My son is graduating from the PAA. Yes, his reading and math are strong. So is his anxiety, shame, and fear. They use group punishment, breeds discontentment between peers. Students grade each other's work, teachers are not super aware of how kids are doing. The principle at PAA uses yelling and fear to get results, doesn't have the skills to talk to kids and doesn't take the time to get to know where they are coming from. She often makes up new rules on the spot, no talking during lunch, no running during recess, etc with inconsistent enforcement. Staff retention is very low as well. We went through so many changes in one year. We were flat out told that "school was not for learning social skills". One learns social skills regardless of intention, and their lack of intentional work taught kids to bully, hide things, and dislike school and learning in general. Facilities for lunch and recess sorely lacking at the Portland Arthur Academy.
Portland Arthur Academy is a academically focuses charter school. Teaching is done by Direct Instruction and it is not for everyone. However, if your child loves to read and learn then it is totally worth checking out. My child has thrived in this environment. We found PAA after 2 years in a PPS school. I agree with a previous review that there could be more parent involvement but I think that is true of all schools. We do worry about where to go after 5th grade. I think all parents worry about that. I just know that my kiddo will have the academics and skills to succeed - Thanks PAA!!
Very happy with this school! If you want a classroom that is socially focused this is not your place. They are academically focused enabling each child to thrive in learning. My first grader has goals and rewards and she comes home proud of herself. My only complaint is that parent involvement is not great-- they're working on it though.
What exactly happens when these children have completed the Arthur Academy? How does the academy help to transition students into "regular" middle school environments, with MUCH larger classrooms, and less expectations? It seems that they have a decent IDEA in instituting this program for elementary aged children, but exactly how does a student transition from this strict style of learning to the every day run in the mill public school teachings in junior and high school? It does not seem well thought out, for the future of the child. To have the expectation that a student who leaves this program will A) function adequately in a 1000+ student school, B) after 5th grade will be home schooled by the parents, or C) the parents will come up with the $ to pay for private schooling, or D) (worst of all) they release these children after 5th grade with no direction or care what happens to them beyond 5th grade; none of these expectations are at all acceptable. What are the school district's expectations for these students beyond 5th grade? I would LOVE to see each child's assessment scores beyond 5th grade, would they stay the same, meet, exceed, or fall below previous standards/scores?
This is my second review of PPA, the first one magically dissappeared. So if you are interested in seeing more reviews, updated ones and not ones written by the principle, then go to google places, and enter the schools name. Portland Arthur Academy could be wonderful like the David Douglas or other academy locations, however, the principle of the PPA is not a leader, he depends on a take it or leave it attitude and fear to create a militant enviroment with no room for individuality.
Portland Arthur Academy is a charter school, hence, all about choice. It is a choice that parents make to enroll their students. Every year the school is reviewed by Portland Public Schools. Professionals not affiliated with the organization (speech therapists, SPED professionals, etc.) enter the building everyday. The point here is that if there were issues with state testing, inappropriate discipline, etc., (which there is not) they would be addressed immediately. The teachers and parents work together with the leadership to create a dynamic learning environment you will not find at any public school. Students succeed and are constantly evaluated. They are all working at their academic levels, whether that means moving up in a program or going back to a level in which they will succeed and attain skills they need to be successful. Every student is respected, valued, and treated with a concern that is hard to find. It is a saving grace for many students and parents frustrated with the options out there.
They coach the children on state tests and allow them to take them repeatedly until a desired score is reached. They also use group punishment so if another child is disobedient, my child, along with all the other obedient children are punished too. They skip ahead in lessons and have students correct students papers so the teachers do not see where or if there is a child struggling. Then the child gets dropped down to the lower level group instead of being assisted in the area in which they are struggling with.
Their reading and math program is awesome! They divide the class in 3 groups for reading (my son is in 1st grade), so each child can learn at his/her own pace. The children work so hard at school, so there is NEVER a homework, which keeps my son and me pretty happy :) The teachers are awesome, too!
This is a great school. Ive been wanting to get all my kids in, my 2nd child is 4. When my 1st daughter finished kindergarten, she was doing math and reading at a 2nd grade level. Look at their website and see the results for national/states test results! Amazing!!!