Nothing is for everyone and AALC is no exception, This is our family's fifth year at the school, so it has obviously met most of our needs. My child is very comfortable here, removed from the aggressiveness of some of the kids in the regular public school he attended in grades K-2. I really have not heard of any bullying, contrary to what some have written here. I do have concerns about the academics in the strictest sense of the word, but really appreciate that the kids learn how to learn here. That, and the critical thinking skills they develop here will serve them well beyond the years of standardized testing we subject our kids to.
This school is unique in that they claim to be a tight community but there is very little accountability for the teachers. If something goes awry in the classroom or a child is not progressing or learning, the problem is always pushed back on the parents - the teachers are masters at pushing back and not resolving problems.
I have very mixed feelings about this school. The most positive aspect of this school is the warm, supportive atmosphere. Classes are small and teachers really care. From teachers and the eighth graders down to the Kindergarteners, they all agree to maintain a supportive, respectful, and cooperative environment. We came to this school from a private school where my child had been bullied badly, so the safety of this school has been a godsend. On the other hand, I feel this school is very weak academically. While I am not in favor of the overly rigorous academics pushed in our public schools right now, I do feel my child will leave this school performing well below grade level. This is *not* a good school for a child with special needs. Although they will supported and cherished by the teachers, and they will benefit from the good social environment, the school is too small to offer much in the way of Special Education services. I do recommend this school for kids in primary school, because of the supportive, warm environment and lack of academic push. I don't recommend it for most intermediate or middle school kids.
My child was at AALC for two years. All classes are blended so there was a grade 2-3 instead of two AND three. The classroom work was the same for all kids in the class regardless if they were grade 2 or 3. The next year, when grade 2 was promoted to grade 3, the kids were placed with the same teacher and given the same work as they had the previous year. What a waste and lack of progress for the kids! Special needs students were placed in the regular classrooms and my child spent two years with two children who would scream, cry, or have tantrums often. That was unsettling and disruptive for the class and made it difficult for my child to learn and perform. MEAP and other tests show that AALC is far behind Ann Arbor and Saline Area Schools, which appear to be the best public schools in the area. We had a great experience with a charter school where we moved from, so we chose South Arbor Charter Academy, which ranked slightly higher than the public schools and far exceeded AALC. My child was fortunate to be admitted there and needed special attention for the first year to catch up to classmates. If I could change the past, I would never have placed my child in AALC.
My kids have attended AALC from Kindergarten, and they have flourished at this community. The school has a fabulous community feel among the staff, students and parents. The small and multi-level classrooms are an excellent benefit for learning and fostering friendships. The reading buddies program is a wonderful learning activity for my children and has really made an impact on the reading level of my two children. I would recommend this school if you are looking for a small, intimate learning environment for your child.
I love this school. It has small class sizes of about 18-20 students, dedicated teachers who have been there for a long time, and a very involved parent community. Some things I like: * Math is on each kid's level - grades 2-8 have math at the same time, so kids go to the level that is right for them * Some teachers teach social studies with simulations, where kids act out the parts. It really comes alive! * Awesome writing program that gets kids excited about writing * Reading buddies: Kids read each week with a partner from a different grade, fostering cross-grade friendships and a love of reading * They don't "teach to the test" * Lots of racial and economic diversity * My daughter's grade is in charge of the organic herb garden. This year she learned to recognize several herbs, harvest & cook them, & save seeds * Peer-mediation program, & anti-bullying education * The art program is amazing! * Kids start public speaking in the early grades and become fairly comfortable with it over the years * My kid loves band! * A tradition of meeting people's needs, as individuals * The school is small enough to know each child as an individual. My kids really thrive on that
I find AALC to be a very nurturing and cultivating learning environment for its students in their educational and personal growth.
The school was great when we 1st started there 4 years ago. But then my son fell further and further behind and wasn't getting any help. I had alot of meetings with the teachers and dean but nothing was done. I made the choice that my kids would not be returning and the school found out about it they were all ready to help. I am happy my kids will not be there this year. My son went 3 years with a boy who used to cry and scream at the top of his lungs and no one could learn. The teacher told kids to ignore him but how can you, Bad School with a couple good teachers.
My child has excelled at AALC. From very low math scores to now testing proficient, from refusing to write to now enjoying writing again. The low stress, reduced pressure, small classes have been a blessing. This school nurtures the child socially, emotionally and academically. Although there are some problems within the school that are being addressed it is a caring, inclusive environment for children to grow in. Both parents and teachers are engaged in all aspects of the school and are encouraged to work together. Because the school is small most of the children know eachother. Older children are involved in mentoring younger children and there are very few problems with bullying. If you are looking for a school that offers the best academics in a traditional setting this is not it, but if you seek a school that nurtures the entire child while offering above average educational achievement AALC is a fine choice. The test scores show AALC offers enough for our children to grow in many ways in a warm caring environment that models mutual respect between all age groups. Remember, no school is perfect but this one is truly wonderful and working to improve it's weaknesses.
My family has had both good and bad experiences with this school. Unfortunately, the school is really just not academically strong. The good: great music program, caring teachers, smart dean, fun PTSO activities, ability to have a close relationship and good communication with the teachers. The bad: everything academic, the math program is abysmal, the large percentage of disruptive children with behavioral difficulties. If a child is stuggling socially or developmentally, this might be a great place for them. The school fails smart children.
My kids both had great experiences in the kindergarten and first grade, but recently the school laid off an excellent and experienced teacher and then hired a brand new one. The culture of the school is becoming punitive with kids getting sent to the "blue chairs" every time the teacher can't or doesn't want to handle anything. For lunch they have to sit for 30 minutes and are sent to the bench if they talk too much. There is very little about this school that is progressive anymore
This school lacks academic and behavioral accountability to the children and the parents. Many children cycle through the school, and given that's it's in Ann Arbor, a university town, it artificially inflates their scores. The turnover rate is impressive. My child attended and needed significant academic remediation for the year he learned very little. It's true, one of the four guiding principles at the school is the right to pass, even on academic subjects.
WE really love this school and appreciate that as a parent we can be as involved as we want. We have had both children that have been through the earily primary (K/1st) and one that has been through primary (2nd/3rd) and now in intermediate (4th/5th). we love the fact that the intermediate students are encourage to submit a project for the National History Day Competition. The early primary teachers are wonderful and have really started out children out on a great path. The additional IOWA tests really help determine how our kids are doing nationwide (instead of the MEAPS that only look at MI). Overall I would recommend this school!
Im actually a student in aalc, i have been here for eight years as has my best friend. we both think that the school could have more potential if they hired more competent educationally inclined staff. maybe someone thats not still in college getting their first masters. both me and my friend where viciously humilated and neglected in second grade by staff and student alike. these same humiliation tactics were practiced in every grade accept third and sixth. my second grade educator spread ruors to all parents and teachers that i was a so called "Juvinile Delinquent" when i understood most of the concept better than the teachers themselves. over all in eight years if i could rate this school a zero i would.
AALC has been a very nurturing environment for my son who has special needs. The whole staff has been supportive and communicative. His teacher continues to go above and beyond to help him learn. I think she does an excellent job at the multi-age planning. He loves this school and you sure can't beat the class size. Check it out, but you better hurry. They already have a wait list for some grades.
This school is a well kept secret! Our family has been at the school for the past three years and are very happy with everything there. Check it out for yourself!
Ann Arbor Learning Community is a gem of a school that still sparkles despite its leadership. We've been members of AALC for the last 5 years. During that time, we've fallen in love with the community of parents, children and teachers. Unfortunately, their current administrator is very flawed (as of 2010-2011 school year). Pros: Teaching philosophy that is a great blend of child-led learning and traditional, actively involved community, elective fun 'courses' each Friday, organic gardens for each classroom & whole school, multi-age setting, fun all school events, in my experience very pro-active whenever a problem arrises! Cons: Incompetent communication from school administrator, unskillful leadership (as of 2010-2011 school year), while kids have BIG FUN on the playground there are some missed opportunities for play options, sometimes too understated with school tours (they don't 'sell' as seamlessly as other schools).
For all the hype about community and respect, you would expect more accountability from the teachers. They seem more concerned with their time off (one day off per month for professional development which translates to no school that day) than actual academic results. The feedback and report cards are vague at best. This is not a school to send a child with any special academic needs. They can barely keep an average child on track compared to what is learned at the public schools. We have two children there and feel both are failing for lack of good teaching. We will not be returning after this year.
I had a family member who had an extremely bad experience. Right down to a teacher who treated the students in a very poor manner. Her goal seemed to be to break the spirit of her students. Unfortunately, when my sister and her husband voiced their concerns, it simply fell of deaf ears.
This school puts on a great front. There is no accountability from staff or students. The community agreements have no meaning in the end. My child did not learn any sight words and had to repeat kindergarten. Although every report card came home with great accompishments. When I requested that my child be moved away from a disruptive student. I was told that no student could be singled out in anyway. And the result was my child sat next to this student all year and was tormented by him. Students are in hall unattended all through the day. They have the right to pass on anything even everyday work. My child left AALC with a lower level of confidence and it took a year to build that back up.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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