Frequently Asked Questions for Parker Performing Arts School
If you do not see your question below, please feel free to ask any additional questions using firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will PPA Expand to a High School?
The Parker Performing Arts Board of Directors is formally exploring the possibility of expanding the school from a K-8 to a K-12, and plan are being laid to open the school in the Fall of 2018 if at all possible, Fall of 2019 is also a possibility. Though current PPA students will have priority in enrollment for our High School, we believe there will be limited seats in our lottery for those not currently enrolled in our school. However, it needs to be absolutely clear to our community that our #1 priority is to open our current school, and to make our school successful now. We are committed to producing a high quality college preparatory high school, with the same mission and vision for our school making arts accessible to the community.
What is a Charter School and how is it different from my neighborhood school?
(The following information is from the Colorado League of Charter Schools website: www.coloradoleague.org)
Charter Schools are public schools that are parent led, other public schools are led by the school district.
Charter schools are unique public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement.
- Charter schools are public schools
- Charter schools do not charge tuition
- Charter schools use non-discriminatory enrollment practices.
- There are no test-in requirements to attend charter schools.
- In 2014-15, there are over 101,000 students attending 214 charter school campuses in Colorado. This represents 11.7% of total K-12 public school enrollment in the state.
- Charter school students must take state assessment tests.
- Charter schools are subject to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act).
- Charter school teachers must be “highly qualified” under ESEA (No Child Left Behind Act).
- Charter schools serve a broad range of diverse students, including low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities or other special needs.
- Colorado charter schools continue to attract a variety of students and are located in diverse geographical areas across the state.
- Charter school programs and academic designs are as diverse as the students they enroll. Some charters implement longer school days, while others implement curricula specifically designed for at-risk students, gifted children, pregnant/parenting teens, juvenile offenders, and more. Parker Performing Arts School will incorporate performing arts instruction into each student’s school day.
For more information, please refer to the following resources from the Colorado League of Charter Schools:
For more information and Frequently Asked Questions about Colorado charter schools, see the FAQ page of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).
Do I need to be a resident of Parker or Douglas County to attend PPA?
No and no. Any student in Colorado may enroll at PPA. Enrollment is through an unrestricted lottery. To place your child’s name in the lottery pool, you must complete an Intent to Enroll Form.
Why a Charter School?
- Innovative educational programming – Charter schools have the freedom to use new and innovative teaching styles and curriculum to offer a unique educational option for students and parents.
- Autonomy – Decisions for charter schools are made at the local school level, not at the district or state level. This allows parents to be involved and to have their voices heard.
- Adaptability – Because the school is governed by a local Board of Directors, needed changes can be made quickly, avoiding the red tape so often associated with the public school system.
- Accountability – Charter schools are held to a high level of accountability and must meet state standards.
- Uniforms – Charter schools are allowed to require uniforms, which studies have shown to aid in student focus and performance.
- Tuition-free – Charter schools are funded by tax dollars and receive per pupil revenue (PPR) just as neighborhood schools do. There is no tuition!
- Parent involvement – Charter schools can require parents/guardians to volunteer with the school. When parents are encouraged to be a partner in their child’s education, students succeed!
Where is PPA located?
What are PPA class sizes?
We generally have 100 students per grade K-8 overall, and 4 classes of 25 in each grade level. So for example, there are 4 total 2nd grade classes of 25 students = 100 students overall in 2nd grade. 900 overall in the school.
Unique to our model, there will be 1 teacher and 1 teaching assistant in every class.
What hours will the school be open, starting and finishing?
The 2017-2018 school year bell schedule is currently being determined. Click here to see our school calendar.
Which calendar will the school use?
Our school calendars for the next 3 years are available on this website: http://www.parkerperformingarts.org/calendars/
Year 1 2016-2017 is different so we are using the DCSD After Labor Day Start Calendar, and going forward starting in 2017-2018 we will use the Douglas County School District Conventional Calendar located at this website: https://www.dcsdk12.org/calendars.
How much homework will my children get per day?
In short, as much as necessary for students to be academically successful, and this can be VERY different for each individual child. Please also consider and believe the PPA Vision and Mission, specifically, “rigorous academic instruction”. For our school, a good rule of thumb will be 10 minutes for every grade level per day. There will be times where work is lighter and work is heavier like any school.
We also allow some time in each school week for students to work on homework during the day to reduce after school loads. Every student is unique, and what could be small amounts of time for one student could take another much longer.
Examples of Typical Homework Load:
Kindergarten = 10 minutes
1st grader 10 minutes X 2 years of school = 20 minutes
2nd grader 10 minutes X 3 years of school = 30 minutes
8th grader 10 minutes X 9 years of school = 90 minutes
Additionally, musicians will need to practice at least 20-30 minutes a day outside of school hours to be successful with their instrument. The theater students will also require time to memorize lines to be successful. Choir and Dance students also will require some practice to be successful.
Though we do expect to meet and exceed State standards academically and in the performing arts, our goal is not to create excessive homework. Some charter school are designed exactly to do that, so there are often broad strokes of generality that are painted onto all charter schools because of the few that choose to do this. We are not one of them.
My child is on an IEP or 504 plan. Can he/she attend PPA? What support services will PPA offer?
Yes, all special education students with mild or moderate needs will be welcome at PPA after their personalized IEP or other plan is reviewed by DCSD to determine that our school can best serve the child. As a public charter school, PPA will offer special education services and student support services through Douglas County School District. In fact, research shows that the unique differentiated digital curriculum and the one-to-one iPad environment at PPA will be ideal for some students with special needs.
Do students audition to be admitted to the school? Is enrollment based on students’ talent or ability in the performing arts?
No and no. Because PPA is not an arts magnet school, enrollment is not based on performing arts talent or ability. No auditions will be held for admission, and enrollment is open to all students. As a public charter school, PPA cannot discriminate for enrollment or show partiality to any particular group or student demographics. The PPA student body will be made up of individuals at all points on the spectrum in academics and from beginner to advanced in each performing arts offering. The PPA performing arts curriculum will offer opportunities for students at all levels to be challenged and to improve their abilities.
Will PPA have a Pre-School?
Yes, we hope so eventually, and will explore the option when we continue to pursue building a PPA High School. If we have available land to add a pre-school at that time, as well as additional dedicated parking, then it is a high priority for the PPA Board of Directors. As of Fall 2016 we have no current plans to add a pre-school to the PPA campus.
Will before and after care be available at school?
Yes, absolutely. We have contracted with a company called Champions http://www.discoverchampions.com/ for before and after school care. This company will use the PPA cafeteria facility, but is not affiliated with the school administration or staff. Use of their services for before and after care drop off including payment will be arranged between Champions and the parents. More information is available on this webpage: http://www.parkerperformingarts.org/before-after-school-care/
Will students at PPA wear uniforms?
Yes. Uniforms are a key element of the student culture at PPA. Research shows that students who wear uniforms perform better in class, and are able to focus more on their school work than students who do not wear uniforms. PPA uniform policy.
Is there a fee for Full Day Kindergarten?
PPA will have 25 students in 1/2 day AM Kindergarten, 25 students in 1/2 day PM kindergarten, and 50 students in Full Day Kindergarten.
- Only full day kindergarten has a fee of $450 per month for 10 months (August-May) or a 10% discount will be offered if $4050 is paid in full August of the school year. This represents the overall fee of $4500 per student per year for the program. We chose to split this total into simple even payments, and in no way reflects how much time in any given month is a break, or holiday, etc.
- Our research indicates that is not the cheapest full day Kindergarten fee in Douglas County, nor is it the most expensive. We are middle of the road and know we offer a great value.
What about 1/2 days of school and holidays/breaks? How will that be accounted for? Should we get a discount for those times?
As is mentioned above, the fee is to cover hard costs of the program at $4500 for the entirety of the school year, not how many days of school are taught in a particular month. So the fee is calculated by total time and contact hours for the whole school year and split evenly into 10 payments. In fact, our Full Day Kindergarten will provide far more school contact hours than are required by the State of Colorado. So the bottom line is that while in some months we have more or less days of school, the overall cost of the program is the overall cost of the program for the year.
Will you teach my children handwriting?
Will PPA offer foreign languages?
Knowing it is important to a handful of our parents, we are willing to offer languages as part of our before and after school programs if there is demand and people are willing to participate. However, we do not intend to offer languages as part of our curriculum during the school day. Why? Because our emphasis is specializing in the performing arts we simply cannot be a school that can offer every educational option while maintaining our school’s Vision and Mission. We instead will offer a lot of courses that most middle schools do not and will not ever offer.
Will we say the Pledge of Allegiance at the school?
Will families be asked to volunteer for the school?
Yes, we will ask every 2 parent family to pledge 30 hours of volunteer service per year, and every single parent family 15 hours of volunteer service per year. This will be tracked per family.
What makes PPA unique?
There is no other school in the region like PPA.
At PPA, students will engage with the performing arts as a daily part of their school day, which is very different from what is offered at other schools in Douglas County. Research shows that an arts-rich education is key to developing skills that are vital for success in the 21st Century, such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. The education model at PPA also includes technology-infused instruction and differentiated digital curriculum delivered in an exciting one-to-one iPad environment that will further fuel student passion and engagement and fostering 21st Century Skills.
Does PPA curriculum meet state standards?
Yes. As a public charter school, PPA will be required to meet all state academic standards. All core academic subject curriculum and performing arts curriculum at PPA will be aligned with Colorado Academic Standards (CAS).
Guides to the Colorado Academic Standards can be found on the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website: http://www.cde.state.co.us/standardsandinstruction/guidestostandards
What is a 1:1 iPad environment?
A one-to-one iPad environment is a learning environment in which each student has a school-issued iPad. The devices are owned by the school, but assigned to each student (not shared between students or used as “class sets”). Students in grades 1-8 will be able to take their devices home each day, once they have completed a required digital citizenship course and earned their iLicense. (iPad use has not yet been determined for Kindergarten Classes)
Entrusting each student with his or her “own” iPad helps empower students to take ownership and responsibility for their education. A one-to-one iPad environment also increases student access to course materials, teacher lectures, videos, notes, etc. Curriculum can be differentiated for each student, and students can engage with course content in innovative and creative ways. Other benefits of a one-to-one iPad environment are increased attendance, decreased behavior issues, increased student engagement and passion for learning, and the development of 21st Century Skills. The one-to-one iPad environment will prepare students for success in high school, college and career.
To see what a one-to-one iPad environment looks like, please watch this video.
What are 21st century Skills and why are they important?
21st Century Skills are skills that today’s students must master in order to be well prepared for college and career (known as “postsecondary and workforce readiness”). The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (www.p21.org) identifies four learning and innovation skills (known as the 4 C’s) as being the foundation of 21st Century Skills.
The 4 C’s:
- Creativity and innovation
- Critical thinking and problem solving
The Douglas County School District has identified these skills as crucial elements of DCSD’s World Class Education initiative. As a new charter school in the DCSD system, PPAS will help the district provide parents with a unique school choice that is focused on providing an enriching learning environment that fosters the 4 C’s in students. The unique performing arts focus of PPAS, along with the one-to-one iPad environment, will help instill these skills in students in all grades levels.
To learn more about 21st Century Skills, click here to view the Framework for 21st Century Learning.
What is differentiated digital curriculum?
Differentiated digital curriculum is curriculum that is delivered digitally to students (via the iPad) and can be tailored to meet each student’s unique needs. Differentiated digital curriculum provides real time feedback on student performance, which enables teachers to intervene and adapt instruction to meet each student’s unique needs. This real time feedback also helps students and parents know exactly how students are doing. With differentiated digital curriculum, students work at their own pace and have a sense of independence and control over their studies, which leads to greater student engagement. Students who are advanced are allowed and encouraged to work ahead and be challenged, while students who are behind are supported and provided with work tailored to helping them catch up.
How will the performing arts be taught to each student at each level?
PPAS does not require any performing arts experience to attend our school, as we are created to make arts accessible to all students. We will offer classes that are appropriate for beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners.
Students in half day kindergarten will sample each artistic discipline in “specials” classes offered in rotation: music, creative movement, creative dramatics, tumbling and visual art.
Students in full day K and grades 1-4 will be exposed to a variety of performing arts courses to cultivate foundational skills in each of the performing arts disciplines offered at PPAS. The arts classes for these grade levels with be vocal music, instrumental music, dance and theatre. Visual arts and tumbling will be offered as “specials” in a rotation.
Students in grades 5-8 will be allowed to select performing arts classes as electives, allowing them to specialize in the arts discipline(s) of their choice. More specialized courses will be available for these grade levels, as well as advanced options in each artistic discipline.
Will PPA charge tuition?
No. Parker Performing Arts School will be a tuition-free public charter school within the Douglas County School District. The school will be funded with per pupil revenue (PPR) from public tax dollars, and will not charge tuition. However, full day kindergarten will have a fee of $450 per month for 10 months of the year, or we will offer a 10% discount if $4050 is paid in full one time in August of the school year. 1/2 day kindergarten has no fee or tuition. When PPA offers a preschool (likely in Fall of 2017) there will be a fee associated with that as well.
What is an Intent to Enroll?
Charter schools represent school choice. An Intent to Enroll form is simply a way to let us know that you are interested in having your child(ren) considered in the lottery for enrollment at PPAS. The Intent to Enroll form is non-binding. If your child is chosen in the lottery, you will be notified using the contact info you enter on your Intent to Enroll form, and you will have 48 hours to accept enrollment at the school. You can always turn down enrollment if you choose, but you will not have the choice option to enroll at PPAS without completing the form..