Do not send your child to ATE if he or she has ADHD-type behaviors, learning issues, are energetic, etc. The teacher that we have had this year does not appear to have any experience in dealing with children with any type of challenges and energy. The school is also very nitpicky about the children's behavior and are very punitive. They do not teach coping skils or other methods to manage behavior. My child went from loving school to dreading it. We have not left the school as my child has made such great friends. It is also a very long school day 7:50-3:10, considering they teach in a lecture-style. Be prepared for a lot of homework, even though research has proven that excessive homework is not beneficiai. So, if you have a quiet child who is an "A" student this is the school for you, if not BEWARE.
There is lack of communication with certain teachers. Being told your child will be retained two weeks prior to the end of the school year is very frustrating.
My childs grades were fluctuating a lot, sometimes they were great then not so great.
Throughout the year I emailed the teachers & even set up meetings with them & they never mentioned he was failing.
The "headmaster" aka principal didn't care to talk to us inregards to testing to see if there was a learning disability, she seemed bothered. Shortly after she actually got up & said she had to leave.
We tested my child & was diagnosed with ADD.
Please see my detailed note. Most teachers have little teaching experience and/or no education degree. Our assistant teacher has a background in homeschooling! In no way does homeschooling your own children prepare you for classroom management of 30 children, all of different backgrounds, learning styles, and temperaments.
The amount of homework is no different than what we were used to from our (out-of-state) public school. But, in a recent conversation with our former Principal (an M.Ed. with 20+ years of experience in teaching/administration...this woman is beyond amazing), I was told that research shows that K-3 homework does not increase learning (with the exception of reading...which should not be timed).
Those that are teachers are great. The best teachers know how to explain these big picture concepts in age-appropriate language. *Some* of the professionals who transition into teaching have been less effective. Not all though. The Headmaster was a scientist who taught science and she was brilliant. But the workload the teachers are expected to cover is not a good use of their time either, and the good ones know this and know how to balance the amount they need to cover with the learning needs of the students without feeling like they just have to "push through".
I guess we will see. There was a recent cheating incident and it's been stated that students caught cheating would be kicked out. If they are not, then it will reinforce what I believe about favoritism within the GH system.
First and foremost, the headmaster and the staff are the most caring and concerned people you could be fortunate enough to meet. I give a lot of credit to the teachers, most of whom are incredibly well educated and can teach a variety of subjects effortlessly. At Trivium, the Math and Science programs are outstanding. I wish I could call out all the great STEM faculty by name.
Now the problems . . . .I feel all of the Great Heart Schools have some deeply flawed approaches to education. Most notably, they have an unforgiving curriculum that expects a high quantity of material to be covered in any given year. It seems more important to promote that the students read these books, but in the rush to get everything done, student aren't able retain information, since they are moving so quickly onto the next assignment. Also, the emphasis on the classics in many ways leaves the kids unable to really discuss current events at length. We are in an election year, but little of the present is covered. And over time, I have come to observe that this school is a charter school for well-off families. I get that families may need to contribute in order to help the school function, but the school (and the parents) clearly celebrate those who have funds versus those they perceive to have less means. If you're a "founding family" or attend the golf tournament, you're in the "in-group". If you don't have the time, or your civic priorities are elsewhere, then good luck integrating your kids into the school. It's a social exclusion for children as well as the parents that continues to grow with each year, especially as the students start to drive. Lastly, if you look at the Board on the website, the political leanings of the board members is so imbalanced. It is a board of policy makers, politicians and commentators, but not educators
We'll stick it out, largely because to our surprise, when the new school was built, it happened to become closer to our home and by default happens to be our local school. But until concerns about workload are addressed system-wide, I won't be contributing financially. Also, as a family, we'll continue to volunteer in the city, because this school, in no way prepares students for the realities of the world due to its highly homogeneous culture.
The teacher involvement at Archway is amazing. They keep parents involved and updated to help bring out the best in their scholars. They offer extracurricular opportunities not offered in many area schools.