- Ongoing rodent problem in building; "lunch room" is makeshift area in the auditorium.
- Very poor student-to-teacher ratio - 1 class had 29 kids!
- Agenda regarding race very non-mainstream & biased toward African-American plight over other minorities (Principal Madison was previously in trouble for this).
- Unlocked doors allow almost complete uninhibited access.
- No gifted / accelerated classes.
- Classes cater to non-local transplants at the expense of time of enhancing local student studies.
- By 3rd or 4th grade students should be getting letter grades - but are still using Kindergarten type performance markers - makes it very hard for parents to assess child(ren)'s progress.
+ Good participation by parents
+ Many extra-curricular activities
+ Nice school garden
I am a school of choice parent who drives from the Saline School district. The positive atmosphere, up beat teachers, family involvement, and enthusiastic Principle Mr. Madison makes every mile worth the drive. I love how each day is started with the Principle speaking to the school over the P.A. giving announcements as well as Pledge of Allegiance. This school gives my son confidence to learn new things. An opportunity to work with upper class students as reading partners which makes him feel special. My child's "Young 5's" Teacher is very talented in working with all 20 students maintaining constructive involvement and displaying class order. My son enjoys all his special's ( music class, gym, art, and library ) and excitedly shares each class with my husband and I. All in all I am happy to share my review being my son at just 5 years old enjoys going to school and proud to wear his Dicken Dolphins shirt. We are even contemplating committing more years of driving!
We are very happy with the education our daughter is getting at Dicken. The teachers, principal, staff and parents do an amazing job. Our daughter loves Dicken and loves to learn. As a parent I am thrilled that she is excelling academically and is performing well above her grade level. Even more important is that she is learning about the importance of community and how to be a thoughtful/good citizen.
Dicken is a fantastic school! As a parent with 6 years invested in the school (and a few more ahead), I can say it is a great place to send my kids. What makes it special are 3 things: strong leadership by the wonderful principal and active PTO, incredibly involved parents, neighborhood school with diversity and a strong sense of community. Parents here realize that you get out what you put in, and they put in! The values at this school are outstanding. It is not snobbish or on the "fast track" culture. (Kids with iPhones Etc). Like any school, some teachers are amazing and others so-so. But the overall environment is top notch. Kids have access to so much enrichment: Amazing recess programs including gardening, chess, recycling program, choir, and some others too. Strong PTO brings funding for enriching school assembles and field trips. Students here are great kids, happy kids who feel secure knowing that Dicken is more than just their school, it is their community.
Dicken is a wonderful community that gets better every year. Our 5th year at Dicken and this learning community has great leadership of the Principal and PTO. Students are challenged to excel. The staff spends a lot of time assessing and meeting the needs of the individual child. The PTO benefits from parent and volunteer involvement that allows educational, healthy activities throughout the year (ie Dicken Dash, Dicken Garden, Community of Cultures, Super Science Day,,,the list goes on). In addition, Dicken is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood with tree lined streets and sidewalks that make walking and biking to school a snap.
I have had 3 kids at Dicken over the past 7 years. I couldn't be happier. The teachers go above and beyond to make sure that every student's needs are met. Teachers are welcoming to parents and grandparents when they come into the classrooms. I volunteer weekly in one classroom and the library and have been very impressed with the way the staff interacts with the students. There are so many parents who volunteer on a regular basis. My three kids have all enjoyed Dicken and learned so much. My oldest has made a smooth transition to Slauson Middle School. There are lunch time enrichment activities like singing, gardening, and recycling. The annual Dicken Woods Walk which takes place in February is a time for the whole Dicken neighborhood and Dicken students to interact by walking through Dicken woods lit up with hundreds of decorated vases. The art teacher at Dicken is phenomenal!
We just moved to the area, and were excited to have our kids in Ann Arbor schools. It is nice to be in a better school system than where we were previously. However, we are a bit disappointed with Dicken because the environment is not a friendly one. My kids complain every day that all they hear is teachers yelling at kids. My son's teacher has been wonderful...keeps parents informed on learning and happenings through weekly newsletters. My daughter, who is in 4th grade, used to LOVE school, but now she hates it because it is not a happy place of learning/lacks nurturing (she came home from school on her first day and cried for an hour). I am now worried that she is losing her love of learning :( I like how this is really a neighborhood school and lots of involvement from parents. The Dicken Dash was a fantastic fundraiser. I also love that the kids get to bring home fresh veggies from the school garden!
After being at Dicken for 6 years, we decided to move to another school within the Slauson cluster. Others have commented here that other schools are academically superior to Dicken- this is absolutely the case. Dicken is mediocre at best. Ask any parent who transferred from Dicken to another AAPS school - they all say the same thing. If you are in the Slauson cluster, you can do much better than Dicken.
We have been at Dicken for 6 years and the thing that I appreciate most is the diversity of the community both ethnically and socio-economically. I also appreciate the high participation rate of parent volunteers from the full range of that diversity. At our impressive Community of Cultures celebration this year, the principal shared that there are over 70 languages spoken at our school. I feel that this teaches lessons that cannot be taught from a book. The sense of community at this school is wonderful.