The Culture and Language Academy of Success wants to be sure that we provide you with answers. Here, we provided responses to the most commonly asked questions.
Q. Is the Culture and Language Academy of Success a public or a private school?
A. Because CLAS is a charter school recognized by the California Department of Education, it is, technically, a public school. However, for all intents and purposes CLAS is best characterized as an independent school, functioning in many ways like the very best private schools and providing the very best educationto be found anywhere for our children .
Q. What grades are taught at the Culture and Language Academy of Success?
A. This year, CLAS teaches grades K through 8.
Q. Where is the school located?
A. The Culture and Language Academy of Success spans two sites:
CLAS Primary Elementary at Coliseum (grades K-1)*
4400 Coliseum Street
Los Angeles, CA 90016
*co-located at Coliseum Elementary School
CLAS Intermediate & Upper Elementary and Middle School at Orville Wright
6550 W. 80th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
co-located at Orville Wright Middle School
Q. When did the school open?
A. CLAS opened on September 8, 2003. We are now in our 8th year and intent on improving on our success in every way.
Q. What is the curriculum at CLAS?
A. At CLAS innovation is our mantra. The philosophical backbone of the inventive curriculum at CLAS is differentiated instruction. The methodology abides by a culturally and linguistically responsive hands-on approach where the affirmation and acceptance of home culture and language is the first teaching. In general, culturally responsive teaching enables:
• Systemic validation of all students
• Customized instruction to address the various needs of all learners
• Authentic and multiple assessment opportunities
• Engagement that motivates students to learn and to achieve
The curriculum is not driven by one specific structured program. Instead, the emphasis at CLAS is teaching and instructional strategies guided by the students’ needs as individual learners, not a prescribed, one size fits all approach. The CLAS curriculum is rigorous, standards-based, and holistic. The curriculum is supplemented with instruction in visual and performing arts, Spanish language learning, as well as physical education. Habits of mind are explicitly taught alongside habits of heart, leading students to challenge themselves.
Q. Tell me more about grade level spans. What are they and how are they different from traditional grade levels?
A. Learning spans take the approach of developmentally appropriate placement of students rather than age-number appropriate placement. Developmentally appropriate placement involves the acquisition and demonstration of particular abilities and knowledge based on where the student is experientially versus an age-number. Research findings indicate that students who participate in multiage classes experience significant achievement in language and mathematics and have higher attendance over traditionally grouped students (Kinsey, 2001).
Though learning spans can be roughly equivalent to grade levels and ages, it is possible for younger students to move on to the next learning span once all the requirements for the earlier spans have been met (Delphi Schools). Each student is approached as an individual learner, and his/her learning needs are served as such. No students is placed in a span beyond 2 years of his/her age.
Q. What are the scheduled hours and days that the school provides educational services to students?
A. The instructional day begins promptly at 8:15 AM and ends at 3:20 PM at our Coilseum site. At our Orville Wright location, the day begins at 8:25 AM and ends at 3:30 PM. During the week, additional instructional assistance is provided through a mathematics intervention program for grades 4-8, and K-3 Study Jam, a homestudy support and assistance program.
Q. Are after school programs provided?
A. Yes. CLAS has partnered with Access to Better Choices (ABC) and LA’s Best After School Programs at the Coliseum site. At the Orville Wright site, Access to Better Choices (ABC) and Study Jam™ provide after school care. These programs are available until 6:00 in the evening. LA’s Best is free. ABC and Study Jam™ are value added for-pay options. Safe, structured avtivities are offered at each and time is reserved for students to complete and receive help with homework.
Note that, CLAS offers its own before school care program, CLAScare™, at all sites as well beginning at 7:00 AM for a nominal fee.
Q. What are teacher qualifications?
A. The No Child Left behind Act requires public schools receiving Title I funds to have a “highly qualified” teacher in every classroom. Though there’s been no definitive determination of what “highly qualified” means, it is assumed by many to mean that the teacher is fully credentialed or is currently in a credential program working toward full certification in the very near future.
Q. What is the admissions policy?
A. Each year, CLAS holds an open enrollment period for the upcoming school year beginning in the spring of the previous academic year through the fall of the new school year. Parents attend an orientation meeting where they recieve information about the school’s vision, mission, curriculum, policies, and more. If parents are interested in applying for enrollment for their child(ren), they fill out an application, upon receipt of which by the deadline enters their child in the pool of applicants from which new students are chosen at random based on the number of available seats in their particular grade level. Priority is granted to students with siblings already enrolled at CLAS. Please note that once the open enrollment period closes, no further students are admitted for the school year. Applicants who were not admitted, must reapply during the open enrollment period for the next school year if they desire to do so. We feel that this is the fairest process available for ensuring all applicants an equal opportunity for admittance based on the limited number of spaces that become available each year.
Q. Are there any specific obligations of parents to the school?
A. Yes. CLAS families are encouraged to volunteer no less than 42 hours of their time each year to the school in some capacity – campus environment enhancements, communications, transportation, and teacher support.
Q. How does Culture and Language Academy of Success report students’ grades and progress?
A. CLAS uses learning records, an anecdotal report based on the progress your child has made throughout the school year in relation to both standards and other children in the same ability and age group. Student learning records include a narrative report, a number score based on rubrics calibrated against learning standards, and a graphed representation of achievement.
Q. What is the Discipline policy?
A. In order to establish an environment of cooperation and mutual respect, Culture and Language Academy of Success Culture and Language Academy of Success has designed its own character development and ethics process throughout the school called RIGHTEOUS. RIGHTEOUS is based on the ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) principals of MA’AT, a humane system of thought and conduct, and one of the world’s oldest sources of spiritual and moral instruction. Conferencing, peer conflict resolution, and self-reflection are the first line of intervention when addressing behavioral issues. Teacher communication with students’ families are of primary importance as we work together to create and maintain a self-sufficient and healthy community. However, when student behavior does not meet these standards and continues to be an issue, more serious attention may be necessary.
Q. Does the school provide meals to students?
A. Yes, CLAS offers school meals. For the 2011-2012 school year we will utilizing the Los Angeles Unified School District’s food services dviision to provide meals for our students. A nutritious hot breakfast and lunch are served daily at each of the school sites. A menu identifying what is served will be provided each month to CLAS families. The cost of meals is $100 per month per student. Free and reduced price meals are available to families that qualify. Of course, students can bring their own lunch.
Q. Are students required to wear uniforms?
A. Yes. Like a unified professional sports team, CLAS students display unity of school spirit in sharply outfitted uniforms we call CLASwear™ featuring the CLAS colors of black, red, and white. Girls have the option of wearing black or khaki “skorts,” black or beige v-neck jumpers, white blouses with colorful kente cross ties, and red cardigan sweaters. Boys wear black or khaki trousers, white short sleeve dress shirts with kente patterned ties, and red cardigan sweaters. Students in our middle school are required to wear black blazers instead of sweaters. Boys and girls have the option of wearing more casual CLASwear™ like white polo shirts emblazoned with the CLAS emblem without ties on Wednesdays and Fridays or other designated dress-down days.