This is my first year at Phoenix Academy so I cannot provide an overall review on the quality of the education yet. What I can provide is my insight into the environment of this school. Overall, we have been very impressed with the administration at Phoenix Academy include Mrs. McNees. The school tries its best to communicate with parents either through Facebook, Email or their new app (which is great – daily updates at 7am). We have had questions both prior to the school year starting and after the start date and Mrs. McNees has always been very responsive usually within a few hours.
As for the overall school environment, it’s true that the classroom are a little smaller. I personally do not feel that my kids are crammed into their room nor have the indicated anything to me. The school doesn’t have a lunch room and lunches are eaten in their class. Again, this was initially a concern of mine years ago when I first looked at this school, but education is more important. The playground at the middle school is the back lot and this is a disappointment to my kids, but again they do the best to make use of the space them have and provide a good education for my kids.
As for the teachers, so far I’ve been very impressed with their curriculum and the communication with parents. We were given both an email address and a phone number if we needed to reach the teacher. I also feel strongly if I had any concerns that needed to be addressed that my voice would be heard. I understand other parents had concerns and each situation is unique, but feel the school will do their best.
A big complaint I’ve heard from other parents was the lack of being able to volunteer at the school. I haven’t found this to be accurate and everything I’ve seen is they encourage volunteering (although not in your child’s class). In fact, they have a night meeting set up to go over volunteer opportunities and in my communication with the administration they encourage it.
This school has grown immensely over the past two years and I’m sure they had growing pains which are reflected in previous reviews. It’s my belief, that the administration of this school is looking out for the educational needs of my children and are open to receiving both negative and positive feedback.
My child took 2 steps backwards this year due to some bullying issues that were supposedly handled internally. Same students involved and these were students who have been there for some time. I feel IEP meeting to set goals was tossed out and changed without my knowledge. My child gave up on the end and little support from counselors and special exceptions seemingly were made. Contact was minimal unless it was negative about my child. It was a very challenging year.
This school is a joke. They have a lot of teachers that don't really want to teach and just like to put on a show in front of parents. They don't want any kind of parent involvement on a regular basis, getting past the lobby to visit your child's classroom is like pulling teeth. No playground, lunchroom, gym and the library is a joke. The curriculum is a joke, along with their grading system. The classrooms are so tiny and so many kids are jammed in there, the class sizes are no smaller than public schools. I'm not sure how this school has been around so long and nothing has changed, except for the school size. What are they doing with their money? On the plus side-they offer German and the women at the front desk are very helpful and friendly.
My son attended this school in the 1st grade. They do not want any parent involvement. Parents are not allowed to even see the classrooms. The teachers and administration are not available by phone or in person. I regret ever sending my son to this school. The kids are stuck at their desks all day. No movement is included during the day.
We went for the testing and were told it would take 1.5 hours. One of the parents asked if there was a tour & was told that they would have to check & see if anyone was available to show us around. The Principle McNees showed up and was visible confused on certain aspects of her school. The library is a joke, no cafeteria, no play ground, no gym the kids play in the parking lot behind the school which doubles as the drop off & pick. When school is in session you are not allowed past the front lobby. When U do come U have to sign in with a cop. U have 19 to 21 kids in a class, that's the average size of a public school classroom. I played phone tag with the school. I called several times with questions and each time I was told that the person I needed was in another building. They won't transfer you and when they tried they hung up on me but claimed it was due to the phones being internet based. When I did get someone they couldn't answer my question and had to send me to another person. I emailed the Principal & 24 hours later I still had not heard back. I called and was transferred to her voice mail. I left a message & waited & waited. I wrote a 2nd email and within a few minutes she wrote back claiming she had been in a meeting all day. Then instead of answering my question or calling me she wrote back asking if she could call me the next day. The next day came and still no phone call or email from Principal McNees. I called the school again and got shuffled around from person to person before ending up on McNees voice mail again. I left a message & an email, and guess what within 15 minutes she responded back to my email. If she will not bother to return my call during the time school is closed. Do you think she'll call you back during the school year when you really have an issue with something. Phoenix. doesn't care, it's a business for them and they know there's another sap waiting to get in.
Save your money and time, yes money because you're gonna buy the school it's copier paper, pens and anything else they might need and they're gonna call it school supplies for your kid.
If you are looking for a school to drop your kid at the door and not be involved in any fashion with their education - this is the school for you. PA has been around for a long time and I thought we were so blessed to get in the lottery. But now, anyone can get in because they have expanded the school so much that it is no longer a small, quaint charter school. If your child acts like a child, you also may want to reconsider this as a choice. There is no tolerance for kids being kids they are disciplined for typical childlike behavior. With no playground and a joke of a PE program there is no outlet for the children to release energy. I will take my chances with the county school next year.