Not sure where to start. I'm a parent of a child that attends 1st Place Charter School. From day 1 there has been much confusion and slackness. From the school buses to the academic structure of the school. We hung in there with hopes of seeing changes in the future, but sadly things remained the same. I still don't understand why History classes weren't being offered. It started as no curriculum,new curriculum,then not working from the curriculum. Extra curriculum activities should NOT replace general studies. While I do understand that African-American studies are important, my child doesn't know his country's geographical areas, government, or just naming the states! My child and others was advised by staff to miss school during a major state testing period due to the kids not being ready to take it . I hope the staff isn't as "lax" and "slackadocious" next school season as they were this year. We have a lot to work on this summer.
I help out regularly in one of the classrooms at First Place as a service placement through University of Washington. From what I have seen the teachers and staff are fully dedicated to the mental and physical health of their students. I do agree that there are some structural issues, but they are dealing with a ton of fluctuation right now. The history of this school is very important when talking about the needs of students being met. First and foremost this school is a safe haven for many students who have unstable lives at home, and some children come into the school without even having held a pencil before. I see first hand in the classrooms that these teachers are doing EVERYTHING they can to meet the needs of every student in the classroom, but you have to understand how complex that is in a school dealing with so many factors. Yes, there needs to be some reevaluation at the end of this first year, but they obviously care a great deal about what they are doing and most importantly, the students.
I chose this school because it became a charter school, and I have always had this impression that charter schools were efficient and a better option because other school subjects are included in their curriculum/program. However, this school was not ready to become a public charter school. It has only a few administrative staff, and so far the schedule of events has changed numerous times. It almost seems like they are winging it, all the time. If there are better public schools in your area, please check them out before considering this one. It needs some serious structural and system changes to take place before your child can receive a free and appropriate education.