I have a fifth grader at SPA and am very happy with the school so far. The teachers are very caring, responsive, involved and make a very challenging curriculum fun and interesting for the students. They respond promptly to parent concerns and are very attuned to each student's individual strengths and needs. Although there is a lot of homework, my fifth grader has adjusted well and because the material is so engaging, he enjoys what he's learning. The drama and art teachers are highlights, as is Ms. Carro, one of the Latin teachers. To be honest, there's not as much homework as we expected, probably because my child came from Scottsdale Archway, where the homework load was nearly double. Despite what other reviewers have said, we have found the school is not as strict as we expected--again, probably because we came from Archway, which was incredibly strict and punitive regarding dress code violations and harsh discipline. The environment is very positive and is a great fit for my child. That doesn't mean it is for everyone, but so far so good!
SPA is a GREAT middle school option but not a great high school. We are scrambling to get our oldest child's HS resume up to par with the best students in the country. We are paying top $ for AP prep & tests because SPA does not prepare for nor offer students AP courses. Not having NHS courses is another big issue. Competition & demand to get into the top colleges is tougher than ever & with SPA students not having two major criteria (AP and Honors) which colleges use to help determine eligibility, our child is at a disadvantage. This was confirmed to me by one IVY rep. Our 2nd child is no longer at SPA & is now a very happy Chaparral student. My biggest surprise is that my child is very challenged with the honors classes at Chaparral. I thought it would be easy at Chaparral given the advanced curriculum at the SPA but that is not true. My child has more academic challenges at Chaparral than she's ever had at SPA. I have a better understanding why many families leave SPA after 8th grade & move on to better high schools. We are long time fans of SPA having been at the school for many years but SPA has changed dramatically in the last few years and imoho, not for the best.
This review is not written by an angry or upset parent that has taken their child out of Scottsdale Prep. This is a parent that would like to share her experience with other parents looking for a school that best fits their child and family needs. All of my children have attended this school. We left our old school because "we got in" and felt like it was once in a lifetime opportunity to go to SPA. It is true, the material is wonderful, the building is beautiful, the uniforms are amazing, and you feel as though your child is protected. It is also true, some of the teachers (not all) show their "power" by giving a lot of extra work and detentions. If you play a competitive sport, it is very difficult to get the homework finished and have any down time for your child. We did take our children out of the school after deciding the stress of the work load was not worth the anxiety and stress it was putting on them. So, my advice is don't go to SPA just because you feel the pressure of "getting in" and if you do try it, don't be afraid to leave if it gets too much for you child. The rating I am giving is based on the excessive homework load and the anxiety it placed on my kids overall.
SPA's mission is commendable but the school falls short of achieving it. SPA is a fantastic middle school option but it greatly underserves those in high school. More than half of the students leave during high school, not because of the rigor of the program, but because of the limited academic choices. The high achieving students leave because there are no electives, AP courses, or a strong extracurricular program which is needed for out-of-state university applications. Most of the SPA graduates stay in state, and even socialize and room with their classmates in college. It is an extremely conservative environment which makes it a safe option for those that are highly concerned about public school but the reality is that it is not preparing students for the real world. Even more ironic is the school does have students that self-harm, drink alcohol, and take drugs, as does every high school, but most of the parents are in denial. Sadly, there is a group of parents that have made it their mission to control the school, which only adds to the small cult-like environment. If your student is looking for an enriching broad high school experience, this is not the school for them.
"I am glad that those families who doesn't like the school left the school. I don't want my children to be associated with children whose parents does not value a quality education. They are the whole reason why the quality of education in this country is on its state right now and could not longer compete with the developed countries." THIS IS A QUOTE FROM A RECENT REVIEW!! The school could and would be great if parents like this would just keep away from the teachers and administration. I guess these parents care, but they are awful and are tearing the school apart from the inside.
SPA is certainly an academic exercise that other schools cannot or do not replicate. I think SPA is good for my child and intend to have them stay at SPA at least through middle school. That said, it certainly has areas in need of improvement. 1. too much homework! There is so much homework that I believe it actually impedes learning and studying. 2. No Technology. Ipads, laptops, etc. are not allowed and technology is actually discouraged. This is there policy and I must live with it or move my kid so I guess I will live with it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it or agree with it. 3. No online grades, assignments, homework (No Technology). This goes hand in hand with the no technology philosophy. Dynamic grades, assignments, etc. could easily be accomplished (as they are in even the most cash strapped public schools) but is not desired at SPA. Again, its their policy so I must accept or leave. I will accept, but do not like it. Again, compared to public schools, it is very good, but could be great if they would move out of the stone age. Overall, I like the school considerably.
This is one of the best schools you will find in Arizona with out question. Don't be fooled by those who left. The reason students leave is because they are not used to accountability, structure and a tough curriculum. Not one AP or IB program or teacher will come close to what you will find at Scottsdale Prep. It resembles an East Coast Prep school without the $40k per year in tuition. Arizona is not known for quality education so if you think a big public school is going to provide your student with the education needed for college think again! Of course you will find some amazing teachers and some not so amazing teachers but the difference here is that they will get rid of any staff member not up to par.
I am glad that those families who doesn't like the school left the school. I don't want my children to be associated with children whose parents does not value a quality education. They are the whole reason why the quality of education in this country is on its state right now and could not longer compete with the developed countries. SPA is the best!
This school is amazing! The faculty is the best I have ever been to. I have been going here for 2 years now and I have learned so much! the pto is great and I love the uniforms!. I would recommend this school!
My kids have been happy at SPA for 5 years. They are happy, self confident, learned in the fundamental principles of our western civilization, and surrounded by friends of like make up. I believe the faculty to be second to none for the most part, and am always impressed by the parental involvement. Kids who have been disciplined at home prior to admission will not have any problem with school policies.
This is a great school! It has great teacher good leadership and great academics! My daughter goes here and is in eighth grade.
I agree with the last post!! Don't be sucked in by all the buzz talk about these schools. The teachers are inexperienced and all they care about is following harsh and pointless procedures, while implementing them in a humiliating and unnecessary way. My child was so unhappy when she was at this school. Certainly not for everyone, so do a LOT of research before you even consider these schools and don't get caught up in the excitement of making the wait list!!
the school is not good. plain and simple. don't send your kid to high school here. the faculty are mean and unhelpful. there's way too much bullying, and the rules are ridiculous. your child will get a detention for the most ridiculous reasons imaginable. the teachers are unprofessional. they don't put any amount of time and effort into any programs except sports. don't be blindsided by the 5-star reviews. your child will not enjoy it here. mine certainly didn't. we left after a year.
I myself do go to the school. It is amazing. At first it can be a bit tough adjusting but after a month or so you'll fall in love! The curriculum is great and all the teachers are fantastic! The people who are saying "my kid stayed up until 11 studying" are really just being silly. They are either over-studying or they are just not very smart. Keep in mind that all of spa's classes are AP. I find the school challenging but not too rough. I highly recommend this school!
I find it interesting that the comment below brings money into education. Being an expensive private school does not equal an excellent education. Some of the top ranked schools in Arizona are free charter schools. Do the research before you comment on what makes a great school. I attended private schools and they were not worth the money my parents paid.
SPA is a fantastic school! I am a high school student here and really enjoy it. True, it is not for everyone but for those of us who aren t having any problems, it is a great place. I am in several clubs, love the music and art programs plus I participate in a sport every season. Homework is not difficult. It does not take me or my friends 5 hours to do! What I love most are the teachers and the other students who are all interesting and really talented in so many ways. Outside of school I have other clubs and activities that I do and most weekends I am out with friends. The school isn't huge but most of us like that. There are about 150 students in high school now and 100 more will be freshman each year from now on so it is growing. The school college counselor is awesome and I have done some research into college choices and requirements and have found that SPA has more than prepared me for what is needed. Some friends that graduated from Veritas, another Great Hearts school, have said that college is easy for them because of the education they got in high school. That was great to hear and with classes like Latin and Humane Letters I have even more college options.
SPA is OK in 6-8, not great. SPA has a few great tchrs. They are VERY hit and miss. SPA hires young tchrs who are good students but untested, inexperienced tchrs. SPA has very high expectations, but not sufficient teaching quality to back them. Unresponsive admin. Expect "0" flexibility! From Gr.9 expect 4-5 hrs. hmwrk. No posted marks where parents can see progress. Quantity of work does not equal quality. SPA uses 'prestigious' in every speech, but have never had a graduating class. How do they know whether they are prestigious or not? That claim only comes with time and proof. Below is what I wish I knew PRIOR to sending my kids: start in 6 gr. or don't start no tech/comp or gym class no recess, One group meeting with the tchrs/year for 10 mins, timed! IF YOU TRANSFER, (most students leave SPA - grad class has about 18, down from 48+ -) you may only be given credit for either Hist. or Eng; not both(Humane Letters does not transfer) The HONS. designation does not transfer in some cases. You will have to make up PE, Most universities require a tech/computer credit which you will not have. The top public high school honors teachers are a much better choice - consistent
This is the right schol for students who do not want a social life and only care for their studies. I have attended SPA for 3 years now and i have no time to play sports because i would be going to sleep at 11 PM due to the homework load. SPA is a good school for the lower grades but as you get into 8th grade and high school the academic level if just unbearable. Beacause of stress and lack of a social life, this is my last year at SPA
If you want your student to enjoy school, this is not the place. Their social life will be NOTHING as they will spend all their time studying. My child did well but other kids really struggle. I have a friend whose child had to drop all extracurricular activities because she had to study until 11 each night. The curriculum is more busy work than anything. Latin - really?! Technology training is weak. The kids do not enjoy this school and there are still disciplinary problems even though some parents choose to be blind to this.
My daughter is attending Scottsdale Prep, and this is her first year as a sixth grader. I initially looked into the Great Hearts Schools because my daughter has often tested in the top of her grade, and I wanted a place that would giver her more than a basic education. This school is a step above anything else I found. Her homework load is large, and there are very high expectations on these students. I offered that my child try this school, and if she didn't want to stay past Christmas break, she could go to a local school... I believe the child must form their own commitment to this type of education . January is here, and she has decided she would never go to another type of school. Great Hearts has provided the type of atmosphere where the nerdy student is welcomed and praised, not ridiculed and singled out. We may be at Veritas, another Great Hearts school that is closer to us next year, but she may not want to change her school at all, making the long commute worth every mile. A note re: parents who complain about the disciplinary code, most of the parents and students have decided it to be suitable , children with disciplinary issues often leave, that doesn't bother me.
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