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.
I will first of all say that this school is over-rated and does not challenge kids academically; only caught up in scholars/founders mentality.
I agree with the post from August 2015, the school is discriminating and labeling kids unnecessarily. The administration and teachers act as if they are inexperienced in dealing with kids. If you believe kids are kids and are meant to act like kids; then don't send your child to this school.
No school is perfect but at least most will take some responsibility of their misguided actions; this school does not.
If you believe in discriminating against kids, than this is the school for you. If your child does not meet the school's standard then they will be kicked out or never accepted. This school can say they are highly rated, but if you only take top performers, it's very difficult not to be at the top. So, yes, you can say you're a great school if you don't want poor kids, kids who don't speak English well, or who struggle. Perhaps that makes community members and parents feel great, but as for me I am horrified that my tax money is going to support such an unethical institution.