In The Words Of Parents
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Have you ever looked back in your past and realized that one moment in time changed the entire trajectory of where you thought you would go? That’s exactly what happen to bring us to TFA.

I love listening to philosophical and apologetic speakers.  Six years ago, I was listening to a gentleman who regularly speaks and answers questions at the most prestigious universities.  He made a comment in passing that he noticed a change with the student population in the last decade. He said less and less students had the skill to make coherent arguments based on facts and that more and more of their arguments were driven by emotion.  That one statement gnawed at me. It led me on a quest to research different teaching styles and I discovered the classical approach to education.

Classical education best complements how one naturally learns. Has anyone ever told you about a book they read and then you read the book yourself?  The depth of understanding is vastly different.  In the classical approach, students are actually picking up the great works of history and reading it themselves. Self-discovery provides the student with a connection to the material that just repeating back facts that they are told about something just doesn’t. The students then ask questions, sort and compare what they read, and practice what they are learning through classroom discussions, writing, and speeches.

My son started here at TFA in 7th grade. Right away, I saw a noticeable change. My son was excited about what he was learning and was sharing what he was learning with me.  My son loves history. One day, on the way home he  said “I’m finally getting to learn all the details of history I always wanted to know”.  On another day, my son told me his favorite subject was English.  Up until 7th grade he had said he hated English and that it was so boring even though he has always been a strong reader.  He enjoyed English more because TFA has a class dedicated to teaching good writing skills and then a separate class to dig into reading a book and discussing the themes. His math skills have taken a huge leap forward as well. I had him privately tested in 6th grade because we were seeing some holes in the curriculum and his ability to retain the math concepts. He scored slightly below average.  After only a year and a half of Saxon Math, where a new mathematical concept is taught every day while constantly reviewing old concepts, he scored in the 93rd percentile on his PSATs. My favorite change has been his new found ability and desire to verbally express his ideas.  The benefits to the cross-subject integration, repetition, and class discussions cannot be emphasized enough.

My daughter started here this year in 6th grade. I can see how TFA uses the 6th grade year to bridge students from where they were previously to slowly integrating them into this new way of learning. It was a huge transition to start middle school in a new school and take on all the responsibility with what comes with that. I can see confidence building as she has learned to navigate middle school as well as take ownership of her work and interactions with students and teachers. The curricular demands have been greater here and she has shown great perseverance in meeting the higher expectations.

All the teachers that my kids have had are fantastic. They are each very knowledgeable in their area of expertise. I’ve also experienced and noticed a high level of commitment by the teachers and the staff to the school’s code of conduct. Not only are they are committed to teaching the virtues need to carry liberty forward to the next generation, they are living examples of what it looks like.

Was making the decision to come to TFA difficult, yes.  Was there an adjustment, yes. Did we make the right decision, absolutely.  Sometimes the best way to see what you can do is by being challenged and getting out of your comfort zone.

-Parent of a 6th and 8th grader.
Posted by mmooney  On Feb 08, 2018 at 10:44 AM
  
As a parent of a child who attends The Founders Academy, I have only good things to say about the school.  The spirit of the school is positive and welcoming.  My son is a happy learner and he is getting many wonderful opportunities here at Founders to further his learning.  He is excited about his learning and looks forward to his school every day.  As a parent I feel that Founders is a gift for my child and we feel fortunate to be a part of this wonderful community. - Appi Manchanda
Posted by mmooney  On Jan 23, 2018 at 2:45 PM
  

My name is Laura Gandia and I am the parent of two boys grades 11 and 9th both of whom attend the Founders Academy.  I am here today to speak to you about why I chose Founders Academy and my experiences with Founders.  Before I do that, I just want to give you my perspective of who I am.  Both of my sons went to public schools through eighth grade.  During this time, I worked in the public schools.  When the time for high school was approaching for my first son, I took a long hard look at what we wanted as a family for our children for high school which as many of us know is a very challenging and crucial stage in their lives.  At this point in time, I was exploring all of my options.  I was somewhat familiar with charter schools and was hoping to find a good fit for my son.  The more I researched charter schools the more I was drawn to Founders and its mission.  As you may know, each charter school has a mission, some are related to the arts, others to the sciences.  Founders' mission and vision were quite different and related to the individual as person, as a leader.  Its mission and vision are:

The Academy develops leaders who understand and apply the lessons of the past, demonstrate exceptional character and lead by example. The Academy recognizes the importance of balance in the development of the whole person, and respects each student's journey.

Principled leadership is fostered by means of a curriculum of classical studies that includes analyzing the lives of great men and women of history, mining the rich classical ideals of the Western tradition, and tracing the evolution of the precious and costly idea of liberty.

The Vision

The Founders Academy prepares wise, principled leaders by offering a classical education and providing a wide array of opportunities to lead:

• Preparing students to be productive citizens.

• Teaching students how to apply the American experience and adapt to become leaders in today’s and tomorrow’s global economy.

• Emphasis on building ethical and responsible leaders in society.

Reading this, I thought wow this is a novel concept and I was intrigued.  A school that focuses on developing leaders,  exceptional character, leading by example, classical studies, recognizing the lives of great men and women, the idea of liberty.  Needless to say I was hooked.  Putting my son in an educational environment that lays the proper foundation for him to excel is more than half the battle for him in attaining success.  Knowing that this foundation would be properly set would only make his educational opportunities grow.  He applied, was accepted and off we went.

He has been fortunate enough to gain experiences that I feel are unique to the Founders.   For example, he had the opportunity to testify at the State House, to go to NY City to help promote Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness with Nick Adams, to meet various government leaders throughout the state, to witness an executive council session in action.  Experiences that shape and mold him and others into future leaders.  I have found that the families at Founders are truly invested in their children’s education which helps to promote more interaction, discussion and dialogue between the faculty, staff, administration, and parents all resulting in positivity for the students.  Founders provides parents with various opportunities to be involved in decisions that may be outside a parent’s reach in other schools.   Parents feel this and this empowers them to work collaboratively and productively with Founders .      

My satisfaction with Founders is reaffirmed with my second son now attending Founders.  In September, he joined Founders as a freshman, all for the same reasons.

I quietly listen to concerns that I hear other parents raise about their children in high school and think to myself, it is different at Founders - not that Founders is immuned but it is different. Once you set the foundation, the tone, for a good and proper education, great things will surely follow. Founders has the tone that I believe will benefit my children and enhance their education, and social and emotional well-being.  Great things have happened at Founders and I am confident that greater things will continue to follow.

Thank you.

 Laura Gandia at Admissions Information Open House on November 6, 2017

Posted by mmooney  On Nov 07, 2017 at 3:00 PM
  
I am very happy that Dean Mooney asked me to share with you my thoughts about The Founders Academy from a parent’s perspective. 

This is my oldest daughter’s first year here and she is in 6th grade.  Prior to attending The Founders Academy, my daughter went to Mill Falls Montessori Charter School in Manchester.  We really loved Mill Falls and found it to be a great fit for her, academically, socially and emotionally.  

Making the decision to have her start at Founders in 6th grade, rather than finish up at MFCS was not an easy decision.  We attended an Open House, just as you are all here tonight. We listened eagerly hoping to be assured that Founders would be the right choice for her. 
I’m sure we can agree, one of the most important responsibilities for us as parents is providing our children with the best education possible.  It was also important for us to find a school that provided opportunities for the students to grow in character, independence and self confidence.  
I have to admit, that while we toured Founders that evening, I was faced with many feelings.  I felt excited for the idea of it being a great school, nervous that “what if it wasn’t the right school for her?” as well as a thousand questions that my husband and I would rake through while creating lists of pros and cons about whether to start her in a new school, when she was already attending a school that we liked so much.  

It’s important for me to share that I had been a middle school teacher for quite a while prior to having children.  I also had recently gotten back into education, working in a middle school special ed department. With the experiences that I had as a teacher, one thing kept surfacing in conversations with my husband about whether our daughter should start in 6th grade or wait until 7th grade to apply.  That was the fact that I knew how important 6th grade was to students when starting in a middle school.  Sixth grade is transitional year for students to learn how to navigate through the new expectations, schedule and responsibilities of being a middle school student.  I knew that as someone who taught 6th grade, it had certainly been part of my job to make sure my students were given the structure and supports that they needed to succeed and become more self sufficient.  I kept coming back to the thought that I wouldn’t want her to miss out on that very important year. 

Ultimately, it was my daughter that made the final decision to begin Founders for grade 6.  I knew that she was ready by the time we were in the summer months.  She was excited to begin the next step in her education.  And despite it being bittersweet, our daughter growing up...her father and I were feeling eager to see what possibilities would present themselves to her.

So...that’s how we made our decision.  A decision that I can say was absolutely the right one for our daughter.  She definitely was ready for the added challenges of attending a school with high expectations and a rigorous course load.  As I expected, it has certainly been a year of transitions thus far.  Managing a heavy amount of homework, balancing schoolwork with extracurricular activities and providing strategies for her to be successful with time management.  

I have watched her grow tremendously since starting the school year.  She has learned how to advocate for herself through sending emails to her teachers, continuously manages the work for her classes and meeting new friends.  She has enjoyed getting involved with the sewing club and attending school dances.  She has even started helping out with running the school store.  I love getting to hear all about what goes on in her classes and what she’s working on.  It is so wonderful getting to watch her grow and to see her happy and engaged in her school experiences.  She is shining at Founders and I couldn’t be happier!

~ Traci Strub
Posted by mmooney  On Mar 06, 2017 at 8:07 AM
  
Honestly, as my son was successfully completing 5th grade, we never considered The Founders Academy as the right fit for us.  I have been working in public schools for 15 years.  I am a strong advocate for supporting our local public schools.  He is a good student, an athlete, and gets along great with his peers.  He will do fine at Southside and we still believe he would have.

He chose The Founders Academy.  We toured both schools and reviewed all things to be considered for his 6th grade education.  Having the opportunity to make this choice for himself has been the greatest gift.  He chooses to work hard and take advantage of variety of learning that takes place at The Founders Academy (even chorus).  He chooses to make learning a priority and enjoys the challenge of the curriculum.  We believe that The Founders Academy has helped make Adam a strong student and community member because he learned how to educate himself on his school options to choose the best fit for him."   - A current 6th grade parent
Posted by mmooney  On Feb 06, 2017 at 5:12 PM
  
"Since our son entered Founders as a 7th grader this year, we have seen a momentous leap forward. In only five months, we have seen an improvement in his ability to craft good sentences, he has a more consistent grasp of foundational math concepts, and we have noticed a new found ability and desire to verbally express his ideas.  We researched the Classical style thoroughly before choosing Founders so we knew there would great benefits to the cross subject integration, repetition, and class discussions. Nonetheless, the quickness with which his skills improved surprised us very much. We have been very happy with our choice to send our son to Founders and are very thankful to Founders' teachers and staff commitment to the Classical approach."   - Parents of a 7th Grader.
Posted by mmooney  On Jan 17, 2017 at 9:25 AM
  
My name is Lori Olsen, my son Garrett is in 9th grade and my daughter Sadie is in 6th grade.  A couple of years ago, we sat where you are tonight, to learn more about this new charter school.   We were certainly impressed by what we heard, and my son was truly excited about the possibility of attending.  When I asked him why he felt this school would be a good fit for him he said “ It really seems like it’s more than just a school - it’s different, more like a community."

I can honestly say, that two years later, those words have certainly proven to be true.    I am always impressed by the way the school, both teachers and students, all work together to make this school so much more than just a place to come and learn math, english, and history.  It truly is a community-fostering mutual respect between the students and their families,  teachers and administration.   The bar is set high and the expectations are great.  The teachers ask for and expect a lot from their students - but not without providing support and guidance every step of the way.  

In the two years that we have been a part of the school, it has become clear that the passion the teachers possess is second to none.   I will never forget when my son came home last year - over the moon excited because his history class was going to be re-enacting the battle of Lexington and Concord.  The day came and he couldn’t wait to get to school and be a part of the re-enactment as the rest of the school was going to watch.  At that moment, it became clear to me that he would be learning so much more than facts from a book, and required to do so much more than memorize facts for a test.    Other events such as mock debates, reading and discussing classical literature in Hearkness roundtable discussions and participating in many engaging, hands-on science labs are just a few more examples of the “out of the box” methods the teachers utilize to make school a fun environment for the students to learn.  My kids are excited to go  to school, and when I pick them up at the end of the day they are enthusiastic about what they’ve done.  I love the fact that many teachers will give homework in the form of “projects” as my son tends to be more of a creative person and that allows him to be able to use his creativity while he learns. My son is a part of drama club, and my daughter has joined the spirit club. They have been able to participate in a spelling bee and the talent show, and get to explore and learn more about the arts through both band and chorus.  They’ve had opportunities to meet and hear state, local and national public figures speak.  I can honestly say that their education here is well rounded.  

As a parent, it is important to me that my children aspire to become the best they can be - the best possible versions of themselves. I truly believe that the values that The Founders Academy instills in them - to demonstrate exceptional character, to become leaders and productive citizens in their community, are wonderful building blocks for them as they grow and forge their own paths.  

I will close by saying that my family is honored to be a part of The Founders Academy and we look forward to many more years here as it continues to grow. 
Posted by mmooney  On Dec 02, 2016 at 4:01 PM
  
We are so happy we chose Founders.  We wanted to take this opportunity to share our sincere gratitude to The Founders Academy. Our daughter is a 7th grade student. Our transition to Founders has been remarkable and we can’t stop recommending that every parent who has a vested interest in their child’s future must consider Founders. We couldn’t be happier with our decision!

We love that you hire teachers who are passionate about what they teach, as opposed to what certificate they received in college. This single piece of information that we received at the information session nearly sealed the deal for us. To have teachers who are excited about what they teach is contagious.  Our daughter has immersed herself in subjects that we thought were going to be a struggle.

Dean Mooney visits the lunch tables and asks how everyone is doing. This simple act of kindness is genuine and immeasurable. It means so much to the kids and parents alike.

We appreciate the teacher correspondence. It is a lot of work and absolutely remarkable how much time and effort is spent ensuring the students have everything they need to be successful. What more can a parent ask for?  

What is most important to us when our daughter leaves Founders is that she leaves as a remarkable human being. Despite what grades and test scores she receives, we want so very much for her to be confident and kind and to know that she can do anything. We see that this core, that is significant in our belief system, is also built into the foundation at Founders. Thank you!

Thank you for allowing me to take the opportunity to commend the Founders' staff for truly caring for the heart and soul of the academy, the students. We feel you have partnered with us and are working with us by supporting their education and future.

We look forward to the future and all that The Founders Academy has to offer.
With sincere appreciation,

Sean & Mel Decowski
Posted by mmooney  On Sep 23, 2016 at 8:08 AM
  
"I am so very thankful for the education and culture that is provided to my daughter at The Founders Academy.  She had been there since its opening and has had opportunities that a traditional public school is unable to provide.  She has flourished as she gets involved with various clubs and activities.  The staff is competent, providing proper discipline along with quality instruction.  I couldn't be more satisfied with The Founders Academy.  Thanks for allowing us to have a choice that is a good fit for my child!"  - Jennifer Girard
Posted by mmooney  On Aug 06, 2016 at 10:38 AM
  
I love this school for my daughter. She has never been more happy at a school before. She has great grades, I have never seen them like this in a long time. She feels comfortable when she comes to school and she always comes back home with a smile on her face saying her day was amazing. She tells me how much she has been learning and she tells me whenever she gets stuck on something the teachers are always there for her. It shows how a well run and well managed charter school is much better than a poorly run public school. I'm very proud of her and I'm very happy with how far her education has grown since she left her other school.  
~Patricia M. Tierney
Posted by mmooney  On Jun 22, 2016 at 11:33 AM
  
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