Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mountain Phoenix Waldorf Charter School Reviews by Parents

Posted December 26, 2014
- a parent
This is a school's story of how to go about grabbing defeat out of the jaws of a clear victory in a Waldorf-inspired charter school that for a time was a model for the country. It was clearly bringing great creative-thinking education to our kids. But, with martinette precision, sheeplike Board members listen to and follow uncredentialled leadership as two individuals are in total control. Waldorf-trained teachers will soon be leaving. Even though a research showed lack of support for the new Principal, the Board voted to extend her 2 more years. She works with the School's Board Treasurer. As we seek for our children to become reasonably moral & socially presentable but if the Board is not so inclined how can we expect our children to be as well. Waldorf requires meaningful work keeping the curriculum healthy. Looks like that train has left the station. So sad.

Posted November 15, 2014
- a parent
This school is terrible. They ask for too many "donations". Also, if you were looking for a school where you can learn, just leave. There is too much play time. For example, most middle school classes get two recesses and a snack time. Really? The is much favoritism in the school. I looked at other reviews and saw that people were happy with how artsy this school is. Yes, it has a good art system, but the students are only copying the teacher's work and are not able to be creative with their own ideas. There are no sports at this school, which I find sad. The students don't do very much homework and will NOT be high school ready. This school is terrible and I will not recommend it to ANYONE.

Posted October 10, 2014
- a parent

Sadly we had to abandon Mountain Phoenix. We were sold on the idea of positive reinforcement fostering individualized academic growth. I was told that a student would be encouraged to meet their potential. What happened instead is my student was encouraged to find something quiet to do. This did not grow his skills in any way. In fact, he left the school with less proficiency, then he arrived. It appears to be a good concept, but it fails.

Posted May 12, 2014
- a community member

Phoenix Mountain School. I am a grandparent from out of state. Both my husband and I taught school. I am concerned about the D rating from the state for this school. It was posted in the Jeffco Observer. There were only 4 D schools and 2 F schools. How are the schools actually rated? Can anyone answer this question? A grandparent

Posted April 27, 2014
- a parent
The school is more closely aligned with Steiner philosophy than it claims. This can be ideal if you are looking for this type of education. If you are unfamiliar with Steiner philosophy then it can be a surprise. The imagination that children develop here is amazing. Children learn to be sensitive and kind. Friendships and community are above and beyond wonderful here. The school struggles to provide the education in line with its philosophy and meet state standards. It's a curious blend and brings unpredictability. Science education here is not in line with any other style of school. Academics are soft. Children with behavior problems bounce in and out of this school, teachers are left alone to deal with the disruptions. The adherence to safety and handling of injuries at the school is questionable at best and not in line with district requirements. Children are encouraged to tough it out, which has it's benefits, but parents are frequently not notified in a timely manner when children are injured. This school is not for everyone, but it is good to see it become more available to children as an option in education.

Posted April 27, 2014
- a teacher

I was at this school for two years and while it is a beautiful school that offers much more richness than most neighborhood schools can, there is a price to be paid. I have spent twenty years in education and this is the least innovative or creative environment I have been involved with. Children are required to copy the teacher's work and there is very little room for their own thoughts or ideas. In this educational environment, students are taught to rely on others for the "right" answer. Clearly, this leads to less curiosity and innovation than most other alternative schools The leadership is abysmal at MPCS and until the current head of school is replaced, I fear that the school will not be able to truly help kids become the best persons they can be. However, if the right changes are made, this could be an amazing school- there are wonderful teachers who know their profession and will do their best for children if they are allowed to do their jobs in an environment that feels safe, professional and supportive.

Posted April 04, 2014
- a teacher

I used to work at this school before the current administration took over and during the first year the current principal was in control. The school was always disorganized but it got worse my last year at the school. There was a lot of disagreement and contention with the staff and the principal. The principal seemed more concerned about furthering her career and making a name for herself than the school, the ideology and the kids. Many reviews mentioned their child was kicked out after the official student enrollment count from Jeffco so the school would still receive money for the child. I can confirm this was 100% the case for many of the years I was employed at the school. The structure of the school was alright, I could easily see favoritism from the teachers towards specific students. A school is supposed to be a place of learning with structure and encouragement but this was not the case. It was more of a hodgepodge of crafts, painting and writing with the staff acting like they were in high school rather than teachers.

Posted January 06, 2014
- a parent

In our first year at MCPS, our child flourished under a patient teacher who had the whole child's development in mind. We looked forward to a great 2nd year! Only several days into the new school year, our teacher expressed concern about behaviors in our child, which we had never witnessed typifying our child in a way completely different than teachers of the last several years. The teacher's communication lacked discretion and professionalism. Furthermore, we were concerned with both how she spoke to and restrained our child. We then learned from school leadership that this teacher didn't have an hour of formal study in education at all instead was self-studied for the certification exam. They maintained that the 2 teacher openings had not seen a single applicant. Leadership's tone with us included threats and fear mongering about our child's future. After exhausting all tools to make a change for our child within the context of remaining at MCPS, we left the school. We were not alone. Today our student is happy & thriving in a classroom with a well-qualified teacher at great Jeffco school. If you do choose this school, please know the risks and be ready with a Plan B.

Posted November 14, 2013
- a parent

Really look this school over before enrolling your kids. My experience hasn't been close to 5 stars. It looks really great and has some good elements, however the bad out weights the potential good in my opinion. The administration is really heavy handed and they have quite a bit of turnover with their teachers. That in itself is an issue especially in the format in which they operate (kids stay with one teacher through different grades). This is really not the place if your kids need any sort of extra help - they are not adequately staffed in this area nor are they required to provide what ANY normal (non charter) school would. There is a lot of patting on the back during the events which gets a bit old. The suggested "donations" per student are high as well. I'm not sold and think one should do a bunch of looking before leaping.

Posted October 25, 2013
- a parent

Don't get fooled ! Please do your homework, we could not stay here any longer and its only October. I had such high hopes . I tried to ignore the bad reviews but in the end the reviews were right this place is lacking in too many key areas.

Posted September 05, 2013
- a parent

All the criticism is spot on, especially regarding the principal and administration. This could be a great school. But it is sadly a terrible school. I'm a teacher and I am appalled at how little my children learned during their one wasted year here. You are better off putting your children in the neighborhood public school. They will actually learn. I'm appalled at how much my children lost academically while here. The only thing good they seemed to have learned is how to knit. I have so much work to do now to reteach them concepts they once knew and to get them caught up to where they should be so they can move forward and start liking school again. The teachers are unable to do much good in this toxic enviornment. The best solution for this school is to close. I would retract my previous positive review if I could.

Posted August 21, 2013
- a parent

Where do I start? This school is certainly not a fit for children with learning disabilities. They always state that they do not have the resources available to give students that need extra help the amount of help they deserve or really need to improve. They have been slow on discipline with bullying and seem to give additional chances to those kids that should be expelled that have ongoing behavior problems. It also seems to be a very loose adherence to the Waldorf program - They don't seem to follow the formative/qualitative plan that Waldorf is founded upon. I have been unimpressed by the administration, however many of the teachers are good. I would not recommend this school to anyone.

Posted July 08, 2013
- a parent

I was deceived by the smell of fresh baked bread, the gorgeous campus, wooden toys and the quiet voices, and we had to leave because of bullying and lack of academics. I suspect if parents knew the true origins of Waldorf they might be less than thrilled to send their children here. Unfortunately my child is now struggling in a different public charter school because she is behind. I implore you to Google "Waldorf critics" or "Waldorf watch" before you make the decision to try out this school.

Posted June 25, 2013
- a community member

I will NEVER EVER recommend this school to anyone. My children attended this school for two years and learned how to knit. There is no real curriculum to speak of. It's the most unorganized crazy mess I think I've ever seen. I pulled my children from this school and will never look back. I had them tested last week and they are SOOOO far behind that they will both have to have extensive help and extra tutoring. If I put them in a public school they are at least a grade behind. The administration is seriously lacking in compassion, organization, overall morals and values. The leadership at this school is lacking the skill and knowledge of educational training and mentorship for the students and staff. If you want your child to be ill prepared for high school and life in general you will send them here. I give this school no stars.

Posted May 16, 2013
- a parent

I absolutely agree with the reviews from the other parents of children with needs. I thought this school would be the answer for my gifted 7 year old with ADHD. After 2 years at MPCS, his self esteem has disintegrated and the only reply I can get from the leadership is that "We are a charter school and don't have the resources" to support him. I am getting him out before he is kicked out and before his self esteem is unable to be repaired.

Posted May 13, 2013
- a community member

Why are so many of the reviews from Jan 18-20th? I smell a rat. It seems very much as though there is a serious problem in the administration at this school and they're trying to cover it up by soliciting good reviews.

Posted January 20, 2013
- a parent

This school is great for children who are quiet, artistic and perfect. My child was asked to leave just after the charter school's "count day" (where their amount of money from Jef Co is determined). In other words, they got funding for her for the year but she was kicked out! She was asked to leave because she has special needs. The school would rather kick her out of "bad behavior" than meet her needs. The director is weeding out all of the special needs children who might need an extra hand. To some this might seem good but the children who need the most nurturing help which a Waldorf environment can provide are thrown out into the cold instead of receiving the services they are REQUIRED BY THE STATE to provide. However, if your child is of average intelligence, docile in nature and enjoys art this might be the school for you. That is, if you're a stay at home mom because there are no services provided for working families at a rate working families can afford. Also, if you happen to not fit into their idea of "normal" you might be shunned no matter how much love you give to the school. The teachers, however, are the best in the state. Highly trained, very caring.

Posted October 11, 2012
- a parent

I thought my child and I would love this school. They seem to have so many wonderful things going for them. I was wrong. The teachers are awesome. The administration not so. Yes, I agree with a previous post, this school did grow too quickly, out of greed. Yes, the bullying is rampant. Teachers and administration turn a blind eye. Teacher turn over rate should tell you something about the quality of this school. In 2012, three kindergarten teachers, one 1st grade teacher, two 2nd grade teachers, one 3rd grade teacher, one 4/5th grade teacher, music teacher, eurythmy teacher, two special education teachers, and the assessment coordinator left this school. This says a lot. Mind you, there is no librarian, (let alone a quality library), no music teacher, no art teacher. The teachers work hard here. They have no prep time. This effects how prepared they are, and how burned out they become. Frustrated and burned out teachers effect the quality of our children's education. My child deserves better.

Posted October 09, 2012
- a community member

It's really sad that this school has so much potential and so little in the way of leadership. Do not go here if your child has learning problems. You will get no help and maybe even be told to leave.

Posted September 29, 2012
- a parent

One word sums it up nicely. TOXIC. Toxic for the teachers, toxic for the students. It can all be so deceiving. It is a beautiful campus. If you are coming to this school expecting Waldorf philosophy, it isn't here. It is Waldorf-inspired in as much as the main lesson is taught using "some" Waldorf techniques. Looks can be deceiving. Waldorf is more than a lazured painted room, more than a curriculum. This school should not even be saying that it is a Waldorf - inspired school. The administrator does not live the Waldorf philosophy, she talks down to and intimidates the students, along with her teaching staff, and community of parents. The school grew from 40 students to 400 students in just over a year. This is NOT a good thing. If anything it is a sign of greed on the part of the administration. Because of this rapid growth, Mountain Phoenix has attracted students from every walk of life that are not making it. This school is a "catch-all" for all of the kids who aren't succeeding in private and public schools. I have never seen so many high needs, problem students in one school ever before. ...not a healthy place. ...not where I want my children to be.

Posted August 06, 2012
- a parent

The only "talk of the town" is about how poorly run this school is. Bullying is rampant, the principal has been seen screaming at staff in front of children, talks about children's behavior to other children's parents - very inappropriate- and in general, treats the school as her own little fiefdom. Ask the board of directors about the long list of complaints submitted about the principal and then run, don't walk away from this school. Save yourself the hassle of pulling your child out of the school midway through the year after they fallen behind academically. There are major, major problems with the leadership at the school, teachers are usually ill-prepared and this leads to restlessness among the children and and we have pulled our 2 kids out and know of 6 families that have done the same. DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO THIS SCHOOL.

  • Lisa S.
  • Golden, CO
  • I visited this school to ask about enrolling my children  after speaking with a parent that spoke very highly of it.   Once I found the main office I was completely ignored as administrators mulled around the desk.   No one even acknowledged that a complete stranger had walked into their school.  Not secure and not friendly.


  • Todd J.
  • Denver, CO
  • This school has only money in mind. We enrolled my son at this charter school and the principle Dr Long assured us they had everything in place for our sons needs. His mother had three meetings with them and gave them all the information from his prior school. My son is twice exceptional and can get bored easily. 
    They state they are Waldorf inspired but his teacher was not trained in waldorf and had no idea about my sons needs. They waited till after count day and had the state money and then told us they can't deal with him and threatened expulsion. No urgency was given to the matter untill after they were paid. No suggestions on how they were going to follow through on there promise of teaching my son was made. All Dr long cared about was filling her classrooms for count day and then she was more than happy to get rid of kids
    This place is just a money making buisness for the owners. They ask that everything be done and donated by the parents. There main focus seems to raise money through a ton of fundraisers and charging fees. Non of our money was refunded by this school. 
    This was just evil to put a child through this. We are now having to search out a new shool for our son. STAY AWAY FROM THIS SCHOOL!!


    Posted December 31, 2011
    We enrolled our daughter at Mt. Phoenix. They promised bus transport from Wheat Ridge to the Coal Creek Canyon Campus, we thought, this is good. Then they told the eighth graders no ball point pens were used & no media presentations would be used in the classroom, we thought, that s odd. On the first day of school, there was no bus and no notification that five students would be jammed into a teacher's Buick, we thought, What s going on here? Then, our child and her best friend were repeatedly bullied. The teacher and principle told us it was my child s fault, we said, Enough! This is a little school in a remote canyon that operates on its own set of rules. I m sorry but I thought that when funded by tax payers, the school had to be worthy of that support! In our opinion, Mt. Phoenix is failing in that mission. Our child was suspended AFTER the October student count. I looked for another school. Everything was infinitely better once we found out about Alpine Valley School. This is best kept secret in Wheat Ridge. For us it was the only logical choice. If you haven t considered this option, you owe it to your child to look into this unique educational alternative!  —Submitted by a parent

    Posted August 24, 2011
    WORST SCHOOL EVER! We were so traumatized by our experience with this so called school. 12 people that I know of also left this school of 60. Quite a significant percentage.
    —Submitted by a parent

    Posted April 4, 2011
    I had my grandsons there, the first year, they were wonderful and truly wanted to help them and help them become the best they could be. The following year after a admin change, they changed drastically. They no longer seemed to care about the children as much. Seemed more interested in who brought the money with them. One of the upper grads teacher actually lied to and about me and had me removed from the games day. One of my grandson was being terribly abused and all I heard from them was "well, you don't know the whole story" and that was after I was on the playground for recess every day. There are other people who feel the way I do. They are back in the public school and are doing good. But because the education at this school was not up to par, they are behind and the new teachers are trying and doing a good job. I would not recommend this school. —Submitted by a parent

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    You may ask, "where are all the 5=Star reviews?" Well, the problem with those reviews is that many tend not to be too honest. I have included 4-star reviews that appear honest. Often, gushing reviews are placed by teachers and administrators - as some comments here indicate. "This school educates the whole child!!!" - 5 stars - by Anonymous... I say baloney! Notice, many of the reviewers have been misled by Waldorf and are still buying the PR, even after having been disappointed. Feel free to comment but understand the intent of this blog. Comments are no longer moderated.