The Epiphany School of Global Studies Reviews (1)
The school is advertised as a Judeo Christian school with lots of emphasis on [redacted]. The school has made changes to the curriculum that is not in line with Judeo-Christian values, primarily the decision to support the teaching of Evolution over Creationism. When discussing my concerns with the Elementary school principal I was told "We actually consider ourselves an Independent school rather than a Christian School". I chose this school based upon the Christian values advertised on their website.Product_Or_Service: TuitionDesired SettlementFull Refund of Tuition based upon the fact that the school did not deliver the advertised values they promote on their website. I moved 40 miles for my son to attend this school and was thus locked into a 1 year home lease.Business Response As the divisional principal, I invited Mrs. [redacted] in to have a discussion about the myriad of reasons she shared with me, via the telephone, regarding why she had chosen not to re-enroll her son. Mrs. [redacted] stated that she was very happy with the education that her child has received at The Epiphany School of Global Studies this year. She expressed her disappointment in the fact that we had chosen to teach evolutionism over creationism. The reasoning is fully explained in our website, but is essentially this: As a college preparatory school, the Board of Trustees and the Administration believes it is critical to expose our students to the scientific theory tested on AP Biology exams, and the scientific theory that the vast majority of colleges expect in their admitted students. Students are welcome to discuss creation stories in the classroom when such discussions are appropriate. The quote in the complaint is also taken out of context. My explanation consisted of stating that we are not a traditional Christian school, in that we are not affiliated with a particular church or any specific denomination. Our Guiding Principle plainly states: We are a Community of open-hearted faith, where Christian tradition is celebrated. I explained that we are, in essence, an independent school where instruction is not aligned with any denominational beliefs, though Christian tradition is an inherent aspect of our school culture. Mrs. [redacted] was reminded that our students attend weekly chapel services (one of which even included the creation story), have morning meetings with include daily devotionals, and celebrate many important Christian holidays. Mrs. [redacted] even acknowledged that her son engaged her in a conversation about Lent and how he could give up something. Prior to enrollment, Mrs. [redacted] toured our school with Mrs. [redacted] our Director of Admissions, and had ample opportunity to ask specific questions related to the educational needs of her son. Further, the website clearly explains how we enact the spiritual traditions at the school and what can be expected. In addition, the Mission and Guiding Principles are prominently posted in a large sign mounted near the library, and it is included in all literature describing the school, and the official school website. The family chose to remain at The Epiphany School of Global Studies for the entire school year, which leads one to conclude that the services rendered have been acceptable.Consumer Response During my discussion with the lower school principal, Ms. [redacted] I discussed several concerns. Among these were Singapore Math, a lack of communication, and the decision to teach Evolution over Creationism. I will address each concern separately .In relation to Singapore Math we discussed how many parents feel uniformed about the teachings and how to help their children with homework. Ms. [redacted] response was that upon implementation it was decided it was better if parents didn't help their children. She stated that because it is a new Math for most parents they would be teaching their child the wrong methods. I have never in my years of education or my child's education had a school administrator or educator not want parents to help reinforce what is being taught at school. As for the lack of communication, I discussed how parents like myself, feel left out and uncertain as to what is going on in the classroom and ultimately feel uncertain how to help their children. I told Ms. [redacted] that I had spoken with another mom that was frustrated because she didn't know her child was struggling with Division until he was selected to stay for tutorial. This mom stated she would have been helping her child at home had this been communicated to her. I also discussed how another parent was in her words, was "Having to play quarterback", trying to coordinate things between her child's teacher and an INDEPENDENT TUTOR. Ms. [redacted] response was to state that she hadn't had any complaints about lack of communication but instead that many parents felt there was too much communication. I told her that knowledge is power and that I try to be an informed parent, including reading the newsletter that I receive via email. She told me that most parents (according to the school's technology that shows them how many parents open and scroll all the way down) don't bother to read the entire email. I reiterated that I am not one of those parents. While I found the overall education to be good , I did have several issues during the school year . I refused to allow my child to do a book report on ,One Crazy Summer by [redacted] which he selected from the school. Due to this book, [redacted]. I emailed, and later discussed with his teacher my concerns and the fact that I had chosen a different book for which to do his report.I, as previously stated, struggled to help my child with Singapore Math and even emailed his teacher at the beginning of the year as to where I could find help. This was a futile effort ,so I went on [redacted] and bought Singapore Math books to try and educate myself. I received mixed messages from the school, in that his teacher would ask me to help him work on something at home, while Ms. [redacted] stated it was better if parents didn't help.We also went several months not knowing what was the expected procedure for getting a book report form due to poor communication from the classroom. I never understood why his teacher didn't realize right away that he wasn't asking for the new form, but instead using one that I had made copies of at the beginning of the year. Communication between the classroom and home has been non-existent.Ms. [redacted] stated in her response to my complaint that Epiphany is a Non-Denominational school. During Lent my son was led to believe he would be in trouble if he didn't give up something for Lent. Our conversation was not as Ms. [redacted] described, in that he came home and told me he "had" to give up something for six weeks not that he wanted to give up something .Her response was that he must have misunderstood when she was discussing giving up soft drinks during Chapel.. I told Ms. [redacted] that I discussed with my child that we are not Catholic and instead believe God gave us lot of wonderful things for us to enjoy. I didn't have a problem with him learning about Lent but instead having him feel as though he would be in trouble for not celebrating Lent. Don't tell me the school is a Non Denomination School when this indicates promotion of a particular religious belief.My biggest issue to be discussed was Evolution vs Creationism. I told Ms. [redacted] that I was very shocked and disappointed that Epiphany had made the decision to promote Evolution over Creationism which was revealed to parents in an email after the Christmas break. This discourages children from voicing their own views as they don't want to be ostracized by their peers because they don't believe in the "Theory of Evolution". Everyone knows that children are generally not going to challenge people in a position of authority even if they feel differently." I had told Ms. [redacted] in a previous phone conversation that I was enrolling my son in a different Christian school for the upcoming school year due to the schools decision on this matter. I openly stated to Ms. [redacted] what I told the Administrator at the new school when asked why I made the decision to leave Epiphany, which was this: "I was sold a bill of goods that I didn't receive." I further stated that it seemed the school is suffering from an identity crisis as to whether it is a secular or Christian school. It was at this point that Ms. [redacted] stated that Epiphany is really more of an independent school rather than a Christian school, which is not the way they describe themselves on their website. ( Ms. [redacted] doesn't deny in her own statement that she indeed told me this, but is now trying to distance herself from her statement.) I told Ms. [redacted] that it is fine to be an independent school for the parents that choose that and that there are many good ones in the area, such as [redacted] or [redacted] but the reason I chose Epiphany was based upon the values that were promoted during the school tour and on the website in February 2013. The website has since changed to reflect the school's own "evolution" and was later revealed to parents in an email. That email directed parents through several steps which ultimately led them to the National Science Teachers Association for the actual Philosophical statement. The school sends a very convoluted message in stating they are a Christian school while discouraging teaching Creationism. In relation to my son attending for the entire school year, it was well known to the staff that our family moved 40 miles away from where we were living and where I am employed in order to facilitate my child attending what I believed was a Judeo-Christian school. We are locked into a one year lease on the home in which we currently reside. Furthermore, I am responsible for payment for the entire year because these issues didn't arise until after the cut-off point that would have allowed me to withdraw my child without having to pay for the entire second semester, per the schools own financial policy outlined below. RESPONSIBILITY IN CASE OF WITHDRAWAL _______ PARENT INITIALS Once a new school year is underway (by July 1st), we expect that a student will be enrolled for the entire year of instruction. Tuition is not based on daily or monthly attendance. Budgets and employee contracts are set according to expected enrollment for the year. As such, families who withdraw a student will be responsible for payments as follows: 1) If written notice of withdrawal for the upcoming school year is submitted prior to July 1st, the family will not be responsible for payment. Tuition deposits will not be returned. 2) If written notice of withdrawal is submitted on or after July 1st, the family will be responsible for the entire 1st semester of tuition. 3) If written notice of withdrawal year is submitted on or after December 15th, the family will be responsible for the entire 2nd semester of tuition. I certainly wasn't going to "give" money to a school that was not delivering for which I was paying. My whole complaint comes down to one thing, and that is that I was lead to believe I was paying for my son to attend a Judeo-Christian school, but as Ms. [redacted] herself stated, they are an "Independent school".Most of the time people say, "You get what you pay for",. This is definitely not the case here. As previously stated, I was sold a bill of goods I didn't receive.