If your child is above average or slightly gifted, this school will be hard, seem bizarre and probably not a good fit. If your child is truly gifted, this school will be a blessing. It is for kids that need the extreme critical thinking learning path to be engaged and successful. My daughter has been at Knox for 3 years after attending CTA and Public school. It is hands down the best learning environment for her.
If your child is accepted, then you should send him/her to Knox. To be honest, I was very skeptical of the curriculum for the first several months. Knox is following the core curriculum (at an advanced pace) and integrating STEM. This method is so different than what I experienced in elementary school 30 years ago. The good news is that it works! Rather than memorize a bunch of facts, the teacher provided hands-on design challenges and real-world problems. Now, at the end of kindergarten, I can see the amazing results. My daughter has an excellent grasp of mathematical relationships and she recently performed division (not by using the standard algorithms, but mentally using what she knows about numbers). She has learned several writing techniques that I would consider "pre-essay" skills. She learned how to write a persuasive letter, a biography and a book/article review. With the redesigned SAT calling for more real-world problem solving and a deeper analysis of literary strategy, I think that the Knox curriculum is right on track. What a great school!
Our first year at KGA and my child has blossomed here. My child has been challenged by teachers that show her what she is capable of doing. Everyone at the school has been so helpful. The new principal coming in next year seems very excited and has a good record in working with gifted students and the teachers that teach them. Very active PTO with plenty of activities that bring families together. Challenging school but with the kindness any parent would want for their child.
Knox Gifted Academy is a great environment with many excellent, dedicated teachers. The research is clear that a self-contained environment is the best for helping gifted learners reach their full potential, but KGA is the only fully gifted school in the state. I think gifted children can easily coast at most other schools and never learn that success is the result of hard work rather than natural ability, but that is not a problem at KGA. Also, the self-contained environment is a boon for parents and teachers who can feel isolated in other setups. The teachers (at least the ones I've known) are focused on teaching the exact things I find important - learning how to enjoy challenges and learning how to think critically. The engineering program is a stand-out aspect. There's not a lot of memorization work, which may be an adjustment for parents and students used to lots of drills. I see other reviews that point out some issues that I see as temporary. Knox is currently 75% KGA, but it will be fully KGA starting in the 2014-2015 school year. In addition, there have been some inevitable growing pains as KGA went from nonexistent to its current state in just a couple of years.
Be aware, this school is not safe. The school is in an old and run down neighborhood. The neighborhood kids are still attending this school even though the school is named Knox Gifted Academy. Apparently the neighborhood kids don t like the school being taken over by the gifted kids. So there is a hostile attitude/behavior towards the gifted kids. The school administration has not done a good job to bring the two groups together. They try to avoid their responsibilities by blaming on the poor upbringing and intelligence of these neighborhood kids. Several incidents such as the neighborhood kids picked on the CATS kids have occurred in campus. So far, the only solution the school can come up with is more segregation. Should the school provide a role more like an educator than a prison guard?
I had high hope before my child joined the Knox gifted program. But just in one semester, I realized it was a huge mistake. First of all, the quality of teaching is average at the best. Many teachers are new to the gifted program at Knox. Then, there was a hiring crisis for a first grade class, several teachers hired and resigned in a short time frame. Recently, a great fourth grade teacher quit the job after only one semester on the job. The principal doesn't share any concerning issues among different grades. So you won't be able to learn the bad news for another grade directly from the school. Now I can't wait to take my child out of Knox when the semester is over.
KGA is definitely in the development stage. There is NO curriculum or textbooks that define a logical progression through lessons. They did not have a spelling test in first quarter. When asked about getting the homework sent home on Friday, the teacher indicated that is not ready till after school, which shows how last minute it is. When a child is learning the basics (as in K-2), sometimes there has to be drills/ worksheets. Example: multiplication is all memorization .it just has to be learned by drilling. When there was a specific issue and parents were asking for a meeting the administration repeatedly said no or completely ignored the emails. The school also struggles with discipline/structure. Since Gifted kids also have other traits of ADHD, they need structure or else it becomes chaos, which distracts from the teacher being able to teach. To improve they need curriculum plans that align to the common core standards. They need to evaluate the focus of the 40 year old campus - facilities, school within a school, etc. To sum it up we are regretting moving our child to this school as we feel they are not learning anything beyond what they learned last year.
This is my child's 3rd yr here. Most of his teachers have been outstanding and wonderful with the quirks of gifted kids. The PTO is better now than a few yrs ago. The curriculum is STEAM, not STEM. Most of the reviews I read forgot the A...they do have a music program and drama, thus including Arts. The huge grounds back to a park.In their 3rd grade class for Greek Mythology,, the teachers had an Olympics outside...kids brought togas and signed up for one Olympic event. The bad? Nurses are not the best. I called the principal twice over 3 yrs ago to volunteer...still waiting for her to call me back. She always appears angry and unapproachable, and is NEVER friendly or smiley at people at any after-school events (or any other time, I would guess). Another parent told me that she targeted her child on the playground in front of everyone to shout...are YOU the one who saw the person with the gun? Who was it? (That wouldn't possibly put a target on the kid's back!) There are neighborhood classes/kids in addition to the gifted. The PTO is very active but the teachers and PTO are always asking for donations of things or $. The school is wonderful, but a long way to go on some things.
Pros - Good students and responsible parents. All kids are tested into the program Cons - Young program lack strong teachers. - Lack of structure and curriculum for the classrooms. Teacher teaches whatever she/he wants. Materials covered are very scattered and no depth to the subject. - Homework for lower grades require extensive parents involvement (Preparing PowerPoint slides for Kinder. Work through and explain directions of computer math games to 1st grader. Make sure you have a working printer at home to print out your kid's homework. Homework come from parents, not school). Leaving parents wonder if the kids are going to school or they re-live grade school all over again. If you are both working parents or you don't have time to do kids' homework, think twice before you send your kids to Knox. You basically signed up for another part-time job. From the raving reviews, I wonder if they are coming from higher grade students' parents. I feel like Knox might be more targeted for higher grades where project based teaching is more suited, but for lower grade kids entering school for the 1st time, I don't see any merit to Knox's teaching style.
This school is outstanding. The teachers are all focused on STEM and try to teach kids how to think instead of how to pass tests.
Knox Gifted Academy provides an engaging curriculum to make learning hands-on and fun. Students are being prepared to think critically and apply new knowledge to addressing real-world problems. I feel fortunate that my child has the opportunity to attend a school with such an excellent program for gifted students.
Knox is filled with highly skilled teachers who genuinely care about each student. Students have consistent access to current technology and are challenged to dig deeper in their subject matter. Knox Gifted Academy was an answer to our prayers when our son was bored at his previous school. For other parents of gifted children, you understand the need for your child to be continually challenged... and they are at Knox!
Knox KGA is an exceptional school. The teachers are enthusiastic and creative in presenting the curriculum. There are many opportunities for hands on projects and working with their peers. The 5th grade has three teachers that team teach. We love the opportunity to get the best of all these teachers in facilitation of learning. There are many opportunities for parent involvement...and the parents volunteer their time, money and experience to help make even greater things happen. KNOX ROCKS!
My son was accepted to Knox Elementary School for his first grade year. Immediately I noticed the advanced technologies provided by the school. The teachers amazingly have a vast knowledge of each individual student. The teachers have been very attentive of responding to every email I have ever sent. The curriculum challenges the students to stretch their minds and learn in their own personalised learning fashion. I hope my daughter is accepted when she is tested.
By far, the best program / curriculum/ parent support/ school we have experienced or heard of. My son started @ KGA when the program started. We have been 150% satisfied with the methodology of teaching. The teachers beautifully engage these bright kids in a way that keeps them wanting more. The STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering & math) is skillfully woven together using the arts as the yarn. We have experienced good teachers in other schools, in & out of the CATS program. But, these teachers are not only top notch, they are given the freedom to teach, not drill! The hands-on projects, the team teaching, the technology... all support and foster a deeper connection with their learning experience. Common Core State Standards are a natural foundation for this program. This was the school program I prayed I would find! And, Chandler Unified School District gave it to me. Thank you! My ONLY disappointment with this program is that it is not closer to my home. The bussing helps! But, I would love this school to be located further south.
Fabulous educational environment where gifted learners can thrive and excel at their own pace. Some of the highest quality educators in the district have been chosen to make Knox the very best place to learn! My kiddos travel almost an hour each way to attend. It has been a huge blessing to our family to be involved at Knox.
This is my daughter's third year at Knox Gifted Academy. We couldn't be happier with KGA. Her teachers are supportive and work together to create an environment that is conducive to learning. The work is challenging, but not overwhelming. My daughter has learned to work well independently, but also how to be part of a team to achieve a common goal. The office staff is always friendly when I come in. The community as a whole is very dynamic and innovative. One of the best things about KGA is the campus - mature trees, grass, so many places to run and play and be a kid :). My daughter loves coming to school every day.
What an exciting innovative way to learn! Real hands on learning not pages and pages of worksheets. Kids are taught to work collaboratively, an essential skill for the workplace. We love our teacher- she in energetic and gets the kids excited to learn.
Pros: KGA is focused on teaching to gifted learners, with all of their quirks and personality traits, good and bad. The staff is communicative, focused and efficient. The principal has even returned my calls on weekends because she is so committed to communication and parent involvement. It is NOT an accelerated school, the kids my learn faster, but pushing through information is not the goal at this school. Learning how to look at information, apply it to real life situations and process solutions in creative and unique ways is the true focus. Frankly, I think all schools should be taught with the philosophy found at KGA. The teachers are so in touch with the students' needs and best teaching practices. They involve parents, not shun them, and they listen to your concerns and follow up at all ends of the issue. The campus is spread out and spacious. I am so thankful our child has been able to experience this quality of teaching and content across curriculum. Knox Rocks! Cons: The school is older and in need of renovation. It is in a lower demographic neighborhood, but I feel my child is safe there due to the iron fence that encloses the entire property.
My son is in his 3rd year st KGA. We simply love it. This is such a unique oppurtunity we have here in Chandler. All the parents are greatly involved, excellent communication. Very responsive staff. Amazing experience. My son loves it too..and believe me we tried the whole array of schools before comitting to KGA, but he fits here. So for gifted kids no better option in the valley in my humble opinion.
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