My daughter just completed her second year at GCA and we absolutely love it there. Before GCA she attended another GPS school and was in the honors program there as well, which technically is the same curriculum. However, the learning environment is so much better at GCA. Teachers are available daily to assist before and after school with concepts and homework. I never had to wait more than 24 hours to hear back from a teacher. At the other school it usually took more than 2 weeks and even then they were not available for help. My daughter has been very happy and we enjoy the small school atmosphere. I don't believe every child would excel at GCA, but they are given the opportunity. If you child is focused, goal oriented, and disciplined this school will be a perfect fit. The only drawback is the old campus and facilities that are not meeting the needs of the school anymore.
Pretentiousness over rigor. A lack of cohesive policies among teachers who add homework online at night and assign un-vetted online programs: poor planning and lack of organization among people we are meant to trust with our brightest students. Successful here are those best prepared to jump through unnecessary hoops, teach themselves (the math department is a particular mess), and stay up late deciphering the vagaries of the latest program (not due to the material but because the program was neither tested nor modeled). Such students succeed anywhere. Especially laughable - despite taking only honors/AP classes (this being "normal" at GCA), students' scores are not weighted like their counterparts elsewhere. GCA students receive lower GPAs than those taking identical classes in the same district! 1:1 technology is more trouble than it s worth and does nothing to alleviate textbook burden. Having technology vs. using it to efficiently support education is not a distinction GCA has mastered. Music/sports are bright spots. These coaches encourage the kind of spirit expected from the education GCA lauds, perhaps being more prone to care about growth of the whole student.
Learning by rote memorization, teachers sucking the fun out of everything, conservative propaganda, and the homework load... where do I begin? GCA's learning system is not at all what one would expect from the 3rd best school in Arizona and the 28th best school in the nation. Instead of teaching in creative and unique ways, the school forces students to memorize trivial information to achieve good test scores. This system is not fun at all for me or any of my friends- the only thing they actually put effort into making fun for students is their terrible methods of assigning seats. In biology today, I watched a video that I am absolutely convinced was a twisted form of indoctrination of the classic Christian values of abstinence and being pro-life. It documents a fetus's "journey" from the moment of conception, and I quote, "when life begins." In addition, the current Spanish teacher here is a conservative- he makes it clear by expressing his political opinion in the classroom in a threatening way that makes liberal students such as myself afraid to counter his opinions due to the fear of being suspended, expelled, or losing respect from him just for having an opinion. t.b.c.
I am a student at this school and I would describe the school as not as good as they advertise it to be. I am a good student and wanted to get a head start when starting college so I enrolled in this school. Most teachers are decent but some teachers are terrible. For example one of my teachers corrects homework while we are teaching notes which sometimes leads to us not finishing our notes and having to do homework we haven't been taught. Everything about this school is above average but not any better than a decent public school. What sets this school apart is the fact that student are given lots of homework and the student's there are exceptionally smart. Many parents put smart kids in this school because it is a "good school". Also tons of kids who can't deal with the homework leave after 8th grade to go to another school. This smart kids left inflate GCA's test grades. You could easily get an education similar to GCA's by giving your children tons of extra work. If you are thinking about this school I think you should look somewhere else.
Good luck with this school, basically every student cheats on the 3 hours of homework they get. Additionally as of this year, the students are forced to eat inside the cafeteria so as to limit the amount of trash left outside. If your kids go here, they will be treated like kindergartners who have to be monitored constantly, they will all be crammed into a room, even if the maximum occupancy of the room is reached. The students are told that they are "exceeding" in all subjects, however ,when you compare the AP test scores of all the other schools in the valley, i'ts easy to see that they aren't any better than the neighboring high schools. This review doesn't even really matter because the school will probably be closed by the end of the 2015-2016 school year, if not earlier. I took my child out of this school because its is just ridiculously over rated. If you plan on putting your child in this school, I'm begging you to reconsider.
Our hopes for a "classical" school were dashed. We expected Latin education, the Socratic method used through much of the instruction, history taught four years in high school, and rhetoric. Unfortunately, you don't have the opportunity for Latin in high school. Latin 1, 2 are only offered in junior high. History is not taught in 9th gr. Socratic method was scarcely used. Group projects were overused. The school appears to be high performing, but it's not due to the material they present or how they teach. Instead, the school benefits by being full of students who would normally excel at any high school.Students who endure the ridiculous amount of unnecessary homework succeed. It's normal for students to spend all day in school and all evening doing homework.There's a false assumption: many assignments plus many hours of homework equals success. This school model is not conducive to long term retention of the information learned, nor is it "classical". The administration was not open to feedback. Most disturbing is the "Springboard" English program. The student's literary experience no longer includes reading complete novels, just segments of books. This is not classical education
I'd rather take a few honors and ap classes and live a great life outside of school where I can pursue my passions than go to a school where shoving as much academics down a students throat as possible is more important than providing a quality education. As a current student going here I know what it's like. If you're an in the box thinker passionate about academics, you'll love this school. If you are a creative type more into the humanities who's an out of the box thinker. Look elsewhere . Not to mention the school will have to deal with overpopulation and limited space next year
We moved our son from a private school to GCA because they falsely advertise use of the Socratic teaching method and emphasis on mastery learning. Having a masters in education and 2 decades of being a leader in the computer industry - I was appalled at both the lack of instruction, poor leadership examples, and practices that contradict what students will need to be prepared for the real-world. Why? Students are not taught but forced to memorize and regurgitate to obtain higher test scores. For example, there were only 2 occasions we tried to speak to our son's teacher to get extra assistance. Both were escalated to the Principal within seconds when we questioned teaching principles around mastery learning theories and that they were not using the Socratic method. We were chastised for coming on campus, our questions never answered, and son was pushed off on another student for help. We were bullied by the Principal when our son was given a 0 because he and a lab partner had the similar answers on a lab they did together. The school worries more about test scores then if the students are actually learning and does not provide good examples in conduct for our children.