I taught at the Mississippi Avenue Elementary campus during the 2014-2015 school year. I would not recommend Achievement Prep to any parents seeking a school for their children or to any teachers seeking employment. The teaching/learning environment at this school is deplorable. Parents, beware, this is a place that is physically and emotionally unsafe for your child. Teachers, beware, students can hit you, kick you, scratch you, bite you, and curse you out on Monday morning then turn around and do it again on Tuesday. The level of physically dangerous and even violent behavior here is frightening, to say the least. The scholars with a desire to learn often complain of feeling sad, frustrated, and even angry because the outrageously unruly and disruptive behaviors of their classmates impede their learning. The teachers here work extremely hard and try their best, but they receive very little support from the administration. Morale and school spirit are low, yet stress and frustrations are high. The school leaders are young and inexperienced and lack the knowledge and ability to successfully operate a school east of the Anacostia River. The people that run this place should be ashamed of themselves for doing such a disservice to the scholars and their families. As an educator and a parent, I was absolutely disgusted with what I observed and experienced at this school. Our children deserve to be educated in a safe and friendly environment that is conducive to learning. Achievement Prep is not that.
I will never understand how a school that does not have GYM, ART, MUSIC, FOREIGN LANGUAGE or a SUITABLE PLAYGROUND is considered a Tier 1 school. Bullying is accepted and there is a revolving door for staff to come and go. The school also advertised diversity when I originally applied, however it is 100% Black. One of my child's teachers gave my child a Thank You note with Misspelled words...WTHeck!!! My goodness, they don't even teach the students how to write in cursive to prepare for high school. This school is a nightmare that is even infested with ROACHES!!! WARNING: During state wide testing, the students get a whole week and a half of HALF-DAYS...they gave parents a WEEK notice! The expectations of the students are higher than STAFF expectations! I could go on and on...Just beware!!!
APA is working to make a difference in a tough community. As a teacher there I am honored to be part of this school. Our goal is to close the achievement gap for our scholars. I have worked at 2 other charter schools before coming to APA and APA is by far setting the bar much, much higher. This is my second year there and this past year has been a rough year as the school grew and we had new leadership, but the school has responded and it does not take ways from the great things we do each day. APA is the real deal - we do what we say. That isn't always popular but it changes lives of our scholars. Our graduates attend some of the best schools in the city and a few are in boarding schools across the country. That is what great schools do. Is it always perfect - no. But no place is. I love the work we do and appreciate that a school like APA exists for our families.
My child was there for two years and in the first year it was okay. I figured it was an adjustment period. SO the second year she went to sixth grade and it was the worst year ever. That zero tolerance policy for BULLYING is NULL AND VOID... My daughter was bullied and nothing was really done. Then because she had to defend herself she got suspended, but when the problem started the school did nothing to stop it. I will say the teachers that left I do miss them because they cared about my daughter. Some where let go because of nonsense. You can't hire people and think they are going to do a great job in the beginning. But that doesn't mean get rid of your staff that has already done a great job. The teachers don't communicate well with parents or each other, there is no real discipline, and since the principal moved from one school to the other the middle school kids are so disrespectful. I think they should try it again and this time bring in someone that knows how to discipline the kids in a respectful way but letting them know school is no joke at the same time. It can be done. It was done the first year my daughter was there.
What they will try and say is that teachers that have left or are leaving don't care about the children. That could not be farther from the truth. After two years you see through all the smoke screens and start to realize that this place has a shiny exterior with stats and scores to make any teacher think it's better. Then you watch your colleagues suffer physically and emotionally- the resignations a regular activity and then those who are still there take the backlash. Turnover is "explained" away but the truth is that it's unhealthy, unstable and those in leadership have stated that they can make anyone a teacher in their model. If that's the case, find someone that doesn't mind low morale and lower pay with much longer hours. It's a shame for the students. They're missing those relationships that are critical at this age.
Achievement Preparatory Academy is an excellent school, which invests in children without excuse. They offer multiple means of supporting your child to reach their full potential when they are not quite on grade level. They hold parents accountable which fosters a safer learning environment. I appreciate the consistency of the teachers and staff. They expect respect and are seen giving respect regularly to our children.
I am writing about this school because I want to know what my kids are doing and how they are doing,this school informs the parent on everything. I love that. We moved to this area this year I was nervous my kids would not fit in but the teachers get ever child on the same page with the week preparation before school starts. The teachers r real dedicated and focused on the children.