Q&A - Your questions and Our answers. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions.
What grades will you offer? For the 2017/2018 school year, we will be offering classes for students ages 5-11.
What is the daily schedule? For the 2017/2018 school year, our schedule will generally look like this:
9:00am-School day begins. All students check-in outside.
10:00am - Students come inside and have a snack.
10:15am - Structured instructional time.
12:45pm - All students head outside.
1:45 pm - Students come inside and have a snack.
2:00 pm - Structured instructional time.
3:30 pm - Dismissal.
Are you a charter school? No. Typically when people use the term “charter school” they mean “public charter school.” However, many private schools also have charters, and Red Oak has plans to apply for our charter as well, but we will remain a private school. The decision about whether or not to apply for a charter will be made as a community and we will weigh the benefits vs any strings that may be attached to obtaining a state charter.
What will a typical day look like? A typical day at Red Oak will begin outside. Students will arrive, get signed in by their adult, then head to our outdoor space. After an hour, students and staff will do a mindfulness activity to ready themselves to transition inside. The students’ interests and needs will guide the direction of each day, but expect to see a mix of teacher-led instruction (whole group, small group, and individual) and student-directed learning (choice centers, immersion projects, and inquires). Lunch will be community-style, with students sitting together to eat and chat. After lunch, students and staff will head outside again for an hour. Recess is not scheduled or limited to a certain time during the day; staff and students will go outside as often as weather permits. There will be no assigned homework from Red Oak, although there might be suggestions like “spend 30 minutes outside collecting for your project” or “tell someone in your family a story that you remember from today.”
Will the part time and full time kids be together in the same space? Yes.
Can kids move between the full time and part time programs? Yes. If your child is enrolled in a part-time class one year, you can change your enrollment in subsequent years to the full-time class. Or vice versa. Decisions about students who would like to switch in the middle of the school year will be made on a case-by-case basis.
What is the Parent Involvement Policy and will the volunteer hours be less for part-time families? One characteristic of Red Oak Community School that we feel is unique and are proud of is our commitment to building community. In the spirit of community and to the benefit of the school, we invite each family to give his/her time to the success of the school, 30hrs per family (15hrs per single parent family). We understand that not every family has the capacity to give time as freely as others; for this reason families may choose to contribute $25/hour in lieu of volunteering time. For part-time families, the hours will be prorated.
Will you have before and after school care? Contact the Director to inquire about before/after school care for the 2016/2017 school year. We are hoping to be able to offer a traditional before and after school program for the 2017/2018 school year. We will make an announcement about that sometime in early 2017.
Will I have to register as a homeschooling family if I enroll my children in your program? Yes. All students at Red Oak will register as homeschoolers. We will provide and file all the paperwork with your local school superintendent, as well as providing the necessary assessments that each student will need to have when they file in subsequent years. This also allows all Red Oak families to receive various teacher discounts at several local businesses!
What if my child needs/wants to transfer to another school? Admission to other schools looks very similar to what any other student may experience. However, since our students are homeschoolers, you would simply provide your annual homeschool assessment form (Red Oak provides these annually to all of its students) instead of school transcripts. Most public schools (CCS included) do not require any testing to determine which grade students would be placed in, they simply place the child based on their age.
Private schools in Columbus also have a similar admissions process for homeschoolers. The only difference would be that you would provide letters of recommendation (1-2) from teachers, the students portfolio and your annual homeschool assessment form instead of a school transcript. Red Oak will provide all of these documents to families. However, most private school DO require students to take a standardized test for admission, but this is required of ALL their applicants.
Are there sibling discounts or scholarships? We understand that the cost of an alternative education for your children can sometimes put a strain on finances. While we are unable to provide discounts or scholarships these early years, we are working diligently to begin fundraising with the goal that every dollar we raise for that fund will go towards helping families in need of financial assistance.
What are you doing to increase diversity? We have an extremely limited advertising budget, but we are doing everything we can to get the word out about our school to any and all communities we feel might be interested in a nature-based school for their children. If you have any ideas on how to help us in this regard we would love to hear them!
Do you have more teachers and will they be licensed? What credentials are you looking for? Our Education Committee is charged with finding the best candidates for employment at Red Oak. The committee is comprised of experienced formal and informal educators. Since we will be adding grades for the 2017/2018 school year, this committee will begin the search for more teachers in the spring of 2017.
What are your teachers' backgrounds? Our Lead Teacher, Maureen Alley, received her BS in Elementary Education and her Master’s Degree of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has worked in public and private elementary schools in Missouri, Ohio, and Nevada. Maureen took a break from teaching when her twins were born, but then began teaching in a play-based preschool, where she is completing her fifth year. As her experiences as a parent and an early childhood educator have been concurrent, Maureen has been able to see how developmentally appropriate education works in real life. Maureen has eschewed punishments and rewards in her parenting and her classroom, utilizing instead a “working with” approach. Her philosophical influences include Alfie Kohn, Lev Vygotsky, Laura Markham, and the Reggio Emilio ideal of education through relationships.
Our second teacher, Bethany Filipow is a graduate of Ohio University with licensure in Middle Childhood with concentrations in Science and Social Studies. Her teaching experience began in June of 2001 with the Massachusetts Audubon Society as a Naturalist for a summer camp program. After that experience she has continued to work in the education field as a Elementary and Middle School Teacher and S.T.E.M based educator. She has been blessed to have had the past four years to stay at home with her twins whose curiosity with the natural world inspires her daily.
How will arts and music be incorporated?Our innovative, project based learning classrooms will provide constant opportunities for creativity, problem solving and art! The children will have access to art materials, time during which to explore them, and examples of fine art on a daily basis. Singing, music-making, and movement will also be incorporated into our regular school day.
Is there outdoor space at First UU? Yes, there is about a quarter acre of natural space available for us to use. The classroom doors will open right up into that space. About half of the space is wooded and the other half is an open grassy area. We believe the natural wooded and grassy area right outside our classroom doors are the most appropriate learning and exercise environment for our children. The SYC playgrounds are designed for preschool play and is strictly for their use during school hours.
What about clothing requirements? The kids will be required to wear weather appropriate clothing when they are dropped off for school each day. This includes any necessary sunscreen/bug spray/sun hats during warmer weather. During the winter months students are required to have the following: waterproof/resistant winter coat, snow pants, insulated snow boots, hat and gloves. Students are also required to have an extra change of clothes in their backpacks/cubbies throughout the year.
Will there be other fees for activities? We don’t anticipate any, but that could change based on the opportunities available to us during the year. We will do everything we can to keep all fees and costs as low as possible.
How we will be different than a Montessori classroom? They are all beautiful approaches to education. At Red Oak we value aspects of each. For example, we do have some parts of the day where teachers will deliver thoughtful stories and lesson content to the children (Waldorf) some parts of the day will be for independent discovery and work at each child's level (Montessori) we'll also have small group time with and without teacher presence. (Reggio)
How will you deal with discipline issues? The discipline policy of the Red Oak Community School is based upon the goal of self-regulation. Therefore, each child is helped to take the responsibility for which s/he is ready.
Respect for self, others, and property is the paramount rule at Red Oak Community School, and it applies to students, teachers, volunteers, and community members.
Children are encouraged to realize that they are always accepted even though their actions may not be acceptable.
Corporal punishment is not used. Redirection, explanation, interpretation, and, in extreme cases, removal from the group until the child feels able to rejoin the others with acceptable behavior are the methods used.
The emphasis is not upon punishment for the kinds of behavior which occur very naturally as children learn how to work cooperatively in a group situation, but upon understanding what happened and helping the child to learn better ways of dealing with conflicts and learning to self-regulate with ever-increasing ease and sophistication.
In addition, our discipline policy includes the following restrictions:
a. There shall be no cruel, harsh or unusual punishments.
b. No discipline technique shall be delegated to any other child.
c. No physical restraints shall be used to confine a child.
d. No child shall be placed in a locked room.
e. No child shall be humiliated or subjected to profane language or other verbal abuse.
f. Discipline shall not be imposed on a child for failure to eat or toileting accidents.
g. Techniques of discipline shall not humiliate, shame or frighten a child.
h. Consequences shall be natural, related to the behavior, and timely.
i. There will not be use of rewards, sticker charts, or incentives to perform.
j. Outside time, food, and affection will not be withheld as punishment.
Still have questions? No problem. Please feel free to call, text or email us.