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Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS5
Posted February 19, 2015
- a parent
We have been at the school since its founding nearly four years ago, and we are thrilled with the education our children are receiving. There have hiccups along the way, as one might expect with a new school, but our experience with the administration has been that they are open to parents' concerns, receptive to feedback, and always acting with the best interests of the students in the forefront of their minds. The teaching model really meets kids where they are and focuses not only on academics but on cultivating a sense of community. It's a remarkable place, and we have loved it here.
As a founding family we've seen ITS through its growth years. With it has come some anticipated growing pains but also immeasurable care and concern for the students. As with all schools, sometimes ITS does not get it right the first time BUT they are a team with a growth mindset willing to learn from failures, hear concerns and respond with integrity. Our boys love school and look forward to sharing their favorite part of their day every evening around the dinner table. As all parents, we want what's best for our children so we'll always question - is this the BEST education they can get? Are they learning to LOVE learning and foster their IMAGINATION? Will they look back at their schooling with fondness? Do these things out way my adult frustrations with systems/policies and a handful of staff that don't seem the most effective? Most certainly. Would I recommend this school and the amazing community of families and staff to others? Indeed!
We were drawn to ITS by the promise of hands-on learning. We left a Public School in 4th grade for the opportunity for our son to be at ITS. We ended up leaving ITS mid year. The problem was in part that the school made a bad teacher hire. That can happen anywhere. But the way the leadership dealt with the problem was very troubling -- treating parent complaints as disloyal, a lack of transparency about the process of replacing a teacher, and abandoning the responsibility for the children's learning while they sought a replacement -- leaving a nice but untrained paraprofessional in charge of the classroom. Instead of master teachers, our son had a sub-par teachers for 4 months. Homework was busywork. Ultimately, they replaced the teacher, but I could not trust my son's emotional well being or intellectual growth at ITS. I did not trust the leadership to accept parent input with open ears and a positive attitude. My son has more project based learning at Hearst, better teachers, and more stable and professional management system. Positives of ITS include awesome parents, diversity, several top notch teachers, kind staff, a wonderful mission, and excellent special ed leadership.
Last year, I wrote a four-star review on this site, but this year I feel like ITS is losing its way. When we've tried to share our concerns and advocate for our kids, we are met with defensiveness and resistance rather than openness and partnership. We've seen less inspiration and a lot more traditional schooling this year--lots of boring worksheets, rote memorization and lectures, plus tighter classroom management that feels joyless. They are struggling with how to teach up to challenge high-performing kids and our child is bored as a result. I feel like the school has lost sight of its vision and progressive educational philosophy. When talking to parents about their experiences with the school, it's important to ask what grades their kids are in -- older grades seem more hit and miss.
Since ITS is a school that develops children's habits of mind--their Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination and Integrity, the shift to the more rigorous Core Standards won't have that much impact on our classrooms. The school has been practicing a more rigorous and progressive learning environment since it opened 3 years ago. Since it never teaches to the CAS or any standardized test, children embrace learning for the pure joy of it. This school is a private school education for public school prices--they share the same rigor, passion for open ended materials and critical thinking, all in an inclusive and nurturing environment. It is a school that refuses to leave anyone behind.
The Inspired Teaching School is like no other. Kids thrive in this learning community because they are challenged every day, but at the same time are supported and encouraged to do things their own way. And, they have FUN. The quality of the teaching at ITS is second to none. We feel extremely fortunate to be part of this this exceptional school.
We just finished our 2nd year at Inspired Teaching and couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of this great school. The teachers are outstanding. My son has developed a real love of learning and does not look forward to weekends/summers since it means he will be out of school. He gets excited every time he sees an orange bumber sticker around town and boasts with pride saying, "that's my school momma." The location is great for us and the kiss-and-go has been a dream come true for us. Never a line more than 1 car ahead of you and we love seeing the parents, staff, and teachers come together in the mornings. The teacher's love for teaching combined with them getting kids exciting about learning truly makes this place a special gem. I love the diversity of the school as well as the dedicated families. We LOVE INSPIRED TEACHING!!
My daughter recently finished Kindergarten at ITS and has been there for its first two years of existence. Other than the location for drop off & pick up purposes (which, as others have noted, can be a little challenging), we have been very pleased. She loves to go to school each day, and she constantly says things that make me do a double-take (daddy, that's a stratus cloud!) which proves to me that she is soaking in a lot of knowledge in a fashion that emphasizes creative exploration. I have observed no problems with cliques or bullying that might be an issue at larger schools. The building isn't superb, but they've done a good job with it and it is completely functional, with good size classrooms. The location, while leading to a tougher commute for us, is wonderful from the perspective of what it offers in the immediate vicinity, a truly vibrant neighborhood. Teacher quality has been very good. No hesitation in giving ITS my strongest recommendation.