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!
Shimek has the reputation for being one of the top schools in the IC district, because of its test scores and its small size. After having our child there for one year (3rd grade), we can honestly say it's overrated. Teachers are driven to maintain the school's academic reputation, yet do not create an environment where children can truly learn. Children who physically or socially bully others, whether in the classroom or on the playground are not adequately disciplined. The children of the upper middle class get away with too much including race- and gender- motivated abuse. The principal's 'conflict resolution' approach, in which bully and victim are put together to air their views, *does not* work. If you want your child to learn, put him or her in a school that follows through on the district's 'zero tolerance' policy regarding bullying. Happily, our child is transferring to another school.
Shimek is the best Elememtary school in this district. It is a small school, so students recieve more teacher interaction. The staff and teachers, take the time to meet your needs and concerns. They have a great after-school program, that has thier own band and includes students. they have been known to play out in the community. That is a great program, get kids motovated.
Shimek has been wonderful for my blind daughter. They have gone out of their way to help us get the materials that she needs in braille. I am looking forward to my youngest going to shimek, I can't say enough about this school other then the staff, teachers, and Dr. Towers are wonderful. Even the after school program has started the After School Specials Band, with all students who sing and or play instruments. They are awesome! Thank you so much.....