The families, Davidson College student volunteers and community make DES better than the average CMS school. We have 2 children here and have had a pretty good experience. Most of the teachers are wonderful but a few seem to hate their job and it shows through to the kids. One particular teacher does not have the patience required to be teaching young children and has a reputation of screaming at the kids. It's unfortunate that the administration allows this to continue. This school has a long-standing reputation for being one of the better elementary schools in the CMS system but I fear the current leadership isn't strong enough to sustain the quality.
DES is a great school but is unfortunately burdened by ridiculous state and county bureaucratic requirements. Unfortunately the name of the game for public schools is testing and that is the focus of DES as well. The principal does a great job and does what he can to make necessary changes, but at the end of the day he is still subject to the confines of a dysfunctional state political system that keeps dropping in the national rankings. The majority of teachers are caring, motivated and communicate well with the parents. The parental involvement is fantastic.
This school is incredible. I have two daughters that have attended and currently attending this school. One is in middle school and the other is in 4th grade. We have had nothing but positive results from this school. Good grades, teachers with a passion, and an excellent learning environment are SOME things this school offers. A good special needs program is at place, and they even have it set up so that some fifth graders can volunteer to do activities with kids that have autism. They also have clubs that inspire such as clubs of community service, art, computer skills, yearbook, chess, Spanish, and more!
We had one good out of three. Equally, one good teacher out of three. The first 2 years my son was at this school it took staff 2-3 days to respond to emails. I never got feedback on my son's performance until we got his report and noticed A's dropping to B's. The teachers for the most part are very clique-ish. They show obvious preferential treatment to the children whose parents are class parents or are on the PTO. Girls are treated better and boys are treated as nuisances because they are more active. The only time my son thrived at this snobbish school was when he had a male teacher. I was given the impression that academically this school was like a private school - wrong. We had an entire year of one teacher incorrectly grading homework and passing out misspelled assignments in between making the kids write love letters to Obama during the election year.
By the great schools rating requirements, DES falls short. They have a mixed bag of teachers, the principal is inaccessible which shows a lack of committment/leadership (or a sens of entitlement which is worse?!?), and the academic programs are not particularly challenging. These statements are supported by the sheer number of parents who are waiting on the lottery results so that they can ultimately enroll their kids elsewhere. The waiting list for a local charter school(s) are extremely long...everyone seemingly wants out of the CMS system. One troubling attribute of this school is that no one seems to be able to address poor & disruptive behavior in the classroom. Seemingly, they allow a few kids to disrupt entire classrooms, this should not be the case. We bought our house in the school zone based solely on the school ratings....unfortunately, our experience has not been good. My advice is to try like crazy to get in a charter school.
The means in which teachers meet the needs of all students is commendable. The parental involvement in this idyllic town is amazing. A strong sense of community is felt throughout the school and town. One of the greatest things we can give our children is a sense of self and belonging...it can be found at DES.
We are happy with this school. We just shifted our son from North West since last 1 month and found it is better than his previous school. As of now we have no issue. My son is enjoying. Parents are greatly involved in the school.
After 3 months, we have decided to remove our child from DES. The curriculum is a year (or more) behind what our children had in their previous school (northeastern US). I have found that meeting with the teachers and administrator has resulted in questions about my parenting. The feeling is that you should be happy that there is some learning taking place. Ditto sheets, busy work and crowded classrooms with little communication is the norm. Socially, my child has friends and enjoys school but academically, this place is subpar. I feel it's important to recognize that although Davidson Elem seems to be a small town school with a child-centered educational program, it is not. Davidson is one of 200+ schools in the CMS district. Parents wistfully talk of one day getting into a charter school or biting the bullet and paying for private. It is important if you are considering schools as a newcomer to North Carolina that CMS is a factory and their schools reflect that.