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The Science Academy Of South Texas5
Posted August 26, 2013
- a parent
I just want to comment on the last review. I've been a parent at this school for the past 7 years and it's true that it has lost some good teachers (and some bad ones too) but I don't see it to be a lack of administration as much as a fact of life. Most of the teachers at this school are retired professionals that have worked in other places different than schools and there is a moment in life when anyone really wants the retirement. And that's what happens here. On the other comment about APs scores, it's true that before they had Saturday's study sessions for APs but this was part of a grant that the school had earned and like any grant it was for a period of time. It's not that the school district had directed their resources to other things like technology that surely helps the staff and teachers perform better. Finally the counselors are always there for the kids, but it's up to the kids to go look for the opportunities. There is always a list of about 200 summer programs offered and the scholarships are always published and announced in the school. There are a lot of those scholarships that go without any applicants because the kids don't take the time to do it.
The instruction is generally very good, though the school has lost some very good teachers in the last couple of years, no doubt due to the real problem at the school: the administration, which is terrible. The principal is uninvolved and does not care about motivating the students. The counselors are even worse, making no effort to inform the students about important opportunities such as summer programs, scholarships, etc. If your child attends, you will have to be his/her counselor. Also, in recent years, the AP scores have dropped off quite a lot, no doubt in part the the discontinuation of Saturday AP reviews and financial incentives for both teachers and students--and yet, the principal has a huge monitor for his computer and the counselors and some teachers have iPads supplied by the school. Just another example of poor leadership. Sad to see such a good school going downhill due to a few bad people, but that's how it is.
As an alumnae, I can say with certainty that the foundations to my success were developed while at the Science Academy. I now have a great appreciation for the flexible culture and friendliness of the administration. Great school experience. I wish I would have been better coached through the college application process--I may have picked a better school--but Other than that...great time at Sci Tech!
I am basing this rating on the quality of instruction. The teachers are simply fantastic. My child went on to a very demanding, very competitive college program and was, in truth, overprepared. The first year was a piece of cake--while many other top students from other high schools were struggling. If I were rating the administration, however, they would get maybe a 2. The counselors in particular are, sadly, really awful. The one my child was stuck with all four years was worse than useless. She has no idea what she is doing and desseminates information that is just plain wrong. The principal knows there is a problem but just looks the other way. Overall, the school is highly worth attending, but know that you are going to have to do the counselor's job yourself.
I attended the Science Academy for 2 years before going back to my local public school my senior year. The Science Academy is a top-notch school with excellent teachers that truly do care. I had plenty of choices for colleges and I credit the Science Academy for this and for the fact that my first two years of college were a breeze. Don't let the lack of sports deter you from this school; I played soccer, tennis, and softball in high school with my local leagues. I also continued to play those sports in college on intramural teams and was a co-founder of lacrosse. Needless to say, you can participate in sports even if they are not a part of your high school.
The school has an excellent curriculum for those wishing to accel in math and science. It does this at the expense of not offering courses or extracurricular activities available at a typical high school. The classroom instruction is presented at a very fast rate and it is diffucult for most students to keep up. Homework time is usually 3 to 5 hours per night. Teachers are available most mornings and afternoons to help students who are having trouble with assignments but our experience with this arrangement is not very good. Overall, I think the school offers something to those who excel in math but for those who want a regular high school experience I would go somewhere else.
I am the parent of a freshman who initially was not happy in being sent to this school. But with every passing day she grew to love the staff and students. The stories she'd bring home day after day were so hilarious. From the food drive bandits to the rumors of a 'hemi'! It has instilled in her that school can be fun while teaching you so much more than the average school. I knew she had crossed over when I over heard her brag about the school curriculum and national standing. I'm grateful to have the chance to send my daughter to this school.