This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
International Academy of Smyrna5
Posted October 28, 2014
- a parent
I currently have 3 children at IAS, and this is our 2nd year. I have nothing but great things to say about IAS it's administrative staff, and the teachers. My children are excelling and every teacher they have had challenges them to reach higher achievement. For instance. my kindergartner could barely write his name, but he came out of kindergarten writing, reading and a honor roll student. He is now in 1st grade an a straight A student. Our 5th grader is reading on a high school level, a straight A student, CRCT scores were from the 890's to the 900's, and flourishes in the gifted program headed by Mrs. C. Bush. Our 3rd grader struggled in school and was in EIP (Early Intervention Program) and when the school was preparing for the CRCT the school offered free after school tutoring and Saturday tutoring. We took advantage of this and our 3rd grader passed the CRCT without difficulty. In my opinion the a lot of the problems come from the lack of parental support.
This school has so much potential but it has become a mess. Administration is not trustworthy and I believe their act will be exposed soon. The turn over rate of teachers is high, which exposes faults from the top. They need to revamp the whole formula and get people who truly care, that's what charter schools are all about. Get people in there who do it for the KIDS.
There's a TON of new teachers every year, the current principal (beginning 2013 school year) is seemingly clueless. IAS is on a slippery slope; this year they extended enrollment and asked the parents to refer IAS to families -JOKE! My family is disappointed in everything about IAS.We followed all rules:dress code, car pool, and volunteer hours. In return we got new teachers who can't catch up and provide educational instruction expected from an IB charter school and a principal who won't return calls/emails pertaining to concerns you have about your child's educational growth. It's almost comical how she dances around or ignores questions-except for it's real life. If you are looking to send your child to a place where the principal is clearly there to get a check and not qualified to run a school (qualifications is more than a picture frame with a degree), a higher teacher turn over rate that I've ever seen (less than 45% of the staff returns) and when you get more communication of what the SCHOOL needs (volunteers and MONEY) than educational needs of the children then this is the place for your family!
The review below from the former IAS board member is probably the most honest yet. I am a former IAS consultant, volunteer and parent. Yes, the elementary division has good educators and some good parents, but 200 families didn't post ANY volunteer hours last year as required- in writing. Parents and teachers do not attend Board meetings either. And, yes, the current principal and male VP are not qualified to do their jobs, struggle with basic tasks, are never seen in a classroom, and just aren't good people, period. Yes, IAS is under-funded, the teachers often lack basic instructional materials and the school is a financial crisis or two away from shutting down. Yes, the middle school is a hot ghetto mess with the worst test scores in the district and too many bad acting and even violent students (who are never expelled) and incompetent educators, which are allowed to return year after year. And, yes, you are literally taking your life and that of your child in your hands, if you have to walk thru the carpool/ parking lot in the morning. To be honest; IAS is the struggling, poorer sister of Kennesaw Charter and should be a lot further along after 8 years. God help this school!
This is our 2nd year at IAS and we were very happy with our experience last year. I recently asked our child what she thought of the 1rst grade. Her response was "it's fun, the teachers are nice and the kids are nice". I am not on the board nor do I work behind the scenes, but I do volunteer a lot and can tell you that Principle Schrock and her staff are very hands on. There is constant activity for the students and tons of volunteer and networking opportunities for parents. While the school is not perfect, I see them making an effort. I love their IB approach, I love the fact our 6 year old talks to us about being "principled" and "reflective". Our child is learning Spanish, goes to P.E., music, art and seems to be excelling in her class. There are many changes we would like to see with the school but I believe that will come in time. I cannot speak for the middle school since we are not involved with the program, but we can tell you the elementary school staff is great. The parents I have volunteered with are very committed- it's my hope more parents will step up and bring about positive change to this school.
I am a former IAS Board member & parent. The building is nice & bright and there are some good educators. Aside from that, IAS is a very dysfunctional, grossly underfunded, underachieving school where almost 50% of the nearly all Black student body is low income. The Middle School has had the lowest Math & Science scores in Cobb for three years, fighting is rampant and my child was bullied so badly, he resorted to hiding in the restroom at lunch. Although I was on the Board, the current principal, VP and middle school teachers would not respond to my requests for meetings or help. The efforts of the Governing Board to carry out its duties were compromised by the current management company, operations manager (a founding board member) and the current principal and male vice principal. The management company and operations manager conspired to offer the current principal and male vice principal contracts for the 2014-15 school year before the Board had an opportunity to discuss their status and possibly vote to terminate them. In almost 20 years in the charter school movement, I have never seen two people more unfit to lead a school. Real talk; IAS is a charter school in name only.
I am a seventh grade student there and they have yet to make improvement the dress code is extremely strict so don't waste any money trying to buy any shoes with color they don't let you be yourself and the test scores are low we don't have a gym or any sports team and the dance team is unorganized I highly don't suggest this school there is no diversity and there is a lack of new students
The staff has a lot to learn when it comes to ownership. They make to many mistakes not to rectify the problem and good luck speaking with the principal about it. If you're dealing with Mr. Rigsby make sure you follow up because he doesn't.