I've been at this school for four years, and don't get me wrong - for the first year, I thought the idea of Project Based Learning was fantastic. But please, heed my advice - this school does nothing in the way of preparing you for further education. If all your hopes for your child end at high school graduation, great! They'll graduate as an individual who is more or less ready to compete in the business world. If, however, you're like the vast majority of parents and want your child to earn a degree or pursue any sort of higher education, this IS NOT the correct choice. This school offers pitiful test preparation, reinforces horrible study habits, and provides a foundation of almost nothing. I personally want to pursue medicine and have had to take extensive measures to obtain a reasonable knowledge base to pursue this effectively. I don't recommend it in the slightest.
Most of the things they throw at you is easy, and you rarely feel stressed if you do your work. The projects are interesting, but the only thing bad about this school are the teachers. EVERYTHING is based on favoritism here. Teachers are very sarcastic and unhelpful, and expect you to know everything. If you ask a question, you'll get embarrassed in front of everyone. They tell you to be outgoing and extroverted, but if you even demonstrate any of that, you get flamed by the teachers and embarrassed. BUT, if you were one of the favorite students, you'd be praised as a god and the teachers buy you meals, give you homework passes, let you teach the class, they give you a better education based on if they like you or not. Please re-consider your thoughts if you get in this school.
The school promote the student to self guide themselves and their peers. They basically help teach each other. This has built strong leadership skills in my son. He naturally steps up now if he sees an opportunity to full in a gap.
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