We enthusiastically joined the school 2yrs ago. Strongly support ability-grouped teaching/learning. However, discovered many incompatibilities. Aside from [limited] STEM exposure, instruction is...1)Antiquated (knowledge-based, repetitive, rote learning, with no problem-based, authentic-learning, or 'creative thinking' for students). "Teaches to the test"-good for standardized test scores. 2)HIGHLY scripted teaching. Great for new teachers who can benefit from predefined lesson plans. 3)Voluminous minutia for homework. Many dozens of nightly rote HW problems constraining 'whole child' development (little time for family, the arts, athletics, social development). 4)No parent/teacher collaboration; access is discouraged; conferences are not insightful; teachers provide political responses to questions. 5)No 'individual' differentiation WITHIN the classroom. Student's pace of learning WILL remain same as the class unless s/he qualifies (at predetermined times) for a different ability group classroom. 6)No discipline discretion applied to the many 'rules'; discouraging to responsible well-behaved students. Look past the professional communications. Do your research. -Teacher/Parent
This school does NOT take bullying seriously. They hide from it and do everything they can to avoid calling multiple incidents of assault by the same child to the same child bullying My child has been the victim of bullying and the school refuses to call it bullying. They have now asked her to (the victim) to sign a No Contact Policy in which if she has perceivably broken the policy she will face disciplinary action. The school has turned into the bully! Additionally the communication protocol is non-existent. We can report incidents and the school will wait 48 hours to NEVER to get back to us. The principal won't get involved in anything. The reward "for getting to go here" does exist compared to the risk of your child being treated poorly and the school taking a "kids with be kids" approach.
Don't think since you won the "lottery" and there are many people on the waiting list - that this school is perfect. 1. PTO is great - you will not find a harder working/more committed/creative group of parents. The amount they raise is astounding. Teacher appreciation happens on a monthly basis. Money is well spent 2. Teacher turnover - very high. High expectations + low salaries =many leave for other schools. Lots of inexperienced teachers 3. Money - many affluent families attend AA. If this makes YOU uncomfortable - it will bother you. Our family is middle class, but we've never felt pressure. Our 2 kids both received leadership awards. Many families are very generous with their $. However, field trips are $$. Starting in 4th grade - plan on paying $300-900 a year for overnight trips. School fees high 4. Anxiety/LD - if your child has LDs or anxiety, this school is a horrible choice, avoid! Ability groups do not help & you will struggle/resent homework 5. Homework - plan on HW every night, holiday & weekends. That is the norm 6. culture - not warm/nurturing. More military style discipline 7. Curriculum - good
I'm a student at American Academy. I have been there for six years. I couldn't believe all the negative comments. My family does not have money, but I am treated equally to other students. Yes, it is a rigorous school, but you kind of go into it expecting that. This school has guided me is almost every aspect of my life, and I feel as comfortable there as I do at home. I am so sad to be leaving next year. I love this school, but if your aren't prepared to work hard, then you are going to be overwhelmed. Sorry that's just the way the school operates. You need to be built for hard work and rigorous activity to excel here.
I'm surprised by some of the reviews on here. Yes, AA is academically rigorous; yes, there are uniforms; yes, there are expectations on each family to donate time and/or money to the school, BUT the school with work with you on any of these areas. For example, we found we were buried in math homework and yet still not doing well in the subject, we talked to the teachers and we had our math class changed and immediately saw an improvement in our issues. This is not a school you can send little Johnny to and then have your hands off, you must be involved. Overall we are extremely happy with the school, are thrilled with the STEM program, love the teachers, can't say enough about the PTO and would recommend AA to anyone.
I am not surprised by the negative reviews about AA. My 2 boys have been there for 3 yrs. People who are shocked by the negative reviews don't spend enough time here. Academically, it's a great school, which is why my boys are still there. Regarding preferential treatment for families who invest a lot of money -- this is absolutely true. Faculty treat students with money very differently (i.e., they receive Leadership awards, etc). However, I have not found a school where this isn't true. We have not yet experienced the bullying that has also been mentioned here. If/when we do, I will have to deal with the faculty or pull the boys out -- this is something no parent should tolerate. The comments about Kindies receiving 4 reading & math sheets a night is exaggerated. We've now been through Kindie twice and we have received 2 math sheets (they are very quick and easy) and a reading packet that my son has all week to complete. Doable. Some of the AA parents I know have complained but this is what good schools do -- they get parents involved and knowledge is reinforced through homework. If you don't want to be very involved with your kids' education, this school won't be a good fit.
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.