There are three reasons I love Ramsey. One is that it serves an ethnically diverse, largely inner-city, 'under-privileged' student population. Another is that it serves a high percentage of Latino students and approximately half the teaching staff is bilingual in Spanish, which provides an encouraging environment for students and families who primarily speak Spanish, as well as giving native English speakers the opportunity to learn Spanish. The other (and certainly not the least important) is that it offers a stringed instrument music program, required for students in grades one through five, and offered as an elective for grades six through eight. This program provides an incredible learning opportunity for all students, and especially for those who might not ever be offered such an experience otherwise. For fifteen years I have watched many students benefit from the small group instruction, a different kind of learning, and the joy of the music. Many students who otherwise struggle in school often gain a new sense of accomplishment with this program, and learn much about listening, focus, and working together as a group. Year after year, the program is threatened by budget cuts, as a 'secondary' or non-essential program. I want to see it continue to go strong and, more than ever, to be considered essential. It is one of the truly exceptional things about Ramsey of which I never tire of being a part.
My daughter started here as a Kindergartener. There are 27 kids in her classroom, and as near as I can tell, there is no teachers aid to help out. I was not impressed by the staff -- both teachers, and administration. I attempted to speak to administration about my concerns and it took me 10 minutes to have anyone actually acknowlege my presense at the front desk. I am transfering my daughter to another school.
I am very dissapointed in Ramsey IFAC. They seem to be teaching to the lowest common denominator. When contacting the Administration about this problem there is little or no response. Our Daughter is above average and is completely bored! She will not be continuing at Ramsey next year. Discipline and safety is very bad. Look for another school!
I have 2 students at RIFA, and I am grateful for the teachers at Ramsey. One of my students has experienced great difficulty this school year and I have been given genuine support and practical information, above and beyond what is expected of a public school. In spite of the demands of the public school of today, these people are working with limited funds or as in most cases, no funds at all! On top of very little support from most parents, increasing demands from public school bureaucy, larger classrooms, plus increasing concerns about child safety it is a wonder that they are able to teach anything, dealing with all of these issues on a daily basis, it is amazing they can teach anything at all. I believe it would be a better choice of time to find ways to help them, and less time criticizing them.
My daughter began as an 8th grader, and has made friends, but no close ones, she's been harassed, taunted, and endured horrendous language at Ramsey. She's had her lock stolen off her locker repeatedly, along with things out of it-- as well as things stolen from her binder during class. This is not a good experience, and while the staff was both responsive and kind, and did their best, there seems to be no hope of any turn around at present. I also feel a fine arts school should offer more than one language and somewhat broader options for higher achieving students than does Ramsey.
I feel the staff of Ramsey IFAC have great hearts and creative ideas for teaching children. I think they could benefit from stronger leadership. I am very concerned about the discipline and safety of children. I also wish we had after school activities for children in addition to the homework help and ALS programs. As a parent of two children that attend Ramsey, I am disappointed by our Fine Arts piece. We have a strings program,band and choir. I do believe some of the community schools in our area have the same programs. What makes Ramsey a Fine Arts Magnet? no dance, theater (performance), visual arts,or production? Not to mention no sports other than basketball. I have to say I have been disappointed by the choices of the Principal of Ramsey IFAC. I feel the direction of the school has been by his leadership.
As a parent on nine children attending Ramsey International Fine Arts Center, I have been through four principals, voting on uniforms, discipline policies and bussing concerns for many years. I strongly believe that the 'arts' is what it is all about. My boys now play instruments, with some prooding of 'please practice' instead of breaking windows by throwing rocks at any car on the street and running. My girls now bring home homework and review with each other. All of them work hard in putting music, art and drama into their studies as well as when they visit the Walker Art Center. They answer some of the questions that the musem guides ask. I am very proud of them. They did not do it alone they had great teachers too! Ramsey is what you make it. The family Art Nights are wonderful to have too. Ramsey is a great school.chp