This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Academie Da Vinci Charter School3
Posted January 26, 2015
- a parent
My daughter loved it here since she arrived a few years ago - but this past year has really changed our shared perspective. The arts focus was such an attraction, as was the previous principal who beamed with enthusiasm. As with any culture, it starts with the top. Once Dr. Ray left (or was forced out?), the change has been dramatic. The loss of teachers has been shocking, the loss of culture is more and more shocking. But even more, is the lack of focus on helping students learn is more "helping students focus on the next standardized test". To be fair, there is alot of growing/changing pains and perhaps ADV can weather the storm? But all signs are pointing to that being a longer term hope than a near-term reality. . It's become impersonal and just another school vs. a school that was once more of a treasure. The morale is dwindling with both the parents and the teachers. My daughter is on her 5th teacher in 3 years. That is not a good thing. Sadly, this school that previously inspired, was warm, had both teachers and families on board, and was once heading in a positive direction has continued to decline.
Our child has attended this school their entire elementary career and we have historically been very happy. While I agree with the majority of the comments about the new principal's lack of interaction with the parents, what concerns me more is the view that my child has expressed. When a child comes home disappointed because the principal does not respond to a child's greeting something is obviously wrong. However, the issues that have come up this year are not the sole responsibility of the principal and should lie mostly only the board of directors. I have personally attended meetings where we have been told that we do not have a say in what happens and that we can leave at any point in time that we wish as they have a waiting list a mile long. The board of directors, by their own design, is out of touch with the parents of the school. I never dreamed that I would be so excited for our child to move on from this school. I am even more saddened that we have decided to send our younger child to another school. What used to be a GREAT school has become mediocre at best, and that is what saddens me the most. . Very very sad!
ADV is a great school! We've been at ADV for several years and love how it has educated our child. Being a charter school, it relies on parent involvement and encourages it. There are many clubs and activities that make it a great place to get an education. Safe, nurturing, challenging. Everything you want in an elementary school. I was shocked when I saw that some a couple of parents decided to spread false rumors and lies to trash their own children's school. Why? I assume because they were 'friends' with the previous principal and can't handle change. Did the school used to have a principal that everyone loved? Yes. Did she know how to run a school? No. She was an educator and did not possess the skills necessary to run a school. She moved on when that became glaringly obvious to anyone who didn't have their head in the sand. The new principal is less touchy-feely, but that's OK. She has extensive knowledge of running a school and that's obvious. The school is financially sound. The teachers recently got health insurance coverage and I heard the other day the board approved a pay raise. Teachers are happy. Kids love it here.
I see students skipping and singing up and down hallways just as they have done at this school forever. These children come into school eager to learn every day. Smiles on little faces, children laughing, learning and performing. That is what I see everyday.
I completely disagree with the people who are trashing the new principal. Ms. Foran is a wonderful woman who is excited to be at ADV. Is she serious? Yes. Is she committed to getting the school back to financial stability? Yes. Does she want our children to succeed? Yes. Does she give out dog biscuits and have dance parties at lunch? No. But those are things that were uniquely Dr. Ray. Does the board serve because of some social status goals? Uh, no. If they were looking for social status, they'd be serving on Boards that get local recognition. Dr. Ray built a great school and has moved on to new great things. I think she would be disappointed to see parents trashing the school - and by extension, teachers - that she cared so much about. I think everyone needs to embrace change and stop with this nastiness!
I remember meeting Dr. Ray; she was the main reason we wanted our child to go to this school. Unfortunately the rug was pulled out from underneath us; she was fired just prior to the school year starting. In regards to the new principal, I am shocked by her "deer in the headlight" look on her face, lack of social skills, and experience. I hope my wife and I did not make a mistake. Regardless of the principal my child's primary teacher is fantastic; but, when the head of the school is broken the rest will soon fall.
I to use to be so proud of ADV before. I am VERY DISAPPOINTED about the school this year. The new principle can't even say morning to a parent and/or talk to the kids.. she lack of people skills. Academy Cafe is gone (no more singing at lunch time) !!! I hate the way the board is handling things. Administrative personnel can't even put two and two together.... I sent money for my son's lunch and he doesn't get it !!!!!. Grades are lower than even in the story of the school. I don't even want to participate in the school's activities any more. Thanks a lot Board of Directors. Now I am searching for a new school for next year.
The previous comments are exactly right. This used to be the best elementary school in pinellas county, with the most caring principal in the world. The school was an extension of our family. The board cares nothing about our children, and only cares about their social status. They fired the principal and hired a puppet for themselves. We and many more families will not be returning next year.
This used to be a fantastic school but boy has it changed. The board fired a great principal and brought in one with no experience and no ability to be civil to the parents or kids at the school. Numerous times the kids have complained that they said good morning to her and she looks at them then walks by, not a peep. Teachers are leaving as quickly as they can, three have left since August and another was fired last week, without any reason that parents can see. More and more families are leaving to find better schools and opportunities for their kids and are smart to do so. I believe within the next year or two all the great teachers will be gone and all that parents will be left with is a principal who will ignore them and do anything to avoid any questions. Beware!
I am horribly sad to have to write this. What was once a wonderful and nurturing school of the arts has become a cold institution. If you notice all of the reviews before this year, you will see how valued our principal was and how special of a school this really was. Our principal was the heart of our school. The board of the did not mesh with her creative and out-of-the-box thinking, and they fired her. The board cares nothing about us or our children. They have openly stated to us at board meetings that the parents words mean nothing to them, and that if we have an issue, we can leave. They have firmly instructed the principal and the teachers that the parents are not to be heard. The new principal is a cold, cold woman with no experience and no care for our children. She does not even speak to them, or the parents unless she absolutely has to. The teachers live in fear of losing their jobs every day. Many have already left and many have been fired. There is no moral or sprit. ADV used to be the gem of Pinellas County with a waiting list a mile long to get in. The board has managed to take something truly wonderful and destroy it with their egos and shameful behavior.