This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Ann Arbor Learning Community3
Posted August 29, 2014
- a parent
We had to leave this school due to frantic teacher turnover.While the overall ideals and education are aimed at the whole child everyday functionality of this school is lacking.The are and music classes although existent they function as clandestine entities in the school .The principal is nice but does not implement changes required by parents.Math is most kids weakness and display of kids frustrated over a math problem is common sighting on the hallways.Drama program taught by the Art teacher is great.Gardens are great too.The music teacher is good but overwhelmed.
I love this school. My daughter was there from kindergarten through to grade 8. The community structure is incredible, parents and students alike both feel it. My daughter has been taught how to learn here rather than just go through the motions. She learned to think independently and to question all things. I feel the community agreements here have fostered individuality rather than conforming to those around you. This is a fabulous school from having older kids mentor younger kids to working in the community garden. I searched for a school where I knew my daughter would be challenged, safe and to learn to love school and learning and that is what I found at AALC. The teachers are wonderful. It was a total positive experience for our family.
My children have attended this school since 2004. It seems to have grown too fast. Middle school experience is mediocre to poor. Teacher concerns not addressed since September. There is no where to turn with said concerns as the Principal or "Dean" as they prefer to call it is also in the same role as the Superintendent. There is a clear lack of transparency or accountability by the administrative staff.. Good school for elementary. Do not recommend for Middle school grades.
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