Kids come first at ECC. Do I wish that the academics were stronger, sure but kids are learning, and they love it? Teachers, for the most part, are committed and love these children. Children are active and parents care. We left ECC happy, the Speech and Debate program and ESA are worth it. Kids learn about being people in the world.
The only "grit" being developed is having to deal with "street-tough" kids that come from other neighborhoods. It may be a good thing to be exposed to other types of people, but in general this school falls short of supporting individuals' differences and instead there is an "us against them" atmosphere with the bused-in kids and the neighborhood kids.
This school could be great but is unfortunately mediocre at best. 6th grade was OK. The 7th grade teachers are mostly really terrible. The vice principal is a wonderful person, and I wish she was running the place. The principal is no good and has his own agenda. My kid is in the "SAS" program which is supposedly an honors/gifted curriculum, and he is NOT challenged enough. If you are able, look elsewhere - mainly for better teachers.
I can't say enough good things about this school. The school offers so many great opportunities for the students. My only complaint is that it's not possible for my child to take advantage of them all. Our whole family went to see the musical production even though our daughter wasn't in it. The auditorium was packed. So nice to see all the kids come out to support their friends. And it was an amazing production. So much talent. I hear the students help build the sets and make the costumes. And I saw students running the light cues and sound board. They really learn how a theater operates. Also, the robotics students went on a field trip to the UCLA engineering labs two weeks ago. And the 8th grade history teacher had her students do a moot court with a real Superior Court Judge volunteering and parent lawyers helping the students prepare their arguments. I wish I could go back to middle school.
Some teachers are better than others and my kids have clicked with some and not others. But one of the great lessons of school is learning how to succeed even when you don't like the teacher or you don't think the teacher is the best. But there are teachers that my daughter didn't like that I still thought were great teachers. This year, 8th grade, my daugher loves all her teachers. So great.
It really depends on the student and not the teacher. The accelerated math classes are tougher and will have more homework. But it comes down to how well your child was prepared for middle school. Some kids come in well-prepared. Others spend the first semester just learning how to manage their time.