Substandard academics, especially in the junior high and high school. Teacher turnover at all grade levels is exceptionally high, so they don't really know the curriculum. The school has decided to value athletics and money over a academics.
Last year was our first year at DMCS and we can't begin to express how much we love it! We thought the transition to a new school would be difficult, but it was far better than we could have hoped for. Everyone went above and beyond to make sure our kids felt welcome and the teachers are incredible role models for them! We feel very blessed to be part of the DMCS family!!
When I began teaching at DMCS in the fall of 2002 I was a school parent and knew many of the students and their parents. I think of the school as having a small-town atmosphere where we are like a family, but more importantly a family of believers. We pray for one another and laugh and cry together. I care about the students as if they are my own and appreciate the partnership I can have with parents in helping their students to succeed, and more importantly, to have a relationship with the Lord.
This school has some great points: involved parents, great teachers, and a good solid educational philosophy. But the negatives are outweighing the positives as of late. I echo what another reviewer recently said... that the administration is releasing teachers for no good reason at all; morale is down and teachers are walking on eggshells; and a group of "generous" parents seems to be pulling the strings. A rosy picture is continually being presented to us, and we're being told that things are just in "transition" and will get better. But we see no concrete plans that will make that happen. It's not pleasant. I hope they're able to pull things together, but it will likely be too little, too late for many families.
Our son has made some bad decisions that resulted in us privately placing him at Boys Town for his sophomore year of high school. Challenges still exist but with God's guidance we are confident he will succeed. He has been there for 9 months and is ready to come home. As parents, we believe that a Christian school is a tremendous opportunity to shepherd our son. It would remove him from the previous negative influences that he found in his previous school. He deserves another chance. His future is bright, yet it was made clear to me that he is not welcome at Des Moines Christian School. I was told that he does not meet their high standards and that he "will fail" when he returns home from Boys Town. Des Moines Christian School should leave the word, "Christian" out of their title. It is merely a private school which is all about appearance (people with money, students who excel in sports, and NOT taking in children who have faced challenges in life). The Bible has different ideas about people in need. Shutting the door to a family who is reaching for a new beginning, says a lot about you. We are very disappointed with Jahna Duda's (the principal) response to our plea for hope. She flat out told us that our son will fail and offered no hope for our family. Our friends & family who have supported us share the same dismay in a school that is run by Christians.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Sadly, not everything is all good. On the outside things seem great, but once my husband and I began volunteering, we saw an uglier side. The teachers are amazing (they love the students, are well educated and gifted, and have a strong desire to be there) but they just are not treated well. We have witnessed the administration and the school board make biased decisions based on nothing that actually happens in the classroom. I've seen multiple employees not get contracts yet they had no negative reviews from administration. Sadly, there are wealthy parents who have way too much influence and seem to be able to make decisions for the school. There's just not a lot of great leadership happening right now at the school. I know enrollment is in trouble and I can definitely see why as we parents want to know if they will get there act together or not.
DMCS is a very warm and welcoming school... there are many good things about the environment. However, the upper level academics are lacking. There are few AP classes, no "honors" differentiated classes, and very little variety in most subjects. It's also bothersome that in many cases,real science is not taught... things are generally presented from a "young earth" and literal six-day creation viewpoint, and science that falls outside of that is generally refuted, often with Answers in Genesis materials. It does STEM kids a disservice to have these limitations. Not trying to bash the school, but an honest concern to point out that it's not for everyone.
Des Moines Christian is a biblically based Christian School with small class sizes and a very family inclusive approach. The teachers really care about the students and families. The academic expectations exceed those of the public school we also attended. Having the bible as a teaching tool in everything they do promotes good behavior and best efforts from students.