This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Community Roots Academy4
Posted January 14, 2015
- a parent
We were petrified to say the least, to switch from 15 years in private schools, to go public or charter. Luckily, a local friend who I trust told me about this school and surprisingly, it's the best choice we could have made. We are finally saving a lot of money we were spending on private education, and all our kids are very happy, self-confident and look forward to going to school here. It feels good to hear it from them. There is very little homework, and I am not too crazy about Kindergarteners, 1st graders and that young age kids having to do homework on iPads and computers, but that is the way a lot of schools are headed. I wish they 'd do a little more traditional work for homework, or even projects, instead of computer based. However, technology is a reality and the kids are learning. It's a little "easy" for my kids, but I honestly think they are learning more and the retention of that material will last, as opposed as the traditional way of just memorizing facts.
CRA is awesome if you want project based learning. If you do not know what that is or do not like project based learning, the school is not for you and you will be disappointed. The school leaders founded the school and are committed to its success. They seem to be there for the long haul. The teachers are great and committed. I have been told there is a very high teacher retention rate. I see that to be true. That is a great selling point. CRA rocks.
We have been at CRA from the start. While there certainly were some expected growing pains, any complaints that I might have are miniscule compared to my praises. This school is definitely helping my kids develop into confident individuals, conscientious citizens, and avid learners. We have never considered jumping ship for a "conventional" public school. However, we know of families who did and are now on the CRA waiting list to come back. As it goes - you don't know what you've got 'till its gone.
After a few years at CRA, we decide to leave and have never regretted our decision. I wanted so badly to enjoy our experience there but the "growing pains" were too much to deal with. In the end, I think the leadership was lacking, the focus of "project based learning" fell short, and the things we didn't realize would be an issue like parking or having access to a library started to pile up. I also think that many of the teachers are inexperienced (as is the leadership) and though new "Pinterest ideas" are fun for the walls, I would have liked to have teachers who could really teach my children. Again, we are lucky to have left and found success in a neighborhood school.
my 2 children have been in this school from day one starting at K and 1st and I could not be happier. both of my children are excelling and are challenged every day. I love that my children are learning to think for themselves and come up with their own solutions. they have become confident in there work, in speaking in front of the class. I have no doubt that if I put them in a regular public school they would excel. however, I truly believe that good schooling is only a small part of their eduction you have to implement what they are learning at home. as a parent I read to my children, I express to my children the importance of reading on their own, practicing math, critical thinking, and problem solving in our every day life. This school may not be for every child. I am grateful that it works for both of mine, and I am grateful that I have a choice. There has been growing pains at this school but the excellence helps me over look that small stuff.
We have been with CRA from the beginning and are very happy to be a part of it. While class sizes have grown bigger than we had hoped, all the other positives out weigh that factor. Students are taught Public speaking, given hands on projects and a diversity of projects keep our son interested and stimulated. The quality of teachers is amazing. Yes, there might be a few negatives, as there are in every school, but CRA is a wonderful learning environment and offers so many opportunities that other public schools do not.
We wrote a glowing review of this school from last year. To be fair, we pulled our child from this school and we are completely happy in our new school. My list of reasons are long and would make this school sound horrible. To lighten it up- This school has a bright flight problem. They do not challenge students in any way and have no plans to do so. They over promise and never deliver. The teachers are teaching grades that they are not meant to teach, some of them are teaching subjects they are not meant to teach. The principal means well but he is not capable of leading the school to a successful future. Finally, the school has an incredibly high percentage of kids that cannot make it in a regular school, whether it is behavioral or other disabilities, so their parents sought an alternative. This has created an extremely chaotic environment that is not found typically in other schools and I believe hinders their ability to teach effectively thus resulting in mediocre learning and the flight of brighter students. Lastly the classroom ratios are no longer that much smaller than other public schools.
This is my kids first year at CRA. My Son which always made reading a chore, now reads on his own will and is finally enjoying books! My daughter loves loves this school, She has always enjoyed school, but now she gets upset if she misses or even gets to school late. She wants to learn and isn't afraid to speak up in class if she needs help or further explanation for anything. Their teachers are wonderful and seem very excited to be the there. The principal is great and does have a presence at the school.
This school has a great idea but lacks implementation. What students actually learn is different than what is explained to parents. There is very little homework in all grades and the academics aren't rigorous. The class sizes are small which is a plus and there is a strong sense of community and community partnerships. However, students in multiple grade levels did not perform well on last years CST test despite the small class sizes and innovative approaches. The school spends a lot of money on technology , but not on textbooks. Some grade levels did not have core textbooks and workbooks until half the year was over and some grade levels do not have them this year either. While project based learning is an innovative approach, students spend too much time on projects in the classroom and not enough time on math and language arts. The principal is often unavailable and does not respond to suggestions well. He is defensive and lacks follow thru. Overall, the school was a disappointment.