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05/13/2020 at 8:33 pm #11066Enm
Any insight would be appreciated. We got offers from both McPherson and Disney. I would have gone to visit both but unfortunately, COVID. I am having a hard time deciding. Our neighborhood school is Hayt which I was not impressed with.
05/14/2020 at 1:44 pm #11083Kennedy’s Mom
I am a mother of a daughter going into 3rd grade at Disney. Let me know what questions you have.
05/14/2020 at 4:29 pm #11093Elizabeth
My son is a kindergartner at McPherson. He also got accepted to Disney last year. They are VERY different schools. The principal at Disney is now gone and I personally feel that is a good thing. Disney is very state of the art. It is a huge school with a lot of amenities; especially when it comes to art. The classrooms are in clusters without walls. I didn’t find an issue with that but I know that can concern others. The previous principal said numerous times on our tour that if your child has ADHD or is easily distracted they should not pick this school. That principal is luckily gone. I personally didn’t find the school warm but I found it very impressive.
McPherson is older, smaller and does not have all the amenities as Disney. Where I feel McPherson does excel is in community. The class sizes are small and the IB program starts in kindergarten. My son’s kindergarten class is 18 kids and social justice, environment and community are big components of the curriculum. McPherson has a student population of around 650 kids. I forget what Disney’s population is but it is quite a bit larger than McPherson. The principal at McPherson is warm, friendly and gets to know the families and children. McPherson has a very diverse population. It is an IB school that now has a gifted program as well as hosting a city wide special education program. Your child will be around kids with all different needs and the school has the skills and amenities to help kids with their needs and education.
I think both schools have positives and drawbacks. It depends on what works best for you and your child. Mine is one opinion of many and take it as that – just an opinion.
05/14/2020 at 5:32 pm #11095Kennedy’s Mom
My daughter has been at Disney since Kindergarten – she attended a private Pre-K. I was initially concerned with the school being on the pod system, but being that my daughter started in K this was not much of an issue for her since she we know younger kids adjust easily. I would assume this may be an issue for older kids, or kids who are easily distracted. My daughter does say the pods can get noisy. Each grade has like, 8-10 classes per pod.
The school has a new principal this school year, who formerly was the upper class school floor assistant principal, Mr. Riskus. The prior principal there were a lot of different issues, not enough time to go into that. There will be changes coming I’m sure with the new administration, and from what I see so far, great changes.
Curriculum is challenging, homework is rigorous, but manageable. They place your child in a class that’s centered around their learning speed. If they learn fast they will be in a class on a faster learning schedule and vice versa. Teachers are pretty dedicated and committed and work with you and your child. Most have been at Disney 10 plus years. There is a gifted program, not guaranteed to get in. You must test consistently – if not, and scores drop, you will be kicked out, which I’ve heard had gotten parents extremely angry in the past and rightfully so. How do you remove a 5th grader who’s been with the same group, environment for 6 years? The school is very technology savy – the kids learn coding and robotics early. They have a great music program – your child will learn to play instruments and read music. Every grade put on a major musical/drama production every year. The school is not short on funding by any means and it shows.
What I don’t like, or would change about the school is they’re all about test scores and numbers and solely go off this, so if your child is not a strong test taker, Disney may not be the fit, unless you are prepared to spend money on test prep or tutors. Disney take the MAP test 4 times a year, not two like most other schools. Another thing is over the last couple years there seem to be an increase in behavior issues in some of the classes, which can cause distractions. Special Ed kids are in regular classes if they test well – another way to show they are big on numbers. These silly invite only award ceremonies that are not inclusive and exclude kids who don’t get them. Not a good feel good factor for kids and can make them feel they’re not good enough. Oh, and the size of the school – super huge student population, like 1500 kids. This is an issue for many because there is not a community feel within the school. Every grade your child will move to a new class with possibly new kids because there is over 8-10 classes per pod, unless in gifted, so every year you possibly have to create a new little community among the parents for that specific class. Kids have to make new friends and start all over again if their buddy/bestie is not in the new class.
Overall, Disney has been pretty good academically no complaints in this area, but we’re looking to leave. I want a school with more of a traditional school environment, community/family feel. Disney is too big for this, so hopefully our low wait list number (#8) at LaSalle II will extend us an offer. Fingers and toes crossed.
Good Luck to you and your family on whichever direction you decide to go in.