My daughter started two years ago as a fifth grader and found it to be above her then current level academically and I doubted she would make it through the year. The teachers were genuinely concerned, collaborated, and continually encouraged her. By the fourth quarter my daughter was engaged in her learning and doing well. Sixth grade teachers continued to encourage her and by year end she even wrote a novel. I am amazed at the academic growth over the past two years due to an extraordinary staff and a welcoming learning environment. These teachers really teach their student to think and express themselves. The small classroom size and the teacher prep time gives these teachers an advantage over other schools in that they truly have time to prepare and provide an ideal learning experience for their student. The arts program is equally outstanding. All staff go out of their way to help students flourish. I am looking forward to six more years of continued growth.
Four years later: We left ASA last year in grade 8. Many teachers had left and some new teachers weren't so great. My daughter loved her theater classes in 5th and 6th grade but not in 7th grade. The 7th grade teacher was absent due to an extended illness in her family but nothing was done to help the students have a satisfactory theatre class that year. In 8th grade the theater teacher was awful and there was very little communication from him. Complaints to the admin only resulted in a defense of him. Without a good theater program we had decided to leave at the end of 8th grade and look elsewhere for high school. While English and social studies had excellent teachers and the science teacher was mediocre, I decided that the math class which was taught by a very poor math teacher wasn't really prealgebra. This math class was not helping my daughter learn the necessary skills for HS algebra. In HS, science is repeated in more detail so that it didn't worry me if she missed a concept. We made the decision to move during the year so that my daughter could learn the necessary skills for HS algebra.
We have been very happy with our new school. There is less homework and more leisure time. My child is less stressed. I appreciate all that ASA did for her. It made her a better student. A bad teacher is like a rotten apple in a bushel. ASA will be great again if they weed out some bad ones.
My muscially talented son started at this school as a freshman last year. It was academically challenging for him, and every teacher gave him the necessary support and encouragement to overcome these challenges. This school not only nutures musical and artistic talent, but also emphasises academic success in the core classes.
I completely agree with the student review from March, 2016. The school is not what it used to be. And the administration refuses to adapt and change in order to improve. They rest on they "history" of being a charter school for over 20 years. But every year, newer charter schools pass them by academically. This school is still rated very high in the state, but they are going in the wrong direction. Too much teacher turnover, administration will not listen. And very few opportunities to actually perform for an audience in the theater department. For many people, it is a long drive to this school, and frankly no benefit compared to other schools in many of the arts specialties. Many public schools and other charter schools are copying ASA's model, but doing it better. There is a lot of competition for students. The one area where ASA is still the best is for ballet. But for any other art - find a school closer to home. You'll be just as happy.
Notice a lot of the parents reviews praise the rigorous academics and arts programs, while many of the student reviews have only one or two stars. As one of those many students, I feel as though this school is definitely not what it used to be, and there's a large air of elitism. The administration is unable to take criticism and will force students to conform to their idea of management. The arts, while classically good, do not allow you to be yourself, and I have never felt like I have truly done the art I want while at ASA. The academics prepare you for college but are extremely rigorous, especially the first three years of high school. When preparing for AP testing junior year students should expect to write several 5 paragraph essays every day, and have piles of homework on top of that. The management acts as though all of their teachers are perfect and is afraid to really criticize them, especially teachers that have been there for 10+ years. Many of these teachers have made me feel alienated, or not even taught me a thing. There's an idea of "ASA culture" in the minds of the board, and while this culture is yet to be seen on the campus, they use it as further excuse to believe their school and way of teaching students is perfect. Bullying still happens (even from teachers in some cases) even when the school claims to accept everyone. While a student who wants to be classically trained and attend an ivy league college might like it here, anyone else who cannot swim, sinks. Many a night has been spent stressing or crying over schoolwork, and I have had to adapt to sleeping at 1-2 am and waking up at 6:30 due to the massive amounts of homework and projects. If you're taking extracurricular activities, this will only cause more stress. This school needs to learn to take criticism and be more respectful to the students, and take back on teachers that actually know what they're doing. Then, maybe, ASA could be great again.
It is a bit much at times, considering that this is a rigorous college-prep environment, but over my three years here I have learned how to manage it all very well, if I do say so. Just think: the amount of homework load we have helps prepare us for greater things - college and beyond!
I am an 11th grade student at A.S.A. and this is my 3rd year here. This place is absolutely fantastic, and I dread having to leave it next year! First of all, A.S.A. has some of the best history teachers I've ever had in my roughly 14 years of schooling. My love of history has been kindled and expanded on by the teachers I have had here. I am currently in AP US History and AP Literature and I love both classes! Second, the school has a great National ranking in regards to both reading and math (I believe we are 12th in reading and 22nd in math), so that's pretty awesome. Third, the foreign language and performing arts departments are both outstanding. I adore taking French with my awesome prof! I also adore being involved in the choir and band programs; they are fantastic! My choir teachers over the years have inspired me to pursue professional singing in the future. All-in-all, if I had to sum it all up in one word, I'd say A.S.A. is exceptional. I enjoy the fact that I am able to come here and work with great people, in an accepting and rigorous environment, in the heart of the amazing Phoenix, AZ. :)
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.