This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Irwin Academic Center5
Posted February 05, 2015
- a parent
I have children attending Irwin Academic Center and had children attend it's predecessor school, Villa Heights Academic Center. The new principal Ms. Ashford is excellent and listens to the concerns of parents. I highly recommend this school and the many wonderful, concerned teachers who work there.
This is one of the best public schools. They do a very good job focusing on education and preparing my child. He has made good friends here. Very few behavior issues. It has always had a strong pta from the beginning.
We have been at Irwin a couple years now and I've always enjoyed how wonderfully engaged, concerned and welcoming the administrative staff had been in the past. However with the change in leadership to the new principal all that has changed for the worst. The current principal Jo Shirley is significantly lacking in social skills. She fails to meet/greet parents when she sees someone new as others have done. Afterall, she's the one that's new - not the parents that have been with Irwin. She has an elitist attitude which has resulted in unhappiness with the teachers, staff and parents. This doesn't appear to be the right school for Jo Shirley. She is perhaps better suited to manage high risk schools as her background would suggest. I only hope that this principal's reign will not undo all the hard work that was put forth to make Irwin a school of excellence from an academic AND social standpoint.
As a parent of children at Irwin Academic Center, I was drawn to this school for its reputation for excellence as well as the positive and welcoming atmosphere for parents and students. The teachers are wonderful, and really care about the success of my children as well as the other students. However, I do agree with the other parents in that the administrative leadership of the school has lost sight of the mission of the school as a whole and how to facilitate a caring, creative, and innovative school culture for learning. It is apparent in the unhappiness of the staff and the hostility of the new leadership that the positive qualities of Irwin are in jeopardy. I do hope that Irwin maintains its excellent reputation and school culture and retains the high quality teachers that are currently there.
My son has been with this school (and Villa Heights as its previous location) since Kindergarten, and he is now in 5th grade. Overall he has had an excellent educational experience due to the awesome and dedicated teachers. If he'd been in a typical elementary school, he would have been bored to tears and probably disruptive. However I am concerned about the new leadership (principal and vice principal). I'm not sure they really "get it" in terms of what the school is. So far my concerns have been met with complete disinterest by the new leaders. I had honestly hoped for better than Mr. LeGrand, but Shirley and Matthews are actually making him look very good by comparison. These two need to be more in touch with the parents and their concerns, or I fear this wonderful school will lose its glory in the future. For the sake of the kids, I really hope not.
Irwin Academic Center is a great place for gifted children. My third-grade daughter is kept challenged without getting overwhelmed or burned out. The teachers and school keep parents constantly informed about their children's progress and school happenings. The teachers seem to get alot of support from administraion and truely seem to love teaching. The school allows students to bring their own technology to class and use the school's wi-fi for class projects and research. My daughter's teacher mixes in fun activities after stressful activities (like tests) to keep the kids in a good mood. My only complaint would be the after-school care coordinator who seems to be sick of her job and being around children. Luckily her support staff compensate for this. If you have a child that is bored and not challenged at their current school, I would definitely recommend trying to get into this magnet school.
I have a Kindergartner, 3rd grader in the TD program and a 5th grader in the TD program at Irwin. All of the teachers my children have had have all been amazing. The curriculum is rigorous and our extra curricular activities have suffered because of the additional 45 minutes CMS added to the school day as well as the long commute to and from school. Over all, IAC is wonderful and we feel very fortunate to be part of this school community.
Irwin Academic Center (IAC) is by far one of the best magnet schools in greater Charlotte and surrounding counties. No wonder it is ranked at 99th percentile by NC dept of Education compared to other Charter and private schools in & around Charlotte. Our child was earlier attending a private school and we feel we have wasted thousands of $$ in comparison to IAC. Teachers are very knowledgeable and EXTRA talented. The curriculum is quite challenging and the leadership qualities of the principal, PTA & school staff is worth applauding. They make learning so much fun and interesting with field trips, hands on experience with science, math, arts even at elementary school level and our child enjoys this school very very much. The extra curricular clubs like chess, language, puzzles, Lego clubs, science, math clubs/Olympiads, girls on the run etc are just a few to mention of the many activities that make this school's learning environment extra ordinary and well above PAR. We are very pleased with the results we have been noticing in our child. My child LOVES LOVES school. We as parents cannot emphasize more on how great this school is! We definitely recommend this school to any parent!
The new school building is located in the heart of Charlotte (Uptown) and is one of the BEST schools in the city for various reasons.This school is absolutely fantastic with challenging curriculum and strong leadership qualities that every parent envisions for their children. The school environment is very well disciplined and the teachers are so talented. Homework and projects even in kindergarten are quite creative & challenging for the kids and bring the best out of their abilities. The assignments/projects and even day to day homework make the children think and understand the subject or concept as an entity. I have seen a tremendous improvement in my child's academics. We as parents are absolutely happy and truly thankful to all those staff members for their exquisite teamwork and the principal & teachers who make this school as one of the Top notch schools in Charlotte metropolitan area. I would HIGHLY recommend this school to any one parent wants to send their kids to a challenging and stimulating environment. This school and its outstanding curriculum is going to turn your average kid into one of the smartest ones and you will NOT be disappointed.
While not a school for every child, it is an outstanding environment for the high-achieving child. The pace is fast, the curriculum is engaging, the teachers are well-trained, enthusiastic, and kind. The administrative and PTA leadership are all you could hope for- highly competent and motivated. We love this school.