Our child attended the Middle School at Christ Church Academy (aka Mandarin Christian School). It was difficult at first for our child to make friends, less than a welcoming atmosphere. The school was very "clique-ish", especially with some students that were given preferential treatment based on parents involved in the school, time at school (attended since Kindergarten), donations, etc., especially when it comes to sports. During the time our child attended CCA, we are aware of more than once incident where a teacher claimed a student was cheating, in one case announcing it in front of the entire class, just to discover the teacher was mistaken, and when provided proof, wouldn't admit it a mistake was made, or even correct the grade. On more than once occasion our child, and other students, were treated rather rudely by a teacher when coming up to ask a question (so much for setting an example). The sports program was a mess and rampant with daddy-ball, even though they will claim it's not. Kids of coaches, staff, teachers, and large donors are given preference for time during games and positions, not based on effort, talent, or anything else they claimed it was. Tuition was expensive (~$11K/yr after all the added fees), and the school would continually ask for more money, at times in a somewhat deceptive or at least misleading manner. Their academics were barely on par with public middle schools (we compared with parents in our neighborhood with kids attending a public Middle School), which offer many more programs. With the exception of a couple teachers, we saw more compassion and interest in students at public schools than at CCA. We have moved our child to a public school as this has been very disappointing both for us and our child, we had hoped for so much more. Ask a lot of questions and validate the answers before considering this school. If you plan for your child to attend through 12th grade, ask about their claim of 100% "college acceptance". What they don't tell you is that for a student to receive their diploma, a college letter of acceptance must first be provided, thus ensuring their 100% college acceptance claim. Notice they don't state 100% college "entrance". About our child: Straight A student, honors classes, no behavioral issues, plays sports.
There were a couple good teachers, but unfortunately this school had a trend of hiring less qualified teachers, many which are returning students fresh out of college. One of their supposedly "best" English teachers has many years of teaching experience, until you look her up in LinkedIn and discover most of those are teaching private piano lessons. Our child used to really enjoy English and reading when starting 6th grade, since the time attending CCA's Middle School honors English, that has all changed. The Bible teacher is one of the most compassionate and passionate teachers I've ever met, our child really enjoyed her classes. CCA needs more teachers like her.
The best way to develop these types of character traits in students is to have teachers, staff, and coaches demonstrate it everyday. This is one of the primary reasons we wanted our child to attend a good Christian school, which we thought we had found in CCA. Our child had a couple good teachers that demonstrated these characteristics, especially the Bible teacher. Unfortunately, from our time there we've seen a teacher that had a significant lack of compassion towards a student who had recently lost a parent, something we didn't expect to see from a teacher, especially one that calls herself a Christian. We also saw a significant lack of integrity with a teacher and a few coaches, where they said one thing, but did another, or not able to admit a mistake even when it was proven. This created an unexpected challenge for us in having to explain these actions taken by the very people our child was looking up to. I would not consider some of these people very good role models at all, certainly not any better than in any public school, and in some cases, much worse!
This is one area where I can provide a positive comment. Whereas we felt the enforcement of their dress code was a bit too strict, they did not tolerate any misbehavior by students, especially bullying. Our child did not experience any real behavioral issues with any other students, including fighting or bullying. We know of an incident where a child was bullied, it was brought to the attention of the administration, and they addressed it immediately.
I'm not sure what "learning differences" means. If it means students who have learning disabilities or challenges, I cannot speak to that as we did not have any issues in that regard. However, I can say that friends of ours considered CCA and decided against it I think due to not having a program to address their child's learning disability, which I believe is dyslexia, but that may not be accurate. If your child has a learning disability, be sure to ask detailed questions if interested in CCA, and validate the answers with others using those programs.
On a few occasions we had met with someone at CCA in an administrative capacity, and both times we left disappointed since no real action was taken. It was apparent that the administration will assume the teacher, staff, coach, is always right and above reproach, and the student and/or parents are wrong. The school never asked for parent feedback while our child attended Middle School, nor was feedback welcomed by administration, other than to give some "lip service", but no action or change ever occurred. If you are a teacher at the school, you will likely have more than enough support. If you are a teacher, staff, or coach with a child attending the school, you and your child will be given preferential treatment over students who do not have a parent working or volunteering at the school. Thus, that may be a benefit to some, but it certainly wasn't for us.
This has changed from one year to the next, even though most of the teachers were the same for all 3 years. The school does use a web site/mobile app to track lesson plans and grades which is helpful, however, some of the the teachers were not very adept to the online tools they were using for homework. The school claims (at least verbally) that students should not have more than an hour of homework per night, and none on Wed as that is a church night, however, our experience is that was not consistent at all for one year, less of an issue for others. Bottom line, the approach could be improved with consistency by the teachers.
This school is a breath of fresh air! I love the curriculum, teachers, administrators, coaches - what a difference between public school and private - I love that my child has an opportunity to play any and try out for a new sport and play... GO PRIVATE!
My children have attended CCA for 6 years. We are very pleased with the school. The academics are challenging, there is a healthy emphasis on sports, science, and the importance of giving back to the community, and above all our children are being raised in faith. The teachers are loving towards the children and care about them individually.
I have been a part of the ministry of Christ's Church for over 20 years. I remember when this school first start and always wanted it to be the school for my child when he was born. He has been a student at CCA for the last 2 years. He loves it and we do to because of the loving staff and volunteers. All the students at CCA are like a big family with the older students helping the younger ones to learn and serve Christ.