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Flagstaff Junior Academy5
Posted November 02, 2014
- a parent
My kids have been at FJA for elementary and middle school. I can truly say that I respect the teachers that they have had. FJA uses a hands on approach and incorporates projects so that the students WANT to learn! The students are treated fairly with the school's huge emphasis on building community. Finally, my 8th grader is gifted. Many of our friends thought we should try other schools in our area, but she has been consistently challenged by her teachers because they are not afraid to involve the students in discussions and projects that meet the Common Core. We are very pleased!!!
FJA is a great learning environment for my children. The education at the elementary campus uses the core Montessori principle of learning at the pace that best fits the student. At the same time, the students are held accountable for completing their work every week. (Accountability has been a missing piece for us in previous Montessori experiences.) Much of the learning involves hands on projects, field trips, or visiting experts. Children's House (3-6yo) is amazing not only for the learning environment but also for teaching children to treat each other in a kind and respectful way. Our family has had experience with 5 different teachers throughout our years at FJA elementary and all have been top caliber. The small classroom size has ensured that any issues that need to be addressed are done so quickly and I agree with another reviewer who said that the teachers and staff care very much about their students. The only downside to our experience ( and every school has a downside) is the amount of paper or worksheets that come from some of the classrooms. Also the turnover in Spanish language instructors has made the Spanish program somewhat inconsistent.
This is our third year at FJA. We have sons in 2nd grade and 5th grade. We LOVE FJA. Our sons have been provided opportunities to work above their grade level in the areas in which they have stronger skills; they also receive wonderful support in their areas where they may struggle. There is a strong community with highly involved family support. The kids are held to high expectations with how they treat one another. The multi-grade classroom is fantastic as it allows teacher and student to develop a strong relationship. The teachers and staff genuinely love the school and the kids.
This is a great, small community school. The Elementary is wonderful, especially the kinder and the 1st/2nd classes. 3rd/4th is also good but not as strong as the early years. Unfortunately the 5th grade is now middle school and a separate campus. My kids have been here going on 5 years and we've really liked it here, even with the change in principal and no principal for an entire year. The staff is not very good at communication but they are working on it. I find it sad that many of the teachers are sending their kids to other schools (especially for 5th grade) and that makes me nervous as a parent. The 'small' community that the elementary provided for the past 4 years is now broken with the middle school. Not sure if we will stay be we are going to see how it goes. PROS - small classes, great environment, great teachers, family-oriented CONS - not Montessori based after 1st grade and especially not in 3/4th. Lack of technology used by the teachers (not good with email, web updates, etc) New Spec Ed director is inexperienced and (IMO) she is not best suited for that job. Leadership is new but not sure if it is strong. The school is in transition.
The school has a great collection of kids and families. Some of the teachers are excellent. Nearly all of the people in positions of authority need to be dismissed, however. They are dishonest, unprofessional, lazy and fail to put the wellbeing of the kids first. They have been known to alter and omit information for parents and the board that might make them look bad. The classes also fail to provide challenge for students that are ahead of the curve. They also waste a great deal of time throughout the day with activities that don't really teach anything.They are technologically deficient and though many subjects are touched on, nothing is really learned in depth. My kids are at this school because socialization is important and the kids that go here are a good group. We are just biding our time until they can go somewhere better.
I have 2 kids that have been attending fja at the elementary and middle school and i am continuously disappointed. this is their 3rd year at the school and it will be their last. the school is run like day care, with little structure. they have old text books and not enough for each student so they have to share the books in groups. this makes it difficult for someone struggling with math. the teachers have an "oh, they'll learn that next year" attitude and they push off teaching important concepts. a math teacher at the middle school, is mean, impatient, and bullies the kids. he has favorites who he coaxes into laughing at other kids he doesn't like. he makes fun of kids in front of the whole class and cannot control his temper. and administration was not concerned that he was making kids cry. my kids were scoring in the 98th percentile when they came to this school and their test scores have steadily dropped. i heard great things about this school back before 2008, but it is terrible now. kids love the unsupervised, day-care like atmosphere, but they are not learning. try it for a year to see for yourself. it took me three years to realize it just keeps getting worse, not better.
FJA is a wonderful, family oriented school community! I absolutely love hearing each day how wonderful my 3rd graders day was. The teachers clearly care for their students and go well out of their way to help each child feel successful. The focus is not just on academics but on having a respectful, peaceful and fun learning environment that incorporates hands-on materials, art, poetry, literature, peace education and responsibility.
I went to this school for only one year, my eighth grade year back in 2001-02 and it was probably the best year I've ever had in school. The teachers were awesome, the classroom environment was great, and the student-teacher relationships were outstanding. I went there as a below average student, who just didn't care, but FJA helped me to become the person i am today. I write this review from half way around the world, and if you have a child who you know has potential, and can benefit, send him/her here. One day i will never forget was 9/11... We all crammed into one classroom, and watched the footage as it was going down. All day we gave insight and discussed the event. I am now a great public speaker, and though i chose to join the navy, FJA helped me into becoming a well disciplined man.
The teachers at FJA really strive to make learning fun and applicable to life while instilling the self-discipline and values needed for kids to succeed beyond the classroom. My kids have all loved school from pre-school all the way up. The chance to work at their own pace and pursue their interests as they relate to classwork has made my children happy students! Where else would a middle school boy who dislikes reading novels love his English class? Where else are the kids guaranteed art, foreign language, physical, health, music education every week-even when they're little?