Horace Mann is an excellent school. The small size of the school allows the staff to really get to know the kids. A strong PTO and many excellent teachers make Horace Mann a strong elementary school. Our two daughters flourished there. The mix of opportunities (more than you can take advantage of) but the safe and small (~250 students) feeling made them feel comfortable. They have extra support for both gifted/talented students with skills above grade level and paraeducator attention and extra language instruction for students that are behind grade level. Diverse mix of students -- recent immigrants, children of foreign university postdocs, and local kids from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. We chose this neighborhood for the school and the walkability.
Our daughters attended Horace Mann when we moved from Massachusetts. I was skeptical when I saw the low standardized scores that Horace Mann received but it was a great school in a wonderful family neighborhood. There was a high number of children of foreign grad students and English was their second language which was reflected in the standardized testing scores. We loved the diversity and loved our daughter's teachers. Our daughters attended Southeast Junior High and are now at City High School and have always tested very high on the ITBS tests which I think is a testament to the quality of education at Horace Mann, Southeast and City High.
Horace Mann is a strong, diverse (sociology-economically, racially, citizen status, family make-up etc) community supported by intelligent, dedicated and accessible teachers and administration. The joyful and vibrant energy of the school is enhanced by is proximity to the skillfully landscaped North Market Square Park, local shops and Iowa City's downtown. Horace Mann is known additionally for its strong school spirit and pride. 4/5 Starts since the lovely old building requires some updating.
This school is amazing! I am on my 2nd round and still love it! Don't always believe the test scores as a gauge of the academic commitment of this school, these teacher are the best and have helped my daughter on her way to Junior High and she is exceeding expectations! You can tell the teachers love their job and the kids and want all to reach their potential! It is such a diverse school!
My daughter is in Horace Mann and our family thinks it's a great school! Test scores can be deceiving, so don't let that be the only factor in choosing a school. Horace Mann is lucky to have most of the children of foreign grad students at the University of Iowa attend their school, so there is much more cultural diversity than you would normally find in Iowa. This is also a reason why the ITBS scores would be lower, as you have many children who speak English as a second language. Of course, we see this exposure to different cultures as a huge benefit for our daughter. When we were looking at school districts a former Education Professor from UI told my husband that his top two choices for elem. schools in IC were Horace Mann and Longfellow based on the teachers, neighborhoods, economic and cultural diversity. We love it!