Molly Peterson is great! She has done a wonderful job keeping in touch about progress throughout the year. I appreciate the weekly emails she sends and the Star of the Week program which makes each of the kids feel special.
I had high expectations for this school. We had interviewed 5 schools that worked for us location-wise and this one stood out during the process as having an experienced principal who projected confidence and took a traditional approach to education which I liked (my wife didn't so much care about the traditional approach part). So we open enrolled and were accepted (our neighborhood school did much poorer in the interview process). The rest of this review I'll break into good and bad.
Nice grounds and play areas for kid
Nice building with lots of technology
Good security (for a public school)
More experienced teachers than some of the other schools (based on teacher pay survey published by district)
Convenient location for those working downtown
Poor adaptation to special needs
We wanted a secular education for our child and it seemed like all curriculum was based around holidays
Poor internet security protocol for children (may be solved now)
Disorganized school events
Playing inappropriate music during school event -why would k-2 grades be listening to songs about sex?
I will also call out separately an issue which I'm not sure any school is prepared to address but that is the number of non-English speaking students in class. It seems like there were some in each class (not lots but some) How do you educate children that can't speak the language of the teacher and visa versa? I feel like it drags the class down a grade level or two. It was reassuring to note that the teacher had grouped the students top 3, bottom 4, and everyone else. So the teacher knew who could handle various levels of activity with or without help. My child frequently complained of boredom and tested above grade level. I feel like there were missed opportunities for enrichment which I tried to supplement at home.
In short this is an average school with an engaged but somewhat ineffective administrator. I felt like the teacher and staff cared but caring is a prerequisite for average in my book. My student had some special needs that went unaddressed all year despite numerous parent to teacher and parent to administrator contacts, because of this the school loses a star and gets bumped down from average. We tried to open enroll out of this school this year but were unsuccessful.
My son is a 2nd grader at Greenwood. We have had a wonderful experience with the staff. The teachers are wonderful and in tune to the childrens needs and talents. My husband also went to Greenwood as a child.
Greenwood is a wonderful school with a bonus: racial & economic diversity. It is a traditional school and at times it almost feels like a private school since some of the wealthiest families in Des Moines send their children here. The principal is delightful and easily accessible. Fantastic after-school (Metro) program as well as extracurricular French, Spanish lessons and many special programs. Very involved parental community and active PTA.