We LOVE Old Donation Center. Although the curriculum is based on the same city-wide curriculum as all other VB schools, it is wonderfully differentiated - complete systemic integration of scientific thinking, tons of project-based learning. Every unit includes projects which really enhance the depth of their knowledge and relates it to the real world. Teachers/Administrators are wonderful and caring... right down to the janitorial staff. Very strong parent/PTA involvement allowing for diverse special programs in-school (like the parent-run science lab) and after-school (lots of club options) and really fun activities creating a sense of community (since as a magnet school students live all over the City). Bussing is combined with Kemps Landing (Middle School) but those kids have been very friendly and helpful to the elementary kids. My only concerns are regarding dismissal. First, they dismiss non-bus-riders about 10 minutes before official dismissal time. Then, because of bus delays, the bus riders routinely wait another 30 minutes. Why lose those last 10 minutes of the day? Additionally, verification of who is picking up a child is not done at all in the car lines.
Amazing school - can't say enough good things about the level of differentiation and the quality of the teachers and administrators. The level of parent involvement is remarkable and the activities that are offered during and after school add to the already-stellar learning experience.
Despite the distance from home, we could not ask for a better learning environment for our child. Differentiated instruction across the board with the most engaging, hands-on learning that I have seen at any school. Devoted and extremely knowledgeable administrators, teachers, and staff along with enthusiastic parents and PTA. The extracurricular activities that are offered are also amazing as well.
I have two boys who attend this school. They love it and feel loved by the teachers! Ms Boudreau rocks!! She is teacher of the year!
An amazing experience. At this school they incorporate current events into class lessons. Alos they know what information is boring, and they reconize that. they try to make it fun. Like today, were were studying proper nouns and my teacher told us that she knew it was a boring topic, but she made all of our grammer problems into jokes! A great school and wonderfull support.
I am about done with my college career and looking back on my past, I have to give credit to ODC. I was a student there from the time they first opened as a full-time school when I was in 3rd grade until 5th grade. The rigor, challenge, and interesting nature of ODC led me to middle school at Kemps Landing Magnet School, then AP classes in high school, and finally to a full academic scholarship at ODU. Of course, I cannot attribute all of my academic success to my elementary days, but if I had to choose a point from which my success started, I would have to choose my time at ODC where I had the most memorable, supportive, and proud teachers and administrators. I can remember having to be bribed by my mother to agree to go to ODC full-time, but I am so grateful she did!
I am a parent of two children at ODC and absolutely love the school. My children are thriving at ODC and we feel very lucky that they have had the opportunity to attend such a great school!
My daughter has been fortunate to be enrolled in ODC since second grade. The teacher's, administration and everyone at ODC are awesome.
I've had 2 children here and we absolutely love this school and highly recommend it to anyone! the teachers are wonderful and they understand gifted kids! Don't let a long bus ride deter you - it is so worth it.
Excellent school. The teachers are very welcoming of parent involvement. The PTA is just superb and incorporate so many chance for the children to enrich themselves throughout the year in terms of assemblies, QUEST days, science labs, etc. I couldn't be happier with this school.
Plaza Middle School's International Baccalaureate Program is AWESOME! The teachers and students throughout the school are really nice.
ODC is a Great school that challenges students to go above and beyond the basic level of learning. I have a son who just finished the 2nd grade and he loves the school. That's what it is all about!
My daughter has been enrolled in the visual art program for 4 years now and will start her 5th 09/08. She loves it there! She has expanded her art talent so much I am in awe of her! She is looking forward to applying for Salem High Schools Art Acad. I know her teachers will help her reach her goal! She loves her teachers and what they have taught her. She will be sad to leave next year!
One of the better schools in the Virginia Beach district. However, I believe the public school system has a long way to go in correctly identifying gifted students. The two tests that are administered (Naglieri and Otis-Lennon) are group tests which leave out students who may be highly distractable and need one on one attention. Or, they may leave out students who are creative thinkers in the highly gifted or profoundly gifted range who need their answers interpreted by a tester. Please read article at: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/on_testing.htm I've spoken to a couple of parents who were disappointed in this school and ended up taking their children out. The gifted label on the door, it seems, has made both students and teachers complacent. My child's teacher is on autopilot. There is little communication other than the progress reports and report cards. We need to tailor their curriculum so our nation can be competitive.
As a business partner at this school, I find the school's emphasis on preparing students for life outstanding. This is a school that prepares very bright capable children to work in a competitive world. The work ethic is reinforced at a basic level, and children are not afraid to get their hands dirty, even with mundane tasks. Though the population comes from the top one percent of the city's schools, these are not 'hothouse' flowers. Each term, community volunteers offer 'Quest' classes to widen the horizons for students. My company, NavyRackPacks, LLC, has taught a Quest on entrepreneurship for the last three terms-- bringing 'applied sciences' more commonly seen in 'vocational training' to a population of students who often are channeled into more academic routes. The teachers, students and staff have embraced the class and reinforced the idea that this school is preparing the next generation of thinkers, makers, doers.
The principal has high academic standards and communicates these standards from the very beginning and repeats these standards throughout the year. Teachers are highly qualified to teach gifted children, and they continue their training throughout the year. Parents are highly involved at Old Donation. You don't have to volunteer a lot of time and you don't have to be an expert. Old Donation focuses on safety of the children on a daily basis, and takes great steps to ensure kids are safe. Discipline is not an issue at this school. Parents and children are told from the beginning that behavior problems will not be tolerated. Children go to this school to learn, and behavior problems interfere with this objective. Children with serious infractions of this rule do not continue their education at Old Donation. There are many extracurricular activities that children are involved in both during and after school.
ODC is a superb school for gifted and talented students. The curriculum is appropriately challenging and the teachers/staff are the brightest and the best in the city.
I have taught at ODC for 5 years. Nowhere do teachers receive better training and support from the school administrators and city coordinators to teach and understand the gifted child. This translates to a highly collaborative staff that truly respects and seeks each other out professionally. Ultimately, the ODC student is immersed in a rigorous yet nurturing educational experience.
Unbelievably great public school. Designed for talented and gifted students. Must test for this school early. You must apply late winter, early spring. Academic program is designed with hands on learning an emphasis. Parents give tremendous support to the school. Unique extracurricular activities. School has destination imagination program where students give original thought and solutions to problems. Stresses teamwork, individuality, and out-of-the-box thinking. School itself has old facilites in need of updating. For its educational aspect, you simply can't find a better public school in virginia beach.
Old Donation Center (ODC) is an extraordinary school. One of the few, I have found to actually challenge the individual. ODC seems to raise the bar,and the kids impressively meet and often exceed those expectations. The school follows the required curriculum, however adds layers of depth. When my son s 2nd grade class studied economics, the class visited a local restaurant. They toured the restaurant, asked the owner questions, (What was your start up cost? - real business questions) Later in the week the kids ran a restaurant in their class. They designed a menu, staffed it with work stations, prepared the food, has an assembly line to fill the plates, served it to their customers (parents). When the kids were studying archaeology, they a went outside and participated in a dig. ODC keeps the kids engaged and is perfect for bright children whose needs are well beyond average.
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