First of all, this is a university prep school as the name implies. The objective is to prepare the middle schoolers early on in 7th and 8th grade to learn to work hard and be effective before they hit their HS freshmen year and ultimately prepare the students to be effective in getting the grades good enough for university entrance and to do well once they get into university.. Expectation for the grads to make it to CSUs and UCs is almost a given and as such the pace is going to be quick. Not all students that enter middle school will graduate and continue to HS and some will have to repeat or drop out. This is actually good for those who are gifted or knows how to work hard and be effective so the pace doesn't get slowed down to the least capable student. If you aren't cut out to work hard, it will be a miserable experience but if you are up to the challenge then you will get all the support from the teachers and administration.
The school is great but my child always complains about how to school rules are "bogus" and do not as much respect the student because if you were to have a school you always value the students opinions and not the teachers.
The school is amazing here at UPA with all these hard core classes that give my child a boost to the college course, but my child is always stressed with their school work and also never actually give a break to my child because in the summer BREAK they advise you to read the summer books for the english class and other courses wanting them to not take to long to start the school year and start to being your homework on the first three days of school. I have chosen to put a 4/5 star review to this school because UPA may be a great school, but they are pushing the kids to hard with all this stress which might affect a long run to their long term life, for example with all this stress it can cause unbalanced harmonies in the body, shorting of height sprout and make their brain always active and having no constant state at rest. I believe they should only leave summer reading to not happen because of the stress of so much through the school year, and should take account that these students need a real FULL break from school during the summer. Also if they were to continue summer reading it should only be at the most one book per grade level.
Great for some, less so for others. After three years of high school, we will be moving on for senior year, as a lot of other students have done. This year the school has become mired in challenges that have led our Junior to plead for another school. Issues include: 1. An almost complete lack of interest in STEM with no participation in GATE or the other great programs in the region. Their participation in Project Lead the Way is a joke with students often knowing more than the teacher assigned to the class. 2. Ongoing staff turnover that has led to a highly inconsistent learning and classroom environment. 3. Inexperienced staff that believe that punishment is an effective tool in modifying behavior 4. A complete lack of interest in the student as an individual. As "His Excellency" Dan Ordaz is fond of saying, "your child is only one of 500" If your child is one of those who can be driven into the mold, then this might be a great school for you. If you child is growing into a thoughtful adult and developing critical thinking skills, they will have a hard time with the authoritarian and hypocritical discipline.
At the end of the semester, the administration had lost control and was forced to open the gym at lunch to accommodate the more than 10% of the population that was on detention.
On detention for what?
Lots of dress code violations such as wearing a charcoal grey sweater rather than a black one.
Others for being disrespectful or "defiant".
Students were given arbitrary discipline with no chance of appeal by "campus supervisors" who themselves failed to meet the dress code.
English teachers who force students to write to local politicians to reinforce the teacher's crypto-liberal beliefs and who punished students who refused.
And let's not forget that the Executive Director employs several of his family members at the school, so the politics are toxic.
Along with a lot of the senior class of 2016, our student elected to leave this mess behind and finish high school elsewhere.
Sadly, what started out as a great possibility for a school is going down the drain
There was a parent post a year ago that stated there is no funding in this charter for students with disabilities. That may have been relayed by the school, but a quick call to The Office of Civil Rights will correct that misconception. Charters are public funded. Under FAPE, and IDEA, schools cannot discriminate. Regardless of disability, ALL students are equally allowed a free, public education. There IS funding available for ALL assistance if a need is shown. UPA may not necessarily want to tell you this so there academic rates remain high and consistent, but under the law, you can request, and receive, any supports deemed necessary for your child to succeed at a level accustomed by their peers. Sometimes you have to fight for what your child needs. UPA is a very challenging school, but they cannot legally turn away students because of disability.
As a graduate of this school that attended this school from it's opening day until my graduation day, and as an alumnus that has continued on as a college student, and as a member of the staff of this school's parent organization, I can say from personal experience that this school is a great concept that is growing to it's potential.