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Flagstaff Charter Academy5
Posted August 22, 2014
- a parent
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.
There are so many problems at Flagstaff Academy. My biggest concern is the over emphasis on test scores. Each child takes 4 standardized tests per year! The math instruction is horrible. Kids are forced to watch a silly video for the first part of the lesson. Then they practice their test taking skills. They don't learn any math and end up confused. A+ students are now getting Ds and are hating school. Parents aren't allowed to talk to teachers so they just form tutoring groups among themselves. Also the administration is too weak to fix any of the problems.
The older children who have missed the curriculum and admistration changes are not being effected by what's happening at this school and will never understand it. You are getting the educaiton that we ALL SIGNED UP FOR! 5th grade and below are not getting the same education. The parents are very upset and the administration does not seem to care. They told us "this is not the same school that it use to be." Well that is odvious. I cannot recomment this school until they get there act together. Just do what is right for the children and everything will get back on track! Shocking that the adults at this school cannot figure this out!
I can't speak to politics. I don't get involved in that way. I do however, get extremely involved in ensuring my children get the best education possible.. I know at Flagstaff that I am welcome and encouraged to be there as much as my schedule will allow. I have put in 1500 - over 2000 volunteer hours in the last nine years. During that time I have observed skinned knees, tears of sadness and tears of joy. My three boys run the gambit from mischievous boy who cares more about socializing than homework, , to the shy genius, to an earnest hard worker that takes forever to finish his work because of his dyslexia and other challenges. All three have been treated fairly with attention to their individual needs whether typical, gifted, or quote "special". Two of my boys have moved on to HS and are doing exceedingly well. Last night they each received four academic awards. One of them is #1 in his class, and is sitting for 6 AP tests this month including Calculus and AP Physics Calc based. He will be considered for the full-ride Boettcher scholarship next year. None of that would be possible without the outstanding education and foundation received from Flagstaff Academy.
My children have been at this school for a few years now, and we can't imagine being anywhere else! They're excited to come to school every day. The teachers here take the time to develop relationships with their students, and the teachers are always responsive! It's fun to volunteer in the school, and it's the best way to see how warm and welcoming the staff is, and how excited the children are. What other school has a greenhouse, a science lab, a librarian that teaches research skills and how to navigate online databases for information? This school attracts the students of families in the high tech fields for a reason - it's an academically rigorous school that believes science and technology matter in our future. The best thing? Our school is so much more than 'how well do we take tests?' My children matter as whole individuals. I recommend this school to my friends all the time - there's just not a better school in the area. I'm constantly blown away by the projects they come home with, and all the things that goes on at the school.
I no longer have children have Flagstaff as of this year and I am amazed that things could seemingly be worse now then there were a year ago. I thought the principal who left in May of 2013 who is now at a St. Vrain school (which he is from what I hear systematically destroying with his ineptitude) was most of the problem. How sad to see and hear that things have not improved.
Flagstaff is a fantastic school going thru some change. Our kindergarten student could not have gotten a better start this year, is reading ahead of grade level, loves the teachers, has been corrected but not bashed when making a mistake, etc. The science, social studies, journalism, art is woven into other lessons. A psych person helps with kids who need to learn how to "read" others better or develop social skills - which frankly have a lot more to do with success in life than standardized test scores. The administration is fair and reacts quickly to questions or concerns. The office staff is upbeat and welcoming. Teachers respond to emails within a day. I recommend Flagstaff to any parent who cares about high quality, demanding education that is individualized - aimed at where the child is at and improving upon that skill level.
I have had kids at Flagstaff since the first year. I currently have children in 8th, 6th, 3rd and 1st grade. My kids absolutely love this school. I know that while they are getting an excellent education they are also getting the best teachers in the area. Over the last 9 years we have always had wonder teachers who care about my children and their progress. I recommend this school to all surrounding areas. This school as been a blessing in so many ways. We are proud to be Dragons!!
My oldest child graduated from Flagstaff Academy last year and is currently a freshman at a highly-ranked high-school. She is taking AP and honors courses and is thriving due to the strong academic background received at Flagstaff. Her teachers have commented on the quality of her writing and have said that Flagstaff students are always prepared for the rigors of high school. As for the issues of Principal leadership, the school is definitely in a transition phase. Many of the other comments that question the quality of the leadership feel unfair (and a bit reactionary). With the rapid growth of the school and the added responsibilities of administrators in Charter Schools, the school has undertaken a nearly year-long search for both a new principal and the newly-created position of Executive Director. As a parent I feel as if this year of transition has gone about as well as it could while the school sought out the best people for these positions. Parent involvement is encouraged as much as ever. Teachers are quick to respond to e-mails and are willing to meet. Parents are encouraged to run for the board, speak at board meetings, volunteer in class and through the PTO.
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