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.
This is our first year and we have been so impressed by the quality of the teachers and the incredible amount of parental involvement. The physical location can be challenging for drop off and pick up, but it is the heart of the city -- close to the metro and bus lines. And what the building lacks in physical space and outdoor play areas, is more than made up for the tremendous quality of what my kids are learning. Between the my kids' teachers, the classroom parents, the principle and the online bulletin board -- I get multiple emails daily about what is going on at school -- I never have to wonder what they did that day. We feel very lucky to have found ITS.
We're halfway through our first year at Inspired Teaching with a student in PS3 and are extremely happy with the school. It offers an arts-based, differentiated curriculum that truly respects students' natural intellectual curiosity. As a former elementary educator, I truly believe that imaginative play and socialization should be central in early ed classrooms, and that is certainly the case at ITS. Our preschooler is becoming an even more independent thinker with projects in engineering, art, dramatic play, math literacy and more. She's also learning to be part of a community and to take more consideration in others' feelings and needs. Each classroom has a Master teacher and a Teacher-in-Residence from the Center for Inspired Teaching (plus an aide in the PS and PK classes) - www.inspiredteaching.org - giving it an unparalled quality of faculty. The students are engaged and cared for in such a special way. The upper classmen are kind, thoughtful and friendly with their younger schoolmates and with visiting adults. Additionally, ITS has such a strong community feel, with parents, teachers and administrators engaged together. I couldn't have imagined a better school for my child.
Our family has been with the Inspired Teaching School for two years now. In the first year the school definitely struggled, in many areas. And some families left. What kept us at the school was the vision and the commitment to continuous improvement. The result: this year has been a quantum leap forward. They learned so much from the first year and it shows. The same great philosophy is still in place and now the instruction in the classroom consistently lives up to that high standard. Art integration; project based learning; a whole child philosophy... This is what education should be.
In response to "third grade was a disaster last year": Third grade has been anything BUT a disaster this year. It's been superb. I have no idea where you "heard" that the kids have to eat in their classrooms this year, but that's untrue...there IS a cafeteria. And while we do not have an onsite playground, we have huge classrooms, huge common areas, and a fenced off play area between buildings (plus the beloved Imagination Playground), plus the kids walk to local parks, which they LOVE. Inspired Teaching meets all the criteria of a great school: Excellent teachers, strong leadership (esp one that engages parents) and a challenging academic program. The rest is icing on the cake, but ITS has the icing, too. To be sure, there were challenges last year, as can be expected with a new school, but changes were made and we're stronger and better than ever. I can't imagine sending my kids anywhere else.