Treasure State Academy

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A newcomer to Great Falls has posted a question over on the Tribune’s Forum, asking for insight into the Treasure State Academy: “Looking for feedback from persons who have personal experience with Treasure State Academy.” I certainly don’t, but there’s some basic demographic information about the school available, and I suspect that some of you folks might have some information to share. How about it?



  1. I knew some kids who went there when I was in school (20 plus years ago), and the school curriculum was ‘paces’. You did work at your own pace, but there was little classroom interaction. If you wanted to ask a question, you had a flag on your desk that you had to raise to talk. This sounded to me a lot like home schooling. There is a strict dress code–girls can wear dresses, skirts or maybe coolots (sp), but no pants period. The boys I believe had to wear shirts and ties. This school is affiliated with the Fairview Baptist Church here in town. I’m sure there are others out there who know more, but this is how it used to be. For some, it works, but for others, it might be too strict.

    Another option if one is looking for a private school is Foothills Community Christian school. They have regular classes like public school, but it is Christian based, but not a strict doctrine. They do have guidelines for what can be worn, but they are in place so that it doesn’t become too much of a fashion show. I suggest checking out all the private schools in town…the Catholic schools are very good as well–and I’m not Catholic, so this is an unbiased opinion.

  2. I went to this school through grades 4-10. I am a super senior now at skyline, finishing my semester’s worth of work in english left to graduate. I would have been out sooner, but my dad forced me to stay because he is narrow minded and had some biased problem against public schools. He would always say “Im not having my child in a public school where they use the ‘dumbing-down process.'” But I feel like thats what I got from TSA(Treasure State Academy). This is going to be long because this place has effected me personally in a not-so-good way. I might have a hard time keeping this organized and straight to the point because of that, but here it is…
    I was put in this school in the 4th grade after the previous christian school I was going to(river of life)had been shut down due to financial reasons. At first I didnt mind TSA too much, I was still very social and got along well with the kids there. The way the learning took place there was that everyone had their own little cubicle(a desk separated by other students cubicles by “wings”) and we worked independantly on our “paces”. Some other things I remember being strange were how scared the majority of the elementary class were to do anything infront of an audience. I mean I know alot of people have fear of public speaking but younger kids usually arent as shy as these kids were. Im guessing its because of the lack of class interaction. We had ‘show and tell’ every week, and I was one of the few bold enough to even want to get up infront of everyone and speak. If any of the others were forced to do anything like that they would freeze up from their shyness, which stayed with them as they got older. I never felt any fear of performing for an audience when I was young, but it seems that over time I observed the way these kids acted toward that sort of thing I became shy as well. Its almost like you were “weird” if you werent afraid. I think thats what I hated most about my experience there, because it was always like that the whole time I was there. I grew up with that fear, and I still have it.
    As I grew older and was in my middle school period (grades 6-8) I began to think that I was being deprived with my schooling. the education wasnt of good quality, the number of students was declining, and school activities were nonexsistent. The only thing that kept me happy there was a puppy love crush I had on a boy in my class. But by my freshman year, I was over that crush, and I really was realizing how much I hated being there.
    I never had any friends outside TSA, and now that I think of it, its hard to remember when I stopped being friends with anyone not going to that school. I suppose it was due to the fact that I started out young, and most kids might simply change their friends along with their schools. I remember feeling very ignorant, sheltered, and just plan stupid compared to kids that didnt go to TSA. I felt like I could never relate to anyone that didnt go there. I mean I wasnt totally sheltered from the world, because I did have a home which had a tv, and a computer with internet to at least know SOME things that were “worldly”, but I never hung around with any kids outside TSA, and I was afraid they would think I was mentally challenged or just a dweeb. But it went deeper than people thinking I was a geek, I just didnt feel as smart as the average person. I felt brainwashed by TSA. Its hard to explain what exactly caused me to feel all these things, because the damage was done after a good amount of years.

    I began to slack with my schoolwork. If you knew what sitting in a cubicle doing your pace work was like, youd get sick of it after a few years as well. Its just not very stimulating to some. I think I slowly fell to being about a half year behind in my work.

    This doesnt even cover all the issues of hypocracy you get from being involved with fundamental baptists when you yourself are NOT baptist. My parents are pentacostal(or whatever) meaning they arent as conservative. Some annoying things that go on with that are the issues of girls wearing pants, “rock n roll” music, and other oh so bad worldly things. I once showed up to fairview baptist church wearing pants and I was sent to the principles office the next school day. That church sermon I attended had nothing to do with school. So yes, they expect to have control over your lifestyle outside school. Theres many other ridiculous expectations that they have there, but they dont matter to me anymore because I wont have to deal with it again, and I probably shouldnt remind myself or else I will probably go into a fit of cursing and insults against them.

    On with my story. I wanted out, but at the same time I didnt think Id stand a chance in public school. I didnt think I was good enough to keep up with the education, with all the “normal” people, all the teachers, and just the environment. The thought seriously made me sick and scared. I find it sad that I had to feel that way. The summer after my 10th year my parents had separated, and that was my chance to get out of tsa with my dad being gone. So fast foward to my enrollment.. I had a meeting with the Principal of CMR to figure out where I was with my grade level. I was very confused when he used terms like “english 3-4” or “foundmentals of science”. I was confused because I was so used the ACE Curriculum of pace levels. I felt intimidated. So in that meeting the pricipal decided to have me start off as a sophomore again. So there I was, below average again, but that wasnt my first concern. I just hoped that adjusting wouldnt be too painful. I wont go into that story, but I’ll just say its been very hard to feel like the timid little retarded student that isnt even suppose to be in your grade… because Im behind. After a year and a half I felt that public school was really taking a toll on me, and that adjusting was too difficult. I remember how much of a nightmare formal speeches were. I never had to do anything like that in my life until I went to public school! It was the thing I dreaded most before I went to public school. The idea of class discussion or reading out loud made me sick with fear. I felt like people would be able to see how scared I was, or unintelligent. Its too bad that someone has to feel that way about something that isnt anything to someone else. The first speech I did, I was so scared over it that I decided I would drink alcohol for so I wouldnt be shaking with fear when I performed it. It actually went ok though. But I knew I wouldnt be able to just get drunk or high everytime I had to do something infront of the class, and each time I had to do any kind of speech it was hard for me to prepare for it because that was all I would think about. My fear. I wouldnt sleep either. I was drained. So I left CMR and switched to skyline. Its an alternative school, where most of the work is independent but alot of classroom seminars take place, and there is a teacher expert for each course available there. There arent as many kids going to the school, which makes it alot less stressful for someone like me. Its a good school, and students are respected by teachers and in return are also respected.

    heres a little something on the ACE Curriculum itself that Treasure State Academy that wraps things up better than I could. I think any student under ace could REALLY relate to this. it almost makes something inside you enthusiastically root the author on.

    this was in a blog:

    One of my TV locations was a London school that follows the (American) Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) syllabus. The day after watching my show, three colleagues told me they had interviewed, for a place at university, a young woman who had been taught (not at the same school) using ACE. She turned out to be the worst candidate they had ever encountered. She had no idea that thinking was even an option: her job was either to know or guess the “right” answer. Worse, she had no clue how bad she was, having always scored at least 95 per cent in exams – the National Christian Schools Certificate (NCSC).

    this was on a definition-type site where individuals can post:

    Step back guys, I feel a rant bubbling up…
    Ah, Accelerated Christian Education. They now call themselves by the fifties-ish appellation “School of Tomorrow,” apparently without even a sliver of irony. Faugh.

    This is a hideously condescending system of private-school education that consisted, in my day at least, of having students work “at their own pace,” but really struggling almost unaided through 60 workbooks a year, in little partitioned desks whose primary resemblance is to office cubicles. These workbooks, called PACEs (standing for “Packet of Accelerated Christian Education”) are liberally sprinkled with the most inane, poorly-drawn cartoons you will ever see, most of which featuring simplistic morals and cookie-cutter characters in self-righteous situations. Therein we are introduced to Ace (“Ace-ee”) and his friends Christi, Reginald and, representing all the ugly people of this great world, Happy, with his buck teeth and cross-eyed expression, who, if memory serves, is assured has a place on this Earth in blue-collar employment. All the characters, both the “good” (e.g. Christians) and “evil” (e.g. not-yet-Christians) have descriptive last names, as in that overrated religious path-straightener Pilgrim’s Progress, all of which I have graciously forgotten.

    I will not lie, I attended one of these schools for a few years. The curriculum was rarely effective because it was all administered on the honor system, that is, students worked on their own, then put up an American Flag (out of the set of two each had in their individual wooden boxes, an American and a “Christian” flag that consisted, in parallel, of a white field with a red cross on a blue corner ) on top of their cubicle to get permission to rise and walk to the checking tables in order to score one’s own work. (The Christian flag, it must be said, was used to gain permission to go to the bathroom, so that one could worship his holy excrement upon the porcelain altar.) Because the system was rife with opportunity to cheat, most people who emerged from our institution went on to plummet out of college, and even I, who am honest almost to the point of idiocy and didn’t cheat, had to unlearn some really stupid habits picked up in that place. Though the use of self-initiated work theoretically taught initiative and self-reliance, it seemed more often to teach the fine art of waiting half an hour for someone to answer the damn flag so one could get up and walk the three feet to the answer keys, and thus taught dependence, stall tactics (since I have seen no other place which provided so many excuses not to do work), and either mindless obedience to authority (if one waited for an answered flag) or rebellion (if one did not). The school seemed primarily to be about rolling over and letting authority rub your belly than anything else.

    this at wikipedia:

    “If parents want their children to obtain a very limited and sometimes inaccurate view of the world – one that ignores thinking above the level of rote recall – then the ACE materials do the job very well. The world of the ACE materials is quite a different one from that of scholarship and critical thinking” (p 523) Fleming, D. & Hunt, T. (1987). The world as seen by students in accelerated Christian education. Phi Delta Kappan, 68, 518-523


    This doesnt cover everything experienced here. there were some good times, but really, it was just horrible. Whenever I hear about some parent sending their kid to this school I get very bitter. I feel like too many of them could turn out being like me.

    If anyone has any questions I’d love to hear them, but Im guessing nobody even looks at this page anymore so…

  3. its a very good school most of the information above is correct ~ but i personally had a bad experience there and i will say that they do PUSH their views, religion, and thoughts. do look into the school before you decide ~

  4. Unfortunately, I agree that many schools who use ACE curriculum are sub-standard. This is primarily due to the lack of education by those who operate it. The ACE curriculum is simply a tool, like any curriculum, and is only as effective as those wielding the tool. If someone who is clumsy and untrained uses a hammer, the end result will be pathetic. But put the same tool in the hands of a master carpenter, and you will pay large sums of money for the end result.

    I received my education largely in ACE schools, but my father, who was the administrator, knew who to properly use the “tool”. He was a fantastic teacher, who could make any subject interesting. He loved the freedom given to him by ACE. He constantly went around the room, checked on students and engaged them in conversation about whatever they were learning in their PACES that day. He was exhausted at the end of the day, but he felt that the one-on-one teaching he was able to give each student was worth the exhaustion. He trained all his staff members to do the same and every school he ran was very successful.

    Again, I state that unfortunately, many churches or parents feel that if they purchase ACE curriculum, and go through a weekend seminar, they are then qualified to be a teacher.
    This makes about as much sense as believing that having sex in the back seat of a car makes you a good parent. You may give birth, but you are not necessarily going to be a good parent. In fact, your lack of preparation for such a monumental task proves the opposite.

    I know that some people love to “trash” ACE. The problem lies with the schools’ administrators. I have been hired to teach/tutor many children who received a poor education in the public school. I work with many adults who consistently use incorrect grammar, cannot spell, have no self-discipline, cannot complete assigned task, etc. All of them are graduates of the public school. Yet, I do not blame their inadequecies on the textbooks used in these particular schools. I feel that the problem is the result of poor teaching on the part of the parents and teachers. (Yes, parents are the primary teachers in any child’s life.)

  5. Hmmm…no personal experience with Treasure State Academy, but some with the ACE curriculum. The school I was affiliated with was considered a MODEL school. In order to attain model status, the school had to follow a strict set of guidelines. IMHO, the only benefit from being a model school, tangible or intangible, was the discount afforded to the school by the Corporate Office on PACE material.

    My experience with school work crosses both boundaries. I have worked in both public and private school sectors. To an extent, I agree with Naomi, in as far as public speaking is concerned. But she must also realize that the number one fear of people world wide is to speak in front of their peers. I attended a very highly esteemed college, and even in my speech classes, many of my fellow colleagues were afraid to speak in front of the class.

    I agree with Kate in that you should look into the school before enrolling your child there. Make sure you understand what it is you’re getting your child into.

    I agree with Lynn’s analogy, however, her father did not use the curriculum as stipulated to MODEL status guidelines. I was reprimanded by both the ACE field representative and the administrator of our school for doing as Lynn’s father did; namely interacting with the students individually at their desks. It was deemed a disturbance to the fellow students.

    I still regularly correspond with graduates and former students of the ACE school of which I was a teacher in. All of them agree that if given the opportunity, they would go with traditional schooling, i.e. what you would find in a public school setting.

    The biggest fault I have found with ACE is the lack of social interaction to be had among students and faculty. Many ACE schools also employ teachers who are not qualified to teach the subject material. One of the classes offered at an ACE convention I attended was, “How to Teach Geometry.” It was only an hour long. If a person believes that taking an hour long course on geometry qualifies them to teach an entire high school geometry class, the person has no business teaching.

    On the plus side, hmmm…not too much. The pluses vary among the schools. The only plus side at the school at which I instructed was that it was a structured environment. If your child is a genius who thrives on his or her own, then by all means enroll them in an ACE school if you desire a structured environment. If not, then I highly recommend you reconsider your options.

    In the end, all you get from most ACE schools is a hired baby sitter, and I have a feeling it will not be any different at Treasure State Academy.

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