I would like to comment on a couple of the earlier reviews. Someone can not honestly review a school YEARS after they have attended there. Especially at a Charter School. The heads of school change, staff changes, and board members change as we try to improve our school and how it is run. The Seacoast Charter School has had a few hiccups in the last couple of years due to reasons beyond our control, BUT it still remains an OUTSTANDING SCHOOL!!! The teachers there are the most dedicated teachers I have ever met. The children LOVE their school and the parents also are very proud and happy to be there. Is it the right fit for everyone? Probably not, but that is why it is a CHOICE to send your child there. The negative posts are obviously from people who are not even part of our school family. My children have attended there for 4 years and we are extremely happy with the school and the staff. They are all extremely professional and go above and beyond for their students and their families. The parents and teachers that are there are dedicated to keeping this school thriving in whatever way possible. WE LOVE OUR SCHOOL!
I have seen recent headlines of this schools trying to relocate and it is with mixed emotions I right this review. My kids attended a few years ago for a brief period and I will say the music and arts education is excellent. The academic environment, continual squabbling over funds, and hostile parent and staff interactions I observed were not. I am really not surprised this school seems to be having trouble "getting its act together" because in the time we were there, it felt like a very unsettled, disorganized place. Teachers would complain openly to me about administration and vice versa, and they hardly knew me. On the whole, it struck me as a very unprofessional environment, and even my kids could see that. I don't understand how other charter schools in this state seem to do OK, and this place can't get out of its own way. Think twice and really do your homework, talking to former parents, before you commit your kids here. I really wish I had.
Lack of strategic planning and solid fundraising, coupled with many people's heads being in the sand expecting government to bail them out has brought this school to their knees. Everyone is currently in panic mode as they scramble to relocate. It is sad that this is happening the last month of school. All one needs to do is review archived minutes to know that the lease was up. Best of luck, but throwing money without fixing internal problems is not going to be a solution.
SCS is a wonderful school for learners who can benefit from a project-based, arts-integrated education. It is a charter school, which means we as parents choose to send our children SCS. It is not a decision to be taken lightly because the school is not for everyone. Art and music is integrated into all subjects and taken seriously by the teachers and students themselves--these subjects are not just "specials" treated as a break from traditional academic studies. That said, the school's goal is not necessarily to create future artists and musicians, but to create inspired learners who can think creatively. Yes, students address teachers by their first names. This is not a sign of disrespect, as some reviewers have suggested, but a part of the school culture. The students adore and admire their teachers and the school is as much of an extended family as it is a community. Learning is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and this is at the heart of the SCS experience. Of course, other parents may disagree with such a culture, which it is why it is important to visit the school and understand its goal and mission before enrolling your student here.
We had some hiccups along the way and have only grown stronger as school and community! We have an amazing head master now who was in traditional education for 30 years and has taken his experience along with the dedicated staff to really help the school thrive. Each student has a personalized plan to help them grow. Creatively, Respect and Support for all is incredible. There is zero bully and the kids do a great job policing each other because it is an all around community. The children love their school, have pride in their school and know it is an amazing opportunity. They want to learn, take home projects and do homework because it makes sense. 1st grades will take on an out project that goes on for months and loves it. The small school allows all subjects to be intertwined so art, music, math, history, science, English and more are all working together. Teachers know all the kids, parents are welcomed and encouraged to participate. My child would be lost without this school and she is thriving!
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.
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.