Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the tuition to attend this charter school?
NOTHING. Phoenix Advantage Charter School (PACS) is a tuition free public charter school with enrollment open to any public school student. When capacity is reached at this school, priority will be given to siblings of current students. NOTE: Once a student has enrolled in PACS, he or she will have space reserved as long as the student remains enrolled in PACS.
2. Where is the school located?
Our school facility is located one block south of Indian School on 16th Street. 3738 North 16th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85016.
3. What are the dates for the 2009 – 2010 school year?
4. What makes Phoenix Advantage different?
- A safe environment where high student achievement is THE focus of the school
- A rigorous educational program that combines core fundamentals with the arts
- A special focus on reading, writing, and math
- Paragon social studies program engages students and incorporates art, music and dance into learning
- A longer school year and longer school day
- Foreign language, music, art, and physical education instruction for ALL students in all grade levels
5. What is a typical daily schedule?
A typical day schedules is described below:
6:00 AM – 7:45 AM OASIS before school program (voluntary and fee based)
7:45 AM School is open to all students
8:00– 11:30 Morning Core Curriculum
- Reading (120 minutes)
- Mathematics (60 minutes)
- Writing Workshop (30 minutes)
11:30-12:45 Lunch – exact time depends on grade level & recess
12:45 – 3:30 Afternoon Curriculum
- Hands on Science (60 minutes)
- Paragon Curriculum – Integrated study of world cultures that incorporates history, geography, art, drama, and music
- Specials Classes
- Physical Education
3:30 – 6:00 OASIS after school program (voluntary and fee based)
3:30 – 5:00 21st Century Tutoring and Enrichment Activities
6. Are uniforms required?
Yes, to help create an environment conducive to learning, students at Phoenix Advantage are required to wear simple uniforms. This policy is designed to permit students to focus their attentions on academics and on those aspects of their personalities that are truly important. Click here to see the school uniform policy.
7. Will there be free transportation to the school?
Parents provide transportation and bussing is available within certain geographic areas. Please contact Norma Chacón at the school for bus route information (602-263-8777).
8. Will the school’s teachers be certified?
Our teachers, like all public school teachers, must be highly qualified in accordance with the federal laws regarding No Child Left Behind.
9. My child has special needs, how do you provide for specialized services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy?
Yes. Special arrangements will be made to provide these services within the school setting pursuant to the child’s Individualized Educational Plan.
10. Describe how disciplinary issues are handled and the general philosophy on discipline.
The faculty and staff at Phoenix Advantage are dedicated to providing the School’s students with the skills necessary to reason, communicate, and live with dignity in a civil society. Central to this mission is the creation of a School community characterized by caring, discipline, order, and respect.
The School’s Code of Conduct has been designed to guide the efforts of teachers and staff in creating a safe, orderly environment and to reinforce the primary mission of the School: rigorous academic learning. The Code, which states clearly all School-wide rules governing student behavior as well as the consequences for breaking the rules, will serve as a contract among parents, students, and staff.
The Code of Conduct identifies ten character virtues that will be at the center of the School’s character education curriculum and that will be cultivated with care and consistency at the School. In addition, it describes the ways in which appropriate choices will be encouraged as well as the roles and responsibilities of students, parents, teachers, and faculty.
11. Parents are asked to volunteer two hours per month. What type of volunteer activity is expected of parents?
Parents are asked to volunteer in areas that meet their skills and interests. The specific tasks vary widely from reading to Kindergarten students, helping in the lunch room, aiding in office duties, afternoon pick up, to name a few.
12. How often will parents be invited to attend activities at the school?
There will be many activities specifically for parents. In addition to the Parent-Teacher conferences there will be “Paragon Nights” held approximately every six weeks in which students demonstrate their learning accomplishments and, at times, perform in plays/skits/songs for their parents/families and member of the community.
13. How can parents provide feedback to the School Leader or the Board of Directors?
Parents are welcome to attend the meetings of the PACS Board of Directors where public comments are welcome. Parents can speak with the school’s leader (known as a Chief Administrative Officer) or drop an e-mail to her/him. In addition, there is an annual written Parent Satisfaction Survey which is a perfect vehicle for providing feedback and suggestions.
14. How do you handle the standardized state tests? Are these administered just as they are in the local public schools?
Students will take the AIMS test just like any other public school. We participate in the same tests and use this data to help develop our school improvement plan to move the school to continuously higher levels of achievement. In addition, students will take a national norm-referenced test (i.e., the Iowa Test of Basic Skills) to determine academic progress during the school year.
15. Why should parents be confident that the school’s curriculum would help children excel on the state’s standardized tests?
Parents should feel confident that the school’s curriculum would help a child excel on the state standardized test because our curriculum is aligned to the state standards and benchmarks.
16. Is there any evidence that can be provided to help a parent assess the improvement of students who have been instructed using the school’s curriculum?
One way for parents to assess the improvement of their child is by reviewing the grade level content expectations. A child should know at the end of the school year all of the skills listed in that book in the grade level just completed. Parents can also use report cards as a means of reviewing the improvement of the child.
17. How does your method of instruction address the variety of learning styles?
Our proprietary curriculum (Paragon®) is one of many tools used to tap into students’ multiple intelligences. We also use Personalized Student Achievement Plans to help clarify and focus on the attainment of specific academic and social goals.
18. I know there is a video on Paragon but I did not get a chance to see it. Can you describe Paragon and its elements?
Paragon teaches rich content through hands-on study. With a hands-on approach, Paragon addresses students’ multiple intelligences and individual learning styles. Through this engaging curriculum, students gain historical information, and come to understand the expansive potential open to them if they can identify with early clarity their individual strengths and sense of purpose.
Rather than teach history in bits and pieces in arbitrary sequence, Paragon’s fully integrated, chronological approach demonstrates to students how one idea builds on and evolves into another. The curriculum illustrates how sweeping cycles repeat and leads students to understand the evolutions of world cultures. In Paragon, students study history across continents, and gain a profound understanding of the manner in which many ideas develop at the same time in independent cultures unaware of the other’s breakthroughs. Through this, students develop a larger picture of history and the associated interrelationships. Rather than memorize names, dates, and events in isolation, students recall the sequential circumstances surrounding these events and remember more readily both factual information and conceptual relevance.
Paragon Curriculum is Practical Because it is Meaningful
Students learn connected networks of knowledge, skills, beliefs, and attitudes that they will find useful both in and outside of school. The significance and meaningfulness of the content is emphasized both in how it is presented to students, how it is developed through activities, and how it is authentically assessed. Step-by-step daily lesson plans are organized around essential questions- questions that have captivated thinkers for millennia and that will continue to fascinate students, thereby connecting them with the content more profoundly, more personally, and more purposefully.
19. What are the “Personalized Student Achievement Plans” and how are they determined?
Each student has a Personalized Student Achievement Plan (PSAP). This plan is a document that the student (if age-appropriate), parents and teacher complete. The teacher, to individualize instruction, uses all information gathered on this document. This document helps in the goal setting process as well as the collection of student data. A couple times a year the parent, teacher and child review this PSAP.
20. Can you describe how students use computers in your classrooms? On average, how many hours a week is a student spending on a computer?
Technology is used in the classroom throughout the day. Students view the Paragon Images during Paragon time; some use the computer to type up a story that they have written, while others use the Internet to do research. The children can average about 30 minutes a day using the computers in the classroom. Students will also utilize technology as a tool for individualized instruction in the areas of language arts and math.