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WHAT'S YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THIS SCHOOL?
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30 OVERALL RATINGS

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This school has an effective approach to homework:
Strongly disagree
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Currently, most people answered Disagree (2 responses)
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Teachers at this school are effective:
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Currently, most people answered Neutral (1 response)
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This school develops strong character in its students, like integrity, compassion and respect:
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Currently, most people answered Disagree (1 response)
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Leadership at this school is effective:
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This school effectively supports students with learning differences:
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This school effectively deals with bullying:
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There are 58 reviews about all of the school topics.

Review comments




- a
My daughter attended this school K-1. She is smart, sensitive, and wants to please. Her K teacher was very nice and open to my concerns. We chose this school mainly because my daughter is a very quick learner and we wanted her to have the benefits of ability based learning groups. These are a joke. She was bored in the 1st grade math group (as a K), and it often didn't even meet because of "lack of staffing" so her teacher gave me the worksheets so my daughter could do them at home. A good teacher, limited by school resources. But in 1st grade her teacher was a yeller, a "group punisher," which made my sensitive girl feel terrible. She would be punished with the rest of the class and when I would ask the teacher what she did wrong, she would say "oh nothing, she's a joy to have in class." My daughter was still bored in the "2nd grade math group" and would get moved down a group in reading for changing "it is" to "its" while reading aloud. It got to be where she didn't want to go to school. The dean was zero help. My daughter was identified by the school district as highly advanced gifted. We were encouraged by the SCHOOL DISTRICT to have her skip a grade. The teacher didn't buy it, the dean wouldn't allow it (the regular schools are required to accomodate grade changes when testing shows it is in the student's best interest to do so, but she likes to exercise her muscle as a charter school). Report cards are scored 1-4. 4 is advanced. The teachers aren't allowed to give 4s until the end of the year because they need to show progress was made. So my kid is advanced all year long but is shorted on her report card just so the school and the teacher take the credit at the end of the year. I was also told they don't like the "gifted" label. I know, a lot of people don't like the label. But at the end of the day, my smart, we'll behaved, loves-learning kid wanted to stay home from school. So we took her out of there, and now she's in the Discovery Program at Renaissance, a 2nd grader doing 4th grade math, spelling and reading and LOVING school again thank goodness. ACS wants to fit your kid into their mold. They are strict but behavior is terribly uncontrolled. It's militaristic but ineffective. I felt like the staff (save the sweet Kindergarten teacher who was trying) are bullies. This school just didn't work for us at all.



- a
Workload is insane, teachers can be short with students and the dean is a horrible educator. My advise is to find the right fit for your kid and realize each school has different philosophys. This schools philosophy is obscure at best. Dont believe me...just ask about their turnover rate.


Teacher effectiveness: Agree


- a
All in all, I think the teachers are effective (basing this off of the current middle school teachers) There is one teacher though that just isn't effective. Her units are only 1 week long at max, which might seem ok, but topics like The Cold War or the Vietnam War shouldn't only take a week. She never seems to know what she's doing or quite frankly how to teach. She only ever gives us a packets or power points. At first, It didn't seem so bad. But when we started getting into the year, I kept finding myself asking questions that she couldn't answer, or didn't know anything about. (This is the middle school social studies teacher currently)

Amount of homework: Disagree


- a
Compared to other Middle school, yes, ACS does give a lot of homework. For example: 30 problems of math a night (150 problems of math a week), and 30 problems of grammar a week. This is just the consistent homework load. Depending on the time of year, homework can take up to 2.5 hours to complete.(Not all the time) Recently, out social studies teacher gave us 4 packets and 2 readings on the Vietnam War which was way too much for most of us to handle in one night. I'm not saying that the homework load is always overwhelming, but compared to other schools, this definitely a lot.



- a
Personally, as a student of this school I say that it has been preparing me well for high school academically. I have been going to this school for about 8 years now. Elementary was great, but as soon as I got into middle school things changed. It seems like there would be a little bit more mutual respect, but as I have found out, that gap actually closed. We are treated even younger than how I remember in elementary. The assistants are absolutely outrageous in the manner that they are treating 6th,7th and 8th grade. Even our main teachers don't seem to understand the level of restriction they put us at. Putting that aside, I do believe that I have more than just an edge between myself an students who go to Mesa or Castle Rock Middle School academically. Because of the high expectations, I believe that we are all excelling. Honestly, the academics are the only thing I like about ACS after attending it for so long.


Amount of homework: Disagree


- a
It's absurd the level of homework expected of elementary students, it's all just work of worksheet after worksheet



- a
Academically, this school thrives and it prepares students very well for high school. It is also strong in after-school athletics. However; I feel it lacks a balanced approach to developing the whole child. Too much emphasis is given to testing, grammar over literature, and busy-work homework, resulting in unnecessary stress to students who are not getting enough time in outdoor physical activity during the school day. Additionally, respect and kindness needs to be modeled by ALL adults. In middle school, my child was hesitant to ask questions in a class because of the condescending way in which the teacher would answer students' questions. Also, some of the teachers were inflexible when it came to offering accommodations for children with learning differences. My children's early primary years at ACS were wonderful; teachers seemed happy (there was a different admin then), but things changed in the later years. ACS middle school needs more electives (home economics, drama, and health.), recess, and more opportunities for students to develop collaboration and critical thinking skills.



- a
The teachers/academics/families are phenomenal. Unfortunately, the school is not well-governed. The Dean is confrontational and condescending. The governing board does not represent the students or parents but consistently side with and defend the Dean. The tipping point was the PARCC/CMAS testing where children were penalized for opting out by being marked as unexcused and ineligible to participate in sports. This school was one of only 2, out of 80 in DCSD, to do this despite the voice of parents/communicty/district and state support. Also, there are financial transparency issues where two entities (Castle Rock LifeLong Learning Center and The ACS Foundation) receive substantial amounts of grand funds but they are unaudited (see financials published on school website). There are 4 business entities associated with the school and 4 separate sets of financials turned into the disctrict, but the financials listed on the school website are a separate set. The funds are not invested into the students as is apparent with the outdated technology and lack of interactive equipment. The science teacher had to do a fundraiser just to buy 2 $200 microscopes.




- a
My oldest son has been at ACS K-8. This school reflects a community atmosphere, where each student is part of the school, not just part of a classroom. Various staff members personally greet and say good bye to students before and after the school day. Teachers are experienced and attentive to student needs. Students are offered Spanish, advanced math options, an excellent science program, as well as an exceptional well rounded education. Middle school (6-8) offers the option of participating in a variety of after school sports and increased rigor in core disciplines as well as "specials" such as music, computers, and art. It is a safe environment for kids to spread their wings! My older son is now looking forward to starting the IB program next year at DCHS. My younger son is having the same positive experience at ACS. Over the last eight years I have worked with the Dean through roles on the school's SAC, PTO, etc. She has remained open-minded, professional and accommodating. Though we have passionately disagreed on more than one occasion, my kids, my husband, nor myself, have ever been subjected to vindictiveness.



- a
My, my! Look at the campaign somebody went on last spring to get a slew of people to put up 5-star reviews. The dean has issues. She is unfair, vindictive, and behaves in underhanded and inflammatory ways to seemingly innocent issues. Last spring: Upset parents and mass exodus from the school=low approval ratings. No wonder she needed to get some 5-star reviews up in a hurry. Control and power direct her behavior and communications above all else. I have seen her make ridiculous, baseless claims to discredit parents who have contributed lots of service hours to this school so she could win her point. I have watched this dean vindictively sneak behind the school board's back in order to undermine students' academic success. The school would benefit greatly if she learned to be fair and get over herself. She knows how to keep the board in her pocket with her well-practiced, two-faced behavior (they can vote her out). The school also struggles to practice the Love and Logic techniques they purport to follow. The teachers (they have been wonderful here) have it figured out in the microcosm of their classrooms, but the aides have made poor choices at a grade/school-wide level.

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