This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
David A. Dutrow Elementary School4
Posted March 25, 2013
- a parent
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.