My family is moving into our second academic year with DC Prep BEC and I must say that I wish my lottery results had been stronger so that I could move my children to a more developmentally appropriate school. While I value structure and discipline as general principles that students must learn, I feel that DC Prep goes a bit overboard with their militaristic regime. My 3 year old especially struggled to meet the classroom expectations and consistently earned consequences for things like talking, asking questions and moving...did I mention that he is 3?
DC Prep has a commitment to "Excellence, Always" that I appreciate. Everyone here works hard -- Preppies, teachers, parents and administrators -- with a outcome driven focus of "results for students, first and foremost." The school has improved every year that I have been here. I'm really excited about the newly renovated building, the partnership with DC Public Library, and the year-over-year improvements we've seen to the curriculum. As previous posters have mentioned, the educational approach can at times feel very strict -- however, those (like myself and most of the parents I talk with) who believe in keeping a high bar in terms of student expectations recognize that a warm/strict balance helps to push students to reach their full potential.
Agree 100% with EVERYTHING the commenter from June 2014 said. Every word is truth and describes my own sentiments. No wonder there is such a huge retention problem, with students and faculty alike. This is nothing more than a military academy with militant beliefs and policies disguised as a public charter school.
This is an extremely high performing school for both students and staff. The issue is, nothing is fun. Say what you want about joyful movement breaks and silent cheers...but it's not fun. The curriculum needs to include more recess or free time for kids to actually interact with one another so they can practice the culture lessons from each morning meeting in a safe space. I do believe a lot of the early childhood expectations on behavior are developmentally inappropriate. This school does not lack passion, determination, kindness or grit. It just lacks common sense. Something is dead wrong with wanting a room full of first graders to be silent all day, even during lunch. Something is off about taking away recess from kids that are antsy from sitting with a bubble in their mouth for 4 hours. Those are exactly the kids that need the recess in order to turn their day around. As for the actual teachers, I think they all have good hearts but are just run to the ground by an extremely results driven, data enthusiastic administration that wants to hear no kids in the hallway and put a test score next to each kids face.
I have been a teacher here for 2 years and in ALL grades there's a great balance between strong academics and "developmentally appropriate" community/culture building activities, play, etc. Kids earn incentives like Friday on the Field, have community meetings as a grade level and morning meetings in their classroom, and instruction around character traits like respectfulness, teamwork, and honesty is provided through authentic conversations with students "in the moment". Yes, our kids work HARD and our staff works even harder to be sure that every kid reaches their academic and personal goals... this means that everybody sweats the small stuff, but there's also a lot of joy, love, and humor in interactions amongst the staff and between staff and students. The level of detail with which staff at our school plans for every minute of instruction is hard work, yes, but this allows us to make sure every child is challenged academically and personally - no matter what. I have worked in other area schools before and never have I been on a staff whose approach to teaching every child is so individualized. I love being part of a team where every kid gets exactly what they need to succeed.
My daughter has been at this school for 3 years and I have nothing but good things to say. All of her teachers have been very good. She is in Kindergarten and they do give her a lot of homework but I know this will help her in the long run. I am a little disappointed about the schools turn over but all in all I love the education that my daughter is receiving.
This school claims to be a high performing, but is actually a turnover machine that burns out both teachers and students with their unrealistic expectations and rules. The school is led by a very inexperienced leadership team that knows nothing about what is best for teachers or students, and instead forces staff members to implement a developmentally inappropriate model of education where creative thinking and individuality suffer at the expense of a high-stakes, militaristic atmosphere. I only hope that the community members in Benning are able to advocate on behalf of their children, and the school will start to listen to the people it is supposed to be serving.
The teachers at this school are beyond dedicated, however, the administration runs them into the ground. There is no regard for teacher morale nor what is appropriate for children at this level. There is no time built into the day for interaction/socialization and because of this, many of the children have very poor social skills. Many of the older students and parents are extremely disrespectful to the teachers/staff.
My rating is from 2010 -2011 school season. Last year and the year before was acedimically great,but some admin. and staff where unprofessional and disrespectful to my child and I. Also, they had some parents bullied me because I was different then them and my child. i am proud to say that those bad people are no longer there. When i said different, i am talking about my attitude was too nice for them.