I believe the 7th and 8th grade teachers at La Fe are outstanding. These are the last ones I saw before my son graduated. I also saw how the school did not hesitate to replace teachers until they had the right mix of qualified teachers. I should also add that for a school that is both too small to separate students by ability as well as philosophically opposed to doing so, the school placed a great deal of emphasis on individual additional instruction to make sure that students who were behind caught up.
When my son first started kinder and I had to read with him every single day in English and Spanish, I thought the homework was too much. When I saw him years later doing math and science homework in both English and Spanish, I knew it was just right.
My son attended La Fe from Kinder through 8th grade. His experience was outstanding. If I could have sent my other children there I would have. The small class size allowed my son to make great friends for life. He is a far better Spanish speaker than his siblings and he received more specialized and individual attention than his brother and sister. Where other schools emphasize athletics, La Fe's trophy case is literally bursting with chess trophies and the Chess coach is second to none. There is also great socio-economic integration. Kids from the Segundo Barrio rub elbows with kids whose parents have doctoral degrees with no sense that that is odd in any way. My wife and I are both attorneys and have shared volunteer work with parents who are PhDs, law enforcement, educators, McDonald's workers, construction workers, disabled and unemployed. It is drilled into the kids that they will some day go to college. The mandatory extracurricular activities have run the gamut from music to chess to yoga to theater to marshal arts. I have recommended this school to many parents and will continue to do so. I only wish it continued to 12th grade so that my son could have stayed there.
It is a GREAT school. Parental involvement is MANDATORY (isn't that what you want?). There is no PTA, why? Because there are monthly parent, teacher and administrator meetings that are MANDATORY. Why would you need a PTA in this case? It is a dual language school (English and Spanish). All subjects are taught, and reinforced. The after school program is stellar and involves multiple athletic, art and civic opportunities (teenagers HELP, but do not run the program). The after school program is VOLUNTARY. It is very structured. The administrators LISTEN to the parents. Class size is limited to 16 students with 1 teacher and 2 aids. As a former teacher, this is the BEST school I have ever been involved with. There is a reason why the waiting list is a mile long...yes, it's THAT good!
The thematically-integrated curriculum within the fully bilingual setting in the heart of Segundo Barrio makes this educational community - kids, parents, and staff - an inspiring place to learn and grow!
My niece is curently attending this school and yes she has learned spanish but that is it. My sister insisted I put my child in this school but after her her little girl that she is not thriving in math or even reading or writing I declined. By this time my daughter was already reading and writing. The afterschool program is just a daycare and the yes the teachers ask for too much parent involvement and sometimes it gets pretty expensive they revolve around fieldtrips and the kids run around the school they have no structure.
I am very lucky to have my child at La Fe Preparatory School. My son has been here since first grade. He has learned English without having to lose his Spanish Instruction. The dedication of the staff is wonderful, they go above and beyond to make the students and their families welcome. The after school and summer program have given my son the opportunity that he would never be able to have in any other school.
We probably won't re-enroll our son in the Fall. He has learned a lot of Spanish but he's learned almost nothing about Math. The school asks for a lot of help from parents but for the most part they decline suggestions. They don't have a PTO and refuse to allow one. Their afterschool program is one of the main reasons we went with the school but we have found that it's run by a bunch of 18 yr olds who barely keep an eye on the kids. The school is a nice concept but its implementation leaves much to be desired. Maybe it's a good school for children in that area whose only other option is Aoy but I wouldn't recommend choosing La Fe over a decently rated public school in your area...