This school far exceeded my expectations. They teach the whole child, focusing not only on academics, but a big emphasis on social skills and emotional intelligence. The teachers are the best I have ever encountered, and the administration is unsurpassed.
I attended a parent night at this school at the urging of a friend and it blew me away! Renaissance is an expeditionary learning outward bound school, which means that the learning is more hands-on and inquiry based as opposed to a teacher standing in front of the classroom lecturing. Teachers encourage students to think deeply about subjects. Test scores are high for a school that is not shy about their view that they don't "teach to the test" because all of the students become critical and creative thinkers. All students attend overnight voyages beginning in Kindergarten which builds a school culture that has very little bullying and encourages students to help one another. In fact, the motto "We are crew, not passengers" greets everyone walking into the school in large letters over the door, reminding students that they work as a team and take responsibility for their learning. Children from Renaissance continue on with a deep understanding of themselves and a confidence in learning and social relationships that is invaluable. As a parent, I could send my kids to a skill and drill school with higher scores, but my children will leave Renaissance with far greater thinking skills.
I could almost go to 5 stars but I am going to say four plus. I have two kids in this school and have been impressed with most everything. It is a different style of learning and any parents looking at this should not send their children to this school without learning about the outward bound program. The students learn by doing and observing. They do get some "bookwork" but to me, not as much as say an Academy Charter. The good part, my children are developing into confident young people, the bad, they may not be as performance test driven as some other charter schools. For me, I will take the trade-off. They are blossoming into outstanding young people, who can talk to grown ups while looking them in the eye and understand the consequences of their behavior. They learn to push their limits, physically and mentally.
What a great blance...outdoors-y and book-smart! Having these children under the same roof along with strong leadership in the classroom and front office make this the best school my children have attended. Great teacher retention. Serious about community and the outdoor-play area is one-of-a-kind.
Rich in academic process, super-rich in building community amongst it's attendees and families and puts high emphasis on building character. This is an awesome school if your kid can handle being independent and challenged at times! Awesome!
I'm hard to WOW, and this school has wow'd me with my 2nd and 4th graders. Not only are they learning academics, they are busting into critical thinking skills, teamwork skills and common sense skills that go way beyond what traditional academic only schools offer. What more does a parent want than to have a child who is not only smart, but filled with common sense and camaraderie!
I love this school. Have a daughter in the gifted program in 2nd grade. She loves going to school everyday. Ms MarySue has made reading a joy for her. I also have another daughter in kindi and she has just been a sponge for learning this year. Wow what growth. Thank you Ms Kathy! We also use the Camelot after school program and the girls love the activites. I couldn't ask for a better school.
Do not let the CSAP scores for this school keep you from checking out this school! Renaissance doesn't follow a traditional model and therefore is not geared towards teaching to the standardized tests. The children learn in such a rich, hands-on, authentic environment that they truly learn to think rather than learn to take tests and perform in that setting. I do think that CSAP is one important measure of progress and accountability but should not be held highest over other data and information that clearly shows the kids at Renaissance are learners/leaders. The school has gone through some transition in the last three years, new principals, new staff, new location, new status as a district magnet school, but is such a unique model and will be stronger for it's challenges of the past. Deborah Lemmer the pricipal starting in the 2006-07 school year is wonderful. Renaissance is a great school!
This has been the most wonderful educational experience our family has ever had. The teachers are very committed to allowing students to learn in the style that works best for them. The outdoor adventure education format of learning is unique and makes lessons memorable. How about learning math/algebra by building sailboats or doll houses and then donating them to local organizations. Then back up the lessons with a trip to Catalina to sail the boat you made! Or traveling to the Flordia Keys Marine Biology Center to learn about marine life in it's natural habitat. Or a local week long camping trip to Mesa Verde, a National Park with Anasazi Indian Ruins, and working with archeologists at a dwelling dig site! Classroom work is team oriented and students are very comfortable speaking to groups. The parent community is very involved and students are encourgaged to persue their interests with passion.