Daniel Powell had transformed a relatively small band program into an amazing force including Beginning, Symphonic and Jazz bands that draw student from other schools to participate! The STEM program is a major focus point at ATA as well, involving students with real-world activities, like working with NASA to create experiments in space! The school teaches student independence, encouraging them to make choices of their curriculum (electives), and track their own progress throughout the year. I enjoy "meeting with my children" to review their grades during student-led conferences. I feel they are receiving a quality education (introduction to topics), and more importantly, learning how to learn!
Most children (and adults for that matter) are not interested in all subjects. They teachers at ATA have been able to spark respect and some genuine interest in subjects my children had not found interesting before.
In some classes, it appears that most homework is not reviewed/graded. The only indication that the homework was done correctly is that it is permitted to use the homework assignments as notes for the exams.
By far the absolute worst school I have ever had my child attend. The teachers are worthless. The vice principal beats around the bush with all issues. I have had so many problems with this school and never once have I ever been able to speak with the actual principal. My daughter is smart and has always done well in school. The first parent teacher conference, I found out she had 5 F's! I was never informed she was even struggling. I expressed my concern of my her being held back if the grades were not improved drastically. The teacher told me (IN FRONT OF MY DAUGHTER), "We don't hold students back for any reason in middle school."! I was appalled! Nothing improved at any point. No communication from the school even after I sent multiple e-mails, several phone calls and a meeting with the counselor. I know MANY other parents experiencing the exact same issues at ATA.
Or kids started going to Family School in 1990, and we stayed involved for the next 15 years. It was such a great experience, really establishing a sense of community, notable for its awareness of social justice issues and positive behavior support. After my kids out-grew the school I returned for most of the past decade to volunteer as a story teller, integrating social-emotional and problem solving skills. I support the school wholeheartedly!
Every day when I ask my sixth-grader, "how was school today?" I get the same response: "Awesome! As usual." We didn't know what to expect, coming from another school district, not knowing anyone. I am most impressed with the staff and teachers. They create a culture of acceptance, and opportunity. The sky's the limit for students! They have gone above and beyond to help my son to succeed. He even has a teacher that we call his "secret weapon" because he is such an advocate for him. My son feels that he can talk to this teacher about anything...and he does. So great to have that kind of support. Lots of electives. And classes are taught integrating technology and creativity. Awesome school.