September 17, 2015
My husband and I attended a "curriculum night" last night for grade 4 (September 16, 2015) --- surprise --- there was NO curriculum!
The parents asked the teachers what themes would the children be studying for the academic year, and we were told that the school is "still working on it." The parents asked what books would the children be reading - and learned that apparently there are no objective reading level standards for 4th grade, so it is not clear what will be read. We were told that there would be an overnight (or 2) class trip, but they do not know when trip will take place, or where the trip will be going.Nor do not have any idea of when there will be field trips and where will go. Parents of different classes discussed last night, and the same messages were given across classes...
This is not a fault of the many new 4th grade teachers, they seem motivated and eager, but are at a loss to explain the curriculum in any detailed or substantive way. And yet the school year has already begun. I would lose my job if I "planned" in such a manner.
In math, children are learning through mostly "inquiry" and "games" and at the end of 4th grade all children will be on "different levels" according to "their abilities." They are not learning route math, but an investigations-hybrid that is championed by a math coach in the junior school who in her ideological zeal for Greg Tang - ignores the fact that the school is failing to teach basic math - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division - well and thoroughly to its students , and would rather students play math games on computers or event math games and be creative. But do 4th grade kids know 7x9? The parents are not so sure they do. This experiment is failing UNIS students - many other schools that previously embraced "investigations" and such math programs - have abandoned these approach. Be forewarned that your child will be a part of UNIS' fuzzy math experiment, with significant traditional math tutoring and coaching being done in private parents on the side
And yet this school speaks of "academic excellence and rigor." It does NOT add up. If you want a really quality education, according to standards that truly challenge your child, I would have second thoughts. Again, the teachers are generally good, but for the non-existent J4 curriculum, I give UNIS a failing mark.
- submitted by a parent