My daughter is a 5th grader just about to graduate. She has attended Ventana for 5 years. This last year the principal decided that they needed to spend over half their budget on playground equipment and a new park rather than keeping on teachers or buying educational material that the students clearly need. This year they eliminated spelling tests and only required 45 minutes of science and social studies PER WEEK. Their focus was 95% math. Their reasoning? "Because we scored the lowest in the state for math on the PARCC test." They are laying off 6 teachers next year because they can't afford to pay them, and they have already been so understaffed that teachers are teaching multiple subjects that is not their area of expertise, and they're recruiting the children to do their work for them. My daughter was a "mentor" helping teach PE for other kids. One of the science teachers took over as the after-school choir teacher. Many teachers and the principal don't even know how to spell or speak proper English. I've had to spend thousands of dollars enrolling my daughter at Sylvan Learning Center to catch her up on her reading and writing because she was so behind. Lastly, they allow parents with felonies to chaperone on field trips; when I confronted the principal she claimed that the background checks were done; but yet another source has told me that they checked themselves and discovered that they did not have certain background checks completed. The principal is disorganized, can't manage a budget to save her life, and inappropriate. I do NOT recommend this school for your children.
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.