What grades is ACS offering this year? In the years ahead?
We will serve Pre-Kindergarten through 9th grade for the 2021-2022 school year and will continue to add a grade each year thereafter. Our long-term plan is to offer grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Which days of the week will my child attend classes at ACS?
Students in Pre-Kindergarten through 4th grade will attend classes on campus on Mondays and Wednesdays. Students in 5th-9th grades will also attend class on campus on Thursdays. The remaining weekdays are home days with lessons being conducted by the parent co-teacher. (There is no home component for Pre-K students.)
What are the class sizes?
We are committed to small class sizes. Pre-Kindergarten has a ratio of 10 students to 1 teacher. In Kindergarten through 1st grade, the student/teacher ratio is 12:1. Our 2nd through 9th grade ratio will be no more than 16 students to 1 teacher. Note that the board has the ability to flex beyond these ratios in extenuating circumstances.
What will the schedule be and what will a typical classroom day look like?
Classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 3:45 pm. In addition, 5th-9th graders will attend class on Thursdays from 8:30am to 3:45pm. The daily schedule will reflect our classical values in that subjects will be integrated as often as possible. For example, humanities will center around the integration of history, reading, writing, and art. Science will also be integrated with history when possible. Math will be taught during the morning instructional block. Latin instruction will be aligned to allow for movement between levels as needed. Our intentional integration of curriculum areas increases opportunities for students to discover the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in all subject areas and their awareness of God’s sovereignty over all things.
Do you allow registration of classes in an “a la carte” manner?
We do not offer a la carte classes at this time.
What electives does ACS offer?
Given the nature of the classical model, we believe in the importance of certain courses for all students and have built these into the school day. Specifically for Grammar school, we will offer art, music, and physical education (PE) as part of our standard course load in the Grammar School. For Upper School, we also offer Theater and Studio Art. ACS has one tuition rate which includes these courses.
What is the role of athletics in your school currently and in the future?
We see enormous value in the role of athletics in a student’s life. Our bodies are created by God and should be used as a means of worshiping Him. Therefore, we currently incorporate a physical education (PE) class into the school day for every grade in Grammar. Team sports such as volleyball, basketball, cross-country, and track are offered for our upper-level students in grades 5 and above.
How are curriculum decisions being made?
Curriculum choices are prayerfully being made by an experienced and diverse team of educators who are researching the options, seeking the guidance of other classical, Christian schools, and consulting outside curriculum specialists. There are myriad choices when it comes to curriculum, and ACS is committed to using an academically rigorous curriculum that aligns with our classical, Christian mission of preparing thoughtful, eloquent defenders of the faith.
What are the qualifications of the teachers you hire?
Our Kindergarten – 9th grade teachers are degreed professionals who love children and have a gifting and passion for teaching. They must also fully and joyfully subscribe to our Statement of Faith.
Teaching at Home
What is the role of the parent as the co-teacher at home? What if I don’t have any teaching experience or have never home-schooled before? Will I be able to effectively co-teach?
For the days of the week that a K-4th grade student is at home, the parent acts as co-teacher under the guidance of the classroom teacher. As the student progresses to grades 5-12, the parent shifts into more of a proctor/mentor role as the student becomes increasingly independent.
Because the parent is the co-teacher for the days each week at home for grades K-4th, the parent is expected to become familiar with the curriculum and basic teaching techniques. However, this does not require the parent to have a teaching background. New concepts will be introduced and taught by the classroom teacher while the practice, reinforcement, and application of the new concept will occur at home with the co-teacher. At the beginning of each week, the parent will receive detailed lesson plans for their school days at home. In addition, classroom teachers will hold virtual “office hours” on their off-campus days for parents to contact them via phone or e-mail.
ACS is committed to equipping parents for their invaluable role as co-teachers. Mandatory co-teacher training will be held before the start of each school year. (This is not required or expected of Pre-K parents as there is no home component in preschool.) There will also be co-teacher training offered each quarter in order to equip and inspire you throughout the year. We value the choice you are making as you enter into this model of education and believe one of its best attributes is the division of labor between professional educators and devoted parents. We are in this together.
How is the experience different in grades 5 and above?
As students grow, both their academic and social needs change. To address these changing needs, students begin attending school on-campus 3 days a week beginning in 5th grade. (M-W-Th) The additional instructional day allows students to delve deeper into more complex academic subjects including math, Latin, and literature. Students also become increasingly responsible for their own work at home, reading their own lesson plans, organizing assignments, and keeping track of due dates and tests. The co-teacher’s role changes from one of a “shoulder-to-shoulder” tutor to more of a monitor while providing help and additional instruction as needed. Families moving into grades 5 and above should expect school to happen 5 days a week with about an hour of homework on Wednesday nights.
How much time will be required of the student on a typical day of school at home?
Times vary by student and situation. Factors that will add more time to the school day are having multiple students being taught at home and/or having non-student siblings at home. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just a reality. However, with one student at home, you can generally expect something like this:
|1st, 2nd Grades||4-5 hours|
|3rd, 4th Grades||5-6 hours|
|5th– 9th Grades||6-7 hours (Tues/Fri plus 1 hour of homework on Wed night)|
Once schoolwork is completed on home days, there is no additional work to be completed in the evenings. The only exception is for 5th through 9th graders who may have one hour of homework after school on Wednesdays in order to prepare for their in-class time on Thursdays.
How much time will be required for the co-teacher to prepare for each homeschool day?
Again, times will vary depending on how many students are being taught, but it will take at least 45 minutes to prepare to teach each home day. This preparation is best done prior to the at-home teaching day so that the co-teacher can begin each home day organized and prepared.
How will I know what to teach each week?
Each week, lesson plans are the main way the teacher communicates to the co-teacher what needs to be covered at home by the student for that week’s homeschool days. Weekly lesson plans for both the campus classroom and homeschool will be posted online allowing co-teachers to adequately prepare for homeschool days. Often, the lesson has been introduced in the campus classroom with reinforcement and practice happening in homeschool. Sometimes lessons are taught at home with the co-teacher having the support of a scripted teacher’s manual or instructions from the teacher which enables a co-teacher to accomplish this task. Co-teachers are never alone in their role with support coming from the teacher as well as other co-teachers within their class.
Through the years, the role of the co-teacher changes. For younger students, most of the homeschool day will be spent with the co-teacher being shoulder-to-shoulder with her student as they work through the subjects on the lesson plans. As students get older, they are able to be more independent on homeschool days with co-teachers transitioning to being facilitators to eventually as guides for independent study.
Why is tuition due in June when school begins in August?
Tuition payments for the upcoming school year are due beginning June 1st in order for appropriate planning and budgeting to occur for the upcoming school year.
Does ACS offer any financial aid or tuition discounts?
Yes, ACS does offer need-based financial aid up to 50% of tuition. Families may apply beginning in February, and first priority is given to returning ACS families followed by new ACS families. We do not offer multi-sibling discounts or discounts to teacher’s children but instead provide assistance to families who meet the qualifications of need-based financial aid. Our desire is for our financial aid program to allow more families to participate in this model of education. Please note that financial aid is not available for Pre-K students.
Is testing required before a student is accepted into the school?
Yes. All incoming K-9th grade students must complete testing during the admissions process. Kinder students will participate in readiness testing on campus on the date scheduled per the admission cycle. For 1st-3rd graders, online testing in math and reading will be completed, and 4th-9th graders will complete online testing in reading, along with a cumulative Math in Focus exam. Testing is performed simply to assess and determine the appropriate placement of an incoming student.
To what minimum “academic standards” does ACS hold itself and do your standards fulfill state requirements?
Yes, our academic standards will meet and should exceed the requirements for grade levels in the public schools in Texas as specified by TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) standards.
Will ACS be accredited?
Yes, we intend to pursue accreditation as soon as we are eligible to do so by the appropriate accreditation-granting body. We believe our rigorous academic standards will easily meet the expectations of accrediting organizations.
How does ACS use technology on campus?
We value embodied learning, both in the home and at school, and believe that interaction between student and teacher/co-teacher is the most effective way to learn. We also recognize the value of technology, but we’re intentional about how we use it at ACS. We don’t use technology for technology’s sake, knowing that children will easily pick up the latest technology trends when needed.
One of the ways that we use technology at ACS is as a tool that replaces older tools. For example, we use projectors in some classrooms as a replacement for whiteboards. Our Upper School students also type their compositions to turn in, which makes it easier for the teacher to give feedback and for students to make revisions. As students get to 4th grade, we recommend that they take a typing program on their home days, so they’ll be proficient in that essential skill.
We also use technology as a way for students to have certain experiences. For example, in art, students are shown examples of famous paintings, or in science, they may watch a short video that illustrates how the surface of a planet might appear.
What we don’t do with technology is allow it to replace embodied teaching or learning. Our students do not learn primarily through technology. They learn through discussion, reading, writing, hands-on experiences, and interaction with the teachers and peers. We’re old-school – we require students to read and annotate actual books and not use devices because students learn more that way.
Is ACS affiliated with any church?
ACS rents space from a host church for our campus location, but the school is neither a work of that church nor affiliated with any other church or denomination.
Do I have to be a Christian for my child to attend ACS?
No. While board members, faculty, and staff must joyfully submit to our Statement of Faith, we do not require ACS families to hold to these beliefs themselves. However, all families are required to acknowledge that all of our instruction will be consistent with and rooted in these beliefs.