This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Valrico Lake Advantage Academy4
Posted February 05, 2015
- a parent
What a great year my kids are having now that Mrs. Guertin and all of the teachers that left with her are gone! Let that school in Lutz have her and the others. Our school is productive, organized and a warm, inviting place for kids to learn!! Please those of you whovledtcwhen Mrs.G was here, it has changed, please come back!!
New Prinicpal is easy to access. She is always on the line during pick up and dismissal and easy to catch in the office if you need her. Michelle in the office makes the environment very warm and friendly. She cares for every one of those kids who comes through and so many kids come through the front office for one reason or another everytime I am there. They absolutely adore Michelle and she is always there to help them (and the parents). Traffic is much easier now. Pick up and drop off require some patience, but the teachers are working just as hard as the parents every day to make sure it runs smoothly and orderly. Food is not good so pack your lunch. Field trips are great. Sports are great, with Coach Nily and Thomas and so many volunteers to make sure everything runs smoothly. Uniforms fall apart, but everyone in town uses Ibley so nothing new. The success in the classroom is the best part. The teachers for our two years have been very strong. Challenging curriculum and the focus on actively learning the content. The parent contact is another plus.
This is my first year at Valrico Academy and I could not be happier. I have been teaching for quite some time, and this is by far my favorite teaching experience during my 12 year career. It has become a second family to me. The school has a great reputation and now I can see why. The teachers, parents, and students are second to none, and the administration is professional, supportive, and is on hand at all times to help.
The teacher morale at this school is at an all time low. The school has had years of high achievement and community. You can make false statements but does not change the facts that over 21 teacher left the school at the end of the 2013/14 school year. More than a few teachers have left this school year and some are planning on leaving. You can not build a sense of community and excellence with that kind of turn over. It says something about leadership. Sad but true.
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 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.