You cannot go wrong by sending your children to Banner Elementary in Dunlap, IL. If we hadn't had a job relocation, we'd most definitely still be there. My child attended K-2nd at Banner and we have nothing but positive experiences to compare our new school to. I also know several families with children in grades 4-5 and all have had positive experiences as well. The building may need some TLC due to being built in the mid-80's, but you have to remember that it's the leadership and teachers INSIDE the school that counts. They're the ones teaching your kids . . . not the shiny new outside of a building. I was heavily involved in the PTO at Banner and found the wealth of fundraising ideas to be a refreshing change from other schools I've heard of. The principal is very involved as well and is most always willing to try a new idea. His leadership is a main reason the school is so outstanding. He takes the time to care about each child/family and to learn the names of the 400+ kids. He also keeps the kids in touch with the various other grades in their school by organizing "teaming events" which group together teachers and kids of all grades for fun activities a few times a year.
We moved to the Dunlap school district because of the top-rated schools. We could have moved anywhere, but like most parents, wanted the best for our child. Our child has been diagnosed with a developmental disability, and we've been told that there is no program for our child in Dunlap. The program is in a lower socio-economic school, bluntly, poverty-level majority. To me, a top-rated school needs to provide top-rated programs to all of its students, and provide those programs within the district. To be fair, typically-developing children would probably thrive in this school community. That's just an opinion, and not our experience.
The class sizes in Dunlap school district are extremely large 25+, which makes it almost impossible for the teacher to provide any one-on-one instruction. They do not have a specific program at Banner yet, like Rti, to help struggling students. The teacher's primary option is to keep students in from recess to help them. I would say my son missed over 1/2 of his recesses last year. He's starting to really not like school.
I am not at all happy with the multi-age class. It now has 56 children in this class which has exceeded the amount us parents were told. I find it hard to beleive that the children are having a good education with such distractions! My child moved up to 5th grade and is doing wonderful work in a normal teaching situation. My child says her new class is fantastic because it's not as loud, and she can work better, and the teacher has more time to answer any questions. Banner is a wonderful school, my big regret is letting my children be in multi-age.