This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center2
Posted March 16, 2014
- a parent
This school is perfect for those who want an alternative to the traditional school and for kiddos who may not fit into the traditional mold. The learning environment is creative and project-based. The families are down to earth. We have been at school since 3rd grade, however, do not feel confident about the environment at this point. We like that the middle school kiddos are separated from the lower school kids, however, we do not have a good feeling about our son's 6th grade experience. We are unsure of the what happens in the classrooms. My son says that he spends most of his day talking to his friends in class and does not appear to complete his classroom work. He gets nervous about changing classes because so many of his friends like to wrestle and yell in the hallways at school. We have tried to talk to teachers and administration and are told that our son is fine and he is in a great place. We are curious if anyone else is having similar experiences? We are thinking of finding a school with more structure for next year.
We want to love ANLC but are struggling to get past many of it's faults. It has many wonderful programs that distinguish it from other schools, we have had one really good teacher, the new campus is beautiful, and there are a small community of families that do all they can to make it a wonderful place. However, although the leadership is accessible, it is weak. Decisions need to be made and problems need to be resolved, not just discussed. Discipline is very relaxed and ineffective. We have also had a teacher that was lazy and disengaged. It is certainly a school that is in transition. For us it's still better that many of the other Valley schools, but it could be so more with real leadership.
It is important to recognize that when one is truly confident with a given choice, in this case an educational fit, they feel no need to angrily defend their position. Comments like "completely off base", "your child needs more discipline", Veritas is right down the street", are certainly unfortunate and do not reflect well on the ANLC community. It is wonderful the previous reviewer has found a good educational fit for their family. Some of us had a very different experience at ANLC. Both positive and constructively critical feedback are outstanding tools for process improvement. Defensiveness closes the door on learning.
The reviewer who believes that ANLC students spend "precious hours catching up" when they get to high school is completely off base and clearly doesn't know many ANLC graduates. ANLC students do extremely well at Arcadia high school and many take honors classes. In fact, the valedictorian of Arcadia high school a few years ago was an ANLC graduate. There are 10 eighth graders and one seventh grader taking honors GeoTrig (10th grade math) at Arcadia high school and doing very well (I can speak for my son and one other who are both making A's). My slightly nerdy children have yet to be bullied once at ANLC and my oldest is an 8th grader! So the "rampant bullying" comment is also absurd. Seems there is a propensity to exaggerate the negative experience of one child and draw inaccurate conclusions about an entire school. If your child is ready to learn, ANLC is a wonderful environment where learning is celebrated. If your child is in in need of more discipline, then Veritas is just down the street!
As a parent and professional who has worked with countless schools, I can easily state that the commitment of education at ANLC is beyond that I have ever experienced elsewhere. It is not a school for every child and I am convinced that those who rated this school low had different expectations than what the school could deliver. It's main goal is to create self-motivated, self directed learners. Teachers look at what is in the best interest of the child. Even with the ridiculous demands imposed by the state and district, (class size, testing, new rules), ANLC is working to hold true to it's origin. I have never seen a school which embraces students, parents and staff members to do what is in the best interest of the child. Spend some time attending one of the Celebrations of Learning and you'll know what I mean. ANLC is a leader is progressive education. SUSD's standards based report cards were started at ANLC over 20 years ago! Enrichment class, projects, differentiated learning, independent projects, - they've been doing it for decades.
We did a lot of research before enrolling our 1st grader in public school. We chose ANLC because of the educational philosophy, the sense of community, diversity, and child-centered environment. As a non-conformist, I liked the fact that the kids were not expected to walk in lines. As it turned out, it was a really rough experience for our child, who felt unsafe, lost, unclear on the expectations, routines, and schedules. Chaos. He cried every single day in class and felt harassed by other students. I spent time in the classroom and was underwhelmed by the quality of the instruction. Class size was enormous and there were many high needs students, but only one teacher. I learned that our child needs structure/sense of order, clear expectations, and some nurturing...and he didn't get those at ANLC. That said, I was impressed by my interactions with the administration and have several friends who have had fantastic experiences at ANLC. It's all about finding the right match between classroom/teacher and student needs. Could be a great school with a mediocre classroom teacher.
This is not your school if you are not among the gifted or self motivated. The idea of a K-8 school a good one, howver the Progressive Learning Environment doesn't work well for the student needing structure. Many of ANLC's graduates are not well prepared for high school and spend precious hours "catching up".
My child went to school at ANLC for Kindergarten and 1st grade and neither year was anything to be proud of. His kindergarten teacher LOST him TWICE because he wandered out of class. She also thought he was a bit "slow" no matter what I said to her until she gave him a reading test and he passed with the highest grade in the class. 1st grade was even worse! I got no communication from his teacher even after he was diagnosed with some emotional and learning disabilities. Other parents told me they had similar problems in which she would complain about the child having problems in class, make a plan to get in touch once a week with updates and then change her mind about how the child was doing and say the communication was no long necessary. This school was suppose to be really awesome and progressive and all I've found so far is that the teachers make snap decisions about a child and forget them.
Absolutely love ANLC. Both of my boys have attended this school since K. The K-8 experience is so important because it allows the students to interact with each other outside their grade level. The teaching staff is very supportive of each other, and recognize the responsibility they have to all students. Teachers also look at the whole child. Parent involvement is evident throughout the school, and the Principal, Vice Principal and office staff are very approachable.
2 kids at this school, first year, attracted to mixed-age classes, some Montessori influence in teaching, and afterschool activities. We LOVE ANLC. Principal is very involved/engaged; teachers are positive, professional, accessible and communicative; parents are all over the place volunteering; very active/organized PTO. The happiness seen on kids faces at school speaks volumes and when they don't want to go home at the end of the day, you know they love school! Each child is assessed for abilities, and cirriculum is customized to provide interventions or academic challenges for remedial and advanced needs. Every level appears to be served. Diverse activities, balanced homework with fun, tons of activities and opportunities for families. Sense of community is tremendous. Hoping academics are rigerous enough; but the love of learning is certainly fostered. Only complaint is there aren't enough hours in the day to participate in all the wonderful things going on there! One must see and experience the school to truly appreciate the unique environment ANLC offers.
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