I am a current student at SWCS, writing this during class time because the teacher doesn't care enough to pay attention to any of the students who aren't special needs. The classroom experience is terrible, with special treatment given to a select few students, but the entire group being punished when a couple students get in trouble. The teachers are very low quality once you get above 1/2 grade, and the board is a group of inexperienced parents who want school funding so their special needs child can get a better education. A 50% teacher retention rate last year shows how little the students are taken into account, especially, once again, if they aren't special needs.
Special needs kids abound here but they don't have the resources or funding to keep up with them. The Teaching is good and the curriculum is engaging but teacher turnover rate is high. Bullying is not dealt with properly leaving it to continue even after several reports. I know of two other families who left the school due to this. The schools outings are fun and educational but the playground is just a small fenced in concrete area with no room to run leaving kids with pent up energy.
We really wanted our neighborhood school to work, but our kids were getting lost in the large class sizes and masses of worksheets. Once we switched to SWCS, they thrived. The classrooms are fun, engaging, and the community is very strong. Yes, it is charter which brings financial challenges that require fundraising (but isn't that the state of all schools?) but here we can definitely feel like our kids needs are being put first.
Everything I'd like to say has already been said by the other 1 and 2 star reviews. In short, SWCS did not provide the alternative education we expected and wanted for our child. Philosophies boasted on the schools website fall short. Once you are in the focus is on raising money for the school. That and everything already stated in the other low reviews.
My child is very happy at SWCS. She is excelling academically and much more engaged and challenged than at her previous school. While this school may not be a great fit for all children, an independent learner who benefits from full integration of creative and intellectual endeavors will do well here.
My daughter came to this school in 6th grade and stayed till 8th. During her time here she broke out of her shell, made many friends and bonded with teachers. She is now going into highschool full of confidence. Academically she is right where she needs to be thanks to the awesome teachers at SWCS! My son also attends this school and has come a long way socially fitting in and making friends. He is high functioning Aspergers/autistic and SWCS has helped him learn the social skills he needs. Academically he is excelling according to all the state testing, so thank you SWCS! You have done a wonderful job with my kids! They both love this school!
After a few years at Southwest Charter, my kids were not where they needed to be academically to fit back in to the mainstream school system. They had fun at farms, rivers, plays and museums during their time at SWCS, but are missing chunks of learning that have left them struggling now. We are spending a lot of time and money getting them caught up to where they need to be in all subject areas.
My son has autism. We had two wonderful years with this school. School placement is always difficult with special need children especially when resources are limited. We love this school because teacher and staff have the right level of flexibility, open-mindedness, positive attitute, sense of humor, and willingness to try new things. We met the most wonderful teacher and children in this school and we learned a lot from them. Education is a shared-responsibility between school and parents. We feel grateful that this school gave us an opportunity to successfully intergrate my son into the neuro-typical world. It is actually quite creative to effectively use public facilities to save costs given that charter schools are receiving much less fundings compared to traditional public schools.
Our child attended SW Charter School for three years. We chose SWCS as an alternative to PPS. We thought the 'Place-based Learning' approach and emphasis on natural science would be a good fit for our child who had struggled in a more traditional learning environment. Although there are a few individuals at the school dedicated to providing a supportive, engaging education following this model, we were mostly disappointed. SWCS is anti-academic (i.e. garbage collection = science!), has unaddressed bullying issues and very high teacher and student turnover (The 3 teachers we had have all left the school. The class rooster was @ 20% revolving door, with a significant drop by the end of the year). There is no library, computer lab, gym or grass play areas, and a general lack of the basics. Our experience (not unique to us) was that important educational decisions concerning a student were dictated by the administrator (with disregard for parental input) and non-negotiable. For our time there, SWCS did not deliver a quality alternative education option. Additionally, they were counter-productive in bringing child, family and school together for good educational outcomes.
Southwest Charter School was working hard to change the education system the first two years they were open. Since then, the school has hit a downward spiral. They're prime concern is with survival and it does not leave them time to focus on the needs of the students. Over the past two years, I withdrew both my children from SWCS. If your child has special needs of any sort, that is not a priority at SWCS.