This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted October 09, 2014
- a parent
My daughter is in first grade and really enjoys the school and learning Chinese- she can already speak quite fluidly at the beginning of first grade and knows hundreds of characters. We really like the Singapore math as well. Some other reviewers noted the high staff turnover, fortunately that did not happen this school year & my daughter's first grade teacher has many years of teaching experience. I am happy that she and some of her peers are being offered more challenging math homework this year. The school requires a commitment from families. Starting in first grade students have homework every night. Currently my daughter spends about 10 minutes each night on this homework. Students must also complete the on-line reading program, Lexia, 30 minutes 3 x per week. We are excited the number of students admitted to the school in kindergarten has increased. This gives the kids more peers. In addition, the school allowed admission of students beyond 1st this year. They are given extra tutoring in Chinese to catch up. The school is growing fast- this year 665 students K-8. School digger ranks the school in the top 3% statewide based on test scores in math and ENGLISH.
I love this school, I love the amount of parent involvement, the caring staff & especially the uniforms. The only negative is the class of size 28 kids. For Kindergarten & First Grade this fine as there are a teacher & assistant for each room. I have concerns for grades above that & will be curious to see how this is handled.
My children attended this school for years, from kindergarten through sixth grade. They learned quite a bit and were well prepared to succeed. The crushing amounts of homework certainly taught them how to study! The school really struggles to retain teachers and students (particularly at the middle school level). In it's ninth year, the school has none of its original teachers. The teachers engage in favoritism and the principal, who came from an elite private school, brought several administrators with her and has determinedly ignored the school's values and missions as she endeavors to turn this public charter school into a private school in all but name. The school has just added on a huge addition and it will be interesting to see if they can continue to bottom-load enrollment to pay for it.
Terrible school board, not been supportive to teachers and parents. Oh, unless you make a lot of donations otherwise be prepared that you will be treated like no body. Do not expect your kids will be speaking fluent Chinese once they are out of school. They invest huge amount of time preparing state exams. Lack of structure, poor management lack of leafership.
We have been at YA since 2007 and have had a great experience. It is true it is not for everyone. Homework can be challenging. And the sports is lacking. But it is a great supportive and safe environment. I never feel concerned when I drop the kids off for class. I know they will be supported and respected by all. And to be able to learn Mandarin at the level they are is incredible. While they will not be fluent they will have a solid foundation to get there if wanted. Also, the level of math they are learning is typically two classes ahead of their peers in public school. In fact my kindergartener is already doing word problems, albeit simple ones. If you are looking for a private school experience, and a language to boot, at a public school cost then YA is for you.
My children are in 2nd and 4th grade and have been at Yinghua since kindergarten. Yinghua is a good fit for my social, inquisitive and moderately self-disciplined children. On the rare occasion that homework takes more than 45 minutes, I just tell them to put it away and I write the teacher a note that it was too much that night. They have been kept in from recess a couple times, but I simply told the teacher that I would prefer them to go to recess, even if their work isn't finished. Teachers are very open to working with parents. The academic director is very receptive to questions and concerns. The principal is effective. The kids like and respect her, but she can be dismissive. The specialist teachers (art, gym, English,...) are amazing. Classroom teachers can be hit or miss as with any school. We have had 6 out of 7 wonderful classroom teachers. My kids love Yinghua, and they are thriving there.
My son has been at Yinghua Academy since Kindergarten and this year he is in 3rd grade. All the teachers are trained in Asia. They teach in a very traditional manner - kids in the desks ALL the time, lots of writing, memorization etc. I feel like I stepped into the 1950's. My son is bored and NOT engaged.
Yinghua Academy is a unique school. It is a true melting pot of ethnicities. Students are immersed in Mandarin Chinese language, but receive a well rounded exposure to all of the subjects that you would expect an elementary school to teach. Our second grade daughter has a teacher who has been with Yinghua for a long time. Of all of the Mandarin Immersion teachers and assistants that our daughter has had so far, 4/5 remain. The academic director is the same person that was there when the school began! We are satisfied with YA and our daughter is happy there.
The retention rate from 2012 13 to 2013 14 is 60% that is 15 out of 35 teachers are returning. Kids at this school are accustomed to losing relationships they build with teachers, year after year. This is a known issue to the school for years, no improvement seen. Read the full report - http://www.yinghuaacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Yinghua-Annual-Report-2012-132.pdf
On paper this school appears to have it all, and for many years it did. The last couple years have been especially challenging with growth and administrative turn over. Many families, especially those who have adopted children from China, have stood behind the school as these inevitable growing pains work themselves out but, bigger issues at the leadership core are starting to emerge and paint an unhealthy picture. The current Director, who was previously at a private school, is intent on bringing that culture with her rather than respecting and understanding the Yinghua culture that existed previously. She has also hired many administrative staff members and teachers from that school and a pattern of similar attitudes, dysfunctionalities and disorganization are very apparent. With a large and costly addition underway, a current leader who's skill set doesn't meet the needs of the school (and who can be very unprofessional at times) a bare bones staff with key players still missing and a complete disrespect for the history of what Yinghua was and why it came to be, this school is teetering on the brink. Wake up School Board and take a good look at some glaring problems.