I called to get information about the school. I never got a call back. I decided to stop by to see if somebody could give information about openings, I was received by a not a very pleasant front desk lady. The only words out if her mouth were we have no space and you may want to apply online. I am glad we had the option of going to another school where the Assistant Vice Principal called me back right away.
The teachers are fantastic and truly care about the students. Also, the curriculum is very hands-on for tactile learners. I really like how the teachers hold each child accountable for his/her work and behavior, and how each child is treated like an individual.
Valrico Lake Academy - My daughter has started at this school from the beginning when it opened its doors at the old location in Bloomingdale in kindergarten. She is now going to fifth grade. My two son's attend as well. Although the school in not perfect no school is. I love the teachers and they are very involved with the students. I like that there is a uniform policy and I feel that my children are safe which is more than I can say about other schools in my area. There is open communication between parents and school staff. My children all enjoy Valrico Lake Academy. Some things do need to be fixed but overall my experience here has been a good one. I made it through the traffic at this school and that was my only negative because of the construction but it has been resolved.
The teachers make this school work. The reviews from this year are very accurate, except that the Principal has now gone. The food is very bad. Traffic is a struggle at the corner of Bell Shoals and Boyette, so drop off and pick up are a challenge. Only one male teacher and he is leaving this year. Staff works very hard to cover before/after duties, focus in the Spring is on state tests, and the uniform logos do fall off because the vendor is really crappy. But my child attends because of the quality of learning in the classroom. If they get a new principal who can continue the schools vision, it will continue to be a top-rated school because of engaging lessons and high expectations for students. The teachers are truly the best at this school. Staff turnover is always a unknown this time of year, especially with the demands on the staff of this organization. If they can get the new Principal in place and gather up the staff before everyone leaves for higher-paying jobs during the summer, this school will continue to be one of the best in Florida next year.
The teachers are wonderful, but it seems like the owners only care about FCATs so they get the county stipend. Since the children take practice test after test, the creativity in teaching and learning is lost. This year we can feel the burnout in the children, families, and teachers. The principal is inconsistent. Rules and policies are not enforced per the handbook. Codes and regulations are followed in the event of an audit not on a daily basis. Show up unannounced and you will see. The dean of students dresses inappropriately for school in miniskirts and 5 inch heels. She seems more concerned with FishHawk appearances than the students. The principal and dean do not interact with the students unless it is for show - especially during executive visits and open houses. Behind the scenes is a mess. Their Miami headquarters need to conduct a true unannounced check and talk to teachers and parents to get things back on track. A new administration is desperately needed or we are going to lose the great teachers and families that made it such a great school for our children.
The teachers are great. They really seem to enjoy their jobs. And they are great at keeping the lines of communication open. I love the edline system, I can see my kids grades at all times. My kids however hate the school lunch. And I have to agree. All the money that you dish out for this school for one thing after another, they could at least have some real food instead of the microwave slop they are serving. And I hate that I have to pay for my kids to be able to wear blue jeans once a month. A bit ridiculous considering their school shirts are $13 each and the logos fall off after a few washes. The principle almost never smiles and doesn't come across as the friendliest lady. And the lady Denise who works the front desk is the most unpleasant person I have ever come across in the school system. She never smiles and she has terrible phone etiquette. You can hear her attitude over the phone. And the rule about hair color and restrictions on certain hair cuts is unfair considering the principle has Hawaiian punch red hair. She should probably lead by example. Great education as long as you are willing to pack your kids lunch and look past the rude people.
My daughter and family truly love Valrico Academy. The education has been superb and challenging. Each grade level has a family feel. The teachers love their jobs and are passionate about educating children. We could not have hoped for a better elementary school experience. Administration is responsive to parent requests in a timely manner. The administration works hard to know the names of the students and greet them. I hope my daughter continues to have experiences in secondary that are similar in nature to her experience at Valrico Academy. It is too bad that a few negative parents comments cast a shadow on a school that has such heart. Keep up the good work Valrico Academy!
We were referred to this school by one of the staff who happens to also be a neighbor. Though we were "satisfied" with our local school, the promise of new buildings, smaller class sizes and extra programming lured us away. After the Winter Break, we've decided to return to our local school. This school and the administration are completely disappointing. Never judge a book by it's cover alone. This has been one of the worst experiences we've had with our daughter, who rarely wants to go to school each day.
With the new Bell Creek Academy - the Middle School which follows the Valrico Lake Advantage Academy - this school really is one to follow closely. It will be especially nice once the High School is built, and then one can visualize the types of training and instruction that was begun at the elementary level.