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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wow! The previous review could have been written by us. We've had a nearly identical experience with the administration at this school. We too had such high hopes. I thought maybe some of the negative reviews were written by unreasonable parents. But, the complaints are real and it seems the sloppy and disrespectful leaders of this school are in so deep they may be unable to make the needed changes. I have one child in need of more than just busy work and another needlessly struggling. I have wasted numerous hours trying to work with them. Please don't be fooled by the "preparatory" or "academy" in there title. Everyone who has left this school has been much happier at the local public school. The teachers all try hard but are not allowed to be tenured or union so they have absolutely no job security. They do not have the freedom to do what they really think is in the best interest of the kids. Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. Talk with current or former parents if you child is anything but an above average student who thinks in the box and tests well. No resources or interest in helping kids who excel because of their creative thinking or struggle because of it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
My kids have gone to SCPA for several years. After reading these reviews, here is what you should believe and what is not true: 1) The kids have too much homework. Very true. They need more time to unwind and just be kids. Good luck trying to do extracurricular activities and not stay up until midnight. 2) The administration is egotistical. True. They care most about test scores and lining their own pockets. 3) Teachers are underpaid. True. And turnover proves it. They don't get the benefits or raises they deserve. 4) Bullying is rampant. Not true. The best thing about this school is that they demand respectful behavior, and anything else is dealt with swiftly. Stillwater schools should emulate their model. 5) You have to be rich to attend. False. The school is free, but the waiting list can be long. You don't have to be rich, but you do need to be involved with your kids' education, as we all should be. Bottom line: It's not for everyone. I get sick of the constant fundraising, but I guess you'll find that everywhere. If the top dogs can put their personal motives aside, this could be a great school.
We are thrilled with SCPA. The students and staff are exceptional. It is a wonderful school community and we highly recommend it.
I'm a St.Croix Prep student, and i've gone to this school for 3 years know. People are saying that there is bullying, too much homework, and not very many extracurricular activities, but it's not like that. There is really no bullying at all, and we have at least 4 sports, clubs, etc. every night. The homework is not overwhelming. It's more than the average school, but it's not like we're getting 4 hours of homework. That would be because you don't understand the material and was too lazy to ask, procrastination, or overdramatizing. This is the best school i've ever been to. Everyone comes to school each day with smiles, and there's not one day I haven't laughed form a comment from a teacher or student. I think that most of the complaining parnets have no idea what they're talking about, and are being overprotective.
St. Croix Preparatory Academy is an amazing school, everyday my kids feel welcomed from the students and the staff. Although the class sizes have gotten bigger (about 15-25 in High School) it is still a great school.
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.
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.
To start a new list, click OK. Otherwise click Cancel.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of St. Croix Preparatory Academy Lower on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for St. Croix Preparatory Academy Lower, including performance data and recently posted user reviews.