Pay no attention to the 3/10 GreatSchools Rating; Dutrow is an excellent school. The Principal, Mrs. Pittman, runs a tight ship, but it works well in the environment. The open-pod classrooms are not for every child, as quiet is mandatory, even during lunch since kids eat in their classrooms. What drew me to Dutrow, and what I have appreciated most, is that they do not teach to the SOL's. They encourage learning and exploration beyond standardized testing, which is hard to find in schools these days. The staff is caring, and it doesn't take long to feel like family. PTA membership is mandatory, but the members are still very involved, which helps make this school successful. There is some bullying, as is inevitable in schools these days, but it isn't tolerated by teachers or staff. I would recommend Dutrow for parents who want their children to learn to love learning!
My two children attended this school for less than a year before I moved them to another school. The open pod was noisy and disruptive with discipline being very weak. My son was a bullying victim and nothing was done to the perpetrator. The students are taught how to take a test, rather than learning to think for themselves and discover answers. The principal is very nice, but tends to be a micro-manager. She listens politely, but ends up following her own agenda. She has cracked down on snacks and parties which are an important and fun part of making good memories in school. Parental involvement is very weak, with many students coming to school with unsigned agendas and reading calendars, tired, hungry and basically unprepared for school. Attendance is very low at PTA and Parent -Teacher conferences. Teachers try hard but have to follow the IBO program which is very esoteric and hard to follow and the state SOL's, with very unsatisfactory results. The school' s profiles & attitudes is nothing more than old fashion character education, which they do little to reinforce. School was highly recommend, but I and my child came away very disappointed. Stay away!
Dutrow has been a great place to work. The other teachers, as well as the principal, have been very supportive and always try to do what is best for the children. Being able to incorporate the Magnet Program at this school (IB/PYP) can be difficult with the state SOL's, but the teachers and the principal do what they can to make the two fit together in the best way possible. In 14 years of teaching at a few different types of school, I have not ever had the chance to work with students that show as much of a caring attitude as these students. The majority of the students had been there since K, and they have learned great things about working together, as well as taking what they have learned into the communities. Although it is an open-pod type setting, the kids have been some of the most quiet and well-behaved I have seen anywhere. It was a great place to work, and I will take away many things that I learned while there.
I am extremely pleased with most aspects of this school. There are certain academic focuses that are required by state and local government that they must adhere to. Yet, I believe they are doing their best to teach other concepts as well. The front office staff is professional and efficient. The pricipal, Loooooove her. She takes such a personal interest in the children as well as the vice principal. I would like to see an easing of the dietary restrictions on special occassions though. I think it is quite admirable to find teachers who can work well with the configuration of the school.
Discipline is non-existent at this school. There is fighting, name calling, racial slurs and preferential treatment for some students and it appears the school does little as they are afraid that parent may withdraw their students from the school. Parents are suppose to attend meetings, sign agendas, etc, but in reality, most are not involved on a daily basis and students are sent to school unprepared with a breakfast, homework done, a good night's sleep. The standards for students and parents are not very high.
LOVE THIS SCHOOL!!! I am so glad my daughter is a student at Dutrow. We moved her somewhere else last year because she got into TAG and moved her back because the other school was awful. The NNPS policies are enforced here about junk food not being allowed. Most parents have a problem with the ban but I think that is wonderful since so many kids are overweight now days. The kids can wait until they get home and eat the junk if they want. The pod design is different and might not be for everyone, but it works. I have been to the school many times and it is quiet. The kids adjust to it. The office staff is involved and know the students. The PTA does lots for the kids and the staff. I will be sad to leave for middle school.
After 1 year, I am sorely disappointed. The school is very noisy & chaotic; the teachers and administrators struggle with discipline. Many infractions of the rules are swept under the rug as many students are subject just to a "talking." In my opinion, the rules are not enforced fairly and impartially. The Vice Principal is nice but does not present a strong authority figure, which many of the boys would benefit from. Parental involvement is lacking: poor attendance at PTA meetings, not signing agenda books properly, at home reading not done, etc. The inquiry based method is not implemented very well and most students just learn to take a test without being prepared for the real world. The Principal is cutting out many of the things that make school fun, like pizza parties, special snacks. Extra curricular activities are few and not very interesting or well run. The cafeteria staff works hard but food quality is poor and they are abrupt with students. The students do not seem to learn much from them. Overall , the administration seems more interested in meeting district and state mandates and parental input is not valued. I will take my children elsewhere next year.
My children have been attending Dutorw now for almost 4 years, and as those years have progressed my satisfaction has massively decreased. This school has cut weekly spelling words and quizes from the childrens study completely. They have also given Social Studies less instruction time, and do not concentrate on reading with the children that need help. Our children NEED a well-rounded education not one that revolves around testing and overall statistics for the school. Another huge concern is that the principal is banning a lot of food items from entering the school. Children are no longer able to have pizza parties, yet pizza is served at the cafeteria, they cannot have ice cream, which is served occasionally at the cafeteria, they cannot even bring a lollipop in tho their classmates for Vantine's Day. When it comes to the food discussion it becomes aggravating because the children are not permitted to have anything during school, but at our school functions, i.e. winter dance and fall festival, all kinds of goodies are available to the children.! So we are faced with a very difficult, yet simple solution: Do we leave our children at Dutrow? .
My child entered Dutrow this year for first grade. Last year, we decided to try our shadow zone school for kindergarten because it had a good reputation and was close to home. The teacher was excellent, but the school had some glaring issues, so we decided to try Dutrow and we're glad we did. We did it mainly for the Spanish instruction, but have reaped other rewards as well. The front office staff is head and shoulders above our previous school. The principal, Mrs. Pittman, is also accessible and friendly. We had some questions about the open pod system, but it seems to work well from what I can tell. There could be more parental involvement, but overall I give Dutrow an A-.
Some good ideas here, but overall, pods are noisy, a great of disruption and disrespect by students, some of whom should be, but are not, removed from the school under terms of the Dutrow Contact. New vice principal seems nice, but will benefit from a firmer, more consistent application of disciplinary policy. Parental involvement, which is mandated, is very, very, low and needs to improve. Students will benefit from parents reading and understanding the agenda book and not just signing it. Mrs. Pittman works hard for the school but needs to listen to the ideas suggested by parents and not follow previous procedures. Overall, I am not very happy with my children's progress this year as the school is not showing the academic improvement I had hoped for.
While I agree with comments of the increase of discipline issues, and the inconsistency bias of the A.P. I disagree immensely with comments referring to the curriculum and teachers teaching the children to only take a test. Dutrow focuses more on the learning and the process then the final product. And as a parent I love that. My children are being challenged to think and not just bubble in an answer. Also having the chance to visit other schools in NN, Dutrow is surprisingly quiet without walls...Learning is not silent...without talk there comes nothing. Not without its issues...but better than the alternative in the city.
I agree with those complaining of discipline issues. Since Ms. Tanner has come in as the assistant principal, I have noticed a big decline of consistent & unbiased discipline. I am a very involved parent & my child has not been in any trouble, but I have seen some discipline actions that have seemed very biased to me. The administration has the power to remove kids from this school & send them back to their zoned school if they continue to disobey the rules & be disruptive. There are several kids who should have been removed from this school a long time ago, but are still here causing problems. Very unfair to the children who want to learn. I think this issue is one of the most important that should be addressed by the principal to her assistant. This is my only, albeit a HUGE, complaint against Dutrow.
My three children have not done well here this year, in fact their overall grades have gone down.. The open pod classrooms are noisy and many students do not fit well into this type of environment that invests them with a high degree of responsibility for their actions. The curriculum looks good in theory, but most of the time is spent teaching children how to take a test. Parental involvement is minimal and while teachers try their best to help students, they seems to be struggling to keep up. There is no real support for students who struggle academically. A few good extra curricular activities, not many, very little student participation. The school discipline problem is unfair and very weak. The Principal and Vice Principal are very hesitant to take action at times and many students suffer no consequences for their inappropriate behavior. Not impressed with Newport News Schools.
Administration is very weak in the area of discipline which adds to the general noisy atmosphere of the school. Ms. Tanner does not seem to be very fair in some of her decisions but maybe time will give her the experience she needs to do better. Parental involvement consists of a few parents doing most of the work. The lack of integrity and respect by students is very disturbing. The basic contract that all parents and students are to sign is basically ignored. I feel my children will not be learning much this year. Most of the time is spent teaching them how to take a test. Wish there were more extra curricular activities. I agree with previous reviewers that Dutrow needs more men teachers and wonder why previous male teachers have left the school? I am very disappointed with Newports News Schools and especially David A. Dutrow.
We sent our children to Dutrow because we were not pleased with their zone school. My children are happy at Dutrow and so am I. The staff is awesome. As a parent, the lines of communication are always open and a parent can visit their child's classroom at any time. There is always parent involvement and the PTA's prove it. I'm very pleased with Mrs. Pittman and staff. I feel Ms. Tanner is still learning her way and she too will be very successful as is the school. Since my children are attending Dutrow this school year, they are happy and I'm very happy with the results as well.
Dutrow used to be a good school but has gone done hill over the last four years. The school is noisy, the students are not held accountable for inappropriate action and parental involvement is lacking. The discipline program is very weak; some student actually look forward to being sent to the office as they know they will not be any consequences. The curriculum looks good on paper, but in reality students are missing out on an education that will prepare them for high school or college. Too much time is spend on how to take a test. Music, Art and Physical Education, which the children benefit from, have been cut back. There are no extra curricular activities. Teacher morale seems to be very low. I will be looking for a new school for this year or next year for sure.
I agree that other schools may be even worse, but the problem is that with the amount of money spend on education, especially in Newport News, the children should be receiving a much better education. Too often people accept a poor quality product and then say, 'Well it could be worse.' Dutrow does have some good teachers but this does not excuse what goes on there. Our schools need to improve objectively and not be a comparison in mediocrity.
To those parents complaining about the discipline at Dutrow I have to say if you had to deal with the problems at Kiln Creek last year, you would see it differently. I moved into the school district last year and was stuck at KC. I heard many swear words in class that teachers didn't do anything about, saw how chaotic the classrooms and lunchrooms were consistently, and my child was often corrected for odd things such as pronouncing a word the 'white' way instead of the way her teacher spoke...'DI-rections, for example. I'm thrilled to have teachers I can communicate with this year.
I have sent my children to Dutrow for the past 9 years and with my first child I was totally satisfied and very happy with the way things were run and my children's education was great. But then, Mrs. Nettles (former Assistant Principal) left and Ms. Tanner came and I have seen a total downhill sprial into a school I no longer recommend to friends nor enjoy having my child there. This is my child's last year and I strongly considered moving schools but am hoping for a better final year than last year. This school needs some intervention! I don't know how or what but the administration needs to change before this school is in the lower half of the list of sol scores and discipline issues. I am very saddened by this drastic decline and can't wait for elementary school to be over.
This is the fourth school my children have attended during my military career. The curriculum and school programs were good, but discipline was extremely poor. The open classrooms were noisy and unfocused with little action taken this year to solve this problem. Students engaged in rude and disruptive behavior with absolutely no consequences. Many students did not practice integrity with staff members or their parents. These matters were discussed with the Vice Principal who was unable to satisfactorily explain to me her actions or lack thereof. My children liked their teachers but learned very little this year.
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