We just started at ASA with a 5th grader. Groundlevel Grade. UNREAL. Initially, we were a bit shocked as were told by the teachers that our 'A' student was struggling. In my daughter's last school, papers that looked beautiful and was 'done' got an A. In this school, she gets feedback, questions to expand her thinking and she is being held to task with punctuation and processes in math rather than just getting the right answer. In just three months, our daughter has changed from 'doing' her work to THINKING. She is learning to be a conversationalist and to ask questions. Her arts teachers are amazing and are teaching legit. theory not just 'how to play songs'. We are totally impressed with the work and communication of all the teachers at the 5th grade level. They have a great balance of patience, high expectations and caring. They even have a Facebook Page just for 5th grade parents to ask questions! As far as who should go to this school? REALLY strong academic students who crave learning, understanding and are curious and like the arts. I think some of the dissatisfaction in other reviews comes from kids/parents who probably shouldn't go to this school.
I have been going here for about three months and I absolutely love it. The curriculum is very advanced and there is a lot of homework, but i think it prepares us for college and careers. The students and teachers are very friendly, helpful, and welcoming. I was a little nervous before coming here because I had read other reviews saying that there are many cliques and too much stress, but that's definitely not the experience I have had. I'm a rather shy and reserved person but being at ASA even if only for three months so far has helped me realize my potential, become more sociable and really enjoy school.
This is my daughter's 2nd year at ASA. I appreciate the emails teachers send me regarding my daughter's progress or places that needs my attention. I especially appreciate the lecture videos teacher created and the free tutoring time at lunch. I am thankful my daughter study at ASA.
I am currently a 9th grader and have been going here since 5th grade. About half of the teachers I have had since 5th grade were good while the other half were easy and worksheet orientated. The teachers and students are a small number, so the environment us very close. The teachers observe you closely and if you mess up a couple of times, the teachers gossip to each other and create you a really bad reputation (like me). The classes are not close and caring but rather people who judge you and roll their eyes. All the teachers and administration underestimate you and care more for their "image" to the public rather then the students happiness. The education and college prep is higher than most other schools but in reality only about 10 students are doing great while the rest are dragging behind. From 5th to 8th they use a meets system, that goes from fars far bellow, aproaches, meets-, meets,meets+, exceeds. Meets minus the the passing minimum,so a m- = C-. So most of the students at a m- are in into the C section in highschool because the meets- was considered okay in middle school. Overall decent school with character flaws.
My children have gone to this school for some time and still feel ASA is one of the best. The arts instructors remain excellent, though academics seems to be slipping. I've noticed that in the past years, many of the long term teachers have left and some of the new ones aren't the same quality, passionate, accessible and accommodating calibre as their predecessors. I see more busy work and my children have complained at times of not learning anything new in some classes. In one case, a teacher was thankfully replaced. At birthday parties this conversation is prevalent. We love ASA but get frustrated by some instructors that lack the gift to reach our right-brained, divergent thinking children. Some have a rigid structure that favors complacence and surface learning. My children miss certain instructors because they learned so much. I wouldn't say the school has replaced all the good teachers with inferior ones because some new ones are really quite excellent and my children love those that challenge them and reward their uniqueness and are willing to work with their weaknesses. Hopefully the academics instruction will move beyond mediocrity with more time on the job.
I graduated from ASA in 2011 before it was expanded and remodeled and attending high school there was the best four years of my life! Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it all over again. I am who I am today because of ASA and I try to return as often as possible to see performances. ASA prepared me for college, for life and helped me perfect my talents and what I love to do. By far the best school in Arizona.
Like any school, this one has negatives and positives. The teachers are wonderful. The academics, however, are not much different from the public school my child attend. In fact, half the books taught this year were ones my child read last year. The ballet is geared more towards beginners in the early grades which is difficult for those with extensive ballet training. Piano and choir are amazing. I keep hearing that the ASA "culture" is so different but I haven't seem much difference from public school. I do wish they explained a little more about the "culture" and what the administration deems important. It's not for everyone.
This school is incredible. I am a little surprised by some of the negative reviews that a few people have posted. I couldn't disagree with them more. My oldest son graduated last year and is now pursuing a career in performing arts. My younger son is currently a sixth grader and thankfully my youngest will get to attend there next year. The academics are rigorous, the arts training is top notch but what I love the best about the school is the culture. The kids are totally safe to be themselves and are treated with respect. They have zero tolerance for any bullying. The teachers are so on top of it. The school teaches the students to be independent learners and how to take responsibility for their own education yet they are always will to help any kid that is struggling offering their lunch hours to come in for tutoring. I have had the privilege of chaperoning a few field trips and have always been so impressed by how well behaved ASA students are. Not for kids who are looking for the traditional high school experience of football games and homecoming. But if you are looking for a great college prep school with great exposure to the arts ASA is a great choice.
I am a parent of a 7th grader and I am very pleased with the education and environment ASA provides. I was concerned coming in in 7th grade that my daughter would be behind the other students in her arts courses (she had not previously had any arts education). The environment for learning is warm and supportive. It is such a positive feeling when you walk on campus, very different from most middle school settings.