We take seriously any postings that show Desert in a negative light, as any school would. We always invite parents to meet with our Head of High School or Head of Middle School if there are concerns about a particular class or teacher's style, and we seek resolution for all parties. To say that we have an "open door" policy is an understatement! Come visit and you'll see.
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted December 18, 2013
- a parent
Desert Academy was a great school a few years ago. Many faculty members left the school at the same time and with them went Desert's heart and soul. The facilities are horrible. There is no gym, no field, and no library. They do not have adequate funds to seek excellent well trained teachers. They are very disorganized on many levels. The middle schoolers have no recess or break time, excluding a vey quick lunch. My son has learned next to nothing so far this year in the middle school.
Desert Academy could be a great school, but it isn't. Two of our kids went there. Some faculty members are wonderful. Some are terrible. Far too many are terrible given the tuition which is quite pricey. The biggest problem is the administration which is clueless and inept, from the Headmaster on down. Problems are never solved. They are ignored. Plus, if you complain, they take it out on your kids sooner or later. The IB program would be great if the school could ever figure out what it is all about. But they can't. The IB administrators are just as inept as the Headmaster. It's better than some of the other choices in Santa Fe, but that's not saying much.
Desert Academy is an excellent school. They honor all children for who they are and allow them to be themselves. They provide an excellent education, guiding children to be independent thinkers capable of learning anything they put their minds to. I appreciate the recognition that Desert has for the importance of a balance of school, homework, extra curriculars/sports and also family life and social life. I want my children to understand the value of this kind of balance in life as we move through all stages. Desert accepts all children with all abilities into the various sports the school offers, with a no cut policy- sports for the fun of sports. The Head of School is great and I recognize him as a person who strongly respects children for who they are at all stages of their lives and treats them as human beings. My daughter is going into her 3rd year at Desert Academy and I plan to send my son to Desert as well!
The weak leadership (administration) at this school is what hurts it. The Headmaster is not strong as an educator or a businessman. The admissions person is rude and not on top of many educational issues. Teachers, for the most part, are strong and have an excellent connection with the students. This school has always had a reputation for behavioral issues and this past year (2012-13) was particularly bad with virtually no disciplinary actions at all. The International Baccalaureate Program is top-notch and the Middle Years Program (affiliated with IB) will be as well if they ever understand it. The grading system is a mess. I could never really understand how my child was doing. The English Department is weak with almost no writing required.
I have two daughters who have attended Desert Academy. My eldest daughter has graduated, and is an honors student in college. My second daughter will graduate from Desert Academy this year. During her time at Desert, she has matured and flourished intellectually with the support of challenging, engaging and compassionate teachers. The administration, teachers and students at Desert Academy respect and support each student's unique talents and interests. Overall, the students are kind to each other.
This school likes to shine students on into thinking they are the greatest. The problem with this is, the students (including mine) have no idea that the real world is actually academically challenging. My student has the highest grades in all classes, but hasn't learned much, almost never has homework and is only used to a low number of students in the grade. The school is more focused on trips to be paid for (and that's time not in school) than schoolwork. Recently, my child took a state test and did horribly in the subject, though the classroom grade at Desert is an "A". This has happened with all classes, but one. The principal isn't very good. l If you want to pay money to shine your child on and not have a true education that will prepare for the real world and college, go to Desert in Santa Fe.
The faculty & staff at Desert is amazing! I'm confident that my child is getting a top notch education, and is constantly inspired in his classes. He is actually excited to go to school & comes home & talks forever about the exciting things he's learning. Couldn't recommend it more highly!