Principal micro-managed too much, prohibiting many of the things that make for fond school memories, like ice cream parties and other fun times. Cafeteria food was of very poor quality and food staff was abrupt, almost rude to children on a regular basis. Very few extracurricular activities or extras. The pods were noisy on a regular basis. Discipline was very weak. Many of the troublesome students found out early that the worst behavior got them nothing more than a "talking to." Bully, fighting, name calling was a regular part of the school environment. The curriculum was not very well taught by the teachers, who appeared to have either inadequate training or didn't under stand it fully.
My experience as a parent whose child attended David Dutrow or 2 years, I found that discipline was weak. There was no consequences for bullying, fighting and name calling. I also observed that many parents did not sign agenda folder, reading calendars, attend meetings or fulfill any of the requirements of the David Dutrow contract. Nothing was said to them about their lack of participation. This is a not a good way to teach good character to children.
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.