This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Great Hearts Academies - Archway Scottsdale5
Posted November 16, 2014
- a parent
It is true that this school requires students to be self-motivated and intellectually curious. That is just part of the deal and it is definitely not the place for every child. I have never experienced a more caring, supportive learning environment than at Archway Scottsdale. The teachers care greatly about these kids and want them all to thrive. I, too, would be appalled if siblings were not allowed to acknowledge each other in the hall or were shamed for any reason. Thankfully, that bears absolutely no resemblance to the Archway Scottsdale I know.
As another parent said, if your child iswilling to do hours of homework every night, then this might be the right school for you. If you want a nurturing environment, this is the WRONG place. The teachers are VERY strict and sometimes embarrass children deliberately to "shame" them into behaving. 2 examples from 3d grade: last week a boy picked his nose and the teacher called him out in front of the entire class, who all laughed at the boy. In another incident, a girl in that same class played with her hair and the teacher threatened to make her cut it if she kept playing with it--again in front of the whole class. That is wrong on so many levels. The only worthwhile "special" is music. Mr. Lai is terrific. The art teacher has been replaced every single year--this year's was the worst--sarcastic, mean and berating to the children. Don't be surprised if there's a new art teacher next year. Spanish also is a joke. You can't have "immersion" Spanish 2-3 days a week and many of the kids have no idea what is going on. The only redeeming value this school retains is the curriculum. If that is all you care about, then choose this school. We are leaving.
This school is great for a certain type of child. It demands hard work and commitment. A child who is highly motivated will do well. A child who is a divergent thinker or one who does not want to work extremely hard all the time may not fare as well. Be realistic about your child's aptitude for hard work and ability to self motivate before attending. But, for the child that wants to work hard (not just the parents who want it- the kid has to want to so several hours of homework every night or you are going to be spending your evenings fighting) this is an excellent fit, lots of opportunities that are not offered elsewhere.
I am a parent at Archway Scottsdale that highly recommends this school! My student has a wonderful team (yes, team) of teachers that work tirelessly to give the students a world-class education. My child is in third grade this year and truly loves his teacher. She is strict when it comes to following their core virtues, which should be followed and embraced by any child!! But she explains them in a way a nine year old can understand. He said she brings life lessons into the smallest of situations that help them understand material. She sings and has little sayings and rhymes throughout the day that help the kids stay upbeat and is very positive when it comes to feedback. If you want your values at home to extend throughout the school day and be embraced, I highly recommend this place. The school is full of parent involvement. I have become very close with the other moms from volunteering. Uniforms are a plus too.
We are happy at Archways! We have 5th, 2nd and kindergarten students who have attended the school. The curriculum is excellent and they excelled in later years of school because having such am excellent foundation early on. The discipline is similar to neighboring schools and appropriate. We especially like the life-school balance and appreciate that the homework is reasonable enough for our kids to actively participate in after school activities. The extended day selection is excellent here. The headmaster is genuinely interested in the students well being and a positive force in the school. The campus could be larger but the use of space is good.
In our experience, Archway Scottsdale has gotten worse every passing year. The school has way too many rules and procedures. Siblings cannot acknowledge each other in the hall. Children have been barred from using restroom facilities. Children miss recess time for not walking in straight lines in the hallway. Children receive lunch detention for forgetting to hand in homework. The school is way too strict and it only arbitrarily follows rules and does not hold the administration or the facility to the same standards that it does for grade school level children. The homework loads are obnoxious; often well over 2 hours for 3rd and 4th graders. The headmaster is totally ineffective. I agree with the other review that he immersion spanish is a joke. The Singapore math is complicated with bizarre bar diagrams that students will never use again after 4th grade because they do not use Singapore math at Scottsdale Prep. This school seems to confuse classical education with harsh discipline and huge amounts of homework. If you want your child to have a life outside of academics, this school is not for you. If you don't mind hours of homework, tears, and stress, this is your place.
We transferred into Archways and have been very happy since we made that difficult decision. The administration is positive and supportive. My children's teacher is excellent and takes the additional time we needed. There are two teachers in the classroom and I have seen my son's interest in school increase because he is getting the attention he needed. The review about the bathroom concerned me so I investigated this and found that there the children are allowed to use the bathroom as needed. I started to volunteer there 2 times per week to assure myself that this school was not as strict as some of the reviews stated. It is not. The kids act like any other kids and they have fun. I work in the public school setting for years and am very familiar with "allowing a kid to be a kid". There are rules here and if you are one that prefers that rules be bent or are gray in areas this is not the school for you. They stick to the curriculum and the children are encouraged to work out their differences. Their discipline is Love and Logic which I have seen in action. It is a liberating and refreshing environment which I took the time as a parent to thoroughly review.
We had a great Kindergarten year, unfortunately first grade was a completely different story. I had heard that children were not allowed to go to the bathroom and had accidents. Not just urine, not just one child, and not just once.Sadly it is true. My child was told they could go but they would give up recess. Recess is used as punishment. They miss recess for EVERYTHING. I had also heard that homework and studies were intense, which didn't concern me until my first grader had 8 pages of math work with each page having multiple problems, each problem had 4 parts .That was on top of the usual 20 phonograms, 30 spelling words, spanish, and reading for the day. Singapore math was the top seller for us, and it was ridiculously confusing. Overrated and latest hype I now believe. Children are held to the virtues, but staff is not. I wasn't sure we were 100% right to pull mid year, but when I was bold face lied to about bathroom issues that sealed the deal for me. No virtue for honesty on that one. I really understand even more that teachers and administration make all the difference. In case you are wondering my child was keeping up, an A/B student, was not complaining.
Archway Scottsdale is overrated; my children have been there since the start. The Singapore math is more confusing than helpful, and ultimately a burdensome task that students will never use again after 4th grade. The immersion Spanish is terrible and unfortunately students will leave Archway after 4th grade having learned very little. Teachers often go quickly through material on important topics, assign enormous amounts of homework for young children, and test excessively which all create unnecessary stress on students. Like many schools, there are some good teachers, but also some inexperienced teachers. Again, as others have pointed out, the school is filled with too many strict rules and procedures that go overboard. Students ultimately feel undue pressure and can have their spirits broken. And the school is not consistent with its application of rules; many are arbitrarily followed. Sometimes it seems that the school is more focused on establishing a reputation of academic excellence through pretentiousness, rather than substance. This school has yet to find an appropriate balance between a practical curriculum and focus on children's happiness and youthful freedom.
I opened enrolled into this school. My daughter was offered openings in Sonoran Sky and Cheyenne. I did a lot of research and went back and forth as to which of the three was my first choice. I am delighted that we chose Archway! When went to my daughter's Kindergarten class for orientation on the first day, we were amazed that every desk had a book of poetry an inch thick for every student. We read poetry to my daughter every night, in addition to several classical children's stories. My daughter is loving it and so am I. I agree with some that this school is not a fit for everyone. I work five to six days a week and this type of education needs parent involvement and support. I looked at a lot of private schools including Rancho and John Pope. I think this is definitely the most well rounded.