I am the father of a previous student that attended this school. I can only speak from my personal experience. Yes, the principal is involved in her school and has an open door policy with parents. However, when I had a problem with my son's teacher, she was arrogant and unapproachable. She defended the teacher instead of being a mediator to help resolve the misunderstanding. My son was not happy in this environment and is doing much better in his ESE program.
I have read all the reviews about the school. My son is in third grade and has been there since kindergarten. SFACS provides a safe and loving environment for him. Having a child with a disability is a challenge. There are two types of parents. The first type is in denial and criticizes everything and looks to the school to fix their child. They are seldom involved and often show up only at the big end of the year show. The second type of parent wants to do whatever they can to help their child and truly understands their limitations as well as future capabilities. These parents come to the school functions, know the teachers and donate time and resources. They get involved. When people say the principal has "favorites" they are right. Her favorites are the parents that I just described. She is smart, direct and visionary. She sacrifices her Saturdays to teach parents. She comes to every function and knows each student and in many cases their siblings by name. She wants make it better and won't stop until that happens. I don't think people realize what a privedge to be here. We drive 2hrs every morning (2 siblings in a different school) and would drive farther if we had too.
Love this school. My wife and I have our son in the school since it has opened. The teachers and staff are all amazing and treat children with dignity. Our son has been in the school for 6 years and we attend all functions of the schools activities. The only negative thing I can say related to the school are some of the parents do not abide by the schools requirements which are to volunteer to help themselves and their children by attending trainings, activities, etc. Which I'm sure the negative comments came from them..but any parent wanting to see for yourself just stop by and visit Dr Moodie and staff..
What a great school SFACS is for my daughter! She has attended the school for four years and she has made great progress! The teachers are the best, many of them are like family. The staff and the Principal really love the kids. To see how great this school is, just take a tour and see how they work with kids and young adults. My daughter was terrible violent when she first starting going to this school and now her behavior is wonderful, our family is grateful for what they have done. The yearly trip to Disney World is a thing of beauty, they take close to 80 kids to Disney and the kids love it and are better behaved than typical kids, truly amazing! This school if golden and anyone who feels differently in my opinion has no idea what they are talking about.
The lack of professionalism seen at this school is almost unbelievable. The principal sets a set of rules for those who adore her and publicly calls out those who do not. The turnover rate is also something unlike anything I have ever seen before. Do not be surprised to see the principal giving anyone and everyone an attitude. The actual building itself is deplorable.
It seems to me that the previous negative review struck a chord with the Principal and her staff . Nothing more than damage control and effective PR to prevent the truth from being divulged. No previous teacher or parent would take the time and effort to post these negative reviews if there were not true. Unfortunately my grandson attended SFACS and in my daughter's dealings with the Principal and her staff, she experienced similar treatment as mentioned by other reviewers.
As an educator, who holds multiple professional liscenses in the state of Florida (ESE K-12 and Elementary K-6) and who is endorsed by the state in both Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as ESOL, I feel the principal at South Florida's Autism Charter School has developed the most accepting and beneficial programs for students with ASD. Conducting trainings continuously throughout each school year to bring awareness to school employees, student parents and community members the principal extends herself and her knowledge. Over the course of my career I have worked in three school districts in the state of Florida and over the supervision of numerous principals. None have worked as hard or as hands on, delivering knowledge and support to their team. SFACS is a welcoming, family environment to both the students and staff members. We work as a unit regardless of nationality, culture or experience in order to create a nurturing foundation for the youth on the ASD Spectrum. Our principal is not a boss but a leader who truly cares to promote a positive atmosphere for all those in her company. Furthermore, SFACS assigns individuals to support all new hires throughout the processes.
As a graduate of Exceptional Student Education, I have to say that a PhD does not give the principal of this school the right to treat employees with intimidation or disrespect. She needs to take a refresher course on the Golden Rule: Treat others like you would like to be treated. Don't try to make others feel inferior to you, especially educated, articulate, caring, and intelligent women. During my brief employment, I was appalled by how some teachers and assistants treated their students. Instead of mentoring, I received nothing but an arrogant, condescending, and nonchalant attitude from my fellow colleagues, office personnel, and especially from the principal herself. Unfortunately there was no team mentality and reverse discrimination between black and white staff members. Needless to say that I did not allow my negative experience to deter my dream of making a difference in the lives of special needs students.
I am so proud of my son's school. My son has been there for 3 years now and I don't want him anywhere else. We have tried both public and private schools in the past and this is the absolute best fit for him. I have finally found an environment where I feel he is learning, growing, and most importantly SAFE! The director is amazing. She eats, sleeps and breathes "autism". Her door is always open. In fact, parents are required to complete 4 parent training workshops as part of the requirement of having your child in the school. Topics are preselected or you can just schedule one on one with her instead. Parents are also required to complete 30 hours of volunteer training. The common message here is "they want the parents involved in their child's education". I know I am one involved parent. When you are there all the time you see just how hard the director and staff work. The new campus is huge and our kids have more space than ever before. My son asks to go to school daily. He absolutely loves it! The school is only four years old and I cannot wait to continue to see it blossom!