The information I obtained was invaluable. What I already felt to be true was confirmed: We have an extremely dedicated, talented, and caring group of faculty and staff who love our children and our school community. Every single member of our faculty and staff could be making more money (sometimes MUCH more money) working in a public school or in the business world, but they choose to stay at Houston Academy because they love it.
To this end, as I mentioned above, I asked the faculty and staff the question, "What do you like about HA?" Here is a sampling of the answers I received:
"I enjoy coming to work every day. I love the kids, and the people are great."However, the most prevalent theme came down to one simple word: family.
"I love working at a place where the kids love coming to school."
"I feel like I've died and gone to teacher heaven... I feel like we are making an investment in our kids."
"The school is challenging; children believe they can achieve their dreams; DREAMS LIVE HERE."
"There is strong parent and administrative support."
"My kids came here from [private school in Dothan]. I was shocked to see how far they were behind the other HA kids, but the great thing is, the teachers were so supportive, and my children caught up.I feel so happy now, knowing how well prepared my kids are for college."
"Everyone is so kind."
"HA is full of happy, positive people."
"I like that we are independent and can make our own rules and curriculum."
We all know that HA offers the only true, rigorous college preparatory curriculum in the Wiregrass. However, I was a little surprised to find out that our rigor and educational quality was not what people on the faculty felt was the best aspect of the school. Instead, they thought it was our family environment:
"HA looked out for my family. When we had problems, the people here were there for us."
"It's a family atmosphere where my children feel safe - both emotionally and physically."
"It's like a little family. People take care of each other, and the teachers treat the children like their own."
"It's a family. Everyone is genuine."
"I like that I really get to know the kids. I know them almost as well as I know my own. It's a family"
Of the almost 90 meetings I had with faculty and staff, the word "family" came up over 70 times. As a parent who chose to put my three children in school at HA, I have to admit, I got a little choked up, and was extraordinarily touched, listening to the teacher stories about how the HA family had positively impacted their life and the lives of the children in our care. It's great to know that my three kids will receive an unbelievable college preparatory education at HA; it's even better to know they will be loved.