ABOUT CHARTER SCHOOLS
What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools operated by private non-profit boards. The primary funding sources for charter schools are local, state, and federal tax dollars. Charter schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition. In short, charter schools are public schools serving public students with public dollars for the public benefit with freedom of how we present and develop the curriculum.
How are charter schools accredited?
Charter schools are not required to be accredited but may elect to become accredited. Accreditation is a process performed by special outside private associations. Charter schools are approved by the State Board of Education to open and operate a public school. Charters must integrate the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS). Standards are what students should know and be able to do. Curriculum (i.e. what happens day-to-day and week-to-week in classrooms) is left to the charter school to decide, but the school must meet the state standards. Charters are not required to hold teacher workdays, are not bound by the calendar law, class size caps, etc.
Am I permitted to enroll my child in a charter school that is not located in the local school district in which I live?
Yes. Students enrolling in charter schools are not restricted to one local school district. Parents may choose the school that they feel is most appropriate for their child. Charter schools in North Carolina must admit any child residing in North Carolina who is qualified at attend North Carolina schools regardless of which school district the child resides in.
Are charter schools required to display the U.S. and NC flags and recite the Pledge of Allegiance?
As stated in the charter school law: a charter school shall (i) display the United State and North Carolina flags in each classroom when available, (ii) require the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis, and (iii) provide age-appropriate instruction on the meaning and historical origins of the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. A charter school shall not compel any person to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. If flags are donated or are otherwise available, flags shall be displayed in each classroom.
Are criminal history checks required at charter schools?
Yes. Charter schools are required, by statute, to do criminal background checks in a fashion similar to that of the LEA in which the charter school is located. The policy shall be applied uniformly as a requirement for all applicants before an unconditional job offer is given. An applicant may be employed conditionally while the charter school board of directors is checking the person’s criminal history and deciding based on that.
How much does it cost to attend a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools and are tuition free. Funding for the schools comes from federal, state, and local taxes. Charter schools shall not charge tuition or fees, except that a charter school may charge any feed that are charged by the local school administrative unit in which the school is located (G.S. 115C-238.9F(b)). A charter school, upon approval by the board of directors of the charter school, may establish fees for extracurricular activities charged by a local school administrative unit in which forty percent (40%) or more of the students enrolled in the charter school reside.
Is a charter school required to provide transportation?
No. The charter school may provide transportation for students enrolled at the school but is not required to. The charter school must, however, develop a transportation plan so that transportation is not a barrier to any student who resides in the local school district in which the school is located. The charter school is not required to provide transportation to any student who lives within one and one-half (1.5) miles of the school. Charter schools must provide transportation to students who enroll and have transportation on their IEP as a “related service.”
ABOUT THE CLASSROOM
How many teachers are there per class?
Kindergarten classrooms have a lead teacher and teacher assistant. First and second grades have a lead teacher and floating teacher assistant between the three classes. Third, fourth and fifth grades have a lead teacher.
Will there be a teacher assistant in my child’s class?
There will be a teacher assistant in each kindergarten class. First and second grades have a floating teacher assistant.
How are the teachers licensed and certified?
As a public charter school, there is no requirement that our teachers be certified in Waldorf Education. Our teachers received rigorous training on Waldorf Education and A+ Schools arts integration. We will assist and support teachers in obtaining Waldorf Certification if that interests them.
In accordance with NC law, by December 31, 2018, at least 50% of our teachers must be licensed to teach in the state of North Carolina. ROCS has a goal to have 100% of our teacher be licensed over time. Exceptional Children (EC) teacher must be licensed in NC with a specialty in the EC area of service.
What is the average class size?
Kindergarten will have class sizes of 15-18 students. First through fifth grade will have class sizes of 20-25 students.
Should I expect that the special education program be fully funded by state and federal funds earmarked for special education?
According to the Charter School Authorizer Rubrics for Assessing Special Education, federal and state special education reimbursements will not cover 100 percent of the cost of providing special education and related services, and the proposed budget should reflect awareness of this reality (i.e. allocation of funds from general budget to support special education). We will be bound by federal and state law regarding special education.
What supplies must my child have?
Supply lists can be found on the Supply List page.
How much recess/outdoor time will my student have?
Classes will have at least 30 minutes of snack and recess in the morning, 45 minutes of lunch and recess at mid-day, and 45 minutes of outdoor learning each afternoon. While schedules differ between grades, the outdoor spaces may be shared by grades at the same time.
How is daily instruction delivered?
Waldorf education typically uses a whole group setting to deliver daily instruction. Student will receive their daily instruction during a main lesson time for core subjects and during their daily specials classes. The instructional day also has time for skills, which is remediation through enrichment, and outdoor learning.
How does the Waldorf philosophy merge with NC standards?
While ROCS will use Waldorf Education as a guide, we will be mindful that students also need to meet the requirements of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Waldorf philosophy is not a rigid checklist, but instead an approach to holistically educating a child. Parents are encouraged to review the following resources:
Part I – Public Waldorf Common Core
Part II – Combined K-8
Part III – Recommendations ELA Math K-8
Part IV – The Handbook
What is teacher looping? How does it work?
Teacher looping is when a teacher stays with a group of students for series of grades. For the first three year, ROCS plans to loop 1-3, 2-3, 3-6, and 4-6. After the first three years, ROCS plans to loop 1-3, 4-6, and 7-8. Kindergarten will not loop.
Will ROCS provide an Academically/Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program?
Yes, students will be identified as AIG by reviewing prior school records and talking to parents. Students not already identified may be referred to the CST by parents, teachers, the student, and other staff. The CST will review both formal and informal assessment data to determine if a referral for further testing by a contracted, qualified diagnostician (i.e. school psychologist) is warranted. ROCS will seek to partner with the LEA or contract with a qualified diagnostician as necessary.
What are the special reading proficiency and promotion requirements at third grade?
According to G.S. 115C-238.29F(d1), “Students in the third grade shall be retained if the student fails to demonstrate reading proficiency by reading at or above the third grade level as demonstrated by the results of the state-approved standardized test of reading comprehension administered to third grade students. The charter school shall provide reading interventions to retained students to remediate instruction, accelerated reading classes, transitional classes containing third and fourth grade students, and summer reading camps.”
What is Read to Achieve?
Read to Achieve legislative initiative is a part of the Excellent Public Schools Act. Under this state law, third grade students who are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade will receive special help, including summer reading camp and other interventions to make sure that they can read well enough to be able to do fourth grade work.
According to the law, the charter school shall annually publish on the charter school’s website and report in writing to the State Board of Education by September 1 of each year the following information on the prior year:
The number and percentage of third grade students demonstrating and not demonstrating reading proficiency on the state-approved standardized test of reading comprehension administered to third grade students.
The number and percentage of third grade students not demonstrating reading proficiency and who do not return to the charter school for the following school year.
The number and percentage of third grade students who take and pass the alternative assessment of reading comprehension.
The number and percentage of third grade students retained for not demonstrating reading proficiency.
The number and percentage of third grade students exempt from mandatory third grade retention by category of exemption as listed above.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES & SERVICES
Is there a before care and/or after care program?
Yes! ROCS offers Before & After care programs for enrolled students for an additional fee. For more information visit the Before & After Care page.
How is lunch handled?
ROCS does not have a kitchen or cafeteria on campus. Families are asked to pack a nutritious lunch and morning snack for their students daily. Students will eat lunch in their classrooms with their teacher. ROCS also uses a service called My Hot Lunchbox, allowing families to purchase a hot lunch for their students that will be delivered to the school. For more information on lunch, visit the Lunch page.
Will there be after school extracurricular activities like sports and/or clubs?
ROCS will not offer afterschool activities beside After Care in the first year of operation (2018-2019). Once middle school grades are added, sports and clubs will be considered based on parent interest and volunteer involvement. A fee may be considered.
Will there be a parent-teacher organization? What will that look like?
Yes, ROCS will have a Parent Circle. Parent education will be a component of this organization with an additional focus on fundraising and volunteer organization.
Is there a preschool available for students not of age yet?Yes, Raleigh Oak Preschool will begin on August 13, 2018. For more information, visit the [Preschool page].
ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY & CAMPUS
What is the diversity makeup of Raleigh Oak Charter School?
ROCS is committed to reflecting the diversity of the community it services. Our current enrollment numbers reflect that about 9.5% of our population are exceptional children and about 18% of our families have identified themselves as qualifying for the National School Lunch Program (free and reduced). Attending a school with a diverse student body can help prepare our children for citizenship in a multicultural democracy, and we consistently strive to ensure that the ROCS student body is representative of the communities that we serve.
Will there be any green space on campus?
Yes! Behind the building is the newly installed playground and on the sides of the building are garden spaces. Additional landscaping will be added as well.
Is there a student dress code?
Students are required to wear clothing that is not distracting to the learning process. Appropriate dress is necessary in order to maintain an atmosphere that is conductive to learning and safety. Presenting a bodily appearance or wearing clothing which is disruptive, provocative, revealing, profane, vulgar, offensive, or obscene is prohibited.
How will students transition from 8th grade to a more traditional high school?
Public Waldorf students will be well prepared intellectually and emotionally for the rigors of high school. ROCS is held to the same grade level curriculum standards prescribed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) ensuring that ROCS students will be on par with their traditional school peers.
Are ROCS teachers and staff state employees?
No. Charter school employees are employed by and contracted with the charter school’s Board of Directors, and therefore, not considered state employees. As a charter school, we are allowed to opt into some of the state employee benefits packages.
How are holidays or ceremonies worked into the school year, if they are?
Festivals serve as an opportunity for the entire school community to join together in seasonal celebrations as planning and collaborating in anticipation of the festival creates bonds among the entire community. The festivals serve as an important bridge between home life and school life. This is a listing of possible festivals, but specific events will be decided each year in conjunction with the teacher, the Parent Circle, and the Board of Directors. Before each festival is celebrated, information about it will be included in the newsletter and school website. These festivals would not be possible without the participation of the children and their families.
Opening Ceremony: Traditionally, the opening ceremony is held on campus the morning of the first day of school for all grade students.
Autumn Festival: Celebrated in September, autumn festival is the festival of courage as we say goodbye to the warm days of summer and prepare for the cold, dark months of winter; the archetypal image of the battle with the dragon symbolizes this courage and strength.
Lantern Walk: This festival represents how we must prepare ourselves to meet the darkness of winter. The children make beautiful lanterns at school. One mid-November evening, we light our lanterns, walk and sing in the dark evening, and gather for hot cider and refreshments.
Winter Spiral: Occurs at the turning point when darker and shorter days become illuminated by candlelight, and we experience a mood of anticipation and preparation for the return of light and the spring. Each student walks the pine-bough spiral, receiving a light for their candles; all of the candles together light up the darkness as we sing songs with full hearts.
May Faire: As the days get longer, the sun brightens our inner and outer world. Spring bursts forth and new life appears all around us. The butterfly emerging from its chrysalis is a symbol of renewal. We celebrate with a traditional Maypole around which the children and parents dance to lively music and celebrate the rebirth of spring and the earth.