I have two children currently attending Perkins Academy. When looking for a home in the Des Moines area, my wife and I were told the only "good" education would be outside of the DMPS district. I knew those people were wrong, and Perkins Academy is the proof. Both of my children thrive at Perkins. They are excited about reading, math, and many other subjects. They have an extremely diverse group of friends. The teachers are phenomenal, as well as the administrative staff lead by Principal Dan Koss. I feel that my children are appropriately challenged academically. There are many levels of learners in any class, and our experience has been that the dedicated and caring teachers at Perkins work hard to adjust to the individual needs of the students. Education is highly important to our family ethos, and Perkins is meeting our high expectations.
This school doesn't contact parents when they are put into different classes, you have to approach the teacher to get any information about your child. They don't send anything specific home about your child. The principal isn't present much, they are suppose to be a high quality school and my daughter is back tracking with everything she learned prior to going to this school and even writing numbers backwards that she wrote fine before. They also lump my daughter in with English language learners. She is 1 of 2 African American kids in the class and they both get put in with ELL students because of there color not there knowledge level. This is the worst school for children. I continue to talk to the teacher about why she is in these types of classes and I get the answer of well that is just what classes they need, she didn't need it prior to going to your school.
At first I thought most of Des Moines Schools did not challenge kids enough but then when I transferred to Perkins everything changed. They have magnificent teachers,they have fun out of school activities, and they give students a chance to challenge there self. I am really good at math and at Perkins they put my brain to work instead of teaching me things I already knew. But what really astonished me at this school was their gym teacher,Mr.Randell,he was awesome he always kept the kids active and was strict so kids did not run off doing whatever they wanted. I always looked forward to gym days!! I just want to say Perkins truly changed my life.
I was skeptical of the Des Moines school district because of prior experience, but have found Perkins Academy to be a bright spot where there is an active PTA and a fairly close community of teachers. It seems plain, but beyond the culture of the educational environment, the two most important factors is the relationship that develops between your child and their teacher and the level of effectiveness the teacher is able to reach in leading the students in their class. This has been pretty decent for the 3 years that I've had children open-enrolled into Perkins.
So far, my experience with this school is *not* wonderful. The teachers are not particularly open-minded to change and the principal seems to keep herself removed - other than as an administrator. There is a lot of talk - but little action.