This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Great Hearts Academies - Arete Prep1
Posted December 10, 2014
- a parent
Unfortunately, after three years of sending our chidlren to this school, we have to give an unsatisfactory grade. This school has a huge leadership problem. Everything is geared towards mindless performance. While my children have no problems getting straight As, we have observed how you are supposed to perform: never question anything. Never engage in discussion. Since the move, things have become worse. Teachers who engaged with the weaker students, trying to help them succeed, were fired. Among the faculty a sense of intimidation is prevalent. The "headmaster's" message is clearly: you follow my way of thinking by the book, no matter if it is making sense or not. Numerous attempts to engage him in discussions of obvious shortcomings have failed, be that about technical issues in the building or teacher attitudes or anything else. The only time he will communicate is when he is asking for donations. Don't be fooled by the outward appearance of the school. The school had a lot of promise, but under this leadership it will not fulfill it. If you want your child to be able to mindlessly repeat tons of information, you will be happy. If they are supposed to grow their own minds, not.
This is our 6th year at MPA. Over the years we have seen many changes and growth. The most positive change was in leadership! Mr. Wagner is an amazing leader with great vision and love for his students, families and staff. He is very willing to listen, and address areas of concern. We are incredibly blessed to have him as Head Master. Is any school perfect and without areas that need improvement? We have yet to find one! At least MPA faces issues head on and is willing to make changes. We have been able to compare this school alongside several different public schools/charter schools over the years. We have had our ups and downs with our feelings/frustrations etc. but have persevered through the growing pains and couldn't be happier that we did. Need to know: The curriculum is challenging, but RICH and solid in philosophy and truth. The teachers are dedicated and EXCITED about teaching their subject area (which inherently rubs off on the students), and what I appreciate is that if they are not cutting it, they are FIRED! Parents, get involved! You will find a community that is welcoming and needs you! MPA is adding a K-5 and a new campus next year so more good things are to come!
This is a response to the student review dated November 24, 2012. I believe your intention was to paint a positive picture of Mesa Prep. The students do receive a lot of support, encouragement , 1:1 guidance from the teachers, and are offered many opportunities for tutoring. I was very impressed with how Great Hearts/Mesa Prep also encourages the students to simply be solid citizens with good character and most importantly to respect each other. However, this student was not very respectful to his or her peers or their parents in their review. The assumption that students who struggle are "lazy" along with their other very obnoxious insults are in fact a sign of poor character and a bad attitude (especially for a mentor). Considering the insulting vibe of the review, I found it ironic that he or she opened with how the school is so friendly and encouraging. To give a little background - I am not a complaining parent - my child has been at Mesa Prep for 3 years with A's and B's. The students here need to work real hard at this school - there is no coasting through. However, I would never write off a child who is struggling with this curriculum as being "lazy."
My son, who is finishing 6th grade loves Mesa Prep and the teachers! The academics is challenging but it is presented in a way that is interesting and allows the children to think on their own. The teachers and staff really do know my son. I know this from their reviews and speaking with them one on one, throughout the year. Tutoring is free and encouraged even for the most advanced students. There is a no cut rule in sports which allows all the children to be part of "Team", but academics will always be priority at this school. Warning! Be prepared to cut the apron strings. Parent involvement is done through the lunch program, school activities, fundraising, teacher appreciation, but not in the classroom. Also, student organization is key to your childs success at this school. My son has learned life-long organizational skills this year that many adults still do not have. All the parents and children have been very welcoming to us. They have an excellent student mentor program which makes the transition to Junior High very smooth. The Headmaster has made sound decisions since we have been here and I have been able to speak with him on several occasions. We love it!
We couldn't be happier at Mesa Prep. The curriculum is challenging, teachers are amazing and the administration is approachable and helpful. I'm surprised by the comments about inexperienced teachers, athletics, lack of parent input and disorganization. We have been at Mesa Prep for many years and have certainly not had the same experience. There have been a few teachers over the years that did not seem to fit and the headmaster replaced them quickly. The athletic department is incredibly organized and there is never a lack of communication, sometimes there seems to be more than we need. Any time the school considers making a major change the families are polled for their opinions. The school communicates with families regularly about what is happening and my child enjoys going to school at Mesa Prep. While the facilities could certainly use a facelift, the school itself is a great fit for any family who is looking for a school with good leadership, challenging curriculum and happy students and teachers.
I am a freshman student at MPA and it's the most friendly and encouraging school I've been to. There are no cliques and everyone knows each other. I'm part of the mentorship program, and it's great that new students have a student's perspective and guidance. Also, I'm pretty sure that we're the first school to implement the Exeter math program, and I think it's great, despite the reviews on here (which are bad reviews because your kid is obviously too lazy to struggle with a problem without having instructions right on the page for you... Good luck in life, not all the answers will always be right there for you). Also, I think the teachers are great! They ALL offer tutoring for extra help. I think that some kids (or their parents complaining on here) are upset because the teachers usually answer questions with questions and try to guide us to figure out things on our own or with our peers, instead of just giving us the answers. Sorry, your kid is lazy, good luck after high school. And finally, the front office ladies are wonderful and pleasant. I think last year was moreso unorganized because there were very few people trying to run the front office, but this year we have more help
The previous comment (posted on 8/26/12), regarding complete disorganization, is absolutely true! It's at this school and the main office. Whether it be uniforms, sports, field trips, volunteer fingerprinting, etc., the only consistent is a complete lack of organization. To make it worse, none of it makes logical sense. For a school that claims to be built on pillars of logic, their own actions repeatedly defy it. Also, if you re coming from a private school then you're in for a surprise. The class sizes are BIG (25-26 students). The facilities are cramped and overcrowded! Every day my students class locations change due to disorganization and a lack of space to accommodate as many students as they can stuff in. Likewise, the school does NOT seek parental involvement or input. They don't seem to care what parents have to say. I'm not impressed or easily dazzled by rapid growth or test scores. If it weren't for their competition being in a state with horrible public schools (AIMS), I don't believe they'd look nearly so good.
We left Mesa Prep because they are disorganized. The Exeter program was just one example of how they may have good intentions but fail to operate their school professionally. Exeter may be the best curriculum for math but in the hands of inexperienced, untrained teachers it was a mess. Perhaps the experiencing Exeter math, Mesa Prep style, has made parents negative about the program. The disorganization is widespread. A simple field trip causes total chaos for attendance and the office. A school handbook was not published until 3rd quarter. They manage the school defensively, making decisions as they go rather than setting solid policies in advance. The uniform changes every year, especially the expensive skirts. At times the management is so bad it would be humorous if it wasn't so frustrating. The one area they excel in is asking for Community Investments, a lot of time and attention is spent asking for monthly donations.
Follow the advice of the parent who suggested doing your research. Rely on solid numbers from the AIMS and Standford scores; not the highly subjective grading system the school has in place. Although a Great Hearts School, Mesa Prep is probably one of the worst administrated schools in the network. Do your due diligence before you place your child here. All Great Hearts Schools are NOT created equally.