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Author Topic: Looking for input about Corbett schools  (Read 7531 times)
Wondering
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« on: February 13, 2010, 02:55:28 PM »

Hello Corbett,

My family is currently living in Portland, but my husband and I both grew up in small farm towns. For a few years we have been searching for a smaller town/more rural area to move to.  Our jobs require that we be commuting distance to Portland several days a week.  Although we know there is much more to a school than test scores and news articles, we are aware of Corbett's good reputation, and that is a draw for us, and one of our children has lotteried into the charter school.

We do have a few questions and would love to hear input from anyone in Corbett:
 - it seems (from this forum and other places) that there is a divide between the district and the charter?  Although Corbett is super-expensive, would it be better to move into the district?
 
 - we have toured the school, spoken with a teacher, and spent a lot of time reading the information from teachers, Mr. Dunton, etc. on the web and that is all very impressive - friendly community, small school, interesting educational approaches, lots of active learning.  Is this the experience most of you find at the school?

 - when I put out some questions on a Portland parenting blog about Corbett, I only received a few replies, but they were very negative.  In fact, disturbingly negative - parents being treated poorly, questions dismissed, multi-age classrooms that are not working, inexperienced teachers.  Is this a common feeling at the school?

Since we will need to sell our house in Portland and find a place out on the east side, it will be a big move for us - hopefully our last.  We want to try and make the best decision for us and our kids, so we would really appreciate hearing anything about the school.

Thank you.
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PNL
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 11:52:31 PM »

 No place is perfect.  The problem seems to be that people fall into one of two camps about the Corbett Schools: 1) they have drunk the proverbial kool-aid and think things are as great and wonderful as the stats and rankings claim or 2) they have been bullied/intimidated to not tell the truth about the Emperor's new clothes.  The old adages about grass on the other side and frying pans in fires might be your best info on this subject. Good Luck.
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Barbara
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 07:16:53 AM »

I agree with what the person just said to respond to your question. I saw your post and started to reply but really couldn't --- I don't have a lot to say that is good and didn't want to say anything at all. Mr. Dunton and Mr. Trani are more interested in appearances than actually being respectful and kind to the community here or actually helping our kids. That doesn't sit well with our family or friends. We do love our community and our teachers ( for the most part ) but they are being 'gagged' too. Then of course you have the ones that parrot Mr. Dunton's master plan. But otherwise - there is a lot of silence.

And that is my opinion. I would never tell someone not to move here - because it is a wonderful place to raise a family, but there is a lot of smoke and mirrors going on in the school district!
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thoughts of a transfer
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2010, 01:52:56 AM »

Greetings Wondering.

In a perfect world, we would all think alike, and thus the differing of opinions would cease to exist...and the rumor mill and nattering of many would wane considerably.

We  educate our children so that they can learn to challenge their own potential and to derive their own conclusions from all the varying backgrounds and information that is part of their world.  I think what you might be asking is what makes Corbett different and I will tell you that it is a school that seeks to inspire children to think for themselves...and not to just digest information that is input and implanted by some authority figure who stands in front of her pupils and instills wisdom. Maybe I am wrong, but I know my own two children really don't have big ears when it comes to listening to all the wisdom Mom would like to instill...nor do they want to sit in a classroom and be told information.

Some of these teachers do have limited "years" of experience and thus do not have a regimented lesson plan that they can plug in year after year, and so their own job remains a daily challenge that I would believe is an inspiration to them as well, to learn and grow with their students. Older teachers are of course going to grumble when they are asked to change and try something new. It is the nature of being on this planet.

The design of Corbett and the philosophy behind what was originally Corbett and now The Corbett Charter School is that children inspire each other... that the teacher is more of a guide who helps to direct these children towards a higher level of achievement that is not defined by a grade in the early years, but by a personal desire to achieve a higher learning. A sense of community is instilled  by asking children to take PERSONAL responsibility for their own learning, and reaching for that innate inner drive that each and every one of us begins with.

I chose to transfer into Corbett several years ago, having watched my older son, qualified as Tag slowly dying inside. I chose not to put him in tag, for what it came down to in the Reynolds district was just more busy worksheet type learning that simply would further stagnate his soul. Having transferred, my son  began to enjoy school again, is still a questionable student at times, but his sense of belonging to something of a greater purpose is intact.

My other younger son flourished in ways I never knew he could. He is now two years ahead in math, because yes, it is self paced and one can flow along at great speeds if they desire or putter  along as my other son does.Children innately are going to work at different levels and so perform accordingly. My younger son took great pride at being part of morning meetings and became quite the joker and storyteller, as well as a writer. He was 8. 

Change often terrifies many. I am not thrilled by the Charter Creation, but I recognize fully how the lack of funds have created a   very low ranking for the state of Oregon as a whole. We rank around 43rd in the nation, right down there with the backwoods southern state????

What intrigued me with Corbett when looking at just statistics, before we ranked in Newsweek, was that underprivileged children, which represented 26% of the district were outperforming others of the same background in other schools. The proverbial bar had been raised definitely, making it harder for some , yet what these same people do not realize is that they are already smarter than they would have been, had they not been challenged.

Many of the transfers that arrived with the creation of Charter came from homeschooling and private schools, many of them Christian based where parents had a strong influence in how their money was going to be utilized.  All of that is fair and just, but it is not why Corbett Charter was created and the fit for many of these people has been very uncomfortable.


What I will share with you in this small rural setting, is that at some point your children will know the principal and superintendent personally. They are truly hands on. Mr. Tranni can be found reading stories in the elementary school or teaching the middle school a game of Alaskan kickball, or running the distance  with the kids at track during P.E.

Both Dunton and Tranni will be found personally working with the high school to yes, achieve their personal best on State Testing and AP scores. You will not find such personal dedication to a just cause as these two men have. Some call it ego, whatever...it is a belief that given the odds, is proving to provide a great opportunity to a unique set of people who are willing to allow those who are taught to challenge the potential of children to do so,

Hope this helps  and remember, it is usually only those who have complaints that respond to surveys. I just happened to be bored one night and came across this blogspot and thought wow...there are a whole bunch of us who realize Utopia does not exist, but are grateful for the steps being made on our behalf to reach it..



                 
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Otterpop
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 09:44:42 AM »

We moved to Corbett from Portland 4 years ago. I commute to downtown Portland, which is 30 minutes on a typical day (I've never had it take longer than 60 minutes, even when there's an accident on 1-84).

My kids went to Hollyrood and Access (the TAG school, housed in Sabin School) when we lived in Portland. I can honestly say that the level of education, teacher quality, and administrative involvement is far and away better at Corbett. It definitely deserves the national ranking it enjoys.

As far as detractors: there will always be. No school is perfect, but Corbett provides more opportunity for children to excel than any school I have experienced. Children learn at their own pace, and at times there may be pressure to advance faster than a child is comfortable doing so. That has happened to one of my kids, and we had a talk with the teacher that cleared everything up. I whole heartedly endorse Corbett school, and the community in general.

Good luck with your decision.
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breezy
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2010, 02:07:10 AM »

Dear Thoughts,
I believe, in a perfect world, it would be 'perfect' to have differing thoughts and opinions. To ask questions and get feedback in an open and honest way. Free of fear and judgement. Full of discussion, compromise and problem solving.

I think our school is getting farther and farther from perfect. NOT closer to it, as we are being led to believe.

With that said, I wouldn't LIVE anywhere else.
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Sector 9
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2010, 06:05:14 PM »

"As far as detractors"

There is a major difference between "detractors" and "honest hard working loving parents" who have legitimate concerns with the way things are going down at our school.
 
There are those who just like to make trouble for the sake of being stinkers and then there are those who don't saying anything until it is time. And for me, now is the time. And it is extremely UNFAIR to those who are finally getting up the nerve to say something, only to be called "detractors".  That is wrong. 

Nothing is perfect, EVER! But there are many kids NOT getting what they need in this new k-3rd/4-6th grade blends at the school. People who are praising Corbett are basing everything from the past 10 years.  I've been a part of that and have had no issues until this year. But I see a problem with the new grade blends and ILE (Imaginative Learning Ed)!! Major problems!!  And so do other parents.
 
No, the school can't please everyone, but I would think that with the number of parents who have come forward to speak out should at least say SOMETHING to the administration about the temperature of what is going on out here! Some of these parents have never complained before! I'm one of those!! I usually avoid confrontations, I avoid getting involved in "politics" and I TRY to stay neutral...but I have come to the cross roads...and I had to finally take a stand and it STINKS.

Corbett is still great!  It has an incredible sense of community involvement, school spirit and I still wouldn't want my kids anywhere else.  But it's starting to lose what we loved about it in the first place. And because of what is currently going on at the schools, and I am being forced to make a painful decision. I will have to probably take my kids out and put them where they will actually get a quality education!!




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Nelson
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2010, 06:51:59 PM »

I agree with 'Sector Nine' on the difference between detractors and parents with concerns. We aren't 'crazy out of control freaks' or anything. There is a lot of stuff going on 'behind the curtain' and the Corbett community is starting to get more and more concerned with how excluded we all are becoming from our kids and our kids quality of education.

It is amazing to me that Mr. Dunton has gotten away with much of what he has ... the more stories I hear ( first hand accounts... not rumors ) I think he is headed for thin ice with the state board of education and the community. Charter parents and public school parents need to work together for ALL OUR KIDS. Mr. Dunton believes it's normal for some fourth graders to not quite be reading yet in his Imaginative Learning Model....  ( I know personally we have done a lot of 'at home' help to keep our kids up to speed ... but what about other kids falling through the cracks at home without the extra help? ) Oh right, they just move those kids out before they take the AP tests.

Also, these blended classes sound wonderful according to Mr. Dunton's blog, but there are always some not so positive things going on between three grade levels in a class...and not everyone sees this through Mr. Dunton's rose colored glasses.  Also, don't forget, YOU CAN'T QUESTION THE TEACHERS.. Especially when one of them is Mr. Dunton's wife, right? She has one of the 'closed door' teachers policies ...no parents help allowed..... Mr. Dunton's blog explains all about how the teachers are protected from those pesky parents. Curse the involved, caring ( pesky ) parents!

Who checks up on our kids in Corbett .... Anyone from the "outside"? Shouldn't someone get more than the ramblings of the man behind the curtain? Hey OUTLOOK, hey OREGONIAN....over here!!!!!
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familymatters
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2010, 11:21:40 AM »

Dear Wondering,

Corbett is a more expensive area to live in but it is worth every penny. We are a community that works. I would personally say from a school side to move in district. We have phenomenal teachers IN district. Many live and work within our community. They are experienced and great educators. I can't say the same for the charter school. The newest teachers were contracted for the charter School. In my opinion, it is because Mr. Dunton has full control of the Charter school, the teachers, who stays, who goes and even the Charter board. He selects and he can fire anyone. Now that he has resigned from the Corbett School District he will be 100% Charter School. Thank goodness.

Is there a divide between Charter and In district? Yes. Unfortunately. But any time you segregate children there will be a divide. Prior to being a Charter school were we divided? No. We use to accept out of district transfers and you honestly didn't know who was in and who wasn't. More importantly, it didn't matter.  Now that we accept our\t of district transfer paperwork again- I would suggest doing this so you are part of the main district school and not the Charter. The Charter school teachers appear to love the control of what children stay and what children go. The parents are not allowed in the classroom and within the District, you are encouraged to be a part of the classroom. I would suggest you come walk the halls of the school. You will see these wonderful art projects created by the in-district children and coloring book tear outs from the Charter. If this is imaginative learning- I don't want my kid to be there. I have carefully watched all year and I have personally not seen anything "imaginative" coming out of the Charter school. Ask to sit in on a class in the Charter. You will most likely be told no. Ask to sit in on a class in district and you will be welcomed.

Where you live is what sets your standards of living. I commute daily to Portland and wouldn't have it any other way. It's an incredible place to live and hopefully we will be able to make our school equally incredible. We need parents talking up and speaking their opinion which is hard in a small community. I am not a detractor. I have watched more closely over the last several years than most parents. Little by little I think things are changing for the better. Our community will be as strong as our AP scores because of parents that care and take notice.
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