Cactus is a good school, but not really "better" than any others really... Most of the teachers and staff are very interested and invested in the school and the kids, but there are also others who are there for a "typical" teaching job. The turn around over the last several years has been high. The head principal, we found, was not very approachable. The test scores show the school to be "exemplary" but don't let that fool you... that shows test scores only. They absolutely teach TO the test, using many many worksheets in the classrooms, and if your kid needs any extra help, you really have to advocate for them at Cactus Ranch... or they will get lost in the system and in the school's absolute desire to rank high... more after-school 'tutoring' does not make a better learning environment.
Cactus Ranch is a great school. The first thing I noticed, the parents who send their kids to school here don't view teachers as baby sitters. They are very active at the school. The teachers and staff are top notch. They truly care about the kids and there seems to be a bond and responsibility with parents/students beyond just being teacher or staff member. I have never experienced anything like that before. It is a great environment for my daughter. She wants to go back and be a teacher there some day.
Cactus is a great school. The teachers and counsellors go above and beyond to work with students to fulfill their maximum potential! Jose and his team work very hard at keeping the school clean and in working order! Mrs. Sharp and Mrs. Freeman are always very welcoming and friendly. Mrs. Crain, Mrs. Mussey, and Mrs. Grubb are all fair and very "with it", in terms of knowing how to handle the many situations that go across their desks. The teachers are all very friendly and extremely hard working! The community cares about the kids at Cactus.
Be wary of teachers in this school teaming up along with the principal to damage your child just so that they can prove you wrong. If you are not in the "privileged" circle of the principal (hint: be in the class her son was in) you will be short changed. Most of her "circle" has now moved to middle school with the principal's son.
Our daughter is in her third year at Cactus Ranch and her/our experience has been great. The teachers communicate well with parents and are readily accessible. Children feel safe on the campus. The school is in touch with the community, often holding fun/educational events outside of school hours, encouraging family involvement. Looking forward to our son entering kindergarten next year.
While for most kids who can keep up with an accelerated curriculum, this school refuses to help out with those that fall even a step behind without massive, massive efforts of the parents to demand help. This school is 140% at least, over populated at all times even though the school district has made feeble attempts to move kids to othere schools, the effort at most has been ineffective. Worse is the fact that since this school is so over crowded, it resembles inner-city schools. Kindergartners and first graders begin lunch at 10:30 in the morning since the cafeteria cannot feed all the kids, and the kids have 20 minutes to eat. Peel back the shining shell that this school tries to promote, and you find an over crowded education system that is broken.
My kids love this school! I don't think you could find a better school. The teachers have every kind of after school club you could imagine. Lots of wonderful parents that are very involved. We just love it!
My son used to go there and I would not recommend this school as the teachers are not responsive and are not focusing on the needs of kids. Admin/staff and the principal will take for ever to schedule anything. I would not send my kids back there
My son attends KG at CRE. I agree that this school is very crowded now because of more than expected population growth in the past few years(I my self and most of my friends also moved recently, so I can understand). Most of the people who moved are young families, so there is a big spike in student registration. If the new bond passes, there will be new elementary schools and that might solve this issue. Despite the huge ratio, teachers are still doing a really great job. Yeah, lot of teachers are new, but they are good (according to my son's experience and the inputs from my friends whose kids are in other grades). Even I don't like the fact that lot of kids are in portables. We should do our best to see that the bond passes.
The school is very crowded. There are 11 KG and 11 first grade classes and I think about 10 second grade. The entire third and fourth grade are in portables. The ratio is 22:1 (max allowed). The rezoning has not helped. Inside class, six kids share the same circular table! Teacher quality is down since about half the teachers are new/inexperienced.