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 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.
This is a school that is hard to give a star rating because the benefits only apply to some people. I am a freshman just starting my second semester of 9th grade and I'm doing very well.
My first few years at the American Academy were rough. It has some tough discipline which, although very frustrating and stressful, helped break me of my disrespectful habits and actually improve my character. Elementary school didn't seem bad to me because most of the rules made sense--for elementary kids.
You see, American Academy is an excellent elementary school, but after that--well it seems like they just don't know what to do with you. Continuing to treat you like an elementary student, they almost restrict your ability to move towards a higher level of responsibility and respect.
It started with sixth grade, which felt like a step up in independence. We got lockers, we ended the dreaded card system (a punishment system involving different colored cards for multiple offenses in one day), and our teachers were awesome! Other than that, the rules didn't really change. Very restrictive rules followed us all throughout middle school--things like you can't use one stairwell because it could "scare" the first graders (who loved us), late work that is one day past the due date is 20% off, and much more. You always felt like you were being watched by authority and if you slip--big trouble.
Now many kids in 8th grade at American Academy have a sort of "8th-grade-itis." They are so fed up with the rules and frustrated that after an already difficult 7th grade year, the workload gets ramped up even more. I personally felt this way. I let my grades slip and my attitude worsened. I was so ready to be done that I just went through without a care about my grade--I was already going to high school anyways.
But then I got to high school and I realized--it paid off. After the great social connections made 8th grade year, I felt very confident I could stroll right in and meet new people. It was easy!
What blew my mind even more is that academics is a breeze!! I never thought I was a good writer being a math guy, but I got a 96% in English I Honors first semester!
The bottom line is, if academics is very important to you and you can handle the work, American Academy middle school is well worth it. But if it isn't--choose a public school.
I am currently a student at AA. This school has ruined me. Do not send your child to this school. I have been a student at AA for 9 years. This school breaks you. Elementary school was alright, but middle school has broken me. I know I'm not the only one. I have too many friends that agree. You are divided into classes based on your mental ability and cliques are derived from this. the cliques are so bad that bullying develops, but the school DOES LITERALLY NOTHING ABOUT BULLYING DESPITE THEIR PROMISES. most students have experienced a situation where the school didn't help them, so students try to work it out with others which often never works and leads to social problems. I've had many peers tell me they are depressed. I'm in the advanced class and our class has an average of 5-6 hours of homework a night. The science/stem program is awful. Overly advanced teachers are brought in and they ramble nonsense all class and then assign a packet of homework. Yet I keep telling myself it will get better. 9 years, nothing has gotten better. everything is going downhill. AA has lost all of their kind teachers and merely replaced them with robots. Props to Mr. Billman, Mr. Middlebrooks, Ms. Pearo, Mr. Riggs, and Mr. Leadbetter. those are the only good teachers out of ALL of AA. They never sympathize with the student. I'm a victim of depression and social anxiety and I can blame this school. I wouldn't type all of this if you didn't need to know. don't do this to your child. ask some of the 8th graders how they feel. they've gone through it all. you're simply wasting your time. it's about time you didn't hear it from a teacher or a parent, you heard it from me, a student. no matter how much our parents try to convince themselves it's alright, it's not. this is mental torture. you are dragging your child down a dark path. the only thing this school focuses on is how well you test. they don't care that your dog died the night before or you had a severe breakdown. as long has you get a good testing score, you're fine! The arts program is magnificent though. but it's not worth it. I don't go through this because of the arts program. I go through this because I have to stay. so now you know. if you want your children to grow up to be emotionally wrecked go ahead, enter that lottery. I feel so bad for those that haven't graduated yet. I'm praying for you all.