Let me begin by saying I have my PhD in Education so choosing a school for my own child was a really big deal. We initially tried public school here and hated it. My K student arrived reading at a 3rd grade level and there simply were too many children to do anything with her besides have her color in a corner. I felt guilty sending her to school it was so bad! I think we looked at every possibility until we finally settled on trying Atlas. I am thrilled with our decision.
Here's what I love the most: Our daughter was assessed at the beginning of the school year and was placed according to her level. If that meant attending 1st or 2nd grade during reading and math time, that's what the school did. I am delighted with this concept. Instead of K year being a huge waste, my child has grown and advanced in leaps and bounds.
Second, teachers do an outstanding job of communicating information to parents. Thursday night each week, I receive an outline of lesson plans in every subject, as well as all of the homework assigned for the entire week in each area. This concept is simply unheard of in public school. There is quite a bit of homework, but I am ok with this because we WANT our children to be advanced intellectually. The homework is NOT busy work, so I feel good about it. Every homework assignment has been something I would hope my child would learn.
Third, the curriculum aligns with what I would call a Classical Education. They teach 2 foreign languages by providing a language immersion program through song and games 1 full hour each day. They also teach piano and violin at school. The curriculum used (Core Knowledge NOT to be confused with CORE curriculum) covers classical topics--famous literature/poems for language arts and basic history/science.
My 2 greatest concerns when looking at this school were whether it was legitimate (it very much is) and whether it was for kids who "couldn't make it" in Public School (not the case). The school seems perfect for bright, advanced, mature children whose parents want them to advance beyond what public school can offer. It does this.
This school is not perfect (none are), but I have found it is an exceptional choice. I love the shortened day and Fridays off. We use them to visit museums or travel. Although we haven't used it, I've heard after school care and Friday programs are also high quality. Great school!
Yes. Both my children are taught and pushed to improve themselves with love and kindness but with a firm word. They have experienced the rewards by their hard work and they are always determined to do their best, even when the going gets tough.
In the 6 years we have enjoyed Atlas I have been comparing my children to the hundreds of children I see in my business weekly. I serve a co-op with hundreds of families committed to participate every week all year long and from my observations, my children are definitely not behind in their education.
One of the ladies in my coop is a teacher at a charter school and she told me that she can not believe how smart my children are and how far ahead of their grade level they actually are. When I compare them to any other children their age, they are always ahead by 1-2 years in every subject.
We will never go back to public school. Our children are NOT bogged down with homework. They are both able to complete all their homework for the following week on home school Friday. I find that this gives them an idea of what is coming the following week and it is the highest and best use of our home school time. This also allows my children the freedom to ONLY DO any home work they were struggling with during the week. In our case that is almost NEVER.
They are very thoughful and intentional in the classrooms ensuring that each child is met at the level they are at. When children fall behind or soar ahead, the school makes necessary adjustments in the classes to ensure that child is able to proceed or get the extra help they require accordingly.
We are able to complete all our homework on Homeschool Friday's along with project work. It is fantastic for the chlidren to spend the morning doing their homework and by lunchtime they are ready to enjoy the weekend! During the school week my children are able to relax and PLAY afterschool and before bed because they have completed their work on Fridays and reviewed it at breakfast each day before school starts.
Our experience at Atlas is fantastic. My children have been at the school since 2010. We found the school when my son was 6 and daughter was 2. We are not going anywhere! The school has a fantastic academic program that is proven to be highly successful. If you are seeking a social atmosphere, this may not be for you. If your focus is academic- you have found a gem. It is a fantastic alternative to homeschooling. There is just enough exposure to several other children, but the school reminds me of a single classroom setting from Little House on the Prairie. The folks in the community are diverse, and children of all ages are working together. Children at Atlas experience things you can not find in a public school such as tolerance, compromise, pliability and grace. The older children feel responsible to care for the younger ones and the younger ones admire and look up to the older ones. WE LOVE IT!
Each child is assessed at the beginning of the school year and they are taught based on their skill level and not on a random schedule pre-written for the grade level. My son is in the 7th grade but in some subjects he is working on a 9th grade level, others on an 8th grade level and some on a 7th grade level. He is always advancing and never regressing. In the past there have been times when he exceeded his classmates in a subject and was given one on one time to learn advanced concepts to keep him from being held back or bored due to lack of academic challenge.
We have been at Atlas for 6 years. The leadership there is in line with our integrity, virtues and morals. There is an inclusive atmosphere and dignity and respect is promoted in the classrooms and on all of the administrative levels.
Atlas takes academics seriously, with a great curriculum, meaningful homework, placing kids according to their strengths/needs, and good teachers. At the same time, the small student to teacher ratio allows flexibility, individual attention and close cooperation with parents. The school has great kids, no bullying, and the parents get along well with each other. It is common for parents share in taking care of children on snow days (like today), which helps busy parents.
I love this school for a lot of reasons. Everyone seems really happy, there's always someone to greet you with a smile, eveyone knows everyone, the program itself is awesome. I had my child in public school and my child was not being challenged at all. I went through so much and I finally took my friends advice to get my child into Atlas. I must say that I'm beyond proud and happy. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my child getting the proper education and on the level that my child should be at. Being passinate about going to school is a win win for my family.
I love that the kids have French and Spanish, they play instruments, have projects, before and after school care, Friday program, concerts to see what your child has been learning throughout the semester. The communication is great whether it's with my childs teacher or the administration. I enjoy how parents can be involved and get involved. The weekly emails also help just in case something personal arises. I would highly recommend Atlas.
We actually had a concern arise this school year. The situation was handled with the utmost respect, care, and professionalism. It was handled immediately and I can say within 24 hours, there was no longer any concern. Wonderful job, Atlas.