American Academy is an academically rigorous and character-driven preschool through grade 8 charter public school with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We have two Douglas County, Colorado, campus locations: one in the city of Castle Pines and one in Parker near Main Street.
At American Academy, we believe that for students to be truly competitive in the 21st century, they must have an early and solid foundation that includes math, science, and literacy along with a well-rounded and common body of historical and cultural knowledge. We deliver that foundation using a range of carefully chosen and age-appropriate curriculum, along with our own American Academy STEM Discovery Program, designed to expose students in all grades to the fields of study and professional possibilities in STEM.
In every area of study, we challenge and support each student at their own ability level using flexible ability grouping. regular progress evaluation and data-driven instruction. In addition to our proven academic record, we immerse our students daily in a culture of respect and responsibility, setting high expectations for character as well as academics, and encouraging that with integrated character-based programs and our own American Academy Manners.
June 05, 2015
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
I'm quite surprised to read the negative reviews on this site. We have had a great experience so far and this is our 5th year at American Academy, Castle Pines. I have children in second and fourth grade. My fourth grader started out in the supported language arts class in kindergarten. At last test, she now reads at a seventh grade level and is in the advanced placement class. So I have personally seen the ability groups to be fluid and I feel that the progress my older daughter has made in her time there has been just phenomenal. I feel that my children have loved all of their teachers. In conferences that I've had with teachers, I feel that we've talked about my children as a whole and not just their scores. A conference is what you make it. If you want to talk about a certain topic, then bring it up. I feel the discipline is more than fair. One of my children received a detention for starting early on a timed test which constitutes cheating. She was disciplined gently and given a fair consequence for the action. I think their character program is great and the kids really learn the basics for being well-mannered which will serve them well in life. Yes, the academics are rigorous and the homework can be plentiful at times but I'm happy with the progress my kids have made. Other reviews below describe unfair treatment to students whose families have not donated certain sums of money. This is totally false. I'm a single mother and have donated where I can but certainly not to the level of others and there is no difference in how my children are treated. I've put in a review today because I was appalled to read all of the negative reviews when I would guarantee that most people are quite happy with the school.
I would be very cautious when considering your child for this school. Methods used to manage behavior are inappropriate and archaic. My child was subjected to ridicule, shaming, humiliation and bullying...not by peers, but by teachers. The environment is very punitive. The school’s selling point is academic rigor and the amount of homework is enormous and demands are high. If your child cannot keep up then they will fall dreadfully behind and end up with failing grades. There is very little room for any extenuating circumstances. The effect this has on a child’s self-esteem and love for learning is detrimental. If your child is a special needs child I would hesitate in putting him/her in this situation and look for a more supportive environment.
Homework is useless and busywork. Provides no additional learning but is a large percentage of their grade. If a child doesn't do their math homework because it is all review and they get 100% on tests they will fail math.
1. Learning is rote memorization, limited hands-on learning, creativity &critical thinking not encouraged.
2. Test scores/grades main goal. Percent/letter grades start in k. No information is given on the child’s social/emotional development, contribution to class, etc. Principal stated, “Grades are the only way we know if a child is learning.”
3. Not a STEM school (used as sales gimmick). The STEM program is 2 one-week sessions/yr for an 1hr/day.
4. Math not ability grouped. No matter where child is they all start at the same level the following year. Saxon is slow, repetitive, doesn’t require higher thinking skills.
5. The principals & VPs not qualified. They do not have a PhD (or MA) and don’t have degrees in the STEM field. I also question their knowledge on child development and how they really got their positions.
6. Large class size (26-30).
7. Of the 5 teachers my kids had: 1 was excellent, 2 were ok, 2 were AWFUL.
8. Parent teacher conferences are just to show you the child’s test scores. Teacher’s cannot talk about your child as a whole (How are they doing as a child beyond test scores? How are they doing socially? Do they have friends?).
9. Substitute teachers are parents with NO educational background in teaching.
10. Uses the antiquated green/yellow/red spotlight method of behavior
11. They teach by the book & do not stray if the children have asked questions or has an interest a bit off topic.
12. Aim is to make the below average & average children at or above grade level while leaving gifted kids unchallenged.
13. Parents volunteer is busy work and not allowed in classroom.
14. Spend about $300/party and older kids field trips are out-of-state or country. AA reinforces the students’ sense of entitlement.