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tsavoie

The Rock School/RAPA

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tsavoie

My son is at the Rock School in Pennsylvania. He just started there this year as a junior, and I have been very happy with his progress. THe academics are good and his dancing has really advanced. I especially like the fact that the people in charge communicate well with us and seem to care for the whole kid, not just the dancing.

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BW

Where exactly do the students at The Rock study? Is it true that some attend local schools and some do correspondence classes?

 

If cahill, or anyone else for that matter :wub: , is looking for a ballet residency program then Nutmeg and NCSA come to mind, too. I have no idea what the likelihood of a student entering any of these programs might be as a senior, but since it's being discussed, I thought I'd throw this into the mix.

 

Of course, there is going to be a difference in academics with this list of schools and that may very well be key.

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tsavoie

I think that some of the kids live in Philadelphia and might attend school and then dance at the ROck. THe RAPA kids all take classes (academic there) They have an online program that they submit tests to, but there is a teacher onsite. One of the rooms in the dorm is a school room. THey have scheduled academic times around the dance. THe kids are responsible for keeping up with the schoolwork on their own. THe academic dean helps with problems, guidance and teaches some class work. If they run into big problems, tutors are provided. I know there are a few kids that do not live in the dorm, but come to academic and dance with the other RAPA kids.

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BW

Thanks tsavoie - after I asked that question I looked it up on The Rock's site: academics and I see they use the Keystone program which I am familiar with.

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tsavoie

The more advanced kids also take online college credit classes. I think they use those to replace the AP classes kids in high school take.

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balletbooster

I realize that the RAPA program is rather new, but I was wondering what kind of statistics they have accumulated for SAT scores for their students? How do those scores compare with the top high schools in the state? For those who do not gp directly to a pro career, are they getting into highly competitive academic colleges?

 

You mention just one classroom. Are students attending courses online and the onsite teacher is simply there to answer questions or are there separate classes for each grade/subject scheduled throughout the day? (Doesn't seem like that could happen with just one classroom?) Is the cost of the online courses included in their tuition or are these paid separately, depending upon student needs?

 

Anyway, I haven't heard much about the academics associated with this program and since we are discussing this program with more traditionally academically oriented schools, such as St. Pauls or Walnut HIll, I thought it would be good if you could provide more detailed information for comparison purposes.

 

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge on the board!

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cahill

Wow! Thanks for all this information. To give you additional information from my previous post that will answer your questions:

 

My DD will be a senior next year. The director of her school has told her that she should find a school for next year that will give her training a step up from what she is getting now. Pas and more variations is what she is talking about I believe. Her teachers have always told her that she has a nice facility for ballet and great stage presence. We have been encouraged by her summer audition acceptances the last two years so I do have to believe there is some talent there. She wants a school with good classical training and needs to finish high school. She is currently doing independent study. I want her in a dorm environment not a host family situataion.

 

We have looked at the Rock and she has auditioned there. It seems like a very good program.

 

Also, along this line, is it appropriate to call the schools where acceptances have been received for this summer and talk to them about the probability of acceptence to their year around program? In our case we will have to make a decision before August.

 

Thanks for your help!

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cahill

tsavoie

 

Can you tell me more about the Rock. How many kids are in your son's class? How many guy's How many girls? The teachers seem to have a really great performing background but can they teach? How is the supervision re the academics and social issues?

 

I never thought I would be asking these questions for High School!

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tsavoie

Here is what I know. They had or 8 seniors graduate last year. I know that one went to Julliard, I can not remember where the others attended college. Several are dancing. I know that you can check their academic credentials through the Pennsylvania dept of ed. The teacher is actually called the dean of academics. SHe oversees their general curriculum and helps out with their work. In specific areas there are tutors that come in once or twice a week-I think for foreign language,science and math. The kids all work at their own level, picture one room school as a model. SAT scores are fairly good-again Dept Of Ed has these numbers and the ROck is happy to share them. My son went from a homeschool environment, so he was good with the amount of flexibility andaccountability involved. He has found it similar to his older brother's experience with college. The kids do have to be responsible for getting their work done in a way that a traditional classroom does not expect.

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tsavoie

On the social side of things-- It seems they have plenty of time to socialize. Dancing eats into that time, he spends alot of hours in rehearsals. THey are well supervised and don't go out alone, ever. There are many rules about where they can go in the city and who they can go with. He of course complains that the rules are too many. The opposite sexes have to stay out of each others rooms and its funny to see the kids make sure their toes don't cross the doorway as they lean in to talk to each other. Whatever you are told about the rules, they do follow them. It is not just lip service to make parents happy. He seems to have settled in pretty well.

 

THe dance classes are good. He was guest dancer at his home studio for Nutcracker this year and I was amazed at the difference after only a few months. There are only about 33 RAPA kids, so the classes during the day are not huge. I think he said there are 8 boys out of the 33. They also take classes in the evening with the upper level kids that are not boarders. I'm not sure about the size of those classes. Bo and Stephany both teach technique classes, Mr Glassman teaches men's technique, I'm not sure who does partnering, and it sounds like most rehearsals are with Chris Fleming.

 

If I can answer more stuff, ask and I will try. I know more about the non-dance questions than the dance ones. Maybe one of the kids on the board is a student and can better answer those.

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cahill

tsavoie

 

Thanks for your information it has been very helpful. My daughter has been on independent study for 3 years so I know that she will do fine with the school set up. She will be half way thru the senior year as she has worked ahead. Although I do not know how CA requirements transfer to PA. We are waiting to see if I can get an answer on a local school here as we would prefer her to stay here next year. That way she could finish with her schooling and live at home. She would get excellent training, not sure if she will get in. Once we know that answer we will decide if we should visit the school.

 

Several other questions: Are all RAPA kids in the same lever during the day? The resident chaperones, how many are there and do they have male and female? As a parent, do you have a contact person to call to inquire about your son? When you say they cannot go out alone, can a group of kids go together or does an adult chaperone go with them? Do they live across the street in the apartment building? (no public transportation for evening rehearsals?) What is the performance opportunity?

 

thanks again for your time!

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tsavoie

I think there are different levels for dance, if that is what you are asking. THey live right across the street from the dance studio, so no need for public transpotation. (Its only 4 lanes and 2 sidewalks away from home). There are 2 RA's-both female at this time, and there are 2 other people that relieve them so they get some time away from the kids. I have not spoken with any of the dance instructors, but when I try to contact the housing or academic people, I hear back within a couple of hours, usually faster. My son has performed quite a bit. They do in-studio performances for people that sound like benefactors, performances in public schools in the area, he was in Nutcracker(of course!), they went to NYC to perform once--seems to be clse to weekly performances of one kind and another. They are allowed out without adults. Has to be certain number of kids in the group, sign out and in, use only cabs, not subways, the different ages have different times to be in. THey are allowed to visit in the halls and in the lounge, with certain times to be in their rooms depending on what night of the week. It seems a good bridge between home and starting the career to me. It gives a chance of independence, but still with supervision. Although, if given a choice, I would love to have had another year with him home. He is thriving and the school seems to be doing a good job of the responsibilty of looking after the kids and giving them a good education-both academic and dance.

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cahill

It does sound very good. I sure know what you mean about wishing he could be home. It sure will be different around here if she is gone next year! At least you are pretty close. It would be a huge change for DD as she in a true California girl. She has seen snow one time and was not impressed! What a change that will be as I am a PA native and spent many cold and snowy years in Chicago so I know what those winters can be like.

 

I will be in touch as we narrow our decision!

 

Thanks again!

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molcol

Cahill

 

tsavoie is pretty right on with the info on the Rock. I will add that our daughter transferred this year as a Junior from a traditional public high school. She has found the academics challenging but now prefers this independent approach after a period of adapting. The academic director and her assistant are very dedicated and helpful. The RAPA students meet in the "lounge" at 8:30 every morning and get started on the academics. At 10:30 they adjourn and head across the street to the Rock School studios and take class from 11:00 to 1:00. If they are involved in rehearsals, they stay at the studios, if not it's back to the lounge for more adademics. Dance class resumes at 4:00 and goes until 6:00 pm.

 

There are two levels of dance for the year-round students, level 4 and 5. There is a very nice variety of instructors. Probably 4 or 5 regulars, with occasional visits by guest faculty.

 

Rules are tight and meant to be respected. They do deal with disciplinary issues seriously. The housing is really pretty nice. They are in a group of neighboring apartments on one floor of the building. They are house 2 or 3 to a room which is basically a studio apartment with it's own kitchen and bathroom. Meals are catered.

 

I would recommend a visit to the school during the regular school year. It is really important to see the program in full swing. This was a tough decision for us to send her away, giving her up earlier than we would have liked to. She loves her experience there and this is what makes it all okay for us.

 

Hope this additional feedback helps you. Good Luck!

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cahill

molcol

 

Thanks so much for the additional information. Yes, we would prefer to have her home with us as well. This is a hard decision to make.

 

I am surprised that the meals are "catered" how does your daughter like the food? Is it like a cafeteria or more like family style? Do the take the food back to the apt or eat in a group? It is nice that they do not have to prepare their own meals. With their own kitchen they have the best of both worlds.

 

Yes, we will definately plan on a visit. I would like her to take some classes there. Did you daughter go there for her audition?

 

Interesting, I see that you are from CA also.

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