This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Alsion Montessori Middle / High School5
Posted July 29, 2014
- a teacher
We are pleased to report in June 2014, Alsion was re accredited until 2020, a six -year term. This is HUGE, and here is what it means to anyone who is evaluating a school for their child to attend. A school is denied accreditation when a team of impartial visiting evaluators, usually veteran teachers and administrators, finds red flags in significant areas, such as curriculum rigor and coverage, teacher competency, student achievement, financial sustainability, governance, parent and student satisfaction. Most schools are accredited for terms of two or three years while being given an opportunity to improve in aspects of school operation identified as needing improvement by the evaluation team. Few schools, however, are cleared for the full six -year term that accreditation may be granted. From an accreditation standpoint, Alsion belongs in this category. While there are no band or interscholastic team sport electives at Alsion, the WASC evaluators commended our school for the broad range of indoor and outdoor extra curricular activities, listed on Alsion s website, available to every Alsion student..
I was a student here from 7th to 8th grade (summer 2014), and two aspects of the school are necessary to review. Firstly, the academics. The academics are quite good--skills like time management, writing, etc. are taught well with lots of practice. The math teacher engrains complex principles in your memory. The second aspect is the social and extracurricular experience. There are not many electives, and none of them are set--there are no sports, no music--the school lacks many basic things that it should have. Also, though teachers would disagree, the work is relatively excessive, in contrast to other schools. Students from most schools would find the homework hard to cope with, and thus most of their outside-school activities would be limited. In addition, the teachers are not well educated in dealing with social problems. I as an 8th grade boy last year happened to be peers with one or two notorious students, and when something happened, automatically every 8th grade boy was put to blame. Meanwhile, 8th grade girls were lectured on 'drama' stereotypical to them, knowledge of which the teachers had none. Great in academic preparation, but not for a true school experience.
My three children graduated from both Alsion's Middle/High and Early College programs over the course of ten years. They all had different personalities, interests and abilities. They all grew in their own ways while attending Alsion. The caliber of Alsion's academic programs is on par with what you would expect from a private school. The difference is how they get there. Alsion graduates have stronger communication skills and are more comfortable collaborating with others. There is much more emphasis on classroom discussion, group-work and independent thinking. The frequent leadership opportunities and individualized attention helped them standout in college and excel in their professional careers. The Alsion system works best if students start in the 7th or 8th grades. The Middle/High program trains students to work independently and prepares them to be successful in a college environment. Most of the course work in Early College is done for college credit at the neighboring Ohlone College.
When a fourteen year-old exits 8th grade, is he or she ready for high school where dating and driving are the norm? Most kids would say, Yes but most parents would say No. For this reason Alsion s Middle School program includes 9th grade. It gives the kids the additional year to develop the emotional maturity to take on the challenges of being a semi-adult. Academic expectations for Alsion 9th however, are as rigorous as any honors classes at any high school. They must take at least one Advanced Placement course while in 9th grade. Alsion leverages its location adjacent to Ohlone College for the benefit of its students. Upon completion of 9th grade, Alsion Early College students are co-enrolled at the College, where they can earn up to 72 units of college credit transferrable to the University of California by the time they graduate from high school. Historically, 3 of every 4 Alsion graduates are accepted by U.C. This is an outstanding track record for any school regardless of reputation. So why send your son or daughter to a designer label school, where you must pay a premium tuition rate and suffer a peak-time commute just to get there everyday?
I attended this school for 7th grade and part of 8th grade. 7th grade was a positive experience for me and I learned a lot. However with the start of the 8th grade several changes were made to the curriculum that made me leave the school. 7th and 8th grade were combined and thought the SAME things!!!! The person in charge of the school is not qualified for her job. When my parents tried talking to the teachers the responded very defensively and claimed that it was all part of their new Montessori curriculum. Both 8th and 7th grade were learning physical science and many of the classes including history and literature were the same for both 8th grade as well as 7th grade. Most of the teachers are not qualified for teaching in a Montessori curriculum. This school used to be good but with the new curriculum changes 8th graders are at a serious disadvantage. Good for 7th grade though.
A hidden gem of a private school. I was looking for something small, where my child wouldn t get lost in the crowd, where she could gain confidence, have a voice in class discussions, participate in extracurricular activities, and make meaningful friendships with other motivated kids. Alsion s small size is its greatest strength. With about 48 students and 5 full-time teachers, every child is intellectually and socially engaged every day. Each teacher has an advanced degree in their subject area and takes a personal and long-term interest in each child s progress, interacting with each student every day, even during the summers, for three consecutive years, grades 7, 8, and 9. Alsion is a learning community rather than an institutional school. Far from being sheltered in a cocoon, students go on week-long educational trips, compete & collaborate with students from other schools regularly, and do meanigful school-sponsored Community Service activities. The campus is next to Ohlone College. After 9th grade, Alsion Early College students are co-enrolled at Ohlone, where they can earn up to 72 units of college credit, transferable to UC colleges. And it's affordable!
Alsion doesn t attract much attention because of its small enrollment. But amazingly, both my kids received a superb education there, owing to the small group tutorial format.There was no opportunity for my son to find distractions, nor did he want to, because his class discussions were personally interesting to him. With a smaller class size, Alsion teachers spent less time on class management and more time innovating fresh approaches to curricular subjects. They brought in loads of supplementary material and instigated lively discussions. He developed into a thoughtful, academically mature teenager. Much has changed since those early days when my son attended Alsion. An eighth and ninth grade were added in subsequent years; then came the Early College High School program, which enabled my daughter to undertake college during her last three years of high school. Now there is a new campus adjacent to Ohlone College. Alsion has a larger staff with a wider range of subject area specialties. There is a very full offering of elective activities that were unavailable during my son s time, but the small group tutorial has remained the essential feature of an Alsion education
I have been in this school since seventh grade, and it has served me well. It has helped me grow and nurture my academic interests. If you are a student that is looking for a program to boost your academic credibility, this is one of your best options. If, however, you consider it to be important to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities alongside academics, Alsion would not be your optimal to your needs. Another thing to consider is the low student population. While some may find that it is detrimental to a student's social life, many others including myself would counter that it allows for stronger bonds between all students as well as between students and teachers. As an academically strong school that fosters community values and individuality within student, Alsion is among the best schools in Fremont.
I am the mother of a 12 year old boy, I have chosen Alsion for my son because I think it's an excellent schools that will give my son great middle and high school experience First, I like Alsion's philosophy of of helping students to develop skills according to their talents while nurture them to become a good person. The teachers follow the Montessori method. I have an opportunity to observe a math class. During this class, all the children seemed engaged. They asked good questions, and were interested instead of checking out and looking bored. My ultimate goal is for my son to be prepared and ready for college when he graduates. Alsion has an early college program where high school students can take classes for credits from Ohlone College. These credits can be transferred and will save my son a couple of years in college and will help him be prepared and ready for college. Alsion has small size classes which enables teachers to give personal attention to each student. This atmosphere of caring and nurturing will help students resisting dishonest behaviors such as cheating, to use drugs and to misbehave. I am looking forward to the new school year at Alsion.