This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Seacoast Charter School4
Posted January 17, 2015
- a parent
Small school (which is so refreshing!) and a bit unorganized right now but full of love; kind of like one big family. Outstanding office staff and caring, hard-working, excellent teachers. Amazing music and art teachers that blow my mind with what they are able to teach. The new, very personable principal has high integrity, heart and strives for excellence. He seems very dedicated to the school already. He leads with positivity and great intuition. He has a great background and we're lucky we have him. The students are treated with respect and are encouraged to think outside the box. The teachers are able to think outside the box too and are not pressured to conform so much. Academically, they certainly could improve but hopefully that's not the only thing parents care about. The way I see it, kids excel in what they love anyway. The principal cares very much about academic state standards so I think we're in good hands now. Parents are always encouraged to attend important meetings. When they need to hire they interview thoroughly. Because it's an arts integrated school, their right brain is being stimulated much more.
The first problem at SCS is that the students address the teachers by their first names, not conveying respect. Dress code is not enforced. Students are allowed to wear hats in school, chew gum etc. Students use profanity on a regular basis without any intervention from teaching staff. There are few/no male teachers. Social engineering, particularly for boys is rampant. Tag is not allowed and touch football is two finger touch! etc. While project based learning is nice, there are very few true tests given. Students lack proper study skills. Individual academic needs are not passed on from year to year. A lack of curriculum is evident when students complete identical assignments in different grades without exploring the concept at a deeper depth. The board is mainly comprised of teachers/parents/ex-parents so there are no clear unbiased opinions. There is no PTA, parents have no avenue for addressing issues. The school is basically run by the teachers. When issues are brought to teachers, parents are often shunned. It is like "the old girl's club," teachers group together and protect themselves/each other instead of doing what is in the best interest of the student.
SCS does not challenge students academically. My son was always one year ahead in math, in the fifth grade, attempts were made to hold him back for no reason. In the sixth grade, they were successful at holding him back because they did not inform the parents. For one month my son sat repeating sixth grade math despite passing it the previous year. We fought to have him take an online 7th grade math course. Why teachers would be resistant to having a student excel is still baffling. At his new school, they have advanced him to ninth grade math. Amazing how one school recognizes the academic need and one wants to stifle it. How can teachers at SCS say that they are preparing students for high school? Are they not aware that taking advanced placement courses is a significant advantage? It is not the same school that it was six years ago and the problems did not all happen in one year. It is shameful what they did to my son. It is just my opinion, but it is going to take a big shake up and many years for this school to turn around. My advice is to avoid it, if you must go then stay on top of things and do not become blinded by good mouth service and fluff.
Pulled our daughter out after 3.5 weeks here. The first red flag was the emails sent out to parents by the new head of school that were loaded with grammatical and spelling errors. Very unprofessional for a person in that position. Multiple behavior issues in my daughters class, where the whole class would have long "quiet times" where some kids would lay down/nap? on the floor(1st gr). Homework was not very organized. Teachers seemed overwhelmed. Felt the curriculum was lacking, and my daughter needed more challenging work. Security of the school needs some work, I should not be able to take my daughter from outside without one adult even glancing in my direction. Financial issues are worrisome. Perhaps the most disturbing incident is when I went in to notify them I would be unenrolling my daughter (midweek), they said she could not finish out the week there (I did say I wanted her to since she wasn't starting her other school until the following week). My daughter was upset because she couldn't say goodbye. So much for the well being of the child! Felt like we were being kicked out of the school. NO ONE asked us why we were pulling her out, apparently they just don't care why.
The education program overall is very good. Students set a goal (personal learning plan) for the year, approved by their teacher and they track their progress on it each week. The school went through some changes last year that turned out negatively with a new head of school that left, and such, but, this year it is back to it's former glory and is running more smoothly then ever. Students are not held back from going above and beyond academically and gifted students are challenged appropriately. Music and art programs are outstanding. Overall great school.
Many teachers are not credentialed. There are some teachers who allow students to read because "they are having a bad day." What once was a good art program in upper grades has been reduced to 75% doodling. There is no opportunity for students to advance and many are held back when it is not appropriate. Many students who have left stated that they were not well prepared. A new principal may make the difference but this school has seen three principals in the past 4 years which speaks for itself.
Enrolling my children at SCS was the best academic decision we have made. Bloom's Taxonomy is alive and thriving within the walls of SCS. Children are being asked to think, create, listen, teach, explore and analyze every day. They meet as a school community every Friday morning to talk about what they have learned, share music, songs and knowledge. My children have had gifted teachers who have brought out the best n them. I have witnessed five year olds working together as an ensemble and third, fourth and fifth graders taking their strings performance more seriously than many high school ensembles. What the teachers do for and with these kids is inspiring. We could not be happier.
The school really changed within the past year. There was poor organization and management, staffing issues, and much of the original success of the school has been compromised. Hopefully a new administrator and higher standards (such as all teachers being certified to teach) could restore this school's success but it may take awhile. Some of the faculty are outstanding and have great credentials.
Our school is changing this year. We have a new principal, a larger student body, and a new class structure. Previously, we had blended classes: 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th, 7th and 8th together. All my kids really enjoyed that. This year the classes will be separated, more like a 'regular' school. We shall have to see if we still like it as well.
We love this school. The teachers are so dedicated to their profession and really care about the kids. Their approach to discipline is to talk things out with the students rather than the usual write up or detention that does not have a big effect. Children are in a much more relaxed environment. The arts and music programs are excellent. They need more funding from the State and Federal goverment to continue providing the excellent education.