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Old 07-29-2009, 10:57 PM
 
53 posts, read 101,439 times
Reputation: 39

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Could anyone please give me some inputs on the following schools, both pros and cons:

1. Academy International
2. Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy

(Both at the beginning elementary level)

Also, if anyone could provide information on neighborhoods where I can possibly get a rental house or apt/condo for less than $1,400 a month on an area close to CMCA. Looking for safe areas and clean. Thanks.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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I taught at CMCA for two years and had some distant family who had kids go there. It is a direct instruction school - kids learn rote learning very very well but do not learn critical thinking. They elevate their test scores through suspicious but legal lottery policies that eliminate any at-risk or needy kids - special ed students, students of color, students with less involved parents - these end up being largely systematically excluded from their test results. They also inflated scores with ridiculous retention recommendations - such as recommending a child repeat the third grade because he/she had one "C" during the year - that way that child would take the same standardized tests a year later and presumably elevate their scores. I taught at the junior high and observed students spending an average of 4-6 hours nightly on homework, including weekends. Many of them were neurotic, stressed, and ill, but the few top kids thrived. The kids ate each other alive with competitiveness. They lacked greatly in the extra curricular opportunities other schools provided as well as many other 'routine' things other schools provided - like lunch. Everything at the school was about test scores, not about kids. They eliminated science labs from the science curriculum because there were no labs on the tests - so these kids never actually did any real science. They were great at calculation, many of them, but could not think out of the box and recognize an identical problem worded differently than their particular textbook author tended to write. The school suffered from too many poorly qualified and poorly trained teachers, a micro-managing school board that fired staff left and right, making a typical year for students likely to include having at least one of their classes end up with two or three different teachers in a single year. The staff was underpaid as well. Needless to say, I know some people speak very highly of CMCA and love it, but from an insiders' perspective I was not pleased and I never in a million years would put my own kids in that school nor recommend it to anyone else.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:06 PM
 
53 posts, read 101,439 times
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otowi,

I appreciate your comments. It's definitely good to hear the perspective of an actual former educator of the school. I'm trying to decide this week between the two schools. So far I like AIES because of its location and great ratings. I have not heard anything bad about it, except for the lack of diversity and I wish they would teach Spanish, instead of French. I'm also leaning more towards the CMCA because of the grouping by ability, based on what I've read, and because of my child being very bright that would ease the feeling bored during class, since he can be taught at his ability level. However, he's also very creative and I'm not looking at just "hard work" for testing or such, but for "challenging work" that would get his mind going.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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If that is what you're looking for, I might suggest you check out some of the local schools that have pre-IB and SAIL honors programs - that sounds more like what you're interested in to me.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:00 AM
 
Location: SC
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Go Academy International. You have a good chance of not being able to get into Cheyenne charter. I am also an educator and can second what Otowi said about CMCA. I personally don't care for the charter because of their lottery system, it gives the public an unrealistic view that the school is better than others because of their teaching methods. However, whenever you get to select your students and have very interested/active parents, your test scores will be better. DUH!
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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I have a kid at Academy International (AI). The school is part of the International Baccelaureaut (IB) program which has high standards and is a worldwide program - no difficulties in transferring to another IB school anywhere in the world due to the same educational standards in each grade. AI teaches French and students have the option of either weekly French classes or going into the French immersion program where they have Science and Math taught in French as well as weekly French classes. AI has small student to teacher ratios with classes no more than 14 to 18 students. Great individual attention is given as well as very good teacher updates to parents for each individual student. The school is also fairly diverse with each class typically having 6-8 minority students from highly varied backgrounds - i.e. the minorities are more of a mix Asian, Indian, Canadian, Eastern European, African, Latino... I see this as more diversity compared to a class with 50% White, 40% Latino, and 10% Black which you might find elsewhere in Colorado Springs.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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Thank you guys for your inputs... This is such a difficult decision in such a short time. My kiddo has actually been accepted to both schools and he's got his mind set on CMCA because he got to go there and visit and test. He's very scared of change, so this is very difficult for him. I tried to make it easier by contacting both schools and get him acquainted. Unfortunately, AIES doesn't give you the opportunity to meet the teachers until just a few days before the school year starts and I tried unsuccessfully to schedule a visit with the 1st grade teacher before the school year was over and they never returned my messages, so that left kind of a sour taste about the school. Hopefully, they have better communication once the kid is in.

One question about AI. My son is going to 1st grade, so no gifted and talented program, but would they accomodate his needs, when it comes to his academics, my biggest fear is him being bored and causing trouble. He's got very good teachers right now and basically they recommend a teacher who's firm, but loving at the same time for him to do best.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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Our daughter's first grade teacher at AI gave lots of attention and made sure she was not bored - she can get sidetracked easily at home when things seem to be going too slow for her.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:37 PM
 
53 posts, read 101,439 times
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Default Made my decision

Hi all... I figured I post my decision on the school. I decided on Academy International...

I do have to say I got very good reviews from parents of children at CMCA, but from everything I heard, I thought that the differientation in the classrooms would have been an excellent fit for him that would allow him to adjust to his level of learning, but I didn't think their direct instruction would have been a good fit for him, mostly because of repetition.

So far so good at his new school. Things seem to be going somewhat slow for him, since I'm hearing the "it's boring sometimes" already, but hopefully things will get better once teacher gets to know where's he's at and with my involvement.

Thanks again for all your inputs.

By the way, reginhild, you were right about the diversity, I like the mixture of several backgrounds I see, that's a plus. And he's loving French already. I'm going to have to pick up the pace with teaching him more Spanish (my native language) sinice he's teaching me more French
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Old 08-30-2009, 06:03 PM
 
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I would have to say that D20 and D38 have the best schools from what I have heard and from reading forums.
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