My son has attended two Academies at Natomas Charter School, and I am appreciative of the excellent and supportive teachers he has had throughout his middle and high school years. The school has high expectations for both students and staff which is why it is such a successful school that receives tons of awards. Bad teachers won't cut it here. Thank you, NCS teachers, you're the best!
I have taught at Natomas Charter School PFAA as an academic teacher for over a decade. There are many reasons why I do not wish to work anywhere else. I work with a dedicated, innovative and professional staff. Our students are curious and love learning. The integration of arts and academics in all aspects of the school learning environment and culture create an environment that encourages creativity and critical thinking. Every member of this community: the teachers, support staff, administration, students and parents work hard to provide a unique and meaningful educational experience. In addition, I believe in the mission of this school so much that my own children have attended since sixth grade. They are developing into intelligent, compassionate, creative and confident adults and I know that many of the teachers and experiences they have had at PFAA have contributed to this growth. If you are considering PFAA for your children or for a place of employment, come talk to us. You will be inspired.
I am a full-time teacher at Natomas Charter School PFAA and have been for over 15 years. I love my school! I wanted to share this story with anyone who is interested in either attending or working at a truly great school. Recently, I ran into an alumni student of PFAA. I'll call her Laurie. Laurie was and is a shining example of a PFAA kid. She was totally immersed in the Music Department as a singer/songwriter and performed as much as she could during high school. She was a completely dedicated musician. When I ran into Laurie this summer she had just graduated from UC Davis (pre-med) and will be starting medical school this Fall. Laurie recounted to me that many people are surprised that she went into the sciences because she had attended an arts high school. She said, I always correct them. I tell them it s because my high school put an equal emphasis on arts and academics. I had to work hard at both and I loved it all." Laurie is now going to be a pediatrician who uses music to work with autistic children. The students who graduate from PFAA enter the work force as engaged, critical thinkers whose deep understanding of the arts will make the world a better place.
As a former teacher in PFAA, I would not recommend this school to anyone. The administration treats teachers very poorly. Teachers are disposable and they feel like they are too, which is why so many teachers resign year after year. Also, teachers are "asked" to change grading policies and student grades, which is against Edcode as only teachers can assign grades. If you're a teacher seeking employment, please notice the high number of job postings this school offers years after year. There is a reason and you should not apply. If you're a parent, consider the constant shift of teachers as unstable for your child. Also, not all teachers at this school have a teaching credential because it is not required in a charter school. This can lead to inexperienced teachers who are teaching outside of their subject area or who have no idea how to manage a classroom. Academics are not valued nearly as much as the arts are and your child will not receive a strong academic foundation. Overall, given the opportunity, whether you are a teacher, parent, or student- choose another school! -A former PFAA teacher now working at a wonderful school where I am valued
Despite the personal attacks here, PACT is making changes for the good of all children. Yes, sometimes long time teachers have to go- but it has been our experience that this happens at any school when teachers refuse to teach ALL kids, not just the ones they like best. PACT has changed class formats to make room for more students, to open registration in a fair way and to spend more time helping parents homeschool. Why choose a homeschool program then put your kid in 10 classes? That isn't homeschool, that is avoiding traditional school. My daughter is excited for Minecraft history and also for writing, science and dance- all of which are still at PACT along with 70+ other classes. If you want to homeschool with support, with enrichment and field trips and social opportunities, this is the place. If you want more of the same, more old school sheltering, fear and 19th century strategies, this isn't the school for you.
Natomas Charter has 5 schools under it's umbrella. My child goes to PFAA (performing arts school). I know quite a few children from his grade.For the past 3 years all have told me how much they love PFAA and don't want to miss a day.That speaks volumes. Besides the academics and arts offered, students are not allowed to disrupt classrooms in anyway, resulting in the whole class period being productive.It gives the students necessary skills they will need in high school.A Technology class is given 6th grade where they learn various programs and will be able to type at least 30 words a minute by the end of the year.They teach students to be organized, comfortable communicating with their teachers, responsible for their success and to give back to the community.They do all this in an environment that is truly free of bullying. A C average is required. This school has expectations and makes them very clear to all students from the start. As a result, students rise to the occasion and excel.The growth I've seen in my child, both academically and personally, has been astounding.If that is your child is a performing arts kid, this school will be a great fit, academically and creatively.
It's unfortunate that I write this review because I have been a supporter of PACT for a few years. We have enjoyed the classes, teachers, advisors and students. With that being said, we had some changes to the school this year which seems to be spearheaded from our new administrator. With little to no insight from parents and advisors, the new administrator made drastic changes to the classes being offered. In addition, they let go of a well loved teacher who devoted her career to PACT for 17 years. The advisors are being treated poorly and you sense a "if you don't accept my rules then you are out the door" atmosphere. Unfortunately this discontent is not mine alone and I hear from many other parents that this is not what they want. The saddest part is the morale of the school has change. Once a place that felt like a community is now separated by the tension between the administrator and the advisors, teachers and parents. It's very unfortunate the new administrator has taken an "it's my way or the highway" attitude. I'm not sure if it's hers alone or coming from upper management but either way it's a shame that a once great school is being subjected to poor management.
PACT has fundamentally changed for the worse due to the unchecked, unilateral decisions of its head administrator who has continually kept parents, advisers, and teachers in the dark. Originally, PACT's desired to support and assist parents with how they sought to homeschool - offering semester and year-long classes along side shorter enrichment classes that created a unique learning environment and community. However, changes were announced in early 2014 that year-long classes (such as Kindergarten and 1st Grade) would be eliminated and replaced by 7-week "unit study" classes which could be repeated continually without any change in content. Furthermore, classes like Creative Writing would be replaced with "Minecraft History" or "Zombie Geography." These changes were implemented without input or involvement from parents and were told the new direction PACT was taking was not up for debate. Continual deceit and underhandedness by the Administration is exemplified by the most recent action: the a much-beloved teacher of 17 years "will be leaving to spend more time with her family" when, in actuality, she was terminated without notice to her on the first day of summer break.
So excite for the new changes at PACT! Students have a huge variety of enrichment classes to take on site, all while parents will get more support in homeschooling curriculum, structures and differences in styles. The new workshop format is perfect for my family because we travel during the holidays and always have to skip class for several weeks. I am looking forward to when my son is old enough to be in the new hybrid program that has two days a week on site, with three at home. It will be an easy transition back to brick and mortar traditional high school, which has always been our goal. I have found the administration to be warm, understanding and they even homeschool themselves so they know what it is like. They also have been very helpful in implementing my son's 504 plan and talking about learning disabilities. We wouldn't homeschool anywhere else!
PACT has implemented substantial changes to its educational model in 2014. Enrichment classes are now almost entirely limited to short workshops on trendy subjects and a curriculum review is underway. Students are limited in how many workshops they may use. The changes were made at the discretion of an on-site administrator who favors a media-focused, entertainment-based approach to learning. For example, she relies heavily on Minecraft and movie versions of literature. Her philosophy is set forth on her blog and self-published book, "Academic Homeschooling" on Amazon. Her priorities are not supportive of Classical Homeschooling or Charlotte Mason ideals. The administrator uses a label, "Academic Homeschooling," to contrast her view of, "Religious Homeschooling." Homeschoolers with faith-based viewpoints should be cautious of her leadership. I suggest doing, "due diligence" to evaluate the leadership direction PACT is taking by reading the administrator's published opinions. There are some outstanding teachers and advisors at PACT, but the ultimate governance comes from the on-site administrator. If you share her views, you may find a fit. If not, save yourself the headache.
We decided to pull our children from the Natomas Charter PACT Academy after the administration announced that they would be making sweeping changes to the program for next year. Unfortunately the wonderful yearlong and semester classes offered in the past are being replaced with 7 week workshops that offer no real educational benefit. Additionally, students will be very limited in how many workshops they can take. The administrators are dishonest and have low academic expectations for the program. There are numerous homeschool charter programs in Sacramento.. don't waste your time at PACT.
First and foremost, my son thoroughly likes Natomas Charter PFAA! As a new 9th grader he has particularly appreciated the high level of social ease and camaraderie with fellow students, the openness of his teachers & their accessibility, plus the relatively strong rigor of his classes. Another strong positive feature for him is the high levels of personal motivation and competitiveness he perceives held by the school's students. He considers the students very talented & enjoys the mix of visual & performing arts skills held by them. To quote him, "All are very talented & everyone gets along well with each other; in fact their relative high musical/artistic proficiencies help stimulate everyone to strive higher." As educators, both his mom & I believe that the positive factors noted by our son stem from the focused efforts of the PFAA administration, faculty & staff to create a student-centric school climate that is both supportive & encouraging & is built on a foundation of strong academic standards & educational professionalism. Such a climate promotes development of each individual student, fosters excellence and emphasizes respect of individual differences and diversity.
My school is in the Natomas Unified School District. The STAR Academy is a Great charter school founded under the Natomas Charter School system. It has a varied student body and AWESOME teachers. Lots of 'after school enrichment' activities: art music, sports, yoga and engineering to name a few. Fun after school care program open til 6 (M-F). My child loves his teachers and staff.
The PFAA program is a very good program, The school academically challenges my student and holds my student accountable. The school promotes being a self advocate and individualism. They have a lot of options that are not common at other Sacramento schools at this school including various booster clubs, culture awareness, 8th period options, lots of after school events, homework club and after school media center availability. My middle school child loves the school and is exceling. My student is socially accepted as well which was a problem coming from another school prior. We, myself and child, are very happy being a part of NCS PFAA.
Our school is good at writing the 504C plans and holding scheduled meetings. The challenge is making sure each teacher provides the accommodations. This has been and ongoing problem for four years. We as parents have had to manage the teachers instead of the school. Also, the school has a hard time thinking outside the normal educational box and offer to try other teaching methods. Such as verbal testing since they put so much emphasis on testing. Our experience is that traditionally educated teachers have very little skills in teaching or understanding students with learning disabilities. Schools must offer alternative methods of teaching, verbal or no testing more project based. Employ teachers that have experience in learning disabilities. Don't expect the student to explain something they do not understand themselves. You don't know what you don't know.
There are very little resources for students with learning disabilities.We have had a few teachers who have gone out of their way to help our child succeed. And other teachers who just do not get it. The administration has been diligent in helping our child be successful while working within the educational boundaries.
I love this school, the high school program has such a strong sense of community. It's a great place to learn and teach.
We love Natomas Charter School. Best administrative and teachers. We have to move another country. We will miss NCS. Thank you.
My daughter loves her new school. Everyday I pick her up she's all smiles. Like the parent involvement with school and that it's a good balance of academics and the arts.
I am a (Grade 8) student at PACT and I absolutely love it here. Everyone is really nice and the teachers and classes are awesome. We're like a big family at PACT and just everyone is great. We get to choose which classes we take, and we do the rest at home, so I take arts classes at the school. I really like the way the system is set up. This being my last year at the school, I'm really sad to have to go. I really recommend this school, it's just fantastic.
Natomas Charter School's PACT program is fantastic! We enrolled our son last year for kindergarten with the hopes that it would provide a unique balance between homeschooling and the traditional classroom setting. The staff has far exceeded our expectations and we absolutely love the sense of community that it provides. Looking forward to a great new year!
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