Our family LOVES Inspired Teaching. We have been very impressed with everyone we have met, from the facilities manager to the principal! Everyone directs their efforts towards the well-being of the children, and the environment is warm and inclusive. Our son had a difficult start, but with time and the help of some amazingly patient teachers, he is happy and thriving. The administration is responsive, the PTO is active, and family involvement is high. It has a wonderful community feel that I was not expecting from a school with 300+ students. We're looking forward to more good years at ITS!
We have been SO happy at Inspired Teaching. I feel like it is a gentle environment, the teachers are very caring. Each classroom has 2 certified instructors so the ratio of child to teacher is low, 10-12/1. They mostly work in workshop model, so the kids are moving around the classroom a lot and learning through interaction, conversation, and generally working together.
The families that I have met are quite nice. Everyone LOVES the school! It has been very fun to get to know more people as we go and everyone I talk with raves about the school. I don't know what all the classes are like, but I have been almost surprised at how kind all the kids are. The teachers do a lovely job coaching children through emotions and actually spend a nice amount of time on emotional education. I think it helps the kids respond better to one another. They are all quite inclusive. Also, I appreciate the diversity in the school.
As far as academics, my child feels challenged. Though, because of the workshop model it may be easy to not be challenged. They do plenty of individualized assessments to make sure they have a read on where the kids are, and the teachers create groups based on skill. I get the sense that the academic piece is hard to describe, the school talks about it as 'inquiry based learning' and it truly is, my sense is that the kids are really taking a lot in via experience.
The building is an old DC Public school but it was fully renovated in 2014 so it is a really lovely space, lots of natural light and nice size classrooms with large halls that are used to break out groups from the classes. The building sits right next to a DC Rec Center so there is a large sports field behind the school that is used for PE and recess, having access to that sort of outdoor space is rare for most charter schools.
Overall, we are very happy at this school.
This is our third year at Inspired Teaching, and my kids love going to school every day. I have been impressed with how well each teacher gets to know my children as individuals and as learners and with the way that all children are welcomed into the classrooms and community. I love how engaged the teachers are in their practice - they are focused not only on facts, but on "whys?" and "what fors?". Students are encouraged to question and hypothesize and bring their own ideas to classroom discussions, whether they are analyzing a Van Gogh painting, putting on a play, or discussing animal habitats. The school's emphasis on building community begins in the classroom but extends to the school community as a whole, including parents and families. Inspired Teaching is a young, growing school - administrators acknowledge their strengths, are open about weaknesses, and are always willing to listen to families. Everyone at the school seems open to learning and growing together - it is a lovely, warm place and a place that is teaching my children to be good scholars and good citizens.
I could not agree more with the parents that experienced the same thing we did. We pulled our son out of ITS last year. I had never seen a child so bullied by his teachers. Punishment was harsh. When I tried to advocate for his classroom I got push back and excuses from the Director and Principal. They made excuses for the teachers and tried to place the blame on the children for the unruly classroom that was even worse the year before. We were the 4th family to remove our child mid year from the same classroom.
I am so glad we did! We placed our son in a local DCPS and it was 10 X better in education, professional teachers and staff. The "Demonstration" I found it to be in name only. What you find is inexperienced teachers that have no backup and support. My husband and I are relieved that our son is no longer there. He was depressed each day from the yelling and unprofessional conduct of his homeroom teachers.The Middle School is scary. I would never tell any parent to take their child to this school. They have much to improve on before I could recommend it to any family in the District of Columbia. My child is now healing from his awful experience and only looks back with terrible memories there. He is thriving honor roll student now and is looking forward to middle school.
Parents beware! It's a struggling Tier 2 for a reason!
They were the worst teachers I have ever seen in the profession of teaching. Hostile, angry, untrained. Several times I asked the Principal to come and give training. They were so busy on getting a new building for their school they did not give the one on one training that these particular teachers needed.
There was no homework. Just a few minutes. I asked his teacher all year long for more homework and more challenging homework. She would say yes but never once gave him anymore that 10 mins or less per night. Sometimes none at all. He was very bored with it.
The teachers in the 4th grade classroom last year were not compassionate, caring or showed any empathy. Two girls walked out of the school onto the streets of DC and the teachers weren't even aware that they had left the classroom! True story.