This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted April 01, 2015
- a parent
SVA is beyond what we expected from a school! It starts from the moment you walk into the school (always happy, knowledgeable front desk staff) to when the kiddos talk about their exciting day and all the things they learned (Core Knowledge curriculum is great)! The administrative team is always visible and can be reached via email and/or phone. Administration is always happy to reply quickly. The SVA teachers are at the school only because SVA has high standards and would not hire anyone that could not do the amazing job that these teachers do, each day!!! SVA feels like home!
With kindergarten class sizes at 25 and first grade and on at 26, the kids are missing individual attention in a fast-paced, challenging environment. The school boasts volunteer opportunities, but parents are limited to 5 hours or less in the classroom. If a child is struggling, who is there to assist when the teacher is unavailable? Carline is 1 hour plus to pickup due to the amount of families. It seems the school has been more focused on growing than taking care of their kids.
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.
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.