This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Flagstaff Charter Academy1
Posted February 16, 2015
- a parent
While I agree Flagstaff is in terrible shape I have to laugh when people seem to say a former administrator who is now employed in St. Vrain was so wonderful. This person hired and fired a lot of people and stirred up a lot of controversy. One of his worst hires the Dean of Students is somehow still there and I don't think he would hold on to well under close scruitny
Flagstaff is not the school it advertises. There is dissatisfaction within parents. Families are leaving. Curriculum is slipping. Morale is slipping. Administration is getting bonuses. They prefer to bring the kids academics down so they can improve the growth numbers and wow everyone with high scores. If you dare speak up, you are blackballed and called a trouble maker and they ask you to be quiet. I have heard leadership talking badly about parents and airing information that should be confidential. What a shame. A once great school now has an article in a newspaper regarding corruption, people driving around with degrading messages about the school on their vehicle and bad morale. Not for me, not for my kids.
We visited 7 different schools in the area, including our assigned school, Niwot Elementary and 4 private schools. I am under the sense that many parents have recently become unhappy with the school because their input no longer carries the weight that it once did. Colorado is finally implementing the Common Core Standards that most other parts of the county have been using for years. Because there is a new curriculum, state and federally mandated, input from teachers, administration and parents will not have the weight that it once did. If children do all of the assigned homework there is plenty that is age appropriate. Parents can always add homework as they feel their own child needs. Our only complaint is regarding the classroom size, 27 is too big for many teacher to adequately control.
This is a great school, in particular the Middle School is amazing. Our teachers are bringing innovation into the classroom daily. I've had students in the school from Kindergarten up, and one will be entering Middle School next year. It's not just the teachers that are great, though. Our PTO has really gone and stepped up this year, letting teachers know how much they are valued. The best thing about this school is the personal relationship teachers develop with their students. The principle of Middle School is exceptionally professional and amazing with students. I love the character education program, the emphasis on full-child development and the parents that get in and volunteer daily. Love love love my school!
Flagstaff has definitely changed their academic focus since their old principal has left. We chose this school because of its academic excellence and it has become very apparent that with the lack of homework and interest from the administration to keep the academics strong this school is unfortunately headed in a different direction. I am disappointed that they will hire teachers that do not have the appropriate training or degrees. I also am worried that the focus of this school directly reflects what kind of education the administration would like for their children. Our family has been with Flagstaff for 6 years and it is so sad to see this change when it was historically such a great place! The administration is unable to deal with difficult situations and either doesn't respond to them at all or waits until they become a huge problem. It worries me that there seems to be a hidden agenda on their part as well.
Over the past year the school has gone through many changes that have not been for the best. the administration has been unable to effectively handle and minimize problems which has lead to at least 6 families leaving mid year within a few weeks. In addition to poor communication and lack of honesty from the school the academics have fallen below what one would expect from Flagstaff. Unable to replace teachers with experienced teachers. Many other schools in the area are getting much better results and have many additional resources available- no longer a top choice in the area.
Flagstaff Academy does a few subjects well, such as the core knowledge, science lab, and Spanish. The math and spelling tests are too easy. There is no difference between levels of the ability groups. Also, there is practically no homework, which is fine if your child is not planning to go into AP or IB in high school. I would recommend this school for those children that either hate school or struggle with certain skills because there is nurturing for them. It's probably not a great fit for everyone though.
We fell in love with Flagstaff from the moment we first visited. There's such a positive energy about this school which is apparent from the moment you enter. The students are smiling, the teachers are engaged, and the administration is happy to make time to chat. The teaching staff, in particular, is amazing. Last year our daughter was in second grade and it was a rare week when we didn't get at least 2 or 3 updates on how things were going in the classroom, and our child's teacher was always responsive to any questions or concerns. The teachers care deeply about their kids, and this is reflected in the attention and emphasis put on appropriate ability grouping -- the school works to make sure your child is in the most effective learning environment for their situation. The focus academically is on science and technology, yet the elementary school also has one of the best art teachers in the district and a strong core knowledge program that integrates math, science, and social studies across the curriculum. I recommend Flagstaff strongly and without reservation.
I have one kid here and one at another school, and being in that situation highlights the differences for me. Flagstaff treats the kids like people, meaning if the child needs a drink he gets one, if he needs a snack (which children often do!!) he gets to have one. Just like an adult would. Not so at the other school, it's more about teacher convenience there (I would love to see if there are snacks hidden in those teachers' desks). The kids at Flagstaff have a longer day than the non-charter, which means there's more time for subjects like science (GREAT program, by the way) and technology (also awesome!). This is the great strength of Flagstaff. I've seen the complaints by unhappy parents (below) but I think they would find the same changes taking place in any St. Vrain school due to the common core mandate, rather than a specific problem with Flagstaff. I would agree that I want more time to talk to the teachers than I get, though. That bothers me. And a better understanding of where my child stands with respect to where he should be. I dislike the feeling that the teachers are avoiding answering those questions.