I have never met a more connected, more wonderful group of teachers than I have at this school. Every teacher knows every students name and they are the best group of "cheerleaders" that I could ask for for my children.
This school encourages honesty and friendship as well as building strong personal relationships with everyone who enters the building. The staff work with the kids to encourage fairness and help promote integrity.
I love the one on one attention that the kids are able to get from this school. The teachers and staff are all willing to help out every child whenever the need arises. This is the BEST community that you can be part of. Everyone looks out for one another and there are friendships blooming around every corner. A great place to call "home"!
As a parent of a special needs child, Shimek has been wonderful. The teachers are well trained to deal with kids of the autism spectrum and the principle is very hard working and accessible. I think it is a great elementary school and we bought a house in the district in large part because of our experience with Shimek.
Shimek is a huge disappointment. Teachers use black-line masters for every subject (boilerplate Math & reading). No creativity, teacher construction, care or inspiration in developing units. Minimal writing, & no written feedback on student work in any subject area. Home communication limited to black-line (photocopied from workbook) newsletters that have no value. Students are all subjected to the same, soulless instruction and no effort is made to differentiate for unique learning needs. Very little community connection, service or civic learning (beyond collections), field trips, thematic instruction, projects, or any meaningful instruction. Parents disconnected. (2 teacher written newsletters in 4 years). No teacher websites, blogs, emails, newsletters, or other communication to support parents in understanding how kids are growing, or how to extend learning from home. Minimal response to emails. School garden, created by parents and community, is ignored by administration and teachers. Culture of fear permeates school curriculum, rules and overall engineering. Mediocre leadership altogether. Education is what we'd expect from a blighted urban school, not ICCSD.
Shimek has the worlds best before and after school program! It has a beautiful campus, And a tightknit family community Shimek has the hardest working principal and custodian you will ever meet Academically, It doesn't seem that science or social studies are taught at Shimek Field trips are rare. The hardest part for me as a Shimek parent is communication from teachers does not happen at all (Beyond parent teacher conferences twice a year) Because there is no communication (I may be wrong) But my experiences they do language arts and some math all day long. I would love to trust that there is a thoughtful, comprehensive curriculum, With meaningful tasks, Community connections, And a great deal of care. Almost all of the teacher prep time Seems to be dedicated to meetings, Which Precludes teachers from Constructing meaningful lessons on a wide variety of subjects. Elementary teachers in most other buildings Prepare weekly newsletters for families To track what is being covered In school. I'm not aware that any Shimek teachers do this. there is also too much emphasis on safety
Shimek was the top rated elementary school in Iowa City---25 years ago. When we moved to the Shimek area, we expected the best. In the Kindergarten class that was true. Now that our child is in second grade, Shimek has lost its shine. Bulling runs rampet right in front of the teacher. Class work looks like they are still in Kindergarten But, worst of all, the teachers we have had so far, except for Kindergarten, do not impress us as being motivated to teach. They rely on assessments, other testing, etc. Real teaching is not only about testing.
Our children have attended Shimek Elementary for the past 4 years and we couldn't be more pleased with their educational experience! Everything from the lovely wooded setting to the caring and competent staff is first rate. Our children have enjoyed the academic enrichment programming as well as band, orchestra and a full array of extracirricular experiences including chess club and foreign language studies. All of this and more is available in a smaller and personal setting which makes Shimek a wonderful place to learn and grow!