Some of the teachers at Avalon don't even have a teaching license or degree. While I think that says everything it needs to, there's much more I can say. Teachers cant even keep students quiet enough to allow each other to work on projects. A project based school can go one of two ways, it can be a creative and expressive way to learn, or it can be a crutch for lazy students and ESPECIALLY lazy teachers. Can you guess which one Avalon is? Avalon teachers will often complain about how busy they are when they teach only one class a quarter. Projects only keep them "busy" twice during their entire existence. Once at a 15 minute proposal meeting to make sure the project "meets standards" and once when the project is finalized. This includes glancing over the project for about 10 minutes and then making it painfully obvious that they have no idea what's in the project they supposedly just graded during the finalization meeting which lasts another 15 minutes. During this meeting, the student picks their own grade, and I have seen a teacher change this grade maybe twice.
Homework is basically only given in the math class, and it is never checked to make sure it's done. Students can make "projects" and fake their way through their entire high school career as there is no verification on what they have learned.
Avalon puts on a very good front of caring about compassion, caring, and empathy, but it's all a hollow facade. Teachers will tell you to care about your fellow students and their circumstances, but then when a circumstance comes up in your own life, you are told to "deal with it" and "do it anyway" whatever "it" may be. Teachers at Avalon care only about themselves and making themselves look good.
Avalon is so worried about bullying that I was actually told by a teacher there that being called a name like "stupid" is EXACTLY as bad as being raped. I asked her if she was serious and she said "Yes, because they're both bad." Avalon is not concerned with victims of actual bullying and harassment, just with making sure THEY look like one. You cant even give constructive criticism at Avalon without being called a bully by staff and students alike. Avalon is preparing a group of young adults for crying at work and getting fired, not real life. It disgusts me that in a world with real issues, Avalon thinks being called dumb is as bad as rape. They are not only elevating themselves to "poor me" victim status, but they are insulting and degrading the experiences of victims of real crimes. Avalon is a disgusting place that I would not recommend unless your skin is literally as thick as a tomato's.
Walking into Avalon, you wouldn't think it's a school. You'd look around, see the colorful walls, the mess everywhere, and the students lounging and talking all over the place. You'd walk into advisories and see students bent over "projects" that turn out to be just for fun, not credit. You'd see conversations happening everywhere, and a few harried and stressed out students with noise cancelling headphones and a harried look on their face trying desperately to get some actual work done. The next thing you might notice is "advisers," their word for "babysitter" trying to get students to actual work and be quiet. However, you'd also notice they aren't trying very hard. You'd look at Avalon, and you wouldn't think "school," but maybe "rehab center," "juvie," or "mental facility." Despite all of this, and despite the terrible challenges I faced trying to do actual work at this madhouse, I managed to graduate. I thank Avalon for preparing me to deal with any drug dealers, mental patients, and just plain annoying people I meet down the road. A regular high school may have taught me things like math and science with any success (they have real teachers there, with actual teaching degrees and certificates, which is something Avalon cannot say about every teacher) but Avalon taught me how to sit every day in a hostile and unproductive work environment and internalize my anger into an ulcer. Thanks Avalon!
My child attended Avalon for 3 years and I wish we had pulled out earlier. While Avalon is great for kids who have been bullied at other schools it has extremely low academic standards. It is a poor fit for the bright slacker student, which is what our student was. My kid would describe how most students just sort of sat around and chatted all day. My kid fit right in, and got so far behind in credits that he fell behind a year in school! The math teachers were particularly bad, and seemed OK to have a whole class failing. The school has really low expectations, and I felt like mediocrity was praised repeatedly. It can be great for the quirky, self-motivated kid, or the kid that is so wounded that they just need a safe place. I was impressed with that part of the atmosphere, and happy so many transgendered kids found relief at Avalon. But we not only wasted my kid's time at Avalon, but we also hurt my kid's future prospects with the lack of credits and poor grades. I also was very overwhelmed with the advisors. While some advisors seemed pretty active, the advisor my child had took no responsibility at all for motivating my kid (saying "not my job"). Glad we left in time!
My son has attended Avalon School for the last 3 years (starting in 7th grade) and we could not have chosen a better school for him. He is a non-traditional student that is self-motivated, self-disciplined, inquisitive and unique in every way. Avalon's passion-focused/project-based structure plus it's dedicated and resourceful teachers, advisers and staff make for a winning school outcome for students that need something more than a traditional school can offer. My son is only a freshman but is on track to meet his graduation standards ahead of schedule so he can start working on post-secondary courses during his junior year. Avalon provides a safe, bully-free school setting where kids can explore their academic and social lives with confidence and grace under the caring guidance of educators committed to their students and the Avalon community.
Avalon is an excellent choice for a wide variety of learners. Our daughter was homeschooled until high school, is fiercely independent & working to graduate early Avalon has been a perfect fit.. She loves the project-based format. Students are in an Advisory group for their high school years. The Advisors meet daily with students, guiding their projects and overseeing goal setting. We love our daughter's Advisors! Avalon encourages students to engage and become their best selves, giving them both independence & guidance to achieve their goals.
Avalon is an amazing school, and we are so lucky to have found it. My son is mildly autistic, and while he never really hated school, he found it very stressful and tiring before we found Avalon. He loves everything about Avalon, and that has made it easier for him to really grow there. He is more responsible now, and the independent projects are definitely starting to get him to understand the real joy in learning things for their own sake. It is an amazing community, and just the best learning environment for kids that I have ever seen in action.
Avalon is an outstanding school!!! I have never met such committed, creative, enthusiastic, unique, knowledgeable, respectful and truly student-oriented teachers/staff than the teachers/staff at Avalon. They demonstrate and role model extremely high quality, organized leadership which in turn creates a safe, enriched, growth-promoting learning and social environment for the diverse population of Avalon students. Parent involvement is warmly welcomed, highly encouraged and is paramount to the success of the students and to the overall awesomeness of the Avalon community. Avalon School is amazing!!!