My child just finished 5th grade at VRES and I couldn't be happier with my entire experience there. The staff throughout the years has been fair and consistent, communicated frequently, my son received the help he needed and always felt like a part of the community. As a parent, I have been treated with respect by everyone from the moment I walk through the front doors and by everyone I was ever involved with. As an involved parent, I read the emails, checked the websites, and attended PTA meetings in this way I was able get the most accurate information regarding my neighborhood school. It's funny to read that the principal purchased a park, laid people off, and that teachers and students had to teach other subjects! The principal had several meetings and even posted the budget online. My son was in the 5th class that taught PE. It was a mentoring program that focused on integrating students with special needs. My son learned about empathy, care, respect, and developed confidence that he would not have gained without having the opportunity to experience it first hand. He and his 1st grade buddy developed a friendship that I know he won't soon forget. My advice...visit the school, talk to the staff and teachers, look around at the students/parents, make learning and getting to school a priority in your house, and GET INVOLVED. This school has it's flaws like any other school will. The difference is that the good things far outweigh the bad. This is a place where parents feel welcomed, students are valued and safe, and learning is their top priority. Thank you VRES staff and admin for 6 great years of learning!!
I LOVE THIS SCHOOL! My kids have been there 2 years. We've loved all of their teachers so far, and I have gotten to know many of the staff and teachers. Every single one has been warm, caring, and committed to the students. They promoted the VP to principal 2011-2012 and she is a loving but authoritative administrator (with I think 3 PhD's) who values higher education. My daughter is an accelerated learner, and while not "gifted" needs to be challenged. Her teacher (who is getting her Master's) recognized this and introduced advanced/more in-depth concepts to deepen her (& others in class) learning experience. Both kids had AMAZING teachers this year. There is a sense of community at VRES and I look forward to the rest of my children's education there. VRES welcomes parent involvement and values both education and community spirit. Most of the fundraising efforts aren't just for the school but for charity--raising awareness and funds for JDRF, childhood cancer, and more. Please disregard any reviews pre-2009 because there were 3 schools on campus while 2 of them were being built in the area. VRES is now about 750 students with dedicated staff to support.
My child attended K & 1st as a special needs student. There is no classroom integration, even for specials (music/art/PE/Library). My child fell further behind. Special needs students are placed in portables, horrible for someone with limited physical mobility. It further isolates the children too. My child has been in 2nd and currently 3rd grade in a top-ten KidsCount state. There is a world of difference. Teachers are accessible outside of school hours. They communicate. it is fully integrated. There is twice the amount of instruction time (120 mins literacy/writing, 90 mins math vs 60 & 45 mins) and highly personalized attention (12 aids for 30 special needs students vs 4 @ VRES). The only good thing was the extras offered after-school. I was very disappointed at VRES.
Kindergarten went well for my child, but first grade dropped the ball. I was disappointed to learn that integrated classrooms (least restrictive environment) are not a priority here. As a result, my child fell further behind. Since attending a different, integrated elementary in second grade, I have seen my child catching up. I am so sad that I didn't act sooner. Special education services are broken here. Please don't make my mistake.
My child is in his fourth year at VRES. His first two teachers were excellent. His last two teachers have not impressed me. Last year, I found that his teacher often misspelled words and used incorrect punctuation. This year, his teacher uses words like "theirselves". This concerns me, because my child hears these words and thinks they are correct because the teacher uses them. I am sadly surprised that university students can receive teaching degrees without basic grammar and punctuations skills.
I've got two school age kids (K and 3rd). the 3rd grader spent 3 years at this school until it was administratively split into 2 and then 3 schools. Both my kids enjoy school and I have no concerns over their safety at school. School has decent academics and good teachers. Neighborhood is relatively young and the NW side of Albuquerque is safe and growing fast and in a managed way. As for overcrowding, the 2 new administratively separated schools have brand new schools that will be ready to move in Apr-Jul 09. Both new schools are close by. With transfer of students to newer schools, areas should be opened up to allow for more extra curricular activities.
Horribly overcrowded, with the advent of two administrations it just simply makes a worse situation. Some teachers were good, but others were not prepared, and overall it was a mistake to send my children there. I have moved to the midwest where the schools are much better planned out and run.