Since moving my child to American Academy, Parker campus from another Charter school in the area, we have nothing but praise for this school. I'm taken back by the negative comments, but I really think that comes from parents first year in a Charter school. My daughter gets her homework done in under an hour. We love the impressive hands on science labs, ability grouping, Stem program and the positive atmosphere. Not to mention ditching the heavy backpacks, by putting books in their laptops and the convenience I have lockers. Yes, they have uniforms but it's not over the top. If I had to complain I'd say it was in regards to the long carpool lines. Couldn't be happier with American Academy!!
If you want a school with TRUE ability grouping; administration that DOES try to address parent and student concerns; adm and staff that CONSISTANTLY tries to address areas that need improvement; dedicated, dynamic, qualified teachers who CARE and are held accountable; and PARENTS who care about their students and their school community, then AA is for you. Yes, HW may seem daunting at times, but, depending on the day, it can be completed or started at school with proper time management during study time. AA is not for every family, and not for every child in a family. Nonetheless, it is an incredible school!
Before attending this school, as a parent, determine what is most important for your children. A. A slightly higher standard of eduction standard scores which includes negative reinforcement throughout. Or B. a positive experience to school; understanding that everyone will be treated properly while teachers are expected to properly perform their jobs. The correct option is B; don't go for A or as a parent you regret the decision you made for your child's future.
As a parent looking to find the school that will best fit your child/family there are a few things that are important to know about American Academy. First it really is not for everyone. The informational meetings a parent attends are all conducted by the school's director. At none of the mass group meetings we attended did you hear from the principal or teachers. Observing the classrooms/teachers or even meeting the teachers is "not something we do" the school informs a parent sighting "security' reasons. EVERY other school we looked at (both private and public )were more then willing to make those arrangements. I think the STEM curriculum/uniform guidelines/ability grouping is what attracts a lot of families. But ALL schools both public and private have ability grouping. Mandatory carpool drop-off/pick-up is okay in my opinion for 3rd grades on up but not for kindergarteners/1 and 2 graders. Parents spend time reviewing the schools website and policies. They use the word "structured" ALOT but what school isn't structured. There are many young teachers at the school still learning themselves...our family personally wanted experienced teachers with longevity at a school.
This school seems designed for and by "professional moms" who have no other responsibilites and don't mind hour-long carpool lines. Required volunteer hours are mostly during the day (not reasonable for working parents). The discipline policies in the early grades are unrealistic and severe. Uniforms are high-quality, yet pricey and difficult to obtain (logo shirts are only available from retailer clear across town). This school is very tightly-wound and does not focus on whole-child development. "Book-learning" and high test scores trump real-world skills.
My kids are both thriving at American Academy's Parker campus. I couldn't ask for a better school for each of them. It is more rigorous than the school we came from but I know this will pay off for them in the long run. I am so thankful that this school opened in our town. We absolutely love it!
The reason why there are so many reviews on AA - you either love it or hate it. Some great teachers. PTO is over the top, raises tremendous amounts of $, every kid 5th grade & above has a computer - with a very large amount of quality programs loaded, that they rent. Love History & Foss science is hands on and interesting. There are some really poor, grumpy teachers - turnover is high. The spelling/phonics program (Spaulding) is confusing & not effective. Your whole family will be impacted by the stress associated with the school. You kid will cry about homework & stress. Even good students will break down and cry, at some point, in the upper grades. Kids cry about missing a day of school b/c of the amount of homework. A boot camp for middle school. So many parents love it up to 3rd grade... And then it is a real struggle. Expectations are high - but not always at a healthy positive level. Make sure you think about how this will impact you & your family before signing up - and if you have a child that struggles with school - run! We have been there over 5 years & I don't know if I would recommend it to anyone - unless the child is above average & organized.
My children have attended AA since the first year it opened, when my son was in 1st grade, he graduated 8th grade last year. I currently have 1 in middle school & 1 in elementary. It is very hard to rate AA. There are so many positives and a few, very important, negatives. The teachers & staff are very committed & caring. BUT, parents talk and lately most of us are talking about the often 3-4 hour a night homework load, especially 5th grade on. It is almost abusive and the "late work" policy, which marks of 20% off first date late, 50% off 2nd day late and 0 credit on 3rd day, makes for lots of stress, poor self-esteem and the school forced barring of kids form school extra- curricular activities. On the plus side, my children do learn time management, and a no-excuses to getting your work done mindset. I recommend AA- CP campus, but with reservations. If your child struggles or quite frankly is very bright but will challenge the idea of doing lots of homework just for the sake of "rigor", you may want to pass on AA. As the school has become larger, the administration seems to be less concerned about the well being of the students and more concerned with their "ratings".
I'm a little confused by the negative comments below, because it almost sounds like my kids (grades 2 & 4) are going to a different school! We were beyond thrilled when our kids were accepted at the new American Academy - Parker campus last spring and it's been one great day after another there. The front office is amazing - they manage a school of around 600 students every day with a great deal of professionalism and grace and good humor (I laugh almost every time I come in!). The carpool process is still a little creaky, but I know from experience with other schools that this will iron out with time and other parents figuring out the right behavior for carpool (I'm referring to the parents who think that the whole line should wait for them to personally guide their little darlings into the waiting arms of their teachers). The academics are rigorous compared to the other schools we've attended and both my son and daughter are loving their teachers and the school atmosphere. We've even had one experience with bullying that we felt was handled REALLY well, and everyone is doing much better! I recommend American Academy whole-heartedly!
I am a parent of a child that attends American Academy PKR. I am nothing but pleased and ecstatic with what my daughter has learned in this short amount time. She is challenged everyday and the teachers are so amazing. I am blessed that we were given the opportunity to move schools. I also have to say the staff at AA-PKR are amazing and willing to go the extra mile to accommodate whatever the need may be. Parent
I cannot believe how unprofessional the co-founder of this school is. As a parent, I was talking with her about the school and their expectations. I was still in the middle of the conversation when she told me thank you anyway for your concern and slammed the phone in my hear. I cannot believe how unprofessional her and some of the other staff memebers are at this Parker School! They are suppose to be teaching respect to our children. I have immediately pulled my 3 children from AA. We are back at our neighborhood school and loving it!
Education is important but kids also need to feel good about walking through the school doors every morning. I was ecstatic when my student was accepted into the Parker American Academy, now my heart breaks and I hold my breath until the end of the day. I believe teachers choose to ignore the bullying. American Academy boast of teaching/enforcing the essential 23 guidelines for manners and behaviors but often my student comes home upset by the way they are treated by other students. Teachers only communicate with you when they have something to say. I have written emails with concerns or questions that have never been answered. It is almost impossible to really know what is going on with your student because the teachers don't want to be bothered by parents. If you are looking for a school who treats your child like a statistical robot and not an individual this is the school for you. As a parent you will be put in your place very quickly which is not as a partner in our child's education. My child will not be going back next year.
Wonderful school! We have had trouble getting our son excited about school previously and now he can't wait to go! He was also a kid that depended heavily on a dedicated teacher and we have finally found that ever year here. The parent communication still amazes me and has made our split household actually work when it's always been a fight. Best choice we could have EVER made.
This school is all I wanted for my child. I have student in Parker campus. There is a great balance between hands on, book and/or memorization learning. My child ( 3rd grader) learned how to study and take notes. I see great improvement in all areas (and we came from pretty good charter school). School days are interesting and -believe or not-every day the question "What did you learn today" are answered with long and excited story and not like previously with "nothing". All that is happening because of the fantastic teachers! Those teachers are the best they can be. They work so very hard ( evenings, Saturdays- I have proof), they love their job. They care for the students and their success. The office/carpool staff are the nicest people I've ever met. They are nice, kind and helpful every day! The music department is great. Communication with parents is superb. The only hard part is when your child misses school. It is very hard to make up the assignments when they pail up with current ones. Be prepared for hard but interesting work and good organization. My child has a lot of ECA's so it's doable but not easy. I hope nothing will change.
I have never worked with such amazing and dedicated students and parents. My job is terrific. I feel like I come in and make a difference everyday. I have excellent resources, proven curriculum and supportive administration and parents. I have worked in another highly rated district, as well as Denver's inner city. AA is the best.
My kids are at American Academy's new Parker campus. We absolutely love it - such an improvement over our neighborhood school! They are thriving with the challenging curriculum and ability grouping. We are very impressed with the leadership and staff. Can't say enough about this wonderful school!
My kids LOVE this school! Been at AA since 2008. Both of my kids have had exceptional teachers every year. My son went from being in supported reading and math in kindie to being in grade level math and advanced reading. His testing scores show he's advanced in all subjects. My daughter has been consistently advanced all her 4 years. My kids really enjoy the environment. I was unhappy when we moved into the permanent facility in 2009 and class size went from 16 to 28. But my kids have still thrived with the increase in class size. The homework at times can be overwhelming, but I really think it's an individual issue. My son can make a 30 min assignment last 2 hours. It's not as strict as some of the reviews say, yes you need to wear the uniform and may get a color change or write up but I've never seen anyone get any sort of discipline for an off color hair band(that's stretching it a bit). Every child learns differently and this school may not be for everyone, but its been phenomenal for my kids and I feel they will be prepared for HS. I must add that my family isn't super wealthy and doesn't donate thousands and I've never felt that my kids were treated any lesser.
I couldn't have found a better school for my children several years ago. They were terribly bored at one of the neighborhood public schools. We opted to join the AA family when the school was still located in Lone Tree. My kids have graduated AA by now. They have had the best preparation for High School and are both way ahead of their classmates in all subjects. I strongly disagree with opinions regarding the current principal. We always found an open ear. For us things changed for the better with the new leadership a few years ago. Problems finally got addressed and solved.
This school implements ability groupings in a more effective way than I have seen at another local school that claimed that to be a strength. This school integrates technology across its curriculum, truly accelerating learning and preparing students for our changing world. This school embraces excellence and empowers their students with sustainable skills sets that will serve students throughout their lives.
Really great school! When my older son transferred in to AA, he was behind in some writing skills and had to work hard to catch up (yes, even in 1st grade). I blame that mostly on the fact that even in kindergarten, this school challenges the kids to really learn and grow. My younger son started here in kindergarten and learned at least 3 times as much as my other one did at our local school. No school is perfect, but we have found that the teachers have been responsive to our concerns and we could resolve placement issues in a timely and constructive manner. Homework in the early grades depends on the individual teacher and the student's ability -- what takes some kids 5 minutes can take others 45 minutes. But kids know what is expected of them and the standards are high. And we love the opportunities that are offered here: in the curriculum, in the field trips, in the extracurriculars. The work load has not stopped my kids from doing competitive sports, just forced us to be very efficient and organized. We have not seen any favoritism or felt that donations have altered how individual students are treated. If you come, be prepared to work and you can thrive
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