I am more impressed with this school each time I walk in it. It is highly student led, the facilitators are very engaged and supportive and the kids are eager about their educations. The Academy is not your typical public school experience--much more like a private school.
This school is ok. I would much rather send my kid to a normal high school. This school does not prepare you for college at all. There are no exams whatsoever. I know some people may think that's good. Exams aren't fun but after all they will only help you in the long run. The staff in teachers are very nice and the building is clean. However, this school has a lot of bullying and harassment included in it. Think twice before you send your kid to this school.
Facilitators are the best, they all have their own style, they all bring things down to discuss with the students, and they all are major parts of the Academy family and culture. Shoutout to Mr. Barasch.
Homework isn't exactly a thing, we have an abundance of assignments and obligations to keep, though most of what we do is a bit more complicated than traditional worksheets and essays. It's a hectic way to work, but the facilitators and ourselves make it clear what we have to get done to get through a project and a year of school. We do have all of our stuff assigned through Canvas, but all the facilitators get as much of their content in as they can, sometimes competing with the others to give us the skills for an blowout presentation day and future job.
Maxed out wall of text ahead.
Student here, finished up first year as of 2015 so I thought I'd leave this overviewessay here for all the newbies to this amazing place. There really isn’t that much information out there, the school being new and all, but look up the school website and PISD info for more formal points. There’s a FB page as well for the Academy Titans.
I can’t say enough how special this school is though, the learnerfacilitator relationship affects the school life so deeply that a lot of what I’m writing may very well be outdated, as the current form of the school is still forming in every moment. Now to set the table for those new to the school, there’s a huge focus on STEAM, interdisciplinary curriculum, team projects all day every day, and interactions inside and outside the school community. You can’t understand until you experience it, but the school life resembles a mix between an open workplace and a pretty irregular classroom because of how the barriers physical and perceptual work in the school community.
Personally this year was a stressful one since, by nature, I'm prone to anxiety and taking things seriously. Even so, I learned to swim not literally but someday, had fun with everybody, and made the most of fellow peers/teammates of dubious maturity. Everybody is in the same boat teachers and office workers too so there’s no shortage of people to both help and work against you when a problem comes up. Oh boy do the problems come up during a project though, you really have to learn and deploy by trial1, error2, review3, and just a bit of the good old blood, sweat, and tears.
1Google-fu skills, neverending decision making, improvising, and interpreting the implications of ‘that’ suspicious sentence.
2Bungee cords flying around you goggles on, safety first, project deliverables that met an unfortunate end from said bungee cord, team complications, and of course forgetting some vital step in an assignment.
3Trying not to laugh at your friends or their work, recognizing flaws in hindsight, and putting your thoughts into words to help initiate well-needed personal development as well as some development as a community.
Loved the time spent with my teams, facilitators, peers, and all that time that went into learning how to really make something. Thanks to facilitators and all the office staff for the hard work. DC the now 2nd year
There's a very clear distinction that gets drilled into you from day one, you have team mates and facilitators as your resources- and expectations to fulfill for all of them in turn. There's a focus on teamwork at school, and it's very relevant to everyone's interests to work together no matter what, and to work out problems through the means you have. This can lead to a less-than-pure approach from a strictly conservative viewpoint, but it's very useful indeed when you can bring quality deliverables while asking yourself how you could reduce your workload by things like the magic Google machine, on the fly group decisions, and even bugging the older (and younger kids) for input on things that they've most likely worked on. The environment is perfect for making sure that a student values and appreciates qualities like being reliable and honest in a professional capacity while learning and living your high school life.
My son started as a freshman and will be the first graduating class for all four years. The first year adjusting to the new style of learning is steep, but he has flourished. It does require self discipline and maturity to do well. I love the teaching style; I believe it prepares them well for college and the work place. Basically students are taught a concept, placed in groups and assigned a project to apply it all. They learn to work with others, and that not everyone will pull their weight, and how to work it out (just like life). They help one another and work from strengths. He is getting a fantastic education, loves school and will be amply prepared for college. My daughter will be starting in the Fall and we couldn't be happier. This is the learning style of the future. You must know your kid before sending them here; it is for the enthusiastic "learner", as lazy students will soon be uncovered and shunned for group projects.
This school is the hidden gem of PISD. Everyone is there because they want to be and its created an amazing learning environment. The facilitators are truly dedicated to providing a quality education. My child had a wonder first year at this school He looked forward to going to school every day! Seriously! The corporate and parent partnerships have been amazing. These students will graduate with a true sense of what happens in the real world.