Time and time again I have contacted the principle and teachers about my son struggling in writing. There has been NO additional help offered to him. Whats most important to the school is your child being able to do well enough to what is being giving on State exams. As long as they can write a decent short and long response and demonstrate understanding of the reading no further help with be offered!
All they get for homework is reading and math. Lower school reads 30 minutes a day and will practice common core math. Middle school reads for 45 minutes a day and has to complete an exercise in IXL an online math program. I am not in agreement with using online programs. Math should be done and worked out on paper. Rarely do they get science or history homework. RARELY! My son this year got one science and one history homework! HORRIBLE!
We were lied to, we were promised a free public private school education; but we found our children stuck in a fast track learning system. Our children sit in classrooms with frustrated/ cold teachers who address children with sarcasm and scream in their faces and abuse the disciplinary system to get kids to comply. The teachers I dare say are bullies!!!! Major classes and electives such as Science , History, music,art, chess are taken away for eight weeks to solely focus on test taking. Homework just consist of IXL an online math program and reading for 45 minutes, simply more practice to pass state exams. Writing is only done in class, very little vocabulary instruction, emphasis on grammar starts late in 5th grade. By no means is the curriculum here even close to the curriculum or private schools. Please don't believe the hype over this school. The 5 star reviews are written mostly by individuals in low income areas that have been deprived of a good education for many years and have no interest in investigating the true education their children are receiving. If you stop and ask any of these parent what the common core is, many would say they don't know. Don't waist your time with this school. Apply for "a better chance" or "Prep for prep" and try to get your child into private school if you can't afford it. You would have to sign them up for SSAT classes to prepare for the exam. FYI one child out of the entire 2013 eight grade was able to pass the Hunter College entrance exam. That speaks for itself. Not sure if those numbers have changed but seriously doubt it!!!
The reason for such high ratings is simply because most of SA schools are located in areas in which failing schools exist, therefore looked upon as a great opportunity. SA promises to give its scholars a "free public private school education" but what you are truly getting is a Common Core driven education! the curriculum is far off from the type of education a child would receive say if the went to Dalton or Calhoun for example. Grades here are based on a sliding scale in which no parent can understand or explain. There motto is "Joy rigor" rigor exists as much as the Common Core Curriculum demands and joy well, As you seen it on the News...there's no joy in teachers ripping up a child's school work in their face and asking them to leave the circle for not being able to correctly explain a problem. I DARE SAY THERE IS A BULLYING SYSTEM PUT IN PLACE BY STAFF AND TEACHERS AT SA SCHOOLS! This school is suppose to have zero tolerance for bullying among scholars but I see teachers using sarcasm to address children! Joy isn't scholars only having 30 minutes of recess and is easily taken away if your child leaves one question unanswered in class! They are children not robots! There's a deduction system in which teachers take advantage of to control their students. They over use this system to take away special events such as school dances, holiday parties and school trips from the most minor of issues to the most serious.The serious issues I can understand. Teachers and staff are warned not to paint the school in a negative light therefore parental concerns are easily brushed off. They also come up with many interesting polite ways to say its your fault not ours. Many of the teachers disagree with SAs methods of teaching and disciplinary structure therefore the school suffers from a huge teacher turn over. And of course despite the long day of school depending on the amount of deductions your child receives or if he/she struggled to keep up in class or complete classwork theres always after school detention or "NO FUN Friday" a little extra something for the kids to relax but just another thing to be taken away for talking, not tracking the teacher, taking to long to get started on writing or any other work (so the struggling student is basically screwed).I'm trying to take my son out of this school! There's so much more I want to add but..no more space.
I am a parent of two scholars who are in 4th and 6th grade. They have attended the school since it opened it's doors in my community. I must say my girls are getting the best education!! They are introduced to the most amazing things. They are training these kids to succeed!! The staff is wonderful and are proactive in communicating with parents. There needs to be more schools like this one. If your child gets accepted take is as a blessing, you will not be disappointed!!
As a parent of two SA3 scholars, One of which I've recently decided to withdraw from SA I have very mixed emotions about the SA network. While the rigorous academic program is great, the school does absolutely nothing to foster the childs emotional development and well being. There is no encouragement to embrace individualism add to that the militaristic approach to behavior, this I feel is an unhealthy environment for young minds. This is the reason I've chosen to withdraw my kindegartener. To any parent considering choosing SA for their child, I wouldn't rule it out however its something to think about.