This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted October 25, 2014
- a parent
When we attended the information session, we thought "interesting but not for us". To our surprise, we found we suddenly needed to take a closer look since traditional classroom setting was not working at all. If you are looking for a traditional classroom with all the kids lined up in rows and quietly working dutifully from a textbook/workbook, you won't get that at ACE. Seeing the struggles my child had prior to ACE made me sit down really hard and think about what my view of the end result of 12 years of schooling should be. For me - that is passion in their interests and focus on a growth mindset. So we looked for a school that we felt would really allow him to be passionate about school and that won't hold him back just because of his age or size. What we love about ACE is the flexibility but high expectations - and the emphasis on working hard. Our child is not prevented from learning just because his motor skills like writing are not as strong as the rest of his class... the progress he has made in just the last two months has been amazing. His confidence has improved - he is no longer challenged by other kids on his age or on what they think he should or should not know.
We really like ACE a lot. There is nothing else like it in the Austin area. The school holds regular information sessions for parents. If you are interested this is a great way to learn more about the school. We really feel like we have found a school home for our child that will last till it's time to go to college. The staff have very impressive credentials and are also incredibly caring. They understand gifted kids and are ready to help them succeed from Day 1. Our child loves school so much an early bedtime is accepted willingly so we can be early to school the next day. I am so glad we found this school.
I am writing this review as the Curriculum Director for ACE Academy. I maintain our accreditation status and review the school s curriculum. I can speak to the incredibly strong but flexible curriculum at ACE. ACE teachers follow concrete sets of standards to create courses that exceed milestones in learning. Here s what makes ACE better suited for gifted learners: we don t follow state or national standards blindly. We consult those standards and create our own. We then allow room in our curriculum for teachers to explore more deeply the lessons the students find most interesting. So, ACE does have its own curriculum one that is reviewed internally and externally by the nation s top accrediting body. It is a myth that accelerated learning requires increased homework. If you expect your child to spend hours completing worksheets or homework, ACE is not the place for your child. If you want your child to follow a textbook cover to cover, ACE isn't what you re looking for. We consult textbooks, but, for us, that s the exception rather than the rule. ACE is innovative and flexible while remaining dedicated to the curricular standards that shape our learning goals.
Austin definitely needs a school for gifted kids. ACE is not ready to be one of them. The school do have some great teachers, but it is very disorganized, no textbooks, no strong curriculum. As a parent of a gifted child, I do not believe in giving " freedom" to this type of kids. I think they need organization as much as regular children, if not more. Their "gifts" have to be channelled, not let loose to "create". At least I know it does not work for my child. The school grows in numbers, but not quality.
I often say that if I could design a school for my son, it would look a lot like ACE Academy. They understand the special needs of the gifted and customize the learning experience based on their needs. My son is strong in science/math, but struggles with reading. In a regular school, they would hold him back in the areas where he excels. Special after school activities are designed for special interests: fencing, chess club, art, robotics, Legos, and even Hogwarts club. I am always impressed by the level of work they are doing and the pace at which they move. My 3rd grader comes home understanding scientific concepts I didn't see until high school or college. ACE also understands the emotional challenges of gifted kids and incorporates emotional intelligence and self-awareness work to help with issues like perfectionism or lack of focus/drive when things get hard. They hold parent seminars to help us all understand what our children are going through and need. I only go down one star because the physical building is not ideal, but they are working on building or finding a new location.
While our son was at a fabulous preschool when he was 3 1/2, he was waking up at 3 a.m. on a regular basis wanting to read or play games, clearly short on the stimulation needed during the day. During his teacher/parent conference, his current teacher at the time recommended we investigate ACE Academy. So we went and once he started our lives changed drastically (sleeping through the night was a wonderful change!). He loved going to school, running in calling to me to "hurry mom". Our second son started at ACE when he was 3 as well and loves it. The flexibility your child receives in their education is invaluable. One thing you never want your child to hear is "we will learn that next year" or "you are too young to learn that", which you will not hear at ACE Academy. The teachers are so patient and often will redirect the lesson plans according to the interests in the classroom.
ACE Academy's wonderful teachers and staff have made a huge positive impact on my children and family. Using a strengths-based approach, they help kids develop to their fullest potential academically, creatively and socially. We believe that student feedback matters in developing curriculum. ACE's class offerings are are flexible enough (including such diverse classes as Latin, Emotional Intelligence, gardening, "history of zombies," etc.) to ensure a top-notch, well rounded education and to instill and protect a genuine love of learning that will last throughout our children's lifetimes. Though I would like to see more physical education incorporated into the curriculum, we have found the perfect place for our two gifted, quirky, outspoken boys to reach their potential and enjoy learning.
We are very happy with ACE Academy. We did ALOT of research. The one and two star ratings seem to come from families who pulled their children out of ACE because it wasn't a good fit. I have read all of the reviews and it mostly sounds like these families should have never enrolled at ACE in the first place. They gave us ample time and information about how the school is run. I suggest you take a long look at ACE to make sure it is the right fit. This is not a traditional school and will not satisfy parents who are looking for a more traditional learning enviornment. For us, it has been outstanding.
The 3rd grade science class is taught by a PhD in Science Education, an IT professional, and a senior science major from UT.In 1st 6 weeks students do scale drawings and investigations measuring mass, volume, and distance.They use search engines for developing research projects in Word, Excel to collect and organize data, and Power Point to organize presentations of their work.They experimentally determine the % of water in okra, taste okra and learn about its history. They design germination and growth experiments, using fractions and % to describe their results. They currently have at a least three types of winter vegetables growing. They watch BBC and use National Geographic to learn about caring for their live Venus fly traps. They observe live mosquito larvae and discover the connection to birds/West Nile Virus.They play games to explore ecological relationships, and develop advanced vocabulary while learning life and element cycles.They also explore fossil fuels and alternatives. Students are integrating information age technology while analyzing data sets, discovering science for themselves, using sources and communicating ideas with the same tools that scientists use.