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About This School

Southwest Elementary is a public elementary school in Durham. The principal of Southwest Elementary is John McCain, whose e-mail is 561 students go to Southwest Elementary and identify mostly as Asian/Pacific Islander; Asian; and Black, non-Hispanic. 71% of the 561 students here get reduced lunch prices. The student to teacher ratio at Southwest Elementary is 13:1. Pearsontown Elementary is one of the nearest elementary schools.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Arts

    • Chorus
    • Computer arts
    • Drawing painting
  • Languages Taught

    • Spanish
  • Sports

    • Cross country
    • P.E. classes
    • Track

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Asian/Pacific Islander 8% 3%
Asian 6% 2%
Black, non-Hispanic 56% 51%
Multiracial 5% 3%
Hispanic 18% 24%
White, non-Hispanic 15% 19%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.7% 0.2%
American Indian/Alaskan Native 0.2% 0.3%
Pacific Islander 0.2% 0.1%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.2% %

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 71% 66%

Community Rating & Reviews

  • (4 months ago)

    I also have a kindergartner in the Spanish immersion program. He has loved the program and the school and has made amazing academic progress in an environment that feels structured secure and supportive. He loves his friends and teachers and it is rewarding to see him happily running into school in the mornings excited for another day....

  • (4 months ago)

    My son is in Kindergarten in the Spanish Immersion program. He loves his teacher and is enjoying school. The before school care is good - he loves the breakfast - and the Piedmont Wildlife Program is a real bonus. Loves the Specials of Science and dance and I haven't had any safety concerns for him.

  • (1 year ago)

    My son started kindergarten in the fall of 2012 at Southwest. We were excited to attend as we could walk to school and had really liked the administration when we toured the prior spring. Our experience though was terrible and led us to withdraw our son in October and transfer him to another school for the remainder of the school year. His teacher was very punitive and yelled a lot and my son came to hate going to school (despite the fact that he always earned good behavior marks). I spoke with administration and learned from several people that this particular teacher had a long reputation of this behavior. We were unimpressed with the atmosphere in the school and the principal's lack of follow-up in our situation and decided to apply to transfer to a different school in the county for first grade. We were very disappointed that Southwest couldn't deliver as both my husband and I grew up in Durham and Southwest used to be a much more respected school.

  • (2 years ago)

    Love Southwest! It is a great community one where I both teach and send my own children. Southwest is diverse and seeks to work with families of all backgrounds races and cultures. Our staff is dedicated to nurturing and challenging all children. My son has had a terrific experience so far and I'm looking forward to my little one being in Kindergarten!

  • (4 years ago)

    Southwest has an excellent and devoted staff. All of my 5 children have been students there and I am truly pleased with their progress.

  • (4 years ago)

    Southwest have some outstanding teachers/staff. My grand kids are so highly motivated to go to school everyday. It is great to find so many dedicated professionals at Southwest Elementary School.

  • (5 years ago)

    I am very pleased with Southwest.You would be amazed at the teachers passion.It is very clean and lots of color to make the atmosphere fun.

  • (5 years ago)

    I can't imagine a better elementary school than Southwest. From the principal staff teachers and PTA president you are keep inform and there are plenty of activities that you can be involved. The atmosphere is one of learning.

  • (5 years ago)

    Very friendly and professional staff. My kids love it.

  • (6 years ago)

    The Dual Language program at Southwest is great! My child is learning so much Spanish while still learning all her regular materials in English. Also the school has great activities such as International Night the Fall Festival the book fairs etc. I love that the older girls are able to participate in Girls on the Run and that all grades can enter the science fair.

  • (6 years ago)

    We've been very pleased with this school. The teachers are dedicated the hallways and classrooms are alive with activity and color and most importantly students are learning. Southwest is one of Durham's hidden gems!

  • (6 years ago)

    I have had two children to attend and have been very successful. I recommend this school to anyone that has a love for academic greatness.

  • (7 years ago)

    This is our third year at Southwest and for the first time I realize how grat we had it the first two years. Right now its early in the year but I have serious concerns with the teachers philosophy and the level of education being offered.

  • (8 years ago)

    My sons started attending this school four years ago. I am not pleased with the racial makeup of the classes (90% African American classes 90% White classes). I chose this school for the ethnic diversity and higher test scores. At first I did not see this type of discrimination. I am wondering why this has not been an issue since the school has a large student population. The school has a new principal and it has become more apparent that she lacks leadership skills. I have talked with other parents who are not satisfied with what is going on with the school. Some third grade classes do not go to lunch until 2 00pm. School dismisses at 3 20pm. There is no excuse for this. This is the better elementary school in the system so I have no choice but to supplement my children's education with outside resources.

  • (9 years ago)

    I have really enjoyed this school. My twins have been here since K-5 and I have had nothing but great things from this school. Parent involvement is great and the PTA makes a great difference.

  • (10 years ago)

    My son just completed his first year at Southwest. He had a great kindergarten teacher whose main focus was teaching reading skills. By the end of the year my son read at a 3rd grade level. All of the teachers are generally friendly and I haven't had any problems with staff. There are many fundraisers and activities although getting parent participation can be difficult. I wouldn't want to be at any other school in this district. After lots of research this was the best public school in the area.

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