This Charter school is outstanding. My daughters went there for two years and the teachers really helped equip me for home schooling. They not only take the time to go over every aspect of teaching the subjects but also demonstrate their willingness to help. The activities they provide for science, math, etc, are way above any experience my kids would have received in a public school, and they retained quite a bit of those subjects. The teachers and principle really care about everyone of their students (current and previous).
After our first year at Valley Oaks, we are in love! This has been such a wonderful transition from public school to homeschooling. My kids (elementary school) have made excellent friends, the field trip organization is great, the parent club does a wonderful job working to hold great events for the entire family. This school has given my family the ability to homeschool with our own curriculum (though the school would provide the state curriculum if we wished), and yet my kids still get to do all the fun stuff that they loved about school. They can do the science fair, great enrichment classes, music, theater and so much more!!! I'm not saying that we would stay here forever, but we will be here for the next few years at least.
This school is absolutely phenomenal! My son attended a traditional public school for grades K-2 before transferring to VOCS. After 3 years of struggling both socially and academically in school, he was diagnosed with low/moderate-functioning autism and dyslexia and given an IEP. As much as we loved the top ranked public school he attended, the special education program left much to be desired. Upon transfering to VOCS he immediately showed signs of improvement. The generous amount of time, support, resources and materials provided to ensure his success is astounding. The school/staff is well equipped with a variety learning tools and techniques to assist with my childs needs. He is now receiving an education tailored specifically for him which focuses on his strengths as well as his weaknesses. Enrolling at VOCS is truly the best decision we've made.
Our only experience with VOCS is with the High School, which my child attended for three years. Unfortunately there are a few teachers who give outrageous amounts of homework, more than in most college classes, which may be OK for some students, but not for us. In addition, they give the same amount of homework each week regardless of whether there is a holiday, star testing, etc. Even Thanksgiving last year was spent doing homework. Unfortunately, the administration is not willing to do anything to fix these problems even though we continually notified the principal about what was going on. The VOCS website says that teachers work together with parents to "educate one student at a time." This is not true. We were given almost no flexibility, and finally had to withdraw from VOCS because the workload the teachers were giving was just not attainable for my student.
We love VOCS! Our resource teacher is helpful and encouraging. Enrichment classes are the main highlight for my family. My children love the variety offered and the teachers really go out of their way to make them great.
We have been at Valley Oaks for 2 years now and love it. My youngest is in Kindergarten and is a very shy boy, going to the school has changed him so much, he is much more outgoing and remembers his teachers names. The staff is excellent, they all know you by name, every one is respectful, they are all willing to help and my boys enjoy going to school each week. I like the fact that I can email our resource teacher and ask for papers or books and she'll leave them at the front counter to be picked up, I don't have to make a special trip in to request the books then wait around or come back later. Very good school with lots of parent and teacher involvement. Natalie, a parent.
I only went to Valley Oaks for about a quarter of the school year. While I went here though, I noticed it was a lot better. The teachers were a lot more helpful, the students actually wanted to learn, and while at school it was like your teachers were your friends. They would sit in the cafeteria and eat lunch with you and everything. Students and teachers being close is a good thing, because then the student will feel more comfortable asking questions about the subject and such. Valley Oaks really tries to get students involved in many different things. For PE one time, a class of 15 students was going to go rock climbing for a small fee of $15. Do not enroll your student in Valley Oaks unless you will help them. Having a parent who is not dedicated to helping would be disastrous.
There are both positive and negative facets of this school, I must say that I did appreciate attending Valley Oaks. I was given a sense of independence even though it was 'home schooling'. However, there is a lack of organization not only in the work that is given but also in the faculty. Out of the 13 or so teachers there, only about 5 were really interested in my progress and seeing me graduate. On a positive note, Valley Oaks really teaches kids responsibility and patience, because without either you would not survive in this world, nor Valley Oaks.
If it wasn't for this school, I would have never graduated form high school. My high school experience was horrible before I came here. I graduated in 2003. I was well prepared for college thanks to this school.