A disappointment, for sure. We moved to Dover for the public schools and now are faced with private school tuition. We have one child who needs special ed services and one who performs above grade level; Chickering could not effectively accommodate either. Worse than that, instead of owning her mistakes the principal is rude and aggressive. The school is losing good teachers and is left with those who (admittedly) feel they can't do their jobs well because of this principal. Many parents are hoping things will turn around with the incoming superintendent.
I cannot say enough great things about Chickering School. Having come from an elementary school in the Boston Public School System, there's just no comparison. The teachers are very good, there is a HUGE sense of community (in our first year in Dover, I became friends with more people than all 10 years combined in West Roxbury), the curriculum is strong (with the PTO raising a large sum of money to support curriculum enrichment programs for all grades, among other things), the in-school specialists are fantastic (art, music, technology, band, chorus, etc.) and it's a nurturing and caring environment. My son has an IEP and I would have had to fight for it in BPS (most likely taking years to acquire it)... the Chickering staff RECOMMENDED him for it within the first six months of the school year. We have gotten more support than we ever imagined and he has matriculated perfectly. His IEP is for reading (BPS told us his reading was "fine, that he was a 'lazy reader'", but testing at the Chickering revealed he was a full year behind grade level!)... and after just 2 school years he is almost caught up! I feel like I am getting the benefits of a private school, without the tuition.
The school has exceeded our high expectations. The teachers are good to very good, with only one or two below par. Some are truly excellent. The music program is an area of real strength and excellence, with a multi grade chorus of over 150 children singing harmony. The art program also consistently impresses. The school administration strive to improve, with Spanish coming soon and a real effort to offer some elements of differentiated learning to the student. An excellent public school.
One principal left after a long tenure and the current one was a bad fit. It happens everywhere. I am involved in many school projects and consider Chickering a wonderful, vibrant community. The teachers are extremely professional, hard-working, and best-of-class. This is my opinion based on observation and conversations with teachers in the middle school and in neighboring towns.
Having sent 3 children through Chickering Elementary, I have nothing but the most positive things to say about the school Teachers and Administration are excellent and the overall academic experience is comprehensive. The classes are engaged in learning at all times. Kids at this school want and love to go to school. The community is involved and happy to participate. Nothing but excellent, fine education at this school. Kudos to Dover!
Chickering is not perfect, but I believe that it is a great school with dedicated and hard working classroom teachers, specialists in art, music and PE, and an amazing involved parent community. My children have thrived there and my only complaint is that not enough enrichment is provided to those students who can handle an extra challenge.
I'm bemused by anyone that would give this school a good rating. The school has had 2 principals leave in the past few years. The teachers are mediocre and there is absolutely no sense of community. I have older kids who have attended various other schools in the area and Chickering by far is my greatest disappointment. The MCAS scores are low. Teachers don't do weekly spelling tests and vocabulary (Wordly Wise) has been eliminated from the curriculum. Instead of sticking with the core nuts and bolts and grammar school, the school is constantly changing programs and trying to learn how to teach the new gimmicky curriculum it just purchase for big $$. So so disappointing. Don't assume that if you live in Dover that the school is good. Even with a new principal next year, it will take years to turn the school around at the rate it's going.