I attended Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy (CATA) for all four years of my high school education. I was originally intended to be a student of Somersworth High School, but found the education there unacceptable and the environment toxic. I fell in love with CATA after learning about it, and for once I felt that my education mattered to the teachers. They have more freedom in their curriculum and it really shows with their enthusiasm and interaction with students. I now to go to college for a degree in business, and I worried that going to an art and technology school would hurt my chances at being prepared and successful in college. During this first semester at college, my classes at CATA have proved without a doubt that it has prepared me for college and set me up for success in all my freshman classes. I have acquired helpful and needed skills that set me above some of the other students. Being in this small, nurturing community of CATA truly helped me grow as an individual and find confidence in myself and my work. I would not have come out this strong of a student in any other school and I have CATA to thank for changing my life. This is by far the most valuable education.
I attended CATA for three years of my high school career. CATA was a definite boost in my social life. The community here taught me to be more self confident and assertive. Still, CATA lacks a lot academically. Sometimes I regret going to CATA because I realise that it didn't challenge me academically in a traditional way, but at CATA I learned how to think critically, and I think that I am a better person for all of it.
My child has attended CATA for 2 years. She will graduate this year and will attend Sarah Lawrence College in the Fall. CATA helped my child be successful academically because of the caliber of the teachers, the incredible attention and support she received, and because she was able to learn in an environment that does not "teach to the test" but rather challenges students to be critical thinkers. As a parent, I am thankful to CATA for the education my child has received and will carry on into her college education.
If your student loves his or her traditional public school, enjoys sports, and thrives in a large high school, then CATA is probably not for your family. But if you have a child who will appreciate small classrooms, a close community of students, and who is passionate about art or music, you should consider CATA. Yes, there has been some staff turnover in the past year but the same 'anchor' teachers are still there, and have been for years: Social Studies, Math and Music. A new and visionary director is making some positive changes. For our family CATA was and continues to be our best choice for high school. Having my child get up each morning happy to go to school is amazing. Dropping her off at her old high school was starting to feel like child abuse.
The churn at CATA is alarming. Teachers and students come and go with great frequency. No loyalty on anyone's part. Nol explanation or notice to the community, leaving the kids puzzled and disheartened There is a lack of leadership, a lack of communication. The school's director, has been ineffetual, and has left before the end of this school year, the students, again, not told until after the fact. A cheery announement in a newsletter wishing her well in Orlando. The guidance counselor has been installed as the director in the meantime. Students, once again, appalled. There is a constant threat of unraveling, and this past year parents were sent "bills" for tuition to make up the discrepancy with the funds from the state. It is one thing if that is a stipulation of attending, but it was after the fact, not taking into account ability to pay. Many of my child's friends have left due to parental dissatisfaction. Inadequate preparation for college. Language program is Rosetta Stone. No science labs, library, etc. This year a fired employee let loose on kids over facebook, so angry was she at the way she felt she had been treated. Summing up, chaos reigns. Pretty much a mess
My daughter recently graduated from the Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy, a small charter high school with an inclusive, family atmosphere. Time and again I saw students like my daughter, who struggled in a traditional public school, begin to thrive at CATA. The teachers are enthusiastic and caring; the space is eclectic and inviting. CATA had a very positive impact on our family. Formerly unmotivated, with poor grades, my daughter became a very diligent student, and emerged as a leader in school.
I attended this school not too long ago and I must say it was a terrible mistake and I regret it. It honestly is a joke of a school and those who go there, I am sorry to say, are not going to get very far. Not just the students but the teachers as well. A couple of the teachers that I had lost my work and when I was out (due to illness) would not even give me my missing work. There's only two periods of academic classes throughout the whole day. I had to drop one of my classes (the class I went there for) I had to drop because I couldn't make the performance night for personal reasons and couldn't miss. Usually schools have makeups that a student can do for this type of class but they would've failed me despite the fact that even weeks before the performance i informed them that I couldn't go. The School says to have "College prep" classes, but they really don't. The classes were far from College prep material. Many of the students that go there either regret it or don't have many other options. I do not recommend this school to anyone. Especially if they want to go to a college or school after High school without a struggle