Advertisement
Advertisement

GreatSchools Rating

St. Croix Preparatory Academy Lower

Charter | K-4 | 435 students

 

Be sure to visit

Take along one of
our checklists:

 
Last modified
Community Rating

3 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 5 ratings
2013:
Based on 8 ratings
2012:
Based on 8 ratings
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

Rate this school

Click on stars to rate
Please select a star rating for this school.
    Helpful reviews answer questions:
  • What do you think others should know?
  • What do you like?
  • How could your school improve?
    Review Guidelines
    GreatSchools won’t post reviews that contain:
  • Inappropriate language
  • Allegations of criminal conduct
  • Names of students, teachers or staff
1200 characters remaining
Please read and accept our Terms of Use to join GreatSchools.
Please indicate your relationship to the school.
Registration is required to post your anonymous review
We will not display your name, photo or email address with your review.
OR
Your email address will never be published or shared.
Indicates a required field

55 reviews of this school


Sort by:
Show reviews by:
Posted August 5, 2014

When our oldest child was in kindergarten, first, and second grades at SCPA, we were very happy. The teachers we had were great (patient, great communication, friendly). Once our child reached third grade, we became more and more disappointed. First of all, the expectations they have for third grade changed drastically from second grade. There was less room for error and students were expected to catch on quickly. The grading rubric was much stricter and there wasn't time for anyone who was struggling. Our second child just finished first grade at SCPA and we still feel his first grade year was great. However, once these students reach third grade, the standards are much different. If your child has any struggles, they feel inferior. That is a very poor way to encourage kids to do well and to succeed. They're not getting the best out of these students this way, which in turn is denying them the best education. It's very unfortunate. At this point, I'd rather our family have a tight budget in order to send our kids to private school where they WILL receive the best education possible. SCPA may have been a great school 10 years ago, but it's no longer at the top.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 22, 2014

This school would not allow any parent (or perspective parent) to observe a class. They were actually quite unpleasant when asked. All the other public and private schools we were looking at invited us. This was a big red flag for us and we choose another school. After talking with current and previous parents it seems we made the right decision.


Posted March 23, 2014

This school has changed my kids lives. My daughters are in their first year at this school. My younger daughter came in behind and math and reading and struggling with a speech problem. In under a year she is back on track and loving school. The teachers are wonderful and the administration has been nothing but helpful. I start to wonder if some of the negative reviews are made up by pro union people angry that this non union school is doing so well. I cannot wait for my other two children to start here also it has changed my kids life's for the better.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 31, 2014

The lower school is great!! But once your child goes to there middle school everything changes. You are most likely not get help if your child need help. I sent my daughter there for middle school and she was needing some extra help and the principle didn't do anything. We have met many family's from that school that have brought them to court for many reasons . My daughter has had terrible experiences with the principle for example telling her that "she should just drop out to be a Walmart greeter because you will never be more than that." This year I switched my daughter to Stillwater junior high and she now has a 3.5 GPA. I think if you are ready for this kind of treatment than I wish you luck.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 20, 2014

We have three children. Despite the differences in learning styles between our kids, they are each flourishing. We see their eagerness to learn carrying over into other aspects of life as they apply their newly learned school skills to daily life. They are each learning the art of critical thinking, how to process information and figure things out independently, not just memorizing facts. These skills give us, as parents, and our children great assurance as they make decisions and tackle challenges. The teachers have been wonderful. They sincerely care about each student and work together to find the best solution for each individual situation. It's great that each Lower School teacher has a full-time classroom assistant. This makes the teachers more available to focus on teaching and engaging the students. Yes, in the lower school there is more homework compared to public schools (we've found middle & upper to be equivalent with public school friends) but, my kids have never complained about it (teachers know how to motivate) and I love the discipline it's teaching them. We feel so lucky to have this kind of educational opportunity available for our children.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 24, 2013

The situation at the Academy can be summed up in one equation: badly behaving leadership + ineffective board + teachers that are not supported = bad for my children and others.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 30, 2013

Beware of this school. The policies and environment of this school has changed significantly over the past few years. There was a point in time that I would have given this school 5 stars but that was before my straight A student started to struggle. No options were available and she was ridiculed for not focusing on her school work which was the furthest thing from the truth. We were told in no uncertain terms that this was no longer the school for us. This school only has the ability to deal with students that fit their "perfect" pattern. If the administration spent as much time focusing on how to teach child as they do building their empire this would be the school it started out to be. Ask why so many kids have left the school and why so many of the teachers no longer have their kids at this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 7, 2013

We have kids at SCPA and have mixed emotions about our experiences here. The teachers are fantastic and work hard to help our children succeed. When they were struggling, it was the teachers that helped out. Unfortunately, we are less enthused about the administration; the middle school principal in particular. The mantra from her (and others in leadership) has been: "Maybe this isn't the school for your children." In fact, when discussing options in helping our oldest do better in her classes, the ONLY suggestion from this principal was to move on to another school. Only through the help and dedication of the teachers did she move from a 1.2 to a 3.1 GPA. Now, they have a new policy that seems designed to force more of the middle schoolers out. If a student does poorly in a class 2 or more quarters, he has to repeat the class. If he does poorly in two or more classes, he repeats the grade. This only applies to middle school; upper school is given the opportunity to make up the class(es). Facing the prospect of repeating the grade, many have left. Love(!!) the teachers. Cannot rely on the administration (unless you have a brilliant child - then they love you).
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 6, 2013

I am a current student at SCPA, and have highly recommend this school to others. This school has a great environment. The school has had the chance to become a family, with its smallness and close nit group of people. The teachers are young, bright and helpful. Homework is a factor in this school, but it is so you are able to keep moving forward once in class. There is a lot of homework, but another part of having it is to establish the life-long skill of time management. In the end, this school has great people that support you the whole way. I plan to stay here all through high school, and once I leave I know I will be prepared for college.


Posted April 23, 2013

This is a school of choice. Bottom line, it's not for everyone. Successful charters always have growing pains, but when you take alook at the big picture, this school is doing more with fewer dollars. They won't back down on the homework requirement, it's a part of the character/grit education that the school promotes. We all have different educational philosophies, there is no one size fits all. This school offers a choice for core knowledge/classical type schooling with traditional classroom and socratic approaches. There are similar schools across the twin cities. Some are doing well. This one is thriving.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 7, 2013

There are several significant problems with this school, I am only understanding some of there challenges now that my child is gone. I do think the teachers, while most are newer to the profession, have their hearts in the right place. For whatever reason, the administrators make this school a toxic environment. Reading the previous reviews confirms our experience. We should have pulled our son out long before we did. The class sizes are at 31 children, he moved to the local public school this year and has 22 children. This school made a mistake with their math curriculum and realized they were teaching significantly below grade level! My son needed to catch-up at the new school in several areas. There is A LOT of homework at scpa, but it's a misguided attempt at hiding behind a very poorly designed curriculum. They call it "classical," but really it's just outdated. They use public shaming methods if students don't perform well enough on standardized testing. What a bizarre and arcane place. Hopefully something will change, however, they may be too proud and incompetent for that.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 25, 2013

I have three children at St. Croix Prep with my oldest graduating this year. They all have different academic strengths, interests, and abilities and all have fit in well. I have welcomed the challenge they have received. The school offers a good peer tutoring program as well as faculty assistance when needed and all my kids have utilized it at various times as needed in a particular class. It is certainly not always easy, nor is it overwhelming. The school is setting high expectations for all students and getting them to understand the level of effort it will take them to be successful in college. The small school environment is wonderful where teachers and adminstrators know your child by name and it provides a great alternative to the large public schools in the surrounding area. The smaller school environment has also allowed our children to participate in many activities including multiple sports and musical interests which is just not possible in large public schools given the number of kids competing for the limited slots in those same activities. Overall, our experience with children in the lower, middle, and upper schools at St. Croix Prep has been excellent.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 23, 2013

Our kids love SCPA and so do we. The teachers are excellent and truly do what is best for the students. We have been so pleased with the communication and support by all staff members at SCPA. We believe this school is challenging, engaging, and provides kids with the skills they will need to move forward in life.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 7, 2012

My student has attended SCPA for 5 years now. There are definitely some advantages to it like the size and the fact that bullying is minimal. The major drawback I have with the school is the amount of homework they assign. It is absolutely ridiculous! It makes it nearly impossible for a student to be involved in any after school activities and still do well in school unless the student is extremely bright and understands everything very quickly. This school is not for the average student and I feel the administration likes it that way. My theory is they keep the homework load high to weed out the average so they can keep their test scores high. They make claims that it is because they are a academically rigorous school. Academic rigor has more to do with the content taught, not the hours of homework assigned. Bottom line, do not send your student here unless they are an excellent student. If they are just average or even above you may be setting them up for failure by sending them to this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 6, 2012

This school is not an environment for a child that needs extra help. The lower school director, although a great cheerleader, is ineffective at best. The executive director is only worried about image and looking like an elite private school, which they are not. I have read some of the reviews that rate this school high and for some it may be. The problem comes when there are children who need extra help or children that are gifted. The ones that need help do not get it or what the school provides is more of a detriment than help. For the gifted, the school simply cannot offer anything for those students that are well above grade level. (I have both types of these children). In addition, if a parent questions or challenges the administration, they are ignored, left off newsletter emails and demonized. School officials will agree to certain things with a parent, then turn around, and do the opposite. It was very a frustrating and sad experience for my family as this school once had a chance to do great things for children. Unfortunately, ego and money got in the way. Since Oct 1st, 3-4 8th grade students have left for Stillwater schools for many of the reasons listed above.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 26, 2012

Sorry to break the news but this is no school for "college prep." The school has prided themselves in teaching grade level or above grade level math. The school realized the math curriculum taught in the school was dated and BELOW grade level! How does this oversight happen? Now they are trying to speed kids through to "catch up" in math and many kids are feeling the pressure. The lower school principal is a great cheerleader and puppet for the executive director. If you want quality education look elswhere because from my experience there is no depth to the information they provide. If you ask questions about accountability you will be disappointed. Look elsewhere.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 14, 2012

My daughter went to St. Croix Prep for one year. She had an OK experience but felt completely isolated as the new kid. No attempt was made by the staff after the first week to help her fit in. Most of this falls on her shoulders as she was reluctant to bring up the issue, but still some support would've been very helpful. Apparently it was too close to testing time as that is what seems to be the major concern of administration. I'm an aware parent, but not an overly-involved parent and I was shunned by the room-parent elitists.


Posted April 17, 2012

I was one of the very first students and have graduated from SCPA. The school is amazing. The main goal of the school is to prepare kids for college. That is what SCPA did for me, and I was absolutely prepared for college upon graduating. The school can be academically rigorous and somewhat stressful, a least for me it was. But it will most definitely pay off in the end. I liked that every year you were required to take the core math, history, science, and english. I also like how the school offers latin, which is way more beneficial to have especially if science or math is your intended field of study. It also helps you learn other languages faster. I absolutely loved the school. When my parents first put me in the school I absolutely didn't want to go there but now I am glad they did put me in SCPA. I came out prepared and ready to take on college.


Posted March 8, 2012

I'm shocked at some of the negative comments. My kids have attended SCPA for 3 years, and we've had only positive experiences. The teachers were able to identify a learning deficit that was affecting my lower school student, and developed a plan to help her succeed by providing more help to her in the subject she was struggling in. They were able to do this because each classroom has a permanent EA (educational assistant) assigned to it. So while the class sizes seem large, each classroom has a teacher & an EA. if my daughter had stayed in the public school, I doubt that this problem would have been addressed at all. They just kept saying, "she's the youngest in the class, she'll catch up eventually". Teachers at SCPA really care. Our older daughter started upper school 3 years ago. She didn't know anyone, and the first few weeks were a little awkward for her, but the school was proactive in helping her adjust. They had a student call my daughter as a way to meet someone and allow her to ask questions, etc. Then another student approached her and invited her to sit together at lunch. From then on, she felt like she belonged, and now she has a great group of friends .
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 7, 2012

Sorry folks...time for a reality check. While the school does have some great qualities, the parents live in la la land. Class sizes ARE larger than neighboring public schools. Not only that, but I was getting sick of hearing my child say that they were "one full year above" what they were doing at the "other" schools. Teachers, please you are good teachers, but stop this chest thumping and false bravado! You MCA scores, while good, are not better than most of the neighboring schools, especially when you factor in social-economic factors. I once thought this was an amazing school, but we were more dedicated to the student when we were downtown Stillwater...but the level of education, care, and well-roundness, my youngest children are getting back in the public schools makes me wish I never left in the first place.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

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.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.
Math

The state average for Math was 83% in 2010.

84 students were tested at this school in 2010.

2010

 
 
93%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 80% in 2012.

88 students were tested at this school in 2012.

2012

 
 
100%

2011

 
 
97%

2010

 
 
87%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-II (MCA-II) to test students in math in grade 11. The MCA-II is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 77% in 2010.

84 students were tested at this school in 2010.

2010

 
 
89%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 75% in 2012.

86 students were tested at this school in 2012.

2012

 
 
97%

2011

 
 
91%

2010

 
 
92%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-II (MCA-II) to test students in math in grade 11. The MCA-II is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Reading

All Students100%
Female100%
Male100%
Blackn/a
Hispanicn/a
Native Americann/a
White100%
Economically disadvantagedn/a
Not economically disadvantaged100%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities100%
English language learnersn/a
Proficient in English100%
Not migrant100%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-II (MCA-II) to test students in math in grade 11. The MCA-II is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

The different student groups are identified by the Minnesota Department of Education. If there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Reading

All Students97%
Female100%
Male93%
Blackn/a
Hispanicn/a
Native Americann/a
White99%
Economically disadvantagedn/a
Not economically disadvantaged96%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities97%
English language learnersn/a
Proficient in English97%
Not migrant97%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-II (MCA-II) to test students in math in grade 11. The MCA-II is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

The different student groups are identified by the Minnesota Department of Education. If there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 72% in 2013.

90 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
89%

2012

 
 
94%

2011

 
 
88%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 57% in 2013.

90 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
79%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-III (MCA-III) to test in math in grades 3 through 8 in reading in grades 3 through 8 and 10 and in science for grades 5 and 8, and once in high school. The MCA-III is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 71% in 2013.

90 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
84%

2012

 
 
91%

2011

 
 
76%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 54% in 2013.

90 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
69%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-III (MCA-III) to test in math in grades 3 through 8 in reading in grades 3 through 8 and 10 and in science for grades 5 and 8, and once in high school. The MCA-III is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Math

All Students89%
Female84%
Male95%
Blackn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanicn/a
Native Americann/a
White90%
Economically disadvantaged91%
Not economically disadvantaged89%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities90%
English language learnersn/a
Proficient in English90%
Not migrant89%

Reading

All Students79%
Female84%
Male73%
Blackn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanicn/a
Native Americann/a
White82%
Economically disadvantaged82%
Not economically disadvantaged79%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities83%
English language learnersn/a
Proficient in English80%
Not migrant79%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-III (MCA-III) to test in math in grades 3 through 8 in reading in grades 3 through 8 and 10 and in science for grades 5 and 8, and once in high school. The MCA-III is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

The different student groups are identified by the Minnesota Department of Education. If there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Math

All Students84%
Female82%
Male88%
Blackn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanicn/a
Native Americann/a
White85%
Economically disadvantagedn/a
Not economically disadvantaged86%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities86%
English language learnersn/a
Proficient in English84%
Not migrant84%

Reading

All Students69%
Female69%
Male68%
Blackn/a
Asiann/a
Hispanicn/a
Native Americann/a
White67%
Economically disadvantagedn/a
Not economically disadvantaged69%
Students with disabilitiesn/a
Students without disabilities71%
English language learnersn/a
Proficient in English69%
Not migrant69%
Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards

About the tests


In 2012-2013 Minnesota used the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-III (MCA-III) to test in math in grades 3 through 8 in reading in grades 3 through 8 and 10 and in science for grades 5 and 8, and once in high school. The MCA-III is a standards-based test, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Minnesota. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.

The different student groups are identified by the Minnesota Department of Education. If there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2012-2013 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 87% 73%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 5% 6%
Hispanic 4% 7%
Two or more races 3% 2%
Black 1% 9%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 2%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 11%N/A37%
Female 54%N/A49%
Male 46%N/A51%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Oops! We currently do not have any teacher information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

What makes a great teacher? Study after study shows the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of his teacher. Here are some characteristics to look for »

Let your school shine!

School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

School basics

School Leader's name
  • Lisa Heathcote
Fax number
  • (651) 395-5922

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • College preparatory
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events found for this school
Searching for school events...
Date
Title
  • {{date}}
    {{title}}
Export calendar
Outlook.com
Microsoft Outlook
iCal Format
Google Calendar
Print Calendar
Uploading, please wait...
POWERED BY
Tandem

Apply

 

TIP: Don't forget to ask about documents required for enrollment, such as your child's birth certificate, proof of address, or a record of immunizations.

 
Apply now
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

4620 Stagecoach Trail North
Stillwater, MN 55082
Website: Click here
Phone: (651) 395-5920

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Compare this school
to nearby schools

Compare schools »

Compare

Add this school to compare

Nearby schools


Salem Lutheran School
Stillwater, MN






ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT