Is there another school using Apex Community School's new facility?
Yes, but only for the 2018/19 school year. The Board of Directors of Apex Community School have signed an 11-month lease with Ascent Classical Academy who has publicly stated to the Board of Education that they are seeking to open a school in northern Douglas County in time for the 2019/20 school year. Their signed lease with Apex Community School is effective from August 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, meaning Apex staff will move in on July 1, 2019 to make final preparations to welcome the first class of students to Apex Community School. Ascent Classical Academy's use of the phrase “our campus” is understandably confusing.
Those who wish can guarantee a place at Apex Community School for the 2019/2020 school year by clicking on this link: http://apexk8.org/2019-enrollment/.
What are the similarities and differences between the schools?
Of course we would encourage families to be diligent in researching the similarities/differences between the two educational options. In brief, and drawing from published websites, some similarities include:
Core Knowledge Scope and Sequence curriculum
Classical philosophy and framework
Phonemic based approach to literacy
Emphasis and cultivation of virtue; the whole student (Apex will utilize the Core Virtues curriculum as its guide)
Liberal arts emphasis (Music, Art, & P.E.)
Some aspects that seem unique to Apex Community School include:
Fully inclusive community irrespective of student ability, encompassing gifted/talented and special needs (IEPs); wanting students in the classroom as much as possible versus being "pulled out" to receive services: http://apexk8.org/inclusive-ed/
Commitment to utilize the school facility and land to the benefit of our local community, town, school district and county. In other words, the facility was designed to be a benefit to community groups and a complimentary enhancement to the Town of Castle Rock. Click on this link for further information on why "community" is in our name: http://apexk8.org/why-community-is-in-the-name/
Gradual introduction and incorporation of technology
All aspects listed above were part of our unanimously approved application to the District in November of 2016.
When and how can I enroll my child(ren)?
You can guarantee a spot for your child(ren) for the 2019/2020 school year utilizing the proper forms for the Douglas County School District. We have made the process easy. Click on this link: http://apexk8.org/2019-enrollment/
If my child is enrolled at Ascent Classical Academy for this year (2018/2019) and our desire is they remain in the school building when Apex Community School opens for the 2019/2020 school year, will they have priority enrollment?
No, but It is easy to enroll online by following this link: http://apexk8.org/2019-enrollment/
When is the first day of classes for Apex Community School?
Monday, August 5, 2019.
With what grades will Apex Community School open?
In 2019/2020, grades K-6th then adding 7th grade in 2020/21 and 8th & Pre-K in 2021/22.
What will be the Kindergarten options and cost at Apex Community School?
We will offer free half day morning and afternoon Kindergarten options as well as a full day, tuition-based Kindergarten option. Please follow this link for more information: http://apexschool.co/kindergarten/
How old does my child(ren) need to be to attend Kindergarten?
A child may enter Kindergarten if they are five years old, on or before October 1st of the year of enrollment.
What is the anticipated class size at Apex Community School?
Apex is actively seeking to maintain an average teacher/staff to student ratio of 19 or less per classroom.
Is the 2019/2020 school calendar available?
Yes. Please click on this link for the calendar: http://apexschool.co/20192020-school-calendar/
You will see that it aligns very closely with the approved DCSD 2019/2020 School Calendar.
Apex Community School will have the same Fall, Winter and Spring breaks as the rest of the school district and finish simultaneously on Friday, May 22, 2020, before the Memorial Day long weekend.
What will be the school’s hours?
8:00am to 3:30pm
Will there be before and after care?
Yes. While we do not have the full details yet, the program will be similar in cost and availability as offered by other schools in the Meadows.
Does Apex Community School enroll students with IEPs (Individualized Education Plans)?
Yes! In fact, Apex Community School is committed to inclusive education and its many benefits to all students. Apex Community School will have a thorough student services team that will serve all students with unique needs, whether they have Individualized Education Plans (IEP), Section 504 plans or Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs). Additionally, the leadership of the school has unique experience, having previously started and successfully facilitated the operation of a charter school with this educational philosophy and approach. We do require an “transition in placement” meeting with the parent/guardian(s) of the student to (a) ensure proper services are in place to be delivered based on the IEP identified needs, (b) that the parent/guardian(s) understand the unique inclusive model of the school and (c) to begin the critical relational basis and conversation needed to optimize a successful experience.
Does Apex Community School have admission policies? Can they “pick” who attends?
Charter schools are public schools. By law, all charter schools must have a fair and open admission process, conducting outreach and recruitment to all segments of the community that they serve. As public schools, charter schools cannot "choose" which students attend. Like all public schools, charter schools are nonsectarian and nondiscriminatory in admission and employment practices. Charter school students are admitted on a first-come, first served basis, or by lottery when applicants exceed available slots.
Why was the opening of Apex Community School postponed?
On December 30, 2017, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education made the decision to postpone the opening date of Apex Community School from August 2018 to August of 2019. This decision was based on (1) Apex falling short of a contract benchmark with the DCSD for the first enrollment window and (2) DCSD data that indicated growth in the Meadows was flat and in decline. Regarding the first enrollment window benchmark, the Apex Board of Directors sought to inform the DCSD Board of Education that, given the many homes surrounding Apex Community School that were and are still being built, it was likely that this first enrollment benchmark would be missed. A request to the DCSD to revise this benchmark to reflect this reality was rejected. Regarding the growth data, following the decision to postpone the growth projections were revised and indications are that the Meadows area continues to grow. The decision to postpone however, had already been made, publicized to families and a one-year renter for the facility secured.
How has the postponement effected the phase II build out?
The building of phase II has effectively been postponed a year as well, now targeting the build out to occur during the 2021/2022 school year.
What is a charter school?
A charter school is a free public school that operates with a certain autonomy as relates to the district board of education. In effect, a charter school is a one-school public school district that has been authorized (by the district or by the Colorado Department of Education) to operate. A charter school is typically founded by a group of people — educators, parents/guardian(s), community leaders, and/or by education management organizations (EMOs) or networks of charter schools. These groups write the charter plan describing the school's guiding principles, governance structure, and applicable accountability measures. If the state approves the charter (or as is the case with DCSD, grants the district the ability to authorize charter schools), the state funds the charter on a per pupil basis. In most cases charter schools operate under a clear agreement between the state, district and the school meaning increased autonomy in exchange for increased accountability.
Is Apex Community School a part of an educational management organization (EMO) or network of charter schools?
No. “Community” is in our name because we are committed to our county, school district and town. Our Board of Directors is largely comprised of Douglas County residents whose children attended or are attending Douglas County schools, both neighborhood and charter.
We are not part of a national/state educational management organization (EMO) or charter network (“chain”), so all per-pupil funds received will remain here in Douglas County, for our kids.
Additionally, we have contracted out with Colorado-based firms and companies to build the Apex Community School facility so that Colorado dollars, stay in Colorado.
How are charter schools different from “traditional neighborhood” public schools?
Autonomy: Charter schools are free from much of the traditional bureaucracy and regulations that some feel diverts the school’s educators, finances and general resources from students. Proponents of charter schools argue that educators can focus on setting and reaching high academic standards for their students rather than being unnecessarily preoccupied with incapacitating bureaucratic requirements.
Choice: Families choose to attend, and teachers choose to teach at charter schools. Parent/guardian(s), teachers, community groups, organizations, or individuals interested in creating additional educational opportunities for children can start charter schools, but ultimately the burden for making an informed choice for each child rests with the parent/guardian(s).
How are charter schools funded?
Charter schools are public schools and like neighborhood public schools, they are funded according to enrollment (also called per pupil operating revenue, or PPOR), and receive funding from the district according to the number of students attending. Federal legislation provides funding to help charters with start-up costs, but it remains a daunting task to start a public charter school.
How can I help?
We are community-based, Douglas County families and residents who first came together in our living rooms and coffee houses to develop an educational community that desires to be a part of the fabric of Castle Rock. We absolutely want to include anyone interested in joining this amazing and fulfilling effort! We need encouragers help get the word out. We need you to:
Learn more about what makes Apex unique so that you can share it with your connections and circles confidently
Utilize your social media networks to share posts, pass on newsletters, information and opportunities to learn about the school and its philosophy
Open your living room and invite a group of friends to hear about the school and how it may be the right choice for children
Volunteer to hang up signs/flyers in local businesses
Wear out some shoes canvassing neighborhoods with information and
Proudly post a lawn sign in your yard, just to name a few