Despite what other comments say about bullying, there is an awful lot of bullying that goes on here and nothing is ever done about it. The administration does not inform parents when bullying occurs, even when the bullying was serious and threatening to my child. My advice is to take a good look at the school to determine if it is the right school for your child. If it is, ie dance, vocal, or acting, it will be great. Otherwise there are better options.
Yes, I do. The simple fact is that many creative students dance to the beat of their own drummer. Right from the beginning when kids start middle school at PFAA, there is a message of acceptance that the school sends out to the students. I believe it is reinforced throughout the grades. If it were not this way, this school would be a most prominent candidate for rampant and endless bullying of countless students. I haven't found that the feedback of the students I know. It is middle school and high school and thus, a time for some kids to try and flex their meanness muscles (for all sorts of reasons). Sure, that exists - as it does in all middle schools and high schools. However, I believe the school's message to the students is one of acceptance and caring.
Of the 40+ students I know at PFAA's middle and high schools, I have heard the following words, "I love this school!" Four simple words that all kids should feel about their school but that, sadly, most do not. I can talk about the arts, the academics, the teachers, the parent boosters and the administration. No school is perfect and this one is no exception. There are always places for improvements. However, they do a great job overall and it shows. The kids are inspired while they attend and ready for college when they leave. I can ask no more for my children and I am so grateful that this school exists.
My review is solely on Star Academy, which is one of the youngest programs here at Natomas Charter. It goes from TK - 5th grade. Our experience here has been horrible year after year. The administration is awful and unprofessional. If your student is above average, you should seek education elsewhere as teachers will not be able to (or are not allowed to) meet his/her needs. Differentiation is virtually nonexistent. Some assignments are optional (hence differentiated). The main focus they use to market the school is technology. If you want your student to consistently have access to Minecraft, look no further, this is where you want to be. It is definitely a technology-oriented school. Your child will get to play Minecraft during school hours. Several teachers here have had no previous teaching experience prior to being hired here at Star. They gained their first year teaching experience after a year of teaching at Star. Freshly graduated teachers receive minimal support from the Admins. Therefore, the school's mindset is not for the best interest of its student body, but more for the administration. They need to use due diligence in acquiring their staff including teachers and principal, especially when they are the people who create the curriculum for your child. They do not follow the "box" curriculum, but if they don't have a competent team, the rest is no-brainer. The school's turn-over rate is amazingly high. It is truly a "testing" laboratory with "trial and error". If your child is "lucky" and is assigned a teacher who can create a good curriculum and is able to educate, then you're set for the year, hopefully, otherwise just pray that this year too shall pass, and you might be in a better luck the following year. The playground is just so hazardous that students get hurt on a daily basis, from bruises and cuts to broken bones. With over 350 students, the front desk lady is your only "nurse". It is not certain whether major accidents have been reported to the main campus as little being done to alleviate the situations. Kindness is being discussed days in and days out, however, actions speak louder than words. Bully issues were brushed under the carpet.
This is a great school and my daughter loves it here. The academics are strong and she is learning a lot. My only disappointment has been with sixth grade math. It dose not seem that the teacher has been trained or is equipt to teach. The administration seams no more equipt to address the issues either. I still recommend this school but plan on spending a summer redoing sixth grade math to stay on track. If a math education is important to you, apply to the Leading Edge Program instead. My understanding is that there are some really good math teachers there.
Two of our children go to this school. The staff, administration, and faculty are very caring and go above and beyond to make everyone happy. The academics are excellent too. The parental involvement is also very high thanks to P4A.
The skills taught at this school in the performing arts are perfectly suited to prepare the students for life in the real world. I use the digital art teachings of this school to increase my income from marketing, the acting experience I learned here to boost my confidence and prepare for interviews and sales, and finally the academic skills to always present myself in the best professional way possible This has resulted in great success for myself and I'm proud that to say this school provided the tools for me to succeed in life. I feel the schools greatest strength was allowing the students to have a safe place to express themselves and push through personal boundaries. In the end by the time I graduated I have both lifelong friends, as well as many memories of both failures, which provided valuable lessons, and great success. As I understand it the school has become less accepting to freedom of expression, and the student body has changed, but as I see it the spirit is still alive and well on campus. Someone can find their voice and hone lifelong skill while attending this school. John Class of 2009.
I have worked at and had children in three programs under the NCS umbrella. NCS started over 20 years ago and since that time they have responded to community needs by producing quality programs that lead to innovation and choice throughout California. The great thing is that NCS provides a choice for students, parents, and staff. I encourage you to look at what each program offers and their staff to see if it is a good fit for your child. In fact, I encourage you to look at all options in your area. Not every school is for every child or teacher. Expect that at some point programs will change and grow. Remaining the same is usually not a part of innovation when the world and student population you serve is changing.
Natomas Charter School is all about tolerance...except for tolerance toward Christians. Homosexuality is celebrated here, in a big way- witness this school's production of the highly sexually referenced, profanity-laden "Laramie Project," which glorifies homosexuality and denigrates Americans of faith. Shame on this school's administration for it's promotion of the sexualization of children- 6th graders- who are exposed to frank sexual talk from 17 and 18 year old high school students on a daily basis. Parents- you should know what you are getting your kids into- be warned