I have children at all three campuses of The Classical Academy. The school community is supportive and the curriculum rigorous. They've worked hard to help when my children needed academic or personal assistance and have been nothing but accommodating. I've had experience with two other D-20 schools that are "top rated" and they don't compare to TCA.
The primary purpose of this school is to develop these qualities in the students. No school can do this fully, as I believe parental development is most crucial for the development of character in their children, but hopefully TCA is significant in their development.
Reading the reviews, I think a lot is missing. This is my attempt to fill in details for other parents. I have a 8th grade boy and 5th grade girl at TCA (since Kindergarten). The high school has 602 students and they don't accept new students because it is too difficult to integrate them into the TCA teaching style. Middle school is half that size, and then 3 elementary schools. In addition, two homeschooling support academies are administered through the school.
Biggest thing to understand about the school is the first goal of TCA is to create "exemplary citizens", meaning even before the academics, the school is trying to develop mature individuals and leaders in their areas of interest. Secondarily, all parents are expected to be involved in their students' welfare. This means help with homework, support of activities at the school, and financial support when able.
I am ex-military, Christian, and highly involved in my children's lives. I care, before anything else, that my children are great people so I LOVE TCA. If you care solely about academics or social issues or don't want heavy involvement in your children's lives, than you would probably give the school a low rating.
More specific information: The elementary classes are small (16 students with 1 teacher and 1 assistant). Every student is given individual attention and strong relationships are developed. Yes, not all of the teachers are credential, but the school only keeps teachers which are involved with their students. I have no complaints about the teachers my students have had.
On issues of bullying and drugs -- I haven't seen or heard about it. Compared to the public high school I attended in the Midwest, the smaller size and stronger interpersonal relationships would minimize the problem (though I think every school has them in today's world).
My only complaint is the diversity of the school is low. Unfortunately, the location and structure is not welcoming to non-whites generally unless they are retired military.
The sports teams are outstanding. The high school has been moved up to the larger divisions in several sports because of too many state titles. The Middle/High School band program is exceptional, too. Every High School student is required to perform volunteer service for graduation.
Ok out of writing room, hope this helps.
TCA North Elementary does a superb job educating our children on every level. Administration and teachers seem to set high expectations as they prepare students for success in their daily lives and future. We moved here from out of state and feel spoiled with the learning environment at TCA, which is comparable to a private school education without the tuition. Our children are specifically thriving from character education, foreign language, and music classes taught weekly. The consistency from the teachers is apparent through lessons taught in class and on the playground. My son is excited about 3 recesses daily which is where much social learning takes place as well. We appreciate all the teachers, volunteers and staff who work to make a difference in the lives of our children at TCA North Elementary. We especially appreciate the small class sizes which gives the students the personal attention they need. Thank you TCA!
I can only speak about the Elementary schools. I would not put an average or below, child at this school. I have had children in different campuses and other Dist. 20 schools. For TCA you must educate yourself and not be "led" into this. Each campus has different leadership styles of "how" they choose to administer the TCA "Values", which is why some of the reviews are varied. However the curriculum is the same and what is attractive for this school. I do not recommend the curriculum for everyone at all. It is an advanced mindset and typical "play/fun" is NOT part of the school. I would look at all three campuses website and see which would fit your family style. East leadership is the most strict with little activities, compared to North and Central.
TCA-East: We thought Military style as well but then we met with the teacher and more was explained: 1. Line up by number: Number corresponds to child's last name for lunch due to special meals. Many students could not spell their last name so they switched to numbers and practiced lining up. 2. Hand shake instead of hug: We prefer hugs but they started with handshake, greeting, and look in the eye in the AM to instill confidence in the student and to model how it is done in public. Teacher will give the choice of hugs later if the student wants one. 3. Group punishment: Teacher admitted it was a mistake and her mentor said it was not used as a standard practice. Since then, kids got to go to recess early if they stayed on track and finished the assignment instead of the whole class missing out. Overall: Order/rules vs. warm environment is a bit of a balancing act. Too far one way can cause rigid and strict environment and the other way can classroom chaos. Most schools due to their philosophy lean one way and it helps for the parent to be involved in order to bring balance.
We have a kindergartner and so far, we have been nothing but pleased with TCA north. We followed their recommendations on what age our child should start and she loves school and is excelling. Academically she has made huge improvements in handwriting and math and has been reading for a few months. She loves the special subjects especially art class. However, the most important quality to us as parents are the virtues she is learning at home, to be respectful, kind, loyal etc. are being reinforced at TCA. When the class is disrespectful they are expected to apologize and sometimes miss recess. Her teacher is kind and loving but at the same time expects the children to behave at their full potential. And bonus points for rejecting Common Core so that teachers can continue to do their job to the best of their ability.
my niece is going to this school - she is telling me every time I see her how much she wants to be home-schooled - the reason? Bullying is common among the girls - this school seems to suffer from " mean girl syndrome" through most grade levels - even in elementary! The teachers are too busy to cope with the curriculum and testing to care much about the happiness of the students. My nephew left the school last year because he doesn't exactly fit their description of " normal" - he was struggling with spelling due to dyslexia and the recommendation of the school was to put him in a public school as they don't have the resources to deal with him - maybe that is how they intend to keep their test scores up? He LOVES his new public school and the teachers have only good things to say about him- he finally has friends and feels accepted- nobody understands why he was labeled difficult! We will be taking my niece out after this school year - she hates to go to school every day!
My child is in first grade and she is having a terrible experience with her drill sergeant teacher. I have asked her to show more love to my child (as she cries every day about school) but the teacher says "she'll adjust." Finally I talked to the principal, and asked for her to be moved due to incompatibilty. This was also unsuccessful. The principal has a loving personality, but as he explained "His hands are tied." TCA has small classes so they can micromanage the way the child holds a pencil, holds a book, tucks in their uniform, correct their posture and in the case of my childs teacher, requires them to say "yes, Ma'm." None of this is improving my child's reading but it is making her sad and nervous. My child spent 4 years on their "wait list" and I wish we hadn't wasted our effort.