Teacher effectiveness varies significantly at KCSMA as I'm sure it does at every school. The teachers here are hampered by the fact that they do not have all of the resources they need to be effective. The lack of technology is astonishing for a school who says they are seeking STEM certification. Of course the STEM program is only being implemented in select classrooms and not school wide. The high rate of teacher turnover makes ongoing academic effectiveness difficult as well.
The amount of homework varies by grade level (as it should) but at the upper grades it borders on ridiculous. Upper grades say "we are preparing them for middle school" yet after having 2 children go all the way through to middle school and one in high school, they had more homework in 4th and 5th grade than they did in 8th and 9th grade. There is no reason for child that age to be up until midnight finishing assignments and go to bed in tears worried that they didn't get everything completed. When speaking with the teachers concerns are dismissed with a wave of the hand and the "preparing for middle school" excuse or blame placed on the student for "being lazy" or not "using their time wisely" when doing homework. IF it was one student that may be the case but not when it is a significant number of kids.
Compassion, caring and empathy all begin with respect and respect is not modeled consistently at this school. Parents who express any kind of concern or who ask questions about anything are treated as "troublemakers." There is a lack of consistency in discipline and expectations.
I have had 2 children progress all of the way through this school and a 3rd attending now. I've spent years waiting for things to "click" for the school but the last 3 years have shown a steady decline. I say this as a parent of 3 children who were never received anything but high marks in conduct and all of whom were/are A/B students. This is not a matter of my children being problem kids and me not being happy that their poor behavior is not overlooked. I am disappointed in the decline of differentiated instruction in the classroom, the level of disrespect parents are met with, the inability of the school to find solid financial footing, the decision to invest in a STEM program that does not serve every child but rather uses a "school within a school model" and more. I do not understand why a decision was made to enhance select classrooms when every classroom is not equipped with basic needs. Record keeping is a nightmare. My middle child has been in middle school for 2 years and KCSMA has still not sent the official records to the middle school. I have stood in the presence of the middle school counselor and listened as she put the phone on speaker and called KCSMA to request the records more than once. Each time KCSMA promises they will be sent and gives an excuse why they have not been received yet. This has been going on for 2 years. My child missed out on being placed in advanced content classes at the start of the school year because these records were not received. According to the middle school they are still awaiting records for children with 504 intervention plans in place - a document the middle school is legally obligated to comply with but that KCSMA has refused to provide copies of. Staff turnover is unacceptably high. Student turnover is just as bad. We have debated the last 2 years on if we want to return our youngest to the school and are only doing so because the feedback we've received on our home school is so negative. We have decided the negative we are familiar with is preferable to the negative we don't know. This was once a school with tremendous potential but they have not only failed to achieve that potential, they have slipped to a level where that potential does not show through any longer. It saddens me to say, but I no longer recommend KCSMA to other parents.
I have a child currently enrolled and one entering Kindergarten. We have been very happy with our child's education and his development while at the school. I, personally, appreciate the administrations involvement and know they, along with the dedicated teachers, care very deeply for the students that go there. I have friends children who have gone on to middle school and are well above their peers. Along with the parents help, they have credited KCSMA with helping the student be better. No school is perfect, and Kennesaw Charter is no exception, but the staff listens and constantly strive to get better.
Last Thursday was such a relief to walk out the doors of Kennesaw Charter for the last time. If you hear how wonderful and amazing it is, ask if the person's child is currently enrolled there. Many honest people will tell you that it is no longer the school it used to be. Pretty building, but looks are deceiving. They like to talk about getting a STEM certification soon. Kind of hard to do when your internet doesn't always work, the computers are all outdated, the few smart boards that they do have are not working, and the bills aren't paid on time to vendors or utilitiy companies. They even missed loan payments for the building. No one can really explain where the cash they take in disappears to. A large piece of playground equipment is not able to be used due to safety issues. The principal and assistant principal are often overheard saying negative things about parents and teachers. If they don't like you- watch out! Your child will be targeted by them if they have any issues at all. They seem to be looking to label kids so they can get more funding. It is sickening! Walk down the halls and you hear screaming teachers. They didn't allow any students with any sort of unpaid balance no matter how small participate in field day this year. Ridiculous! Do yourself a favor and look at other schools. You may have one or two good years but it doesn't last. Every summer they have 20-30 teachers leave. The art projects your kids will bring home consist of a painted paper plate and a folder with worksheets. In technology class they play computer games when the computers are working or they just watch movies. Science class is good- great teacher who cares. In music they use their hands as instruments or listen to the teacher play her instrument. Your kids will not get the well-rounded education and experiences that they deserve. Wish it was better, but it keeps going downhill.
Do not let the high ratings fool you. The climate rating that is reported is from the 2013-2014 school year. We kept hearing about how wonderful KCSMA was- great teachers who really cared, a real family atmosphere, and the high academic level. Unfortunately that was how it USED to be. Things have changed dramatically for the worse during the past two years. The great teachers who care have either left or are leaving. The teacher turnover is extremely high. Perhaps it is due to the lack of effective leadership on an administrative and lead teacher grade level, low pay, issues with health insurance premiums and taxes being paid in a timely manner, or even the low morale that is ever present. The family atmosphere no longer exists. and the current academic level is only maintained by the higher grade level teachers who strictly teach the students to pass the tests. There are still a handful (15 or less) of teachers who truly love their students and effectively teach their students how to learn. This school needs a major administrative staff and school board overhaul to succeed.