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Waukesha Stem Academy1
Posted January 24, 2015
- a parent
I've never felt strongly enough about anything to submit a review but just have to say something about his school. We have been with the middle school for two years now. I heard another parent recently describe the experience of attending here as "exhausting" and I couldn't have come up with a better description. We just learned that the principal is changing the daily schedule, yet again, halfway through year. This is pretty typical. I guess if it was just me I'd shut up and live with it but all these reviews here and elsewhere and fellow parents sharing the same thoughts one on one, something is wrong here. I've talked to the principal and he obviously has his own agenda. I hate to leave after putting so much into it but that's the choice we're left with.
I'm not sure what has happened at this school but it really never became what it was built up to be. I think administrators have great intentions but have pushed poorly communicated agendas too hard and failed to understand the unique aspects of the population they serve. My family has been very disappointed and are glad this is our last year here.
The staff and administrators of our school will eagerly show you how different our school is. And it is very different from most schools. But when you visit ask them how they are measuring effectiveness. What they describe as "innovative" is really just "different" because they have no real idea what's working and what isn't. Ask them for a copy of their last independent evaluation. Ask them for statistically valid stats. They can't provide them. There's no plan here--it's just a program of ideas cobbled together and presented as innovative to advance some careers. We have been supremely disappointed in our last couple years here.
As you can see from the reviews people either love or hate this school. If you are thinking about applying listen very, very carefully when you go to the "sales pitch" they give to sell you this school. You'll be told that this is an optimal learning environment that is tailored to every kid so each and every child reaches their potential. DON'T BUY IT! This school is appropriate for maybe 50% of kids out there and I'm being generous. We have two kids here, we hate it, and feel like we were sold a school that doesn't exist. The principals and board couldn't care less what parents think. You will constantly have "innovation" rammed down your throat even though they can provide no evidence any of it is effective. The good school scores are because this is an upper-income school with hand-picked teachers, not because of the "innovation" that's happening.
We just moved to the area and my son is in his 3rd month of school at the Randall campus. My son has never told me that he loves school before now. He was sick yesterday and still wanted to try to go to school. At his last school it was so hard to even get him out the door in the morning. My son is happy, that's what really matters to me.
This is our 2nd year at STEM and we chose the school because our assigned school was not an option for our child. I am more frustrated this year than last year.... Communication is terrible, I really have no idea how my child is doing, principal could care less with the concerns we have as parents, the school constantly is changing things and I could go on and on. I wish private school was more affordable or I wish we could home school because STEM isn't sll that STEMtastic
We've been here for three years now and have been disappointed. We thought this was a STEM school, and while it does sort of emphasize it it's mostly a big giant lab for the district to try out all sorts of other educational concepts that have nothing to do with STEM. The governance board for this charter school is pretty much completely absent and it's reflected in the free-for-all mish mash of "innovation" happening here.
I have a student at each campus and both are pretty frustrating to attend. Parents very consistently and broadly express the same concerns: The governance board doesn't care and is completely out of touch, the principals only care about cool, cutting edge ideas without regard for the effects on families. The teachers are awesome but there's a lot of turnover. I guess, in short, if you are ok with being in a constantly evolving environment and don't care about having a say in how it evolves this school is perfect for you.
I agree with the last review. Due diligence is warranted. We've been somewhat disappointed over the years but have tried our best to stick it out. Lots of constant change and confusion that just never seems to smooth out There's no sign of improvement so we're not going on to the middle school part. We've heard there's even more turmoil over there but must say we have no direct experience.
WSA had a lot of promise that it hasn't lived up to. If you are willing to tolerate a ton of turmoil and change each year then apply. The teachers, with few exceptions, are exceptional. As other reviews have mentioned, this school is NOT for every family or every student. Know what you are getting yourself into. This is not just a regular school with a STEM-focused curriculum. This is a charter school that routinely experiments with different concepts and techniques that have nothing to do with STEM education, hence the constant change. After 4 years we are pulling our kids at the end of the year. The school we were sold is not what we've experienced.