Horrible. Not only was my child bullied and tormented by parents and the administration, but neither of my kids learned enough. We discovered this when we left and found that our kids were a year behind in math when they entered a good DCPS school.
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!
I rate it a 4.5; there are some things missing like a library. Music is coming next year thanks to a fundraising effort by the PTO. We came to ITS from a Montessori school. We applied after talking to parents, attending family events & speaking with the exec. director. We found her to be very open and honest- admitting weaknesses, making no excuses, while providing well-thought out plans to make adjustments. The teaching staff is diverse, in terms of age, experience, gender & ethnicity. Our son had his first male classroom teacher, which was great. The families are diverse as well & very welcoming and friendly. For academics, the teachers seem to really know our children & work to provide activities to meet their needs. My youngest has been very excited about the different experiences (totally opposite of his last school). Our oldest is more of a 'go with the flow' kind of kid & has done well at ITS. He scored very well on his standardized tests last year, including a perfect score in math. While we certainly work with him, I must give credit to his fantastic teacher, who didn't teach to the test, but made sure students were exposed to wide variety of activities.
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 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.
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.