This is our first year at IA. The reason our son is going to this school is because we we didnt feel that our public middle school was right for him so we heard about this school and decided to check it out. So far my son and us love the school. Its great for him since he is more of a hands on learner and they have a no homework policy which we all love since we can spend that after school time together as a family without the stress of homework. So far so good.
If the school year ended today it would be considered a great year for my two children. We needed an alternative way of teaching and they are enjoying school for the first time. Getting up for school and telling me to hurry up. I love the attitude change. They have other needs that are being addressed as well. So far I am pleased with this school. Also, they have let me be involved as a parent. I really like that they are addressing the children's problem solving skills, thinking for themselves, how to speak up in there education-social and personal needs. So many parents are so controlling there kids are suffering. There is self growth and leadership qualities encouraged daily. I'm excited for this year.
This school is run by a HORRIBLE Principal / administrator. Christine Kuglen is demeaning to parents and children especially if she perceives that you are questioning what is best for your child and how they are being taught or not being taught, if you question what is going on in the class, or if you have questions that a concerned parent may want to ask and deserve to be able to ask - if she has not approved of you or your child - she can be the most unreasonable person to try to work with (this is an understatement folks). Christine Kuglen should not be running a school with impressionable children - she has made threats, said disrespectful despicable comments to parents, shown extremely unprofessional behavior in front of parents and her staff with no care at all about her being the head representative of "her" school. If she is a model for her staff then WATCH OUT. Your family deserves much better. She is not garnering the local community support because of her irrational behavior and attitude.
I am a student of innovations and i strongly recommend that you do not send your child here if you are not new age the staff is very unprofessional about complaints and harass you until you give up.
So after a few weeks at the neighborhood school, I decided to check out other options. I found Innovations Academy through a link on the sandi.net website, and decided to pay the school a visit. I was really impressed by the atmosphere of the school, the smiles on the faces of the students, the parent and community involvement, the genuine compassion of the teachers, and the caring and helpful attitude of the office staff and director. It has been less than 2 weeks since our sons have been attending Innovations Academy, and the difference is clear. By given latitude in their learning, choices in their classroom activities, and freedom to move about the spaces, both of my children have blossomed.
My daughter goes to Innovations and she and we love it!!!! She was at Marshall Middle which is an excellent school, but with the budget cuts has gone downhill tremendously. For example, last year her math teacher was literally incompetent. We begged to have her moved out of the class, as did many other parents. The administration knew of this teacher but since he had seniority, he stayed and the new good teachers received pink slips...Way to go teacher's union, you could care less about educating our kids it seems. We spent a fortune on math tutoring and her brother who is a math major at a UC school had to help as did we.... ultimately in spite of the school she did ok in that class. But at IA so far all is going great and the one on one teaching seems to fit our daughter much much better.. They are dedicated to educating your children.
My 2 sons go to Innovations Academy Charter School in San Diego, CA. I can't begin to tell you how positively affected they have been by their experience at this charter school. The whole philosophy of the school is just what they need to realize their full potential as learners. My younger son tested 99% on the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) test but never got more than B's and C's in his school work. He always just skated through under the radar of his teachers and did just what was necessary. At Innovations Academy the teachers take the time to focus on how every student learns. We took our boys out of public school and moved them to a private school with a traditional approach to learning. They did 3-4 hours of homework nightly, took tests, learned how to take notes in class. They were both very stressed out and anxious during that year. When Innovations Academy opened in our neighborhood my husband and I decided to try it out. Now both of my sons are excited about what they are learning in school,can't wait to go to school every day, and definitely less stressed about "grades".
This is a review for the Home Learning Community at the school. Up until this last academic year, my daughter was going to a highly-rated public school where she was miserable. Now that she goes to IA, she is so much more happier. It is a lot more balanced, and the school cares more about the kids than how they perform on the STAR tests (to tell the truth, they don't care at all how they perform on this test). It is so refreshing from the push, push, push of the academically-minded public schools.
I have a late birthday kindergarten student at Innovations. I am thrilled with the mass opportunities the school is offering my child. I am credentialed and know the standards well. My child is exceeding all of them and comes home creating her own homework. My child loves to graph words (by number of letters), show off reading and writing skills learned in class. Comes home telling me all kinds of interesting facts and interests developed through her project based learning days. I can't praise the program enough for offering such a broad based learning forum. As an educator and parent, it pains me to see all the cuts to excellent arts, science, and multicultural education. I.A. delivers these critical programs and intertwines them into core curriculum. 5 Stars from me!
I know how wonderful IA seems at first. If your child has special needs, please beware. There is initial elation when you experience the no-homework policy. You will feel that your child and his/her gifts are finally being recognized. As a parent whose child's needs were egregiously ignored by IA staff, I urge you to pay close attention to the work your child is (or is not) doing, and to what is actually occurring in the classroom. Though we didn't move to the new site, my view is not sour grapes. The move upset me because I feared -- 100% inaccurately -- that my child could not perform elsewhere. I'd already begun to realize that IA's freeform non-curricula and classroom chaos were not serving my child. We are now at a rigorous small charter. Unlike at IA, my child has close attention, daily assessments (as do all students), and the nurturing and expert help of an experienced Resource Specialist. She is not slipping between the cracks. Unlike at IA, staff is accountable, her goals are being monitored, she feels confident and challenged. Her first report card's GPA was a 3.2. This, after being told publicly at IA that she was "not the smartest girl in the class."
We are so happy that Innovations Academy has come into the community of Scripps Ranch. This has this given us an excellent alternative to the schools within our own neighborhood and allowed us to give our children a quality education without moving them to the private sector in other areas of San Diego. Our 6th grade son actually said to us last Sunday that he didn t want a weekend break from school as he was having such a good time working on the projects in his classroom. Our 5th grade son, who has an IEP, has become more confident and outgoing as a result of the nurturing, small classroom environment that embraces differences and finds ways of teaching to each child. As a mom, I couldn t be more pleased. That each child is a partner in the IA educational community and accountable for his and her actions to their peers is just icing on the cake. Thank you so much for everything. The Rosens
IA's approach is so refreshing! They are the first school my son has been to that teaches Critical Thinking and has him apply his knowledge. This is very important to me. So many schools are based on memorizing! Not Innovations! His teachers can even make vocabulary more applicable to his everyday life than his prior schools. Teachers can really do students a disservice when it comes to vocabulary, but not at IA! Their system works! My son has had vocabulary tests for 7 years, but never had it the IA way! He now uses his new words in his everyday language, and finds them in novels and understands them - no more insignificant words. Sometimes memorizing something for a test is actually easier for some students than being on the spot and having to perform with their new knowledge, but Innovations doesn't take the easy way. They take the right way! The students will know more because they live it and don't just memorize something! This Chinese Proverb says it best: Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.
I just want to thank you for the opportunity you have provided for my daughter who is attending your school. We weren t sure what the expectations were but the limited homework was a real selling point, as you might imagine to a student with ADHD and learning disabilities !!! I wanted to share with you the comments my daughters tutor, a retired elementary teacher in the San Diego Unified School District for over 30 years, had to say about our daughter: I think the new school is wonderful for her. I have never seen her so enthusiastic about learning. They obviously are using strategies that help her and don't keep her confined to a desk for long periods of time. As you are well aware, kids with ADD and ADHD don't do well in that kind of a structure. She is very focused and eager to do what I ask of her. I really think the change to a new school has been a positive one for her and I am excited to see how she progresses this year! To reiterate the words of her tutor, We are excited to see how she progresses this year !!!
What a disappointing experience in IA last year. The teacher I saw routinely threw fits to express dismay at poor class behavior. There was no regard for safety of kids getting picked up. This school came about with such promise. We had high hopes for innovative ideas and creative experiences. But what we got was chaos, filthy classrooms, and unprofessional staff. I didn't see any promises or programs delivered on. I still don't want a school that "teaches to the test" which is one key tenet of IA (for those who lament their low test scores, just an FYI) but I do want a school that teaches. Their move to Scripps Ranch left a lot of their student body in the dust, but part of me feels glad that the kids will have a chance for a better education by finding new schools for next school year. I don't recommend this school for any type of kid, special needs, athletic, gifted, etc. If hanging out all day doing questionably educational activities is a good fit for your kid, than perhaps IA would work for you.
I attended IA my 7th and 8th grade year and loved it. I felt very comforable in the small classes. The relationships I had with my teachers were awesome. I felt like the really cared about me and my work, because they had small classes they were able to give us all the amount of care we each needed. I struggled greatly in math, but our math teacher was understanding and worked me through everything. I loved my writers workshop, we all got to write about subjects that intrested us and were personal. My 8th grade class was a family and I loved thghat, I was so close with my class. I may not have had a luch room or playground, but i did have teachers and peers that cared and loved me.
High student turnover is a sign that something is very wrong at this school. There is no consistent curriculum, few books, few resources and limited computers. Teachers vary widely in their teaching style, and there is no consistency from grade to grade. Many of the teachers are uncredentialed, or only nominally credentialed. Some of them are wonderful...others less so. Criticism is viewed as disloyal. Many refuse to speak out for fear of reprisals, those who have, have been harassed, until they leave in disgust. The District refuses to do anything about complaints. There is no true oversight, and no one to complain to if your child isn't being served. Small class sizes won't remain so for long. Many former IA families who have left have discovered serious deficiencies in their children's education, despite having come to IA at or above grade level. While IA may not "teach to the test"..they also don't teach much at all.
This is not a great school. We have not been happy with this school. Low STAR test scores say it all. My children chose to return after leaving last year and our family regrets it. Two years too long! Our children are brilliant students. One was challenged while the other was not. One child was bullied repeatedly even though they teach conflict resolution in their social-emotional program. One child was very happy in class. If only they could make all their teachers like that one.
I have two children at IA (kindergarten and 5th grade). My youngest is doing wonderful considering this has been the first time attending any kind of program away from me ever. I have never seen my child so in dependant and full of confidence on a daily basis. Everyday when leaving for school I get a kiss goodbye, the car door close and walks away head held high. My children have been yearning for a school where they could actually be involved in their classroom and school. They feel like they are part of they school not just a student taking up space. The staff, I have to say as a parent it is wonderful to be able to call (or go in to the school) anytime of the day that they take time with you. If I took the time to think about all the things I didn t like about a school of course I would find things that are wrong. No school is perfect and a school that runs itself along that line is not the type of school I as a mother would want for my children. At IA my children are given a chance to learn, explore and thrive without having all the negative problems of peer pressure and society. We are very happy at IA when the school moves we are moving with them.
If you believe in project based learning, you will love this school. If you don't believe in homework, you will love this school. If the most important thing is that your child is happy, then you will love this school. If you value proficiency on the STAR tests, you will be a stressed out parent. Be prepared to supplement your child's learning if you want them to keep up with academic standards. Parents, please read about project based learning and positive discipline before considering IA.
We were so excited when we enrolled our child at this school. But unfortunately, they have not been able to do the things they proposed in the original charter. The school looks nothing like we thought it was going to be. The first year the direct instruction curriculum was abandoned and now each teacher is doing their own thing. You have some that teach traditionally and some that are using what resemble unschooling. I am not a critic of unschooling, however, it is very difficult to pull off with 25 or 30 kids in a classroom, especially when there is no discipline. And this is not what was "sold" to us originally. Also, there is no character curriculum. The 8 to Great was abandoned too, and never replaced. If we would have known the school was going to be so different then what was promised in the orientation, we would have never enrolled our child here. The school also seems to have very poor leadership and fiscal management. On the bright side, we've had some wonderful teachers!
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