We are grateful for the communication, encouragement and positive feedback we have received from all the teachers we have had so far at the Birches. The teachers were receptive to our concerns and were able to develop a great relationship with our son.
My son is in 4th grade. We are grateful for the learning environment at Birches Academy. The multi age classrooms, the arts education, and music. He doesn't seem to care that their isn't a "traditional" school playground or a lunch room. He is glad that he gets to have art and music twice a week, that the Head of School knows his name and that he belongs to a "community". We are thankful for the level of communication and open door policy he has had so far with all his teachers. We struggled as a family on deciding if a charter school would be a good fit for our family, and so far its one of the best choices we made for our child.
My child started at The Birches three years ago in 3rd grade. She was a shy girl, struggling in math and she did not like to read. I tried everything to help her. After one year at The Birches she was up to grade level in math and started reading books without being told to. Now she is a happy, outgoing, confident child who is excelling in math and LOVES to read. She even had her poem published in The American Library of Poetry book of school poetry. Thanks to the teachers at The Birches and the way they integrate art and creativity into their teaching, my child loves school. Something exciting is always happening. Just the other day, the 3rd grade was doing a unit on immigration and the teacher set up a mini "Ellis Island" with the stations that immigrants would have to have gone through. The kids all dressed up and went through the stations as "immigrants". It was an incredible learning experience for them. IPADs are an every day learning experience for many grades and so is public speaking and foreign language. I know that there is positive and negative things about all schools. The Birches Academy's positive attributes outnumber any negative by far. I think that coming to The Birches Academy was the best decision I have ever made.
One of the things I think really helps in that regard is the Buddy system. The 7th/8th graders share time with the 1st/2nd graders and the 6th graders spend time with the Kindergarteners. Both the younger kids and the older kids love this time.
The school is like a small community. Everyone looks out for everyone else. The head of school is always there to help and it seems to me she is very fair and promotes the attitude of accountability in all students.
Children cannot reach their maximum potential at this school. Their is a high teacher turnover rate and the academics are not up to par. Grades are mixed, but the same lesson is being taught to both grades. There is no keyboarding or computer learning at all. The outdoor play area is a tiny chain link square with no playground equipment. The hot lunch situation is an absolute disaster as well. It's the same choices each week for a ridiculously expensive price. Oh and that's IF you remember to order on the 2 days a week that you have to order on. There is no school nurse or guidance counselor either. My child will not be returning next year.