My kids attended Dogwood from Kindergarten to 4th grade starting in 2002 after the school was rebuilt and did very well there. The teachers were excellent. The newly rebuilt school was excellent. The year-round school program was excellent. The issue with Dogwood is the school is overwhelmed by ESL students drawing resources away from the remaining students and depressing its test scores. Many parents are not heavily involved in their children's education because as new immigrants they are often working multiple jobs to make ends meet and language is a barrier. All of this will not impact your kids provided you stay involved with their education and maintain contact with the teach staff.
Sadly, I believe that the color of your skin and your economic level greatly affects the way you and your children are treated at this school. If you are diligent in monitoring what you are told about what is, or will happen in the school and classroom vs. what actually does happen in the school and classroom you may find what I found--a large discrepancy. Some infractions are minor while others are major and can have a negative impact on not only your child's education but on his or her self esteem. For those who will disagree with me that is fine, and of course it's your prerogative. All I'm suggesting is that you monitor your child's experience at Dogwood very carefully and this includes making unscheduled and unexpected visits to the school. Listen and learn. I sincerely hope that your experience is different from mine. Just because a staff member or part of the administration smiles politely at you and tells you what they believe you want to hear does not mean that your child will be treated well.
All three of our children have or are attending Dogwood. The school did not perform well in the past due to the high number of ESL students attending. The only bad thing is that we lost the modified calender schedule over the summer. The staff is great and the administration goes out of their way to make themselves present and involved.
I wish county would realize they can't just throw money at the problem, because the school has been so bad it gets a lot of funding, free lunches, free after school programs, but if the problem is the student body is bad best chance for those kids is to ship them to other schools and make this one a magnet school. You can have the best intentions and funding but until the makeup of the student body changes, it's going to be a bad school.
I am a mother of 3 children, two of which are of school age. We sent our children to a Blue Ribbon private school for several years but made the decision to switch them to the local public school for a number of reasons. My husband and I are very happy with the school and our children and so much happier. The classroom sizes are low and the quality of the education is superb. I am a believer that education needs to be positive and that is what this school is all about. The teachers are genuinely happy, dedicated, involved and energetic, but most importantly, very positive and nuturing. The principal is simply outstanding. She is so visible and is regularly seen in the cafeteria, walking around and helping kids. It is really an unbelievable thing to witness her in action. Watch this school--it will end up being a model school.
My child has enjoyed the gifted program, loves reading, science, and loves teachers. My perception is that Dogwood makes a great attempt to make sure every child's individual educational needs are being met--perhaps better than most elementary school in Ffx County. Certainly not all teachers are perfect, but for the most part, we have been impressed so far with the quality of the teaching. I believe the school community (parents included) could do more to bridge the social gaps and to create more unity with non-English speaking families of the school.