We love Dobson Academy and have had a great experience here! There are many things that I believe make it an excellent school that stands out among others. First, and most important to me, they teach to the whole child. I love that kids are learning character development, science, art, technology... so much more than most schools are focusing on today. Their curriculum (and amazing teachers!) allows for differentiation so that each child is taught at his/her instructional level. There have been many times when modifications have been made to challenge my son and take the same concepts to a higher level. Also, compared to public school and many other charter schools, class size is small, which was very important to us. Additionally, Dr. Adams and his staff are truly amazing...they are so knowledgeable in the best practices for educating kids, they are always working tirelessly to come up with new innovative ideas, and they are genuinely wonderful people who really love kids and have a passion for education.
The teachers and staff at Dobson Academy work hard to meet the needs of all of the students. The front office secretary always greets you with a smile and is very helpful with any questions or communication you may need.
My 3 kids have attended DA for 4 years and have loved it. The turn over rate is high, we have had 3 principals in the 4 years they attended. The good teachers have mostly disappeared and the curriculum is not as they make it seem. They hire inexperienced teachers and rely in the children to help others with the math and reading. On Monday my son went on a field trip and the bus broke down leaving my child in the parking lot sitting on the curb for over an hour. When I expressed my concerns with the teacher they were dismissed since they did not have any "problems" while waiting for the next bus. When they got back to school they were sent to specials instead of being allowed to eat lunch, which they did not eat until After 1:15. I contacted the principal and was told he accepts responsibility for not informing parents and was unaware that they went to specials before eating. He does not even know the time that the bus arrived on campus! This is alarming to me that he accepts responsibility of not knowing where my child is, what time they came back, or where they went when they returned. I was told he was too "busy doing in class observation" that's why he didn't know when the bus arrived and why he did not sent out parent corrospondance. On Friday, after not receiving any type of correspondence, I sent an email to the administration board. I got a response that I needed to file a formal grievance with the principal and could not go above him until I give him 5 days to address the problem. It concerns me to the point that I will more then likely relocate my children for the last quarter since the staff including the principal do not assume responsibility for my children on or off of campus. And when there is an issue with the principal it is clear they do not want to speak with you to come to a conclusion. A simple appology and a letter to the parents affected would have made me feel that they at least care about my kids. Their safety comes before their curriculum.
My daughter has been with Dobson Academy since Kindergarten, she is now in 6th grade, and our experience with this school has been very good. The teachers had been nothing less than amazing! I have no issues with following my daughter's progress in school because the school and the teachers have a great communication system, I regularly receive emails and flyers about everything that's going on in the school. The Before & After Care program is a huge part of why we chose to remain in this school. It's very convenient to a working parent like me, and the staff has been very friendly and helpful. They even have a 'Homework Club' in aftercare where the staff help students with homework. Always a huge help. I don't mind the regular fundraising activities and we do try to attend and participate as much as we could to support the school. DA is still a public school and does not receive sufficient support from the state, so the school and the families has to do their part.
I read a previous review where it stated kids were cleaning the aftercare facility and I didn't believe it. Well my daughter came home recently and told me she was "helping out" with cleaning in aftercare taking out trash and picking up. What??? This is absolutely not acceptable and even more so when parents aren't advised this is happening and is apparently part of the "activities" their child is doing.
Bullying has become a serious problem and staff fail to address our concerns after multiple attempts to contact them. When they do address the issue they state that they can do nothing about it because everyone denies any part in it. After a year and still no resolution of the bullying we will be taking our children out of the school and moving them elsewhere. It is unfortunate, we originally had high hopes for this school.
The teachers get 5 stars for sure...the communication from them has been great for the past 2 years we've been at DA. Our child has loved each teacher and the class sizes are small, which is one of the reasons we chose this school.
My biggest complaint is the amount of fundraising requests that are sent home. I don't mind the book sales, but the dining out, fun run, Jumpstreet night, dollar dress day, etc. It feels like there is a new one every week. It's excessive and annoying, especially since we also participate in giving the $400 tax credit every year. I don't recall it being this bad last year.
The staff changes are also a concern. Not so much on the teacher side of things, but the administration. A new principal again after 3 years, new volunteer coordinator, PT librarian, new nutritionist, etc. Seems like a high turnover rate which is unfortunate.
Don't get me started on the car line either. I realize the school is landlocked and there is no other alternative at this point, but it's ridiculous the way these parents drive! If there were some school officials more visible (besides the ones making the line run smoothly by calling student names) in directing traffic, enforcing lanes/restrictions, it could be much safer and smoother at pick up.
We love the before and after care program. Miss Lindsay is amazing and our child has really enjoyed attending during the summer months and has made many new friends through here.
We are currently investigating public schools within our district for the upcoming 2016 school year, as we're still uncertain whether we'll continue on with DA or not.