This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Sonoran Science Academy - Tucson3
Posted May 14, 2014
- a parent
I'm disappointed in the direction that this school has taken. The school had done very well with state testing in previous years and then changed its curriculum despite the fact that the previous curriculum had served the students well. The school's over-eagerness to jump on the Common Core bandwagon has made me realize that the school wasn't wedded to its previous curriculum and thus doesn't appear to have a core identity when it comes to pedagogy (ironically).The school has gone overboard with the Spalding phonics instruction (as though learning how Romalda Spalding pronounced "gy" is an important end in and of itself rather than sensibly using phonics as a tool to read, not an end). The math worksheets this year were tedious. I'm not convinced that the school is a good setting to inspire learning and curiosity. The quality of teaching is spotty, but probably better than your average Tucson public school. There are several nice academically-oriented clubs. Overall, the parents and students are nice.
I'm a senior at Sonoran Science Academy, a supposed 9/10" school. This is far from the truth. The school lacks an adequate field or cafeteria. The teacher quality is slowly declining as SSA pushes the good teachers out by implementing salary cuts. Several decent teachers this year will not be returning and will likely be replaced by people that should not even be called "teachers." All of the replacements thus far, in my 6 years here, have been horrid. Aside from the Spanish replacement (who is also leaving this year), the other ones have been incapable of teaching, either having erratic changes in plans, personality disorders, or they simply have no idea how to teach. I have to admit that through my high schools I have learned next to nothing in English or computers. There has yet to be a computer science teacher that comes into the class knowing about the subject beforehand. All of them have learned WITH US; that is not how a class should be run. The English department thus far has two decent teachers, though one may leave. The teachers who know their subjects are okay at teaching and willing to help students who need help, which is why I gave two rather than one star.
My son loves the high level classes available and the helpful, caring teachers. The school has many diverse extracurricular clubs, as well as a great robotics team. Some teachers aren't too great, however the educational options at this school far exceed most of the available courses at many other public schools. Overall, it's a good school that challenges and motivates its students, it has good extracurriculars, and despite some downfalls in their administration and certain teachers, the overall education is still very good.
My child is receiving college a preparatory education. The administration supports the students in their creativity as well as academic accomplishments. Some of the instructors are difficult to understand due to a language barrier.
My son has been a student at SSA for 8 years, since elementary school. The teachers have always been readily accessible to both students and parents, and have always encouraged him to learn. I like that the student will receive the education they need: whether it is more advanced work, or remedial assistance if they were having issues. The school is continuing to grow; I would love to see more extra curricular activities someday. He is happy here, and has asked to finish out high school with SSA and his friends there.
We love Sonoran Science Academy. It is really great school. It is very challenging academically and they are offering a lot of after school activities. My son is going first grade and he is in the chess club and they won first place. Teachers are very caring to students.
This school was incredibly disappointing for me and my gifted sixth grade son. The teachers often did not take any responsibility for student learning and had ridiculous, draconian homework requirements. Some teachers don't even follow their own policies consistently. Even worse, the administration does not abide by the law in multiple ways. For one thing, it implies that it has preferential admissions, which is not legal for a publicly funded school. It also doesn't include parents in educational placement decisions, which violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Remember, too, because this is a charter school, teachers can and will be overworked, and they will go along with it to keep their jobs. These teachers also do not have to be certified, which sometimes means they don't have the first clue how to actually teach. My son's English teacher had no experience teaching American students whatsoever, was horribly inconsistent, and didn't even tell students what she wanted them to do. She didn't grade most of their work and quit partway through the school year, leaving a series of substitute teachers to try to clean up her mess. Don't send your kids here.
The Sonoran Science Acadamy is an exceptional school. The staff is patient, hard working, and dedicated to the scholastic success of their students. They make learning fun but also expect a high level of performance from every child. Our child is in the first grade and she is already reading at a 2nd grade level and is beginning to learn the basics of algebra. And while the school teaches at a fast pace, it is very manageble for the child to maintain that pace. My daughter had made great friends, loves her teachers and likes to go to school every day. I am more than impressed with this school and I look forward to my daughter continuing to get a top level education.