« Back to compare
/ / School Profile
K-8
Public charter
San Diego, CA
Students enrolled: 252
Before care: No
 

Contact this school

2120 San Diego Avenue
San Diego, CA 92110

School website
(619) 574-6225
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Old Town Academy K-8 Charter address.

August 20, 2015
Change is always hard, especially when it is combined with internal conflict. With that said my son loves this school (as do I) and I am assuming that HIS experience of the school, no matter what the outcome of the changes, will stay the same. To be completely honest as much as I loved the old regime it was not without it's issues. Now we have many new teachers, principals etc but they will all be working with the SAME curriculum-The beating heart of the school continues on. So today we have a choice- we can hope that the future will be bright and work towards that end or we can mourn what has already been done and complain about that which we cannot change. As much as my heart mourns for the staff that we lost I believe that this school will survive and prosper and continue to fully educate my son and prepare him for an amazing future. Nuff' said...

- submitted by a parent

August 13, 2015
I would have given this 5 stars last year, or the years prior. With all the new "transparency" that has been preached, why do we not know why our new principal was put on administrative leave at his other school? Does that concern anyone else? This whole upheaval has been so divisive - parents seem to be cold-shouldering and ostracizing others if you even question the new policies. For all the gerbils who want to just run with the pack, investigate and do your due diligence before bullying everyone to be positive about the changes unwanted by a lot of people! It's really very unfortunate, but the school spirit is broken

- submitted by a parent
Develops empathy: Strongly disagree
August 12, 2015
The school participates in Stand Up For Kids, Wounded Warriors, and required reading includes Wonder -- most students, and most parents, understand that being at OTA is a privilege -- and they grow to show great compassion for all those around them.

- submitted by a parent
Develops honesty: Agree
August 12, 2015
In the last year, as the outgoing Principal was off-campus most of the year preparing for a promotion and raise that he eventually lost because of his poor judgment and behavior, an unrelated group of 12 or so students began to hold the teachers hostage, with the administration left behind unable or unwilling to instill in the troublemakers the principals of honesty and integrity which are built into the curriculum -- the newly adopted program will bring back the principles of responsibility, honesty and integrity for which the school was known, and to which it is committed. For 240 of the students, they have shown they can become the responsible persons we dreamed they could be -- hopefully a consistent support system for the teachers will create great increases in these traits among those who felt that the rules of common sense and decency did not apply to them.

- submitted by a parent

August 12, 2015
Whenever there is change, rational people approach it with some restraint, but only a few take on the persona of "chicken little" and cry that the sky is falling. Change here has occurred for good reason. The new Principal is both an accomplished administrator and educator, which should address many of the shortcomings of the administrative morass left behind by the very bright, curriculum designer and co-founder who exclaimed regularly that he did NOT want to be Principal. The sense of the community, except for a few outliers, is that the negative comments being posted are being authored by the few former employees who, because of their own actions detrimental to the students and the school, found themselves without jobs. A Charter School is a public trust, and when you abuse that trust, you get replaced with those who accept the responsibility of transparency and integrity as cornerstones of that trust. Improvements in the academic program, not just the administrative environment, are already underway. And the facility is getting a needed update. The first day of school has not yet arrived, but the promise for the first time of openness and honesty at the top has our family excited to see what this school can now do. Shackles of deceit are off OTA -- fly higher to the great heights you were destined for from the beginning.

- submitted by a parent
Develops empathy: Strongly disagree
August 11, 2015
Sounds like (without a track record) there is no basis to comment on how future policies will work out at this time. Hopefully the new staff will be able to focus on these issues early on as they start work on The New OTA.

- submitted by a community member
Develops honesty: Strongly disagree
August 11, 2015
I really don't see how a school going through this turmoil and showing such behavior from the 'responsible parties' charged with running the school can possibly encourage a sense of integrity, fairness or anything desirable among the students.

- submitted by a community member

August 11, 2015
Our experience has been good until a couple of months ago when everything changed. Every single crucial element that made the school so special seems to have either been forced out or left of its own accord. I suppose this can't have really all happened in a day or two, but for everything to disintegrate or get destroyed in such a short time isn't a good sign. Some of these reviews read like a petty squabble! No wonder the school suffered a huge split. Sounds like the new governance having forced their way into the driving seat are so concerned about the monumental task of rebuilding the school they helped ruin, they are just blindly and probably unrealistically chanting 'how great things were' - hoping that they haven't destroyed everything. If it is true that half the staff and all the admin have gone, then, matter of fact, this is not the same school it was! Any claim about 'what this school is like' must be based not on reality, but on hope for the future and may be knowledge of the past. This is a school for the benefits of students, I hope. From many of these reviews it sounds like a school for adult egos. I hope those still charged with running THIS PUBLIC INSTITUTION manage to put egos and self importance to one side for long enough to make room for the needs of the kids. Clearly, no comments based on how the school WAS have any place in justifying how it will be in future when so much has changed.

- submitted by a community member
Teacher effectiveness: Ineffective
August 11, 2015
If we are talking about the previous staff, then obviously they were a great team. A previous reviewer mentions being showed around the school and about how impressed they were. The same goes for me, but the person who showed you around is no longer at the school, and was likely kicked out without being paid for the work they had already done! Going forward, this is a different school and should not try to pass itself off as something from the past that was successful under the operation of a different staff and culture. Sounds like (without a track record) there is no basis to comment on how future policies will work out at this time. Hopefully the new staff will be able to focus on these issues early on as they start work on The New OTA.

- submitted by a community member
Develops respect: Strongly disagree
August 11, 2015
From the view point of students, how can a school that loses half or more of its staff and also drags kids into such adult-centric issues be said to 'develop respect in its students'?! A big NO to this one.

- submitted by a community member

August 08, 2015
This school was absolutely wonderful for four years but in the last couple of months everything had been changed. A extreme staff change has taken place with seven teachers/staff leaving over the summer as well as the founder of the school. The man that formerly did nothing but help raise money now seems to be completely involved in the educational process. I am very very concerned about my child's future here and would warn perspective parents that the new principle hired for the upcoming school year was put on administrative leave for unknown reasons mid way through the year at his last position. A google search of this mans name will show you what I am talking about. Im very worried about my children as it will be hard to change schools so late in the year. Seriously conflicted.

- submitted by a community member

August 07, 2015
This school was absolutely wonderful for four years but in the last couple of months everything had been changed. A extreme staff change has taken place with seven teachers/staff leaving over the summer as well as the founder of the school. The man that formerly did nothing but help raise money now seems to be completely involved in the educational process. I am very very concerned about my child's future here and would warn perspective parents that the new principle hired for the upcoming school year was put on administrative leave for unknown reasons mid way through the year at his last position. A google search of this mans name will show you what I am talking about. Im very worried about my children as it will be hard to change schools so late in the year. Seriously conflicted.

- submitted by a parent

August 07, 2015
First of all, one must recognize why, TRVL CO, would have an interest in OTA, 23 million Prop Z ,?.... Why was there such a turn over with staff and admin.??!!! How extended can a corperation get ? When it can't pay last years teacher/staff salaries --- How long can a now , seemingly invisible 3rd party, cooperate with an incompetent and inept School Board--- only egos and time will tell.

- submitted by a community member

August 05, 2015
My daughter has attended OTA since the very beginning (now going into sixth grade). She loves her school because she feels challenged and respected. The project oriented learning style is teaching valuable skills about organizing work that will last a lifetime. Yes, we had some turnover this year with administration, but the founding principals remain in place. Bullying is not tolerated, inappropriate classroom behavior is not tolerated. All students are treated with respect and encouraged to do their best! My daughter has thrived in this school and my confidence is high that things will only improve with the new leadership team.

- submitted by a parent
Teacher effectiveness: Very effective
August 05, 2015
The teachers here are very effective. The entire culture of the school is geared toward excellence. New teachers will benefit from the momentum created in years prior.

- submitted by a parent
Amount of homework: Just right
August 05, 2015
The school day here is a bit longer than most public schools, and there are few half days (as opposed to most other public schools which have one a week). I am always amazed at how much schoolwork is done during the school day. Most of the homework is project-related.

- submitted by a parent
Develops grit: Strongly agree
August 05, 2015
Yes, as one example, all of the students learn piano beginning in kindergarten. As you can imagine, this doesn't come easily to most of them. However, they must persist in their instruction and practice. By 2nd grade, my child has become quite proficient, and really enjoys piano now. I don't think that she would have stuck with it had it not been part of the curriculum.

- submitted by a parent
Develops respect: Strongly agree
August 05, 2015
Yes, students at this school are taught and encouraged to respect their teachers, their parents, and themselves.

- submitted by a parent
Develops empathy: Strongly agree
August 05, 2015
Because of the small size of the school, the kids are almost like a family. My daughter had surgery last year, and dozens of kids and their parents showed so much compassion and concern for her. Even parents I hadn't met yet came up to ask me how she was doing and showed support.

- submitted by a parent

August 05, 2015
This is a wonderful new charter school in San Diego. My children are thriving here, and I am thrilled that we chose it. They love coming to school each day. The school uses the "core knowledge" curriculum for all grades, but adds a lot of science and technology to it. All students take piano and p.e. as part of the regular school curriculum. Also, they offer great after school enrichment classes (at a cost). They have very high expectations of the kids and teach/coach them to meet those expectations. All of the parents I have met seem very involved with the school and very involved in their children's education. The teachers are bright, articulate, and creative. The community is very strong and has a great vision for the school. The school is small, currently one class per grade, but growth seems inevitable. The beginning of the summer was a bit turbulent with the prior principal leaving, but the new principal brings a maturity and level of experience which we have not had to date. Parents have rallied, and the future is bright! We couldn't be happier and we are here to stay.

- submitted by a parent

August 05, 2015
Last year we were ready to send our child to our neighborhood school by a beautiful park with great ratings. But when we toured OTA things changed! We fell in love with the school it's curriculum and after school programs and we were so fortunate to get a spot. Now my daughter just finished kindergarten and it has been a fantastic year. The school has been through a lot during summer but OTA has a great community with great teachers and so many wonderful parents that volunteer. We are looking forward to a new school year!

- submitted by a parent
Develops honesty: Strongly agree
August 05, 2015
Yes, character building is part of the curriculum. The school works well to exemplify this.

- submitted by a parent

August 05, 2015
My kids have been happy here for the last 4 years since it opened. There was a big change over at the end of the year, but the community has pulled together to work together these last few months and pull through. I should be amazed by the work these people have done these last few months since the principal left, but frankly, I'm not. This school is going to have a great year thanks to the families that have worked together with teachers and administration to make this school thrive. Proving again that this is a magical place for your children.

- submitted by a parent

August 05, 2015
In spite of some recent reviews you may have read written by one or two people with a clear axe to grind and a lot of time on their hands, OTA is a 9 on the path to becoming a 10 because of an all-hands-on-deck summer resulting in an even stronger principal, faculty, staff, curriculum, mission statement, PTO, Site Council, governing body, and school community than we ever had before. This school was really good. It's about to become unsurpassed. Pause, think and find out for yourself what difficulties indeed went down before, but what golden age lies straight ahead. School year 2015-2016, we're ready for you and we can't wait.

- submitted by a parent

August 05, 2015
Old Town Academy is solid in academics and full of spirit. Take a tour and you'll get what all the buzz is about. We have 3 kids at OTA and have been there from the start. After losing one of the great OTA founders, we have strengthened and are looking forward to an awesome 2015-16 academic year.

- submitted by a parent

August 04, 2015
Strong academics, awesome community of people focused on what's best for the students, happy and well-rounded students who love the challenge. This is a pivotal year, but the new administration and the remaining families are intent on success. This school will be better than it was before (which is saying a lot, because it was great before).

- submitted by a parent
Amount of homework: Too much
July 28, 2015
I loved OTA before it was dismantled and taken over by a for profit corporation. My only gripe was that homework in the lower grades was a problem. It interfered with weekend family time and I worried that the pressure to read and work every day after school was causing my 6 year old to lose his love of learning.

- submitted by a parent

July 28, 2015
After losing almost all staff, this school has many challenges ahead; not the least of which is that it is now run by a for profit corporation (TVLC) and not a nonprofit.

- submitted by a parent
Teacher effectiveness: Ineffective
July 28, 2015
As of the 2015-2016 school year, the Principal/ Academic Director, Vice Principal/ STEM Director, Office Director (aka "school Mom"), Athletic Directors, and five teachers are all gone. There are many parents that still want the school to be the way it was and with all the new staff this is not going to be a smooth transition.

- submitted by a parent
Develops empathy: Disagree
July 25, 2015
Passionate teachers, working for their love of the students and not their own greed and self importance was a hallmark of this school. Since the aggressive ousting of large proportion of the staff, including the sources of a lot of vision and direction, there will be very little empathy left. In fact, so many of the existing structures have been damaged or destroyed, it is hard to see how this school can build on anything. The best it can do is start over and see how it goes.

- submitted by a parent

July 25, 2015
If you are looking for something different - OTA is certainly that! If you try to compare it with a typical state school, you won't get very far. After a super acrimonious and divisive bust-up between key staff and other partners in June 2015, the magic of OTA May well have gone for ever. Most of the key players who worked so tirelessly to give OTA its 'heart of gold' have either been pushed out or resigned. Effectively OTA is back to being a new start-up project, as long as I'll-feeling and distrust from the bust-up can be left in the past. With inordinate hard work and if they get a new team together , OTA might be worth a second look in 3 or 4 year's time.

- submitted by a parent
Amount of homework: Too much
July 25, 2015
OTA never quite got this right. Homework policy is tough. What is most important about being at home? Doing more of what you did all day at school, or living a life? Personally, I think that if school can't achieve what it needs to do during the whole of the school day, it should not impose on home time. Unless the purpose of academic studying is purely to lead to more academic study, then students should be being lead by school and home to CHOSE to take on practical and worthwhile activities that have a real and public benefit. OTA did not quite manage to get this aspect sorted out, but it always tried to give options and encouragement to everyone. May be the new team will come up with a better answer?

- submitted by a parent
Develops grit: Agree
July 25, 2015
I think all those - students, staff and parents - who remain involved with OTA will need a huge amount of grit and determination. If they succeed and have a fair amount of good fortune, they might get a little way towards rebuilding something with a fraction of what was in place before 'The Decimation'.

- submitted by a parent
Develops respect: Disagree
July 25, 2015
It takes a respectful environment to build respect. OTA has taken a big step backwards showing no respect for its staff or students. Whether it can somehow turn disrespectful behavior into a role model for respectfulness will have to be seen. I have no respect for the process that has effectively castrated and sterilized what could have been a wonderful seed-school.

- submitted by a parent
Teacher effectiveness: Very ineffective
July 25, 2015
Since most of the key teachers have effectively been pushed out of the school in recognition of their loyalty to the administration that made the school the amazing place it was, it will be very hard for them to be effective. For the teachers who remain from the original team, I think they will struggle to be effective as they used to be. OTA was very much a team, and with such stresses imposed on it, it will be incredible if teachers and administration can be anywhere near as effective as they were.

- submitted by a parent

July 04, 2015
How can a school with a spectacular rating for 4 years fail?-- I will tell you--fire the Founding Principle /Educational Genius because he didn't agree with a corporate take-over (Trivially Corporation) and has had a long standing disagreement with the bankruptcy lawyer and co-founder who wished to "disappear" his "fellow'" cofounder (over day to day control of the school and its uniform policy- -perhaps--conjecture?) - maybe for political reasons-- maybe he wants to claim "completely" the founding of the school for himself (and his wife)- maybe he wants to run for office, maybe he wants to rack up credentials--- I don't know, BUT the facts are this: as of 7/4/15 -- 4 out of 9 classroom teachers 4 have quit-- the STEM director and Founding Executive Director have been "fired" - the beloved PE coach has not been asked to return and Office manager put on "administrative leave" very likely fired before 2015-2016 school year and other staff members seeking alternatives-- this is a very bad sign! My family were so very happy at OTA for 4 years and it pains me to put anything less then a 5 star rating but the current iteneration of "OTA" is a shell of its former glory--- So Parent Beware! The current "OTA" insitution is riding the wave of its former glory and those that seek to credit or profit from (all those that worked so tirelessly to help our children face the very interesting challenges that our future holds) have done nothing but cause the collapse of one of the best Charter schools in California...this all said in absolute and total disgust, a parent

- submitted by a parent

February 18, 2015
My twin daughters joined OTA after a horrid experience at Bay Park Elementary in the 3rd grade (I saw the API scores and knew what was in store). They are now in the 8th grade and have fully adapted to the project based learning method which can be difficult to understand coming from conventional education where teachers teach to the lowest common denominator (also called the "no child left behind act"). If you are a parent that is serious about education and understand that it takes effort both from yourself and your children, this is the school for you. It is not a perfect school filled with perfect teachers and perfect administrators. The school has flaws like any other and are quick to understand and make necessary course corrections. If you are a parent that expects OTA to be your day care center, or have children that really aren't interested in learning, or have disruptive children - this school is not for you.

- submitted by a parent

February 10, 2015
My child has attended this school since it started. The school director has zero follow up when it comes to any in school conflicts. He has the teachers deal with it even when a parent has emailed him. There's no principal or vice principle. No school counselors and no accountability. Who's in charge here. Who counsels your kid, someone who does not have any qualifications to do so. Who holds the teachers accountable when they are at fault. No one because it's more like a business and lacks the discipline a learning facilty should have.

- submitted by a parent

October 16, 2014
I'm a student at Old Town academy and I joined the school in sixth grade after leaving DANA middle. At Dana my claases were cramped and my teachers were not devoted except for a few. My worst teacher at Dana was Mrs. Bogioni clark (core teacher) I learned absolutely nothing in math, or history. I'm starting eighth grade this year and I've loved all of my teachers! Mr Cohick was my amazing 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Curry who recently left back to Massachusetts was a phenominial teacher. These have been the best teachers I've had in school. I love the projects, taps, music, seminar and everything else. We also go on many great field trips such as, Joshua Tree, Catalina Island, Camping in Julian, the Getty Museum and many more smaller field trips. Overall It's a great school that has devoted staff and is getting better every year

- submitted by a community member

October 14, 2014
I can't be happier to have my soon to be 8-year-old attend Old Town Academy. We just moved to La Jolla from up North where my daughter had been attending a Montessori School all her life. OTA staff and students could not have been more welcoming. They made the transition so easy for her. Her 3rd grade teacher is enthusiastic and passionate. She is preparing these kids for the real world. While most of the public schools no longer offer sports and music, OTA thrives on them. The kids get some kind of physical activities everyday and PE twice a week (love love love their PE teacher). They have piano labs, choir and violin more than once a week. What a luxury!!! Their after school program has so many variety. From soccer, to Yoga, from Spanish to Orchestra, just to name a few, everyone is sure to find somethings that they would like to be a part of. Last but certainly not least, what can I say about the administrators at OTA? They are dedicated and devoted. They are a group that you'd want on your team any day.

- submitted by a parent

August 18, 2014
I am glad to say that after two years (and tons of complaints from me to the staff) of being bullied, my child is now safe and happy, away from OTA.

- submitted by a parent

June 13, 2014
Our neighborhood school was unacceptable, and not a good fit for our kids. We were going to stretch our budget almost to a breaking point to have them attend private school. Thankfully, we "won the lottery" and were chosen for this wonderful public charter school. The Core Knowledge curriculum is thorough and does a great job of building on knowledge gained in prior grades. The "extracurricular" things like art, music, and character building have been incorporated into the regular curriculum. Kids are inspired and challenged. The parents have a say but don't run the show. The teachers are dedicated and resourceful. Overall, it is a happy, creative learning environment. Every staff person knows my kids' names. My smart-but-shy daughter has come out of her shell and is proud to present her projects in front of her class. I would grade this school as an A+.

- submitted by a parent

April 17, 2014
We have been at the school from the its start and it has been terrific for our son. The small size of the school and the caring administration have been wonderful. Our son gets overwhelmed by too many people and this was a perfect match. The administration and teachers all know and greet him every day. He feels welcome at the school and is comfortable speaking his mind because he knows everyone's contributions are welcome at the school. He is doing well academically, better than at other schools because he can stay on task in the smaller class room. The science lab is great, much better than his old school where the science class was so big they never got to do any experiments or interesting projects. The teachers are on point and do a super job both teaching and providing support for the kids. Having one class per grade and one teacher per grade makes all the difference. We will miss OTA next year when our son transitions to high school.

- submitted by a parent

April 04, 2014
Old Town Academy - I just visited my 1st grade grandchildren and was amazed at what they are studying, from fossils to Mayan history and early civilization.The projects my 4th grade grandson has done are mind boggling. He is doing things we did in high school in the 50's. B.D. Vogelzang

- submitted by a community member

April 02, 2014
Old Town Academy (OTA) offers an intimate, safe, and nurturing environment for students. My child was being bullied at his previous middle school. At OTA, there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior and the staff/teachers know each child. Teaching is tailored as much as possible to the students' learning style and level of understanding.

- submitted by a parent

February 05, 2014
You can see from reading the comments above that OTA is not the school for everyone. I almost laughed out loud when I read that the teachers don t care about students that is the very thing that makes OTA so special, the do care. To prove it both years I have been here I have had at least three teachers stay after school on their own time to do work with me. However I do agree that OTA will accept low quality work. I could get away with turning in the same quality work in 5th grade as now in 8th. That led me to be frustrated when I first came to OTA. The fact that they seem to care more about the quantity than the quality. But really if you kid is willing to put in the effort than the results are unbelievable. In short if your child is not self-driven and does not push them self, then you child does not belong at OTA.

- submitted by a community member

January 22, 2014
In need of documented processes that incorporates checks and balances, run by the parents, and not the Director's Crew for Board Members.

- submitted by a community member

October 09, 2013
Working out the kinks as any new school, business would have too, but overall a great experience. I have the teachers, founders, principals personal phone numbers on my cell phone and have always gotten a great response with issues dealt with relatively quickly. Teachers always willing to meet. I have 2 kids here, both very different learners, both love the school. Don't come here if you are not patient and don't understand it is a startup that is running an amazing program on a shoestring budget. Overall the parents are great and it a great mix from all areas and income levels around San Diego.

- submitted by a parent

September 20, 2013
Two years in and my kids are doing great. This school may not be for everyone as I have seen some disgruntled reviews. Hopefully those parents have found a better fit for them and their kids. As for our family, this school has been a great experience for our kids. This year OTA is implementing character coaching based on researched traits for success and happiness in life. They are learning that good grades are nice but that being the best you can personally be is even better. Another addition this year is orchestra for all kids from 5th grade up. The programs this school has integrated with the basic California educational requirements is to be applauded. We are so proud this school does not "teach to the state test" and still scored a 901. It's a challenging workload for the kids but, at least for mine, it's paying off. To people who have commented the school is run like a business. I don't have a problem with that. The administration gets grants and much needed funding to keep moving forward. In just two years it's astounding what they have done along with a lot of dedicated parent volunteers. The school isn't perfect but it's really delivering for my kids.

- submitted by a parent

August 31, 2013
ota is an out of the box learning environment. when i evaluate schools, i not only look at reviews and testing scores, i tour and listen to my instincts on the type of fit for my kids. this school is an amazing fit for my girls. i feel so lucky to have found it.

- submitted by a parent

August 08, 2013
I love OTA! I am more than satisfied with the quality of my children's education, the dedication of the faculty and staff, the hands on learning approach and core knowledge curriculum. ALL of the families and kids that I have met and worked with are also as dedicated to the school and love it as much as I. Therefore, I was very surprised to see, a few reviews were so rancorous and petty. No single entity is "perfect" and for everyone. It would be foolish to believe that, however, the OTA faculty and staff are constantly striving to find the best and most effective teaching and learning atmosphere- if something doesn't work they discard it, but if it does, they strive to perfect it! I know that they "bend over backwards" to help kids that are struggling. I certainly hope this disgruntled parent, if so unhappy with the school, has with drawn her child because there are MANY kids and families that are wishing a spot would open up for them! . During the school year, OTA usually runs a tour once a week- call, make an appointment and see for yourself. OTA is a phenomenal place! I sincerely hope your child is lucky enough to attend!

- submitted by a parent

August 08, 2013
Nobody cares about your kid. If you complain you might as well paint a target on your child's back. Don't go there, it's a bad place.

- submitted by a parent

August 07, 2013
OTA has been a great experience for my children. Music/Piano twice every week, lots of PE, art science, project-based learning. My kids actually like going to school! The teachers are dedicated and professional and I always see them after school offering free tutoring and running clubs. They also welcome parents into the class to help teach art, math, reading, even Seminar (every kid is in "Seminar" here). My only complaint is the wait list is so long I cant get my cousins or my friend's kids in.

- submitted by a parent

July 01, 2013
Every time there is a bad review, there is an immediate good review to follow...intriguing. School non-bullying police only applies to some. Arrogant administration. School will probably be good in a few years, right now is not well structured to deliver what they promised 2 years ago. I don't think the Core knowledge is presented correctly. The grading system is not good, my child only has A's and B's at OTA but when I got him tested in 4 different private schools, NONE accepted him, he was not at the level where he should be with the grades he has. I showed his work(to which he received a passing grade at OTA) to the Principals and they were baffled, they said his work was so incomplete and they would have never accepted that ( but it was accepted at OTA, which high scoring). Hopefully one day they will achieve their goal of education, their promise is great, but the delivery is not promising. This is my opinion (and probably of those who ran out of there on the first year),like others said, do your research. I want my child to go to a school where he can be prepared for what is to come, high school, college, career, and right now OTA is not it. Out There Alone

- submitted by a parent

June 24, 2013
As a student who had spent her entire life in private schools, I was curious to see how an institute that does not charge tuition could still claim to offer a hands-on learning environment. I was not disappointed. Due to the brevity of my internship, I worked exclusively with the kindergarten and the seventh grade. The kindergarten was a mixture of both new and old learning techniques that ranged from measuring items around the room with a string in order to comprehend the concepts of "shorter" and "longer" to "play time" on ipads that offered reading comprehension, math, and music games. The seventh grade was also a mix of the novel and the traditional. Instead of tests, oral exams were administered to quiz the students' comprehension of class material and a seminar discussion was held at the end of the week in order to teach students how to both argue their opinions while respectfully listening to their fellow students. Although my brief visit was limited to only these two grades, I have no doubt the remainder of the staff and student body at Old Town Academy are as impressive as the ones I had the chance to work with.

- submitted by a community member

June 22, 2013
O - outrageous T - tyrannical A - amoral Don't recommend drinking their "Kool Aid"

- submitted by a parent

June 16, 2013
Leadership is weak. Parents not welcomed, only when convenient. I too expected more. Its just not preparing my child for the future. I understand the hands on and the independence of the program, but considering that most kids came from regular traditional schools (this is a2 years old school), they give the children no guidance. I don't like it, I don't like their grade system, I don't think the grades my child receives reflects what my child should know. I wish they could do better, I do see potential though, we just can't wait for it to get better. That's just my opinion.

- submitted by a parent

June 08, 2013
OTA is an amazing school! The principle, teachers and staff strive to help students achieve goals and thrive. The 3rd grade, for example, completed their core knowledge curriculum a month in advance and have been spending the remaining school time working on a presentation/ performance/ awards ceremony and taking great field trips..! They have an amazing hands on learning/ project-based science program and robotics program, all students learn to play the piano or can participate in orchestra , recess is supervised and games/ activities are set up to keep kids active and not sitting on the fence gossiping, there are amazing parent volunteers assisting with everything from seminar discussions, hot lunch, teaching art, helping in the classrooms or sharing skills in meaningful ways with the students. They also go to great lengths to work with families of troubled students to resolve issues and fix problems. I think OTA is an incredible school, I am more than satisfied with my children's education and I look forward to seeing the school becoming an even more amazing place- (it only just completed its second year- it really is a marvel!)

- submitted by a parent

June 07, 2013
Not happy with it. I expected a lot more from this school when I enrolled my child 2 years ago.

- submitted by a parent

April 24, 2013
This school has been a blessing to our family for the past 2 years. We love Old Town Academy's value-based curriculum, community support, and family atmosphere which enhance its strong academics and enrichment programs. The dedicated teachers truly care about the success of their students the staff is committed and caring. There is an open-door policy to the principal and they know every child by name! There is a true partnership between parents and the school. I feel confident my son s education, as well as his social development is being thoughtfully considered each day. My son is learning time management skills that will take him far in life. He loves participating in a variety of school activities and after-school sports programs. We moved from North County to be apart of this school because we know the benefits of Old Town Academy how it implements, Equality and Excellence for All.

- submitted by a parent

December 06, 2012
We could not be happier with our choice to enroll our child at OTA. It has been a wonderful fit for our child who is thriving in this student centered environment. She is challenged, loves the curriculum and has found a confidence in math we could have only dreamed of. The project based learning allows her to demonstrate her understanding of the content without being assessed only by a test. We have made some great friends here and enjoy the community thoroughly. Thank you to the administration, teachers, founders and all staff for making this school possible! We are beyond excited to see OTA continue to grow and develop in the years to come.

- submitted by a parent

November 29, 2012
A great start-up school and huge potential for students at OTA. After several other schools, we were and still are very pleased to find this one. One thing you need to realize is that your child will be expected to take full responsibility for themselves. They have to take ownership of their projects and self motivate to a greater extent than at other schools. They deal with ensuring testing standards are maintained separately from providing a rounded, purposeful learning environment. These objectives often overlap, but priority is given to nurturing true respect and understanding while empowering students to become masters of their own destinies - over and above pure teaching to the test. This approach probably will lead to frustration if your student can't focus, can't self motivate or doesn't start seriously caring about making something of their educational opportunities. Without doubt, this are touch times to start a school, at OTA there is an opportunity rich environment for your child to grown in. The over-all feel of the school is very friendly, especially towards students and their families who respect and value the special school they lucky enough to be part of.

- submitted by a community member

November 28, 2012
My Child is a Student at Old Town Academy. Like any new endeavor, patience and vision are necessary in order to see something fully develop. OTA has done wonders in a short period of time, to provide our children with a warm, child centered space. Tom Donahue is the principal at OTA, He believes that the child is filled with potential, and has built a school that gives the child an opportunity to participate actively in the educational process, and have a sense of pride and accomplishment in their own work. Every teacher in the school knows my child, she is not just a number, but an individual member of this positive community. Mr. Donahue is a talented educator, and is rarely inside his office. I witnessed him helping a child who during recess was working on figuring out a math problem, he empowered this child by teaching him a math formula to assist in solving this problem. To me, that is a rare gift in a principal. . This is a choice school, and might not be the best match for everyone. If you are looking for a school where your child is expected to shine, and where academic passion is encouraged, visit OTA and see if this is the right choice for your family.

- submitted by a parent

November 27, 2012
Well, from the sounds of the 1 star raters this school is horrible. Though I do agree with some things those parents said it does sound like they are a part of the gossip they talk about. Regardless, our child is a second grader here and we are less than pleased with the teacher. We are not less than pleased with the school. Massive homework? Not true in our case. We haven't had any. Maybe this venue isn't the place to find out information about OTA. Seems like there is a lot of anger and resentment posted as well as gossip. OTA isn't for everyone. We plan on staying. Good stuff is happening here.

- submitted by a parent

November 27, 2012
Don't be misled by the parents who gave this school 1 star! Talk to parents who go here!!! You will find parents who take pride in this school and its vision. You will find angry, frustrated parents who lack patience, flexibility and productive forms of communication. You will find gossip (if you choose to take part in it and befriend people who do so). You will find happy kids and kids who don't like school. You will find ALL of these things at ANY school you go to. You will have to judge for yourself if this school is the right school for you, your family and most importantly your child. Our son loves school, hates homework (there's a lot but again, chances are high you'll find this same situation at ANY school) and excels in math and robotics due to the great programs and curriculum. Are there things we don't like about OTA? Of course, just like ANY school you go to there will be things you don't like. But, instead of bash, complain and spread rumors we've decided to focus on the things we do like and love about OTA. And there are MANY. It's too bad the school got some 1 star ratings but oh well, ANY school will have parents who would rate it just the same.

- submitted by a parent

November 24, 2012
Wow, I've read the reviews with 5 stars and while I'm happy to see their children are flourishing, my child absolutely hated it there and quite honestly many of his classmates parents were looking to get out. I was privy to discussions about leaving and parents even wanting to post on this site but they were afraid they would be "found out." There is no communication from the top. Late night emails and hearsay comprise most of it. There is so much homework it keeps the kids from being kids. The teachers are nice but only a few are experienced in teaching the core knowledge curriculum and many didn't -- kids were unprepared for the next grade up. But I must also agree with a previous review that the administration was less than truthful in the early meetings about PTA, after school programs and even subjects offered in the curriculum. It's just a bad place that doesn't give children a place to really grow into themselves and much like a small town, the gossip is horrendous. In no way do they foster relationships b/t parents and they only want volunteers for their desires. Talk to other parents before you enroll, I wish I would have. Private school is worth the money!

- submitted by a parent

November 24, 2012
My child hates going to school & I cant wait for the year to be over.Teachers are not ready for Core Knowledge curriculum. They give massive homework, hours of it, which they call independent learning & thats the base for grades , but no guidelines. They give the kid a map of what will be learned for the quarter and the kid has to figure out how to learn it using the few syllabus given. You basically have to teach your child History,Math,Science. English is a joke, they write narrative on top of narrative but are not shown how, what rules to follow and what is expected. "Even if you do make good use of time, you cannot accomplish enough without homework to expect better than a B in any class" this was exactly what got my attention, that my child would have most done in school and all we had to do was complement at home and we would be looking into As, but is FAR from it all we see is massive homework and nothing done at school. It's a new school and they have a lot to learn, but the first thing they should learn is how to teach.My child has never gotten into trouble and I've never heard of anyone being expeled or suspended from OTA Don't take my word for it,talk to other parents

- submitted by a parent

November 15, 2012
Two of our children attend this new charter school and we could not be happier with our choice of switching and giving it a try. OTA is a very nuturing enviornment with a great supporitive staff. My children are flourishing here with the core knowledge curriculum and I see them building useful skills for future success. My children show confidence and independence in their school work and they love the music, math, pe and robotics program. It is a small and intimate school which is a great fit for my children. Everyone knows your name and the community is growing stronger everyday. The school also encourages children to accept responsibility for themselves, their behavior and their success. I truly feel after 9 years at OTA my children will have an advantage in high school and life in general. We are very happy here and know OTA is only in its second year...the possibilities at this school are wonderful and I see a bright future for my children!

- submitted by a parent

November 15, 2012
As a parent of two OTA students, I am thrilled we made the decision to send our children here. Last year, when OTA opened, we were anxious parents that made the decision to switch schools. I am very pleased to say that there was no better decision than making that switch. Our expectations were exceeded, and the close knit community that was built from the ground up is continuing to flourish. The education that my children are receiving will definitely place them ahead in the future. I am excited to see what the years ahead hold, and without a doubt, will be enrolling our other children when they are of school age.

- submitted by a parent

November 15, 2012
I have two children at this start-up charter school, and even though they were excelling in private school, this school turns out to be perhaps the best decision we have ever made. There is a clear vision for the school, and the school has been open and honest in its communication with parents that we are to expect a 3-year transition from start-up to full-implementation of the leadership s vision. Frankly, in less than one-half that time, the curriculum, programs and teachers already exceed my expectations. OTA has returned the wonder of learning to my children, and they absolutely love their school, and are eager to go to school each day. Every student has their own schoolwork blog, and participates in computer lab, piano lab, moot court program, robotics, and seminar seminar in and of itself is reason alone to attend the school. In seminar, the students meet with the principal and read the classics, and speak aloud to describe those books and defend positions taken in discussion with quotations from the books they are now avid readers. We love the school as it is, and we have a high expectation of excellence at the full implementation of the 3 year plan.

- submitted by a parent

November 15, 2012
I can understand why this school might not be for everyone. For one, students are expected to be personally responsible for themselves, even at the younger grades and the school uniform policy assists students in understanding the importance of not just respect and responsibility, but encourages them to become visible for their work product and intellect, not their appearance. Students must also make good use of their project time in class those who do not are the ones complaining about their homework load, while those who do make good use of their time seem to have manageable homework obligations. Even among our friends who appear to have more work to do at home, they all seem eager to go to school. The school has told parents from day one: even if you do make good use of time, you cannot accomplish enough without homework to expect better than a B in any class. This school also is not a good fit for aggressive children (or parents), for the school has a zero tolerance policy for bullying behavior. My child loves OTA.

- submitted by a parent

November 15, 2012
The school allows for parents to play meaningful role in the school, while thankfully taking a strong stand against unsupervised and untrained parent loitering. Helicopter and gossip-thriving parents find themselves on the outside, as almost all of the parents at the school seek meaningful, positive, rewarding opportunities to participate. Parent volunteers have a limit on their time commitment within their own child s classroom, and even then must undertake specific training to make a meaningful contribution. Other opportunities to participate include volunteering in the moot court program, computer lab, the music lab, and the science lab. Parent input into the school occurs through the OTA Foundation, which is open to participation from all parents. The OTA Foundation advises on use of school resources and also serves as the leading fundraising arm of the school. The school can still improve on the timeliness of its communications, but parents are encouraged in the handbook to check the blog and email twice a day for school blasts, as the school attempts to remain paperless in its daily communication with parents.

- submitted by a parent

November 14, 2012
OTA is a great new charter school for San Diego. You can expect a progressive education for your child with focus on technology and core learning. As with any new organization there have been some challenges to overcome. However, each day the community becomes stronger and stronger. The staff and administration are focused on the kids and the quality of their learning experience. The community is brand new and growing into something special and close knit. This is a small school community. Their approach and programs are not for everyone...especially those who lean more towards traditional methods. It is encouraging to note that the school has a NO tolerance policy for bullying. Be cautious of negative reviews from parents who's children were suspended or expelled as a result.

- submitted by a parent

November 11, 2012
This is probably the worst school I have ever seen or even heard about. Overbearing homework, less than poor -- if that's possible -- communication, substandard leadership and the school is run on a whim. Only three teachers actually have core knowledge experience -- the curriculum that it's touted -- and those who don't, don't teach it. Volunteers are only welcome in labs and they refuse to form a PTA/PTC/PTO as promised. This is not where you want to send your child. Please try to seek out every parent you can find before enrolling your children. Old Town Academy looks great on paper and sounds good at a meeting but it's anything but!

- submitted by a parent

Profile Completeness

ADVANCED

Want to improve this school's profile?

All schools on GreatSchools begin with BASIC completeness, which includes important information like contact details and test scores. It’s up to the school community to take the next steps. As a parent or community member, you can share what you know with other families by writing a review or answering a few questions about what the school offers. As a school leader, you can upload photos, describe school programs, and more with an Official school profile.

The completeness meter moves to INTERMEDIATE, then ADVANCED, and finally HONOR ROLL as you complete the following: 10 or more reviews, at least 1 photo, and 9 program questions parents find helpful.

Want to improve this school’s profile? You can!
for Parents
for Schools
 
Need help choosing a school? We can help »

Media Gallery

Media missing

Uh oh! No photos. This frame will look much better when you upload photos »


1 / 10

Contact school

Nearby homes for sale

     

Last modified: August 20, 2015

Sign up for email updates

Connect with us

Translate this web page

About GreatSchools

Our mission is to help millions of parents get a great education for their kids. GreatSchools.org is an independent nonprofit and the leading national source of school information for families.


GreatSchools.org 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1100, Oakland, CA 94612

©1998-2015 GreatSchools.org All Rights Reserved. GreatSchools is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization | Ad Choices

Old Town Academy K-8 Charter
2120 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA  92110
(619) 574-6225
Last modified Old Town Academy K-8 Charter is a Charter school that serves grades K-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Old Town Academy K-8 Charter Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 120 reviews. Top