SVA is excellent. My son has gone for 4 years from second grade to fifth grade. He has learned so much. They just did a interactive civil war battle. My son has learn more history and literature in elementary than I learned in high school. There is good communication and with requirement of volunteering from each family makes this the best school environment. We will continue to go to middle school
We LOVE SVA! We just attended our preschool and first grader's Spanish festival, and can't say enough about how wonderful it is that they both get Spanish classes daily. The core knowledge curriculum is also a fantastic sequence for our kids. The school environment is warm and inviting, yet structured and regimented. Wearing uniforms, and adhering to the schools core virtues are just the icing on the cake. If you can get in, I highly recommend choosing this amazing school for your child.
I'm curious if the parent who wrote about not feeling heard by the SVA board has ever contacted them via email or read a public statement at a board meeting? I've done both, and have received a personal response each time. The format to "not respond" means that they will not be responding during that particular meeting, not that they are unwilling to respond at all. This is very common for charter or school district boards to not engage in dialogue during a public meeting. I have found them open to constructive and solution-oriented criticism. They have sought out further information on issues when needed and made decisions based on their findings, always with overall good of the school and the students as a whole. From what I can tell from the email updates from the school, the concerned parent(s) did not come to the board, the administration or the teachers to discuss their concerns. In fact, I specifically asked this question to a board member who said that the school had not been contacted by a parent expressing their disagreement with the OCC program. Until these concerned folks actually speak up and are actually ignored, I don t feel this is a valid complaint.
We have been dismayed by the school's defensive and hostile response to the concerns of parents who don't like the idea of the school working with evangelical organizations. It is one thing for kids to lead their own effort to do community service; it's another for the school to provide resources and force teachers to act as collection agents for Franklin Graham. Then there's the emails from the school's administration, which blame those parents who aren't evangelical and who, reasonably, think the law requires public schools to avoid being partners of churches for making that case. All of it indicates this about the school: the board does not care what you, as a parent, thinks. It makes all but impossible for a parent to communicate concerns or questions to them. Try finding the board members' phone numbers and check their canned statement on every board meeting agenda that says they won't respond to comments. It's no wonder the parents who went to AHA over the school's willingness to proselytize for the local evangelical churches did that. There isn't another way for them to express their worries over it and no assurance that the school's board would care about them if they did.
Overall my experience at SVA has been great! I truly think my kids are learning to the best of their ability. They are challenged but not overwhelmed. They get ability-grouping, Spanish unlike most other schools, and every Special. To address some concerns by others, yes, many of the office staff are parents but I see no conflict of interest there. And you must be living under a rock if you complain of no communication. The school sends out twice weekly news letters, posts on a marquee and I get direct e-mails from teachers as necessary. Volunteer opportunities are e-mailed out by teachers regularly and are sometimes found in the newsletters as well as what you select in the volunteer link as suggested by another so not sure who this "in crowd" referred to is? It makes me think this other person has never been to a neighborhood school (or talked with anybody who is in one) because SVA's asking for money and supplies is so much less!!!! Fundraising is about the same as others. I can see testing may seem heavy but my kids have definitely been learning (neighborhood schools have same gripe) and they cannot teach to the test since they have to abide by the Core Knowledge Curriculum!
I find this school to be way better than any of the other charter school. The school is aiming at an overall development of the students, with way more importance given to moral and character development. My daughter loves the art, music and Spanish classes. Unlike the other charter schools, the kiddos don't go paranoid doing only math and reading. If you are planning to send your kids to a charter school, send them to SVA.
I am writing to share my opinion of the post on nepotism. While it is true that some of the office staff are parents of current students, this makes SVA an even better place to be. Families have a vested interest in the school. Who cares if the front office person is a parent? If they are doing their job it doesn't matter if they have a child in the school or not. The blanket statement about no communication from the teachers simply not true. I have been at the school since it opened and have always received plenty of communication, both proactive and in response to my questions. The school itself does a wonderful job of communicating twice a week and via their new marquee. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities if parents click their preferred areas in PTO Manager as they are asked to do. If there is a need in your requested area you will get an email asking for help. Re: giving back to the school - if schools received enough money from taxes and other revenue we wouldn't have to fundraise. I don't know one school that doesn't need to do this. Finally, look at state testing requirements - much of this is mandated by the state without any feedback from districts.
A lot of nepotism here. All the office staff are parents of children at the school. Teachers make friends with some parents and essentially take care of their "friends." My child seems to be learning, but I am not sure this place is any better than a neighborhood school. There is no real communication from the teachers. There has been a change in leadership within the school, but they still appear very disorganized and lack the atmosphere of a warm, welcoming elementary environment. Parents are supposed to volunteer 40 hours, but there does not seem to be any opportunities unless you are part of the in crowd. Lastly, they always seem to ask for money. They just had a fun run, but now want to to eat out and have the restaurant donate money back. The head of the school outlined a huge list of ways to give them more money this year. She also outlined the test schedule, which in my opinion is the reason kids are not really learning. They are just like the rest of the US; teaching to a test...
SkyView Academy is a wonderful place. Our family has attended for 4 years now and it just keeps getting better. The ability grouping has always been one of my favorite parts of the school - so beneficial to teachers and students. Now that the HS is in full swing it is exciting to be a part of CHSSA . Big school opportunities with a small school atmosphere. For our family it is the best of both worlds.