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FAQ

1. How much does it cost to attend?

It is totally free. Southwest Charlotte STEM Academy is a free, public charter school.

2. What grade levels are offered? 

Grades Kindergarten through sixth are currently offered with 7th grade being added in 2020-2021 and 8th grade added in 2021-2022.

3. Are students required to wear uniforms?

Yes. All grade levels must wear uniforms daily. For PE, there is a uniform as well. SCSA has partnered with an approved vendor that sells all items from the waist above for school uniforms and both tops and bottoms for the PE uniform. Families must purchase from the vendor but bottoms (khaki pants, skirts, etc) for the school uniform can be purchased from a retail supplier such as Target, Land’s End, etc. See our uniform tab on the website for more information. All shoes must be closed toe and closed heel (sneakers or other shoe of choice). It is highly suggested that families purchase more than one uniform as they must be worn daily. Spirit wear will be up for purchase by early August and can be worn on each Friday with a uniform bottom.

4. Is this a lottery process school?

We do participate in the lottery process each February.

5. Is there a sibling guarantee and what happens if a grade level is waited listed (such as Kindergarten) but I have another child in 4th grade?

We will try our best to accommodate families with more than one child seeking entry.

6. What times does school start and end?

School begins for students at 7:45 (arrival and grab and go breakfast) with 8 am starting instructional time and the day ending at 3 pm for ALL grade levels. Before and after school care will be offered for a set fee. 

10. How does the transportation work for the school?

We do offer free bus service for families within a certain  mile radius from the school. Check out our transportation tab on the website for updates on the bus routes, etc. Otherwise, we are prepared to welcome families in carpool each morning and afternoon. 

11. Is there a cafeteria and hot lunch?

Breakfast and lunch are served daily. Families can apply for the free and reduced lunch program as well. 

12. Will there be staggered entry for Kindergarten?

Absolutely! We realize the importance of a smooth transition for our youngest Rockets. Stay posted for specifics on dates and times for staggered entry in August 2020.

13. What curriculum is used at SCSA and do you EOG test?

As our overarching curriculum, we will follow the NC state standards for ELA/Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies and Health/PE. However, as a STEM school, we will also use supplementary materials from STEMScopes, GoMath, Lucy Calkins Reader and Writer’s Workshop as well as a wealth of other aligned resources. Students will benefit from the workshop model, project based learning and a STEM lab in grades K-6 to support growing brains. Our classrooms will reflect a variety of learning styles with high student accountability that fosters inquiry learning. Get ready to hear great stories at your dinner tables!!!

The state End of Grade (EOG) testing program begins in grade 3 for all schools. SCSA does participate in this.

14. Will there be a sports program?

We will be offering boys and girls basketball, cheer and volleyball in 2020-2021.

15. Will SCSA offer clubs and field trips?

Absolutely! There will be at least one field trip per grade level. You will receive information about this trip well in advance from your child’s grade level team. In addition to trips, we will also provide several clubs that involve STEM and other academic interests. Parents will have an opportunity to co-sponsor these clubs as well. 

16. Will there be recess?

An adult monitored recess is offered for at least 30 minutes daily for all students in each grade level. On inclement weather days, students  convene indoors with structured activities that promote movement.

17. Will each student have his/her own laptop?

No…SCSA is not a “one to one” technology school. Each grade level will have a laptop cart to be used daily according to the needs of teachers. 

18. Will my child be able to bring their cell phone to school?

SCSA is equipped with multiple phones all over the school. In the event of an emergency there is a process and a plan to contact parents in a timely manner. Therefore, no students will need cell phones during the school day. Forgiveness will be granted if there is a late evening activity going on where students may need their phones. However, we will properly notify families in this instance. We respectfully ask that phones remain at home or in bookbags during the entire school day.

19. How will the school handle safety and security?

SCSA will always put the welfare and safety of our students, staff and families first. To add, we have a card entry system for all staff and buzz entry doors into the school based on visitors scanning IDs each time. We have a full time school resource officer to support in the building daily. Quarterly drills and conversations will be had with students and staff around safe practices and procedures as well. 

20. Will there be a school nurse?

We do have a part time nurse. 

21. What is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school that operates as a school of choice. Charter schools commit to obtaining specific educational objectives in return for a charter to operate a school. Charter schools adhere to regulations of public schools and do not charge any tuition.

22. Are charter schools free?

Charter schools are tuition-free. As public schools, charter schools are publicly funded by local, state, and federal tax dollars similar to district schools. This funding ensures that charter schools are free to the public and open to all.

23. Are charters public schools?

Yes, charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that operate independently from the school district’s central bureaucracy. Each charter school is governed by its own local school community, which often includes parents and teachers – rather than a district. This freedom allows teachers to be more innovative and signed with their community to shape their local school.

24. Will there be live teaching available via ZOOM for the remote students?  Are the assignments being uploaded for the parents to teach similar to last year?

There will be a balance of BOTH. You can expect an increase of face time from teachers if you choose the remote option. Work packets will also be available weekly or as needed. Parents will have access to the schools to send in completed work, or projects and get new materials etc. It will look differently than it did in March-May. To be clear, parents are not responsible for teaching. Parents should be considered the facilitator of the learning space and making sure their child is logging in, completing assignments, and engaging with the teachers.

25. If the number of live students is only 50% are A/ B days really necessary? Equally as difficult as remote learning?

While this may be challenging for a short while if you have a hard time keeping up with A/B day schedules, we have looked at several options and this is what we think will work best for our school at this time. We will adjust if we can based on the actual number of “live students” and how many can safely fit into a classroom with 6 feet of space.

26. Will EC (Exceptional Children)services be provided for kids who are remote only? Speech via zoom or Google Ed?

Absolutely! The EC dept will be complying with all student needs for IEPs. Additionally, we will be honoring all student 504 plans and ELL (English Language Learners) needs as well. This is for both on campus and remote. 

27. If we commit to a choice is it for the entire year?

We will revisit parent options and progress at the end of 9 weeks, with a possible option to change your selection after the first semester. This is critical for appropriate staffing and planning as it relates to transportation and other contracted services. 

28. During the remote option, how much of each day will be live instruction?

Students and parents can expect it to look differently depending on the age of your child. The minimum however will be 4 hours a day as we look to begin remote instruction at 8:30 and ending at 3. Details regarding each grade level’s remote day will be coming soon. 

29. Will the workshop model be modified to be safe or not done anymore? 

We will definitely continue with the remote model on a modified basis for face to face instruction. We will also offer a variation of the workshop model for remote instruction as well. 

30. Will school start on August 17th.   

Yes. School begins for all on Aug. 17th

31.Will there be live teaching available via ZOOM for the remote students?  Are the assignments being uploaded for the parents to teach similar to last year?

There will be a balance of BOTH. You can expect an increase of face time from teachers if you choose the remote option. Work packets will also be available weekly or as needed. Parents will have access to the school to send in completed work, or projects and get new materials etc. It will look differently than it did in March-May. To be clear, parents are not responsible for teaching. Parents should be considered the facilitator of the learning space and making sure their child is logging in, completing assignments, and engaging with the teachers.

32. If the number of live students is only 50% are A/ B days really necessary? Equally as difficult as remote learning?

While this may be challenging for a short while if you have a hard time keeping up with A/B day schedules, we have looked at several options and this is what we think will work best for our school at this time. We will adjust if we can based on the actual number of “live students” and how many can safely fit into a classroom with 6 feet of space.

33. Will EC (Exceptional Children)services be provided for kids who are remote only? Speech via zoom or Google Ed?

Absolutely! The EC dept will be complying with all student needs for IEPs. Additionally, we will be honoring all student 504 plans and ELL (English Language Learners) needs as well. This is for both on campus and remote. 

34. If we commit to a choice is it for the entire year?

We will revisit parent options and progress at the end of 9 semester 1 (December 2020), with a possible option to change your selection after the first semester. This is critical for appropriate staffing and planning as it relates to transportation and other contracted services. 

35. During the remote option, how much of each day will be live instruction?

Students and parents can expect it to look differently depending on the age of your child. The minimum however will be 3 hours a day as we look to begin remote instruction at 8:30 and ending at 3. Details regarding each grade level’s remote day will be coming soon. 

36. Will the workshop model be modified to be safe or not done anymore? 

We will definitely continue with the workshop model on a modified basis for face to face instruction. We will also offer a variation of the workshop model for remote instruction as well. 

37. If a family selects the remote option will Discovery (Specials/Electives) still be a class and will it be graded?

Discovery classes will still be offered both in person and remotely. However, there will be obvious changes to certain courses as it relates to safe measures. Discovery and Core (ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies) classes will be graded however.  All courses at this time require daily attendance and appropriate participation for progress, completion and grading. 

38. If the teacher gets sick what is the plan to replace the teacher? 

We will  work to cross train staff and build a consistent substitute pool as we did in year one at SCSA. If teachers may need to quarantine we will support them and consider transitioning the class to remote if needed.

39. Will remote learners be required to wear uniforms?

Yes. Uniforms will be required for students learning on campus. Students that are remote will be required to wear uniforms tops as well. We will observe some school spirit (out of uniform) days as well.

You can get a start with ordering uniforms by visiting the uniform website here: https://inunisonkids.com/uniform/charlotte-south-carolina/southwest-charlotte-stem-academy.html

40. What type of testing is being put in place for the school staff as the schools reopen?  

Health protocols will be required daily for all students and all staff and any required volunteers or support resources on campus. 

41. Will there be a shortened bell schedule?

The school day (8-3) will not be shortened for on campus learning. We will take the first 30 days to “fine tune” the schedule to best meet the needs of conducting safe practices and what works best for teachers and students

42. How will bus riding be handled?

Buses will be held to capacity maximums of approximately ⅓ of current ridership. This also impacts our B option model to an A/B schedule to accommodate bus ridership by household.  We are still working on transportation logistics. Some families who choose live instruction may still opt to NOT ride the bus for an additional layer of distancing and protection. 

43Is there a plan to clean or sanitize between the A days and B days?

Absolutely! We have already started conversations with our contracted custodial services to increase their staff so that we can best meet the increased needs and have a very consistent cleaning routine throughout the school day and before the next group comes in. We also have purchased EPA approved cleaning products and UV lights/lamps/wands to sanitize classrooms and traffic areas. 

 44. Will elementary alternate A/B days as well as middle school?

Yes. All grades will follow the hybrid schedule for on campus learning. 

45. Can my child get a laptop on loan from the school?

Yes. SCSA will be providing one laptop per home based on request. We will be asking all households to sign a waiver for these in the event it is damaged or stolen in which families will be responsible for financially replacing the laptop. This info will come via ParentSquare once you are fully registered in our school. 

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