The work study program prepared me for life. I was offered several entry level jobs right out of high school and gained two years of professional work experience. I don't regret coming here because it was good for me, but that is only in retrospect. I honestly dreaded every single day of school after the work study program began. Our programs have been cut drastically and several top-notch faculty members have been forced out to compensate for the lack of money. Send your daughter here if you want her work-ready, the academics are nothing special anymore and neither are athletics/electives.
ICA has been around for over 100 years in San Francisco. Instead of closing the school due to lack of funds/enrollment they decided to try and turn things around and joined the Cristo Rey Newtwork. As with any change there have been ups and downs over the past 2 years. Bell schedule extra circular activities, & staffing just to name a few. The girls are getting a great education, making life long friendships and gaining work experience that your typical teenager will not have.
I really liked ICA when I started as a freshman, but the change to the work study program my junior year really messed things up. The school has doesn't give enough energy for the actual learning or after school stuff. There were more activities when I started, but they're slowly getting rid of them because there's no money, but they always have more money and time to put towards the work program. The school cares about us as workers but not as people or students. The teachers try their best, but I think if the administration could, they'd cut all of them and have us work full time. I want to be a doctor someday, not just a secretary, but that's all they train us for here.
ICA is unlike any school in the Bay Area. Every student here works 5 days per month in a professional, entry-level position to subsidize their private school tuition. 100% of graduates are accepted to college and the tuition is 10% to 20% of the cost of most other private high schools in San Francisco. So when a previous commenter says that the work-study program only cares about the bottom line...they are somewhat correct. The school wants to ensure that families who want college prep, Catholic education can afford it! 4 out of 5 stars, because there is always room for improvement...we can always serve the students better.
My opinion of this school changed dramatically in 2009. With the conversion to the Cristo Rey network, a new principle was hired and the combination of the two was a nightmare! Though her intentions are usually good, she has all the assertiveness of a paper napkin. She allows the work study program to dominate school life, ignoring the few parents who speak up, and all of the many student concerns. The work study program only cares about the bottom line, and seldom communicates with parents, because they don't have to - very few parents are involved because many work full-time. The teachers are the one redeeming factor at this school, but the administration doesn't support them, so their efforts are in vein. My daughter has had a miserable time here since the switch, but she wanted the support of the counselor for college applications. Prospectives: Don't bother.
ICA is an incredible Catholic School with an option for those who can't afford a Catholic Education. The new president and NEW principal are incredible! Along with all the teachers, they work tirelessly to give the girls the best education EVER. I am so pleased with the results! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
The best four years of my life. The teachers become your friends. ICA has the best college guidance counselor in the city. The classes are small. There are cliques but you can pretty much hang out with anyone.
Small welcoming environment. Student and parent involvement. No clicks. Power School: you can follow your child's grades and homework progress. Best Councilor in town. Teachers love their students.
The teachers genuinely love what they do and care for the students. Unfortunately the administration doesn't give a flying fart. The principal will try to browbeat anyone who doesn't agree with her, and I mean anyone, students, faculty and parents. PTA membership is compulsory as is the yearly 'donation' which is required on top of the tuition. They only offer French and Spanish as foreign languages. I really enjoyed the sewing and drama classes
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