No, not really. While we end the year at the same time as most other public schools, we operate on a modified calendar. Our students and teachers return in mid-August in order to allow for a number of non-student Professional Development days through the year as well as some extended holidays (including a week off in October). Please consult our annual calendar for specifics.
No, there is no test to get into the school. We have a maximum capacity to the building and so because demand is greater than the space we have, we must maintain a waiting list of people. Families are placed on the waiting list and offered spots based on when they contact the school. Student academic ability or achievement do not determine whether a student is offered a spot in the school – it is based solely on their place on the waiting list.
The demand to get into the school exceeds the capacity we have in the building to place students in classrooms. We place families on the waiting list in order to address this supply and demand issue. We keep 400 names on the grade 4 waiting list. We keep 100 names on the waiting list for grades 5 to 9 because we occasionally have students withdraw from the school and so we need to fill those spots.
We believe it is important to try and keep families together, so we have a sibling clause in our admissions policy that states when one child is admitted to the school their siblings are moved to the top of the list. When siblings from multiple families are on the waiting list for a particular grade they are ordered based on the date the family first contacted the school.
Yes, as with most public schools there are fees. We have an enrichment fee that provides for the many field trips (excluding one of the overnight trips), a laptop or iPad for each student, resources for special events and guests to the school and more. There is a reasonable lunchroom supervision fee as well as a small technology insurance fee (in case of accidental damage to the school-owned laptops or iPads).
No, we do not offer a second language program at this time. Offering such a program would require resources that would be drawn from core programming; our charter document does not include mention of a second language program, so we have not committed resources to it.
Inquiry is a more natural way of learning. At its core, an inquiry-based way of teaching provides for a more authentic way of learning, it is rigorous, it demands the involvement of outside expertise, normally technology plays a role in how information is gathered or how students demonstrate their learning, and it is far more collaborative than a traditional way of teaching and learning. In our experience, an inquiry-based disposition toward learning results in more highly engaged learners.