Hugh Lorch

Desert Shadows Elementary School8

Scottsdale, AZ | Maricopa County

Quality
Principal
Teachers
Activities
Parents
Safety

February 2, 2015


Although I am rating three stars I think the recent ousting of the longtime principal is a HUGELY positive development and predict that an additional star rises for me. I am hopeful that the future brings someone energized that actually can be found in the school during the school day, responds to parents, and supports an environment conducive to learning. Sadlt the interim principal does not want the job permanently which may reside in the fact he is getting a bit older. His reputation is fantastic and I can see a refreshing change in the atmosphere. If they get someone with half his enthusiasm I think DSES will move into the future on an upward trend.

Submitted by a parent

September 11, 2014


I am currently on my 2nd child at this school. DSES has continued to maintain a great atmosphere. The principal has been there for 13 years and has always had an open door policy; and has always been fair when it comes to teacher/parent issues. His longevity is amazing and is very important to the children & families in this community so reading some of these recent comments really have me floored! I think the main issue right now are the test scores. They dropped in 2013 after years of A's and B's. The principal held a forum after school to address the parents. In the meeting he had mentioned his decision to focus on Common Core standards last year to prepare the children for the roll out of the new test. I believe this change in curriculum statewide is going to contribute to growing pains EVERYWHERE and I am glad he was proactive in his approach to the new standardized test. There is an article on AZCentral that warns a sudden drop in scores across the state this year due to the new standardized test. I am interested to see how DSES does on the 2015 test because that is what is going to matter going forward. Hope the few parents don't mess up a great thing for the rest of us!

Submitted by a parent

November 6, 2013


I am very torn on how to rate this school. That teaching and support staff were always wonderful to my children. My oldest was there from k-6. They teachers my children had would go above and beyond. The issues came from the poor excuse of an office. My children had IEPs and 504s. Their current school could not get the IEPs from the school after 3 requests. I finally had to get very upset with the office to get them. This is not right. It took almost two months to get them. The 504 was never given, but luckily one caring staff member had given me multiples for myself. The principal not only allows bullying, but seems to encourage it. I witnessed him embarrassing a staff member in front of a lot of other parents. There were many incidents that he should have taken care of but nothing was done. There are lot of bright spots. One teacher put on an amazing America show when my child was in 5th. This teacher also always went above and beyond for my child. The man who runs the drama group is awesome. The special ed teacher is so caring. The majority of the teachers are excellent. I would highly recommend this school if there is a change in the office staff.

Submitted by a parent

October 4, 2013


As a parent of two DSES students, I wanted to say how pleased I have been with Desert Shadows. Many hard decisions have been made at the school regarding class sizes and teachers over the years. The school and the district have made these decisions to keep class sizes small at all grade levels so the students can receive the instruction they need. Classes in the K-3 grades are now 28 students or less this year. I am disappointed misinformation has been posted about class sizes and the way the decision was made to adjust class sizes. The decision to move 2nd grade into 2 classrooms instead of three is allowing the school to take the 5th grade classrooms from 37 students to the middle 20s and keep the 2nd grade classes also in the mid 20s. The school welcomes parents and encourages them to be involved. . As a family, we feel DSES provides a great education for our kids and feel they strive to meet the needs of every student.

Submitted by a parent

September 16, 2013


DSES is a school lacking on many efforts, I have been a previous parent of a current 5th grader and now return to the school as a parent of a second grader. My previous experience was so mediocre. My son, had many issues with his 504 accommodations, he had over 20 accommodations and they would not consider an IEP. He was a bright kid, bored out of his mind, and he bullied. I transferred to another PV school and was pleasantly heard, and my son was given the help and encouragement he needed. He was given an IEP, resources needed, speech, occupational, and placed in gifted classes. All things that were that I had brought up with the staff over and over again. Now I return hesitantly, with my second grader, and she is having "Mean Girl" issues. She is worried about what she is wearing to school at 7, not to mention I was informed Friday that a big change of grades was being made slipped in with a voting form for a PTA event. NO PHONE CALL WAS MADE BY PRINCIPAL. My daughter's 2nd grade class of 19 is now becoming 30.

Submitted by a parent

April 25, 2013


I have been less then impressed with most things at DSES over the last three years. The front office staff is rude and typically not very helpful. The principal is very hands off and not approachable for either students or parents. He seems to have his teachers backs to the detriment of the student population. One of the few saving graces has been having great teachers for the first two years. It really made it worth staying with everything else that was undesirable, but after this year we will be going out of district. Test scores keep dropping, parent involvement is lacking and getting help for smart kids is surprisingly difficult.

Submitted by a parent

February 1, 2013


We pulled our child out of this school after her 5th grade year had her teacher absent most of the time. Continuity of teaching is important, but they ensure the teachers are taken care of and the kids get second best.

Submitted by a parent

August 7, 2012


Great school and great families. Children are very happy there. Only criticism...possibly needs more parent involvement.

Submitted by a parent

May 21, 2012


Great school and wonderful families! It's so nice to be part of such a caring community. My son is happy and wants to go to school!

Submitted by a parent

May 13, 2012


I have to disagree with previous comment. Yes, this teacher was absent quite a bit, but her science is awesome. My child is not in her class, but they rotate. She comes home everyday excited by what she has done in that class. Her teacher is also great. She is always excited to teach herstudents. I do, however, have two complaints. Her math teacher relies on videos to teacher her class. Math was my child's favorite subject until this year. The principal allows bullying to continue in the school. He is not a positive force at DSES. If anyone should be let go, it is him.

Submitted by a parent

January 23, 2012


If you are considering this school, please stop and ask a student. The principal does nothing, he blatantly ignores the problem of bullying at the school. Teachers are simply waiting for retirement to come and they often compensate for lack of aides by asking teachers to select favorites to "monitor" the school yard. It creates a hierarchy on the playground. The teachers do not care about education and they humiliate students in front of their peers. The test for honors is useless as the teacher ends up deciding who moves onto the honors courses. The school is far behind others and desperately needs a better enrichment program. They make it extremely difficult for students to excel and play favorites. I highly recommend to consider an SUSD school, they understand what your child needs and they will do better than they ever would/did at DSES, or the further on schools.

August 28, 2011


I moved my children from another neighborhood school. My children loved the experience they had at Desert Shadows. They received a top notch education and their experience with the other students and teachers was way beyond what I would have expected especially after the experience we had at the other school. We loved the Principal and the teachers. The whole experience was an A++. What a great school.

Submitted by a parent

June 22, 2011


I have two children that have attended DSES, one is currently attending and the other has graduated. I can tell you flat out that you will not find a better school period! The Principal is very involved and very caring, all of the Teachers are awesome and the staff is second to none. The school is the heart of our community, all of the Little League games are played on the school fields, the Cub Scouts meet in the cafeteria and the PTA is very engaged and involved, hosting two carnivals a year as fund raisers as just one very small example. I feel so lucky to be a part of this school and surrounding community. If you are thinking of sending your child to DSES....just do it you and your child will love the education and the experience.

Submitted by a parent

May 30, 2011


My daughter just finished first grade here (and she attended Kindergarten). Her teachers have been amazing, open and communicative. The principle is caring and engages with all students and parents. There is a great sense of Community and I know my daughter is making life-long friends. I'm looking at a house in Central PHX, but my heart breaks at the thought of leaving this school. It might be a deal-breaker for us. Thanks DSES!!

Submitted by a parent

October 27, 2009


My daughter is in first grade and has attended DSES since Kindergarten. The staff at this school is so caring and involved. My daughter comes home from school just thriving to learn more she has become such an avid reader in the last couple years, I think that her teachers continue to give her inspiration and the encouragement she needs to continue growing. I understand that the teachers at this school have taken huge cuts since the fold of the economy and the classroom sizes have increased by a large amount however, these teachers are still just as dedicated as ever to continue teaching these children and helping them learn and grow.

Submitted by a parent

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