviews about Disney and I just felt obligated to write. I am a Parent looking for schools and saw the comment that said that Disney is on the 'early academic watch list'. I was surprised so I called around (the school, the Board, the Office of Reasearch and Evaluation downtown etc.) and IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. (actually, they said the reading score have never been higher) I don't know if my kid will end up there, but honest feedback is helpful. Sour grapes are not. Disgruntled employee?
I love the diversity at Disney. Students are exposed to so many wonderful diverse cultures. The school also teaches at the students different learning levels. If they excel, they are grouped with students of similar abilities, if they need extra help, they provide those students with the programs that are needed. I have noticed that Disney is adding more extracurricular activities, but they need to consider the working parent. It can be difficult to find transportation to and from an after school activity. Most programs they offer end at 3 and there is no transportation provided at that time. A working parent usually cannot leave a job in the middle of the afternoon to bring a student to another after school program. I find it great to see that they are trying to get more parents involved with different programs. This is an area in which they need to improve.
Like the other parents I once thought that this school was one of the best; however, I now feel that I should have pursued magnets who showed more promising results. Some of the teachers seem very unprofessional and do not show a lot of concern for the children education. The lack the responsibliity of communicating student's prgress with papers, returning phones calls, and establishing a parent/teacher/student relationship. I feel the principal does not intervene enough, and the children education is not a priority on her list.
This once-great school that was way ahead of its timein its conception has been laid low by the current principal. She has no understanding of why or how this school was designed. Instead of maximizing the freedom that was once encouraged (and made possible by the school's open architecture), the place is awash in rules & regulations designed to shackle both student and staff. Staff morale is atan all-time low and it affects pupil discipline and learning. The results spek for themselves with this school being placed on the early academic watch list as of this year.
All in all, this school overs children some great choices in education, however, during the past 2 years my son has been enrolled, I have felt that the teachers have lacked genuine interest in helping students with their social devolpment.
this is a good school in terms of teaching and curriculum especially for the gifted classes but some of the low level classes have poor teachers and neglected also the open classes structure is not good at all.
I have trnaferred my daughter out of this school. The preschool is excellent, but the thought of pods might be so distracting for older students. Also way too overcrowded/I would not think of it as magnet school at all.
My wife and I have been very pleased with the progress our son has shown since joining Disney Magnet School. The teachers he has had have been amazing. They have kept him challenged and us informed through out the school year. The Art after all after school program has been wonderful. The school has exceeded our expatiations.
Overall, I've been mostly pleased with Disney. My son had two great teachers for Kindergarten and first grade so I feel lucky. I think they do a good job with the academic portion of things and there are music and art extracurriculars from which to choose. Parent participation plays such an important role in Disney's success. It is a joy to volunteer in a place where parents are made to feel welcomed by the teachers and staff. The only area of dissatisfaction lies in the behavior of fellow students, partcularly the upper grades. Perhaps Disney should consider a program to help all the children socialize peacefully.
The teachers are great with the students, alot of them work on a personal basis with them. When I call a teacher normally my call is returned the next day.
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