The school is in general excellent. I've interacted with both the administration and the staff and they seem honest and have managed to create an environment that promotes academic excellence and community feeling. Their PT conferences are also much superior to what one typically sees in public schools. My concerns with the school are more mostly long-term:
a) Do they have a good succession plan for the 2 founders?
b) How closely are they looking at the changing landscape in terms of technology, society and the economy and how actively are they thinking about refining both curriculum and teaching methodology to prepare the kids for the future of 2030 (not 2008). I don't have specific complaints - just trying to highlight that what may have made this a great school in the past may not keep it at that place in the future. Probably, more discussions around this need to happen around the 3rcs community to leverage our collective pool of knowledge and experience.
c) How much of individual attention can the kids get? How does the school reconcile and address the needs of both over-achievers and under-achievers in various areas?
d) Even outside sports and music, the number of programs that the school engages with are relatively limited (Scripps spelling bee, FLL, OBOB, etc.). This may mean reduced number of opportunities for kids to shine outside academics as an individual or as part of a team, with only a smaller cross-section of kids managing to express their extra-curricular interests.
The discussions are around more homework or less homework, which in my mind is not very useful. It should be more around the individual needs of students as per their strengths and weaknesses. We've to collectively (teachers, parents and students) figure out ways to scale this because I also recognize that logistically, providing custom and tailored homework is practically impossible. But, it all starts with the right seed for a discussion.
The “no stars” review of Three Rivers Charter School could have been written by me, verbatim. One star goes to the wonderful families and students that we met at the school. The good reviews posted on this site are likely from parents and students who started in fourth grade. My daughter entered in sixth grade and was greeted with criticism and negativity from the teachers. Any transition is difficult, but the teachers did not explain the routines unique to this school. Any questions from us or requests for clarification resulted in a lecture on “self-advocacy.” We encourage self-advocacy appropriate for the age of our children. When my daughter would ask questions, the teachers responded with an abrupt “NO” or vague reply. We plodded along for months and tried to resolve our concerns several times with the teachers and the administration (as suggested in a previous post by a teacher), but nothing changed. In fact, the attitude toward my daughter became even more toxic. I attempted to explain to the teacher and administration that my daughter is very sensitive and feeling a positive connection could go a long way for her. Just a few kind, encouraging words - not over the top praise. Then, the teachers starting giving her consistently low grades (Ds and Fs) that made no sense. Every polite inquiry led to more derogatory comments towards my daughter. My child has tested into the TAG program and gets high scores on OAKS testing and MAPs testing. She has great potential and motivation to work hard. I have had kids in school for 13 years and have never experienced anything this disrespectful. I expect my kids to work hard in school, but I also expect kind and fair treatment from the teachers and administrators. My daughter voiced, “My teachers think I’m a waste of time.” The environment was not conducive to learning. I tried to communicate with the teachers and administration, but they were not interested in partnering with me or taking any responsibility in making the situation better. My daughter also felt that there was distinct favoritism towards some students. If you start in fourth grade, then there is a better chance of having a good experience that this school. My son went to one of the large public middle schools, and we had a much better experience there with teachers, administration and communication.
(continue on previous review) On character building, social and leadership, 3rcs in general does a good job. Students will have daily opportunities to speak in front of the whole school. And a lot, if not most of them work on a leadership program to improve on their skills on discussion, decision making, event organization, public speech and so on. My observation is middle school age kids almost universally demonstrate such skills. EC is not much. There is a successful Robotics program that won trophies in state. Sports related, students have to get those from elsewhere.
Read between the lines: the majority of EVERYthing said below is true, tempered to some degree. The good: great school; high academic standards; great degree of student accountability. The bad: constant teacher turnover; lack of communication; administration can be defensive. The mediocre: PE, Art, Music, etc.,--you know it's not there when you start; get it somewhere else. Bottom line: no place is perfect and consider your options: 3RCS is WAY better than anything else West Linn has to offer.
What a great experience this school has been. The administrator and teachers are brilliant! They listen and act with honesty and integrity. It is such an amazing school-keep up the great work! You are changing the way students view school. At TRCS, the caring and understanding of both parents and students is amazing! My thanks to the insightful administrator for helping this school continue to serve the community of west linn/wilsonville!
Our TRCS experience includes lovely families & teachers AND: *This school has an inflated reputation, pushing high standardized test scores as a top benefit. Creativity is lacking. *The stale administration can be short sighted & condescending if questioned *Chronic staff turn over builds nothing. *No developed PE, art or music instruc/program. Kids can participate at Rosemont or Athey for anything structured or planned ahead. classes at TRCS are minimal *The facility is too small, lacking. No improvements made in 5 yrs. *The required/suggested donation amounts can oft change mid year. First asking families to donate $$$$, then asking for $$$ and maybe a little of $$. Names of those who provide payments are listed in the weekly newsletter. Charter schools are a biz & new families should have information from both satisfied and unsatisfied customers. Positive reviews are a reflection of those people's experiences. The one star review below is also an accurate account of how things can roll at TRCS. The Teacher review below sounds defensive, & kinda proves the point of the one star review. Go with the program, or get called out. It does happen.
I am an alumni of the school. And I would like to just say that the parent that gave "no stars" doesn't know what they're talking about. I loved that school. Through the constant care of my teachers, I entered high school as a better student, and human being. I wish that all teachers were as awesome as the teachers from TRCS. Of all schools, this school is the last one I would think of that deserves criticism. If you want your children to become quality citizens and not mindless drones, sending them to TRCS would be a good place to start. Take my word for it, this is an awesome school!
As I read the review written below, I am struck by the irony of it. What we teach our students is that they cannot make a publically derogatory statement without providing explanation enough that would allow the criticized to respond or learn from their opinion. This is, indeed, critical thinking--where one looks not only at "what" they think, but "why" they think it. We teach them that "standing up for the courage of your convictions" means that you don't make these statements anonymously to the general public, but rather discuss them privately with the person involved. Based on the way this writer saw fit to express their upset, It is easy to see why this person was unhappy with our philosophy. I can only hope that they will step forward and seek a solution to their displeasure.
No stars. The administrator needs to retire. Students are not allowed to have opinions of the school that do not adhere to the administration's self-aggrandizing, rosy picture. If they do, they are berated, humiliated and made to feel like they are the problem. Parents are kept in the dark. Instead of encouraging critical thinking and standing up for the courage of one's convictions, all this teaches the students is that adults in power will maintain that power at all costs.