The following are highlights and an overview from our full SGCA Student/Parent Handbook Policies document that is given to parents upon joining our community…
PARENTS’ ROLE and RESPONSIBILITY
Parents are the legally responsible teacher for their homeschool students. Parents are responsible to oversee their student’s education and maintain any records required by North Carolina Law. Parents are also responsible to arrange for annual standardized testing for their students as well. You can find North Carolina’s Homeschooling Laws by going to www.ncdnpe.org. Sola Gratia Classical Academy Inc. is meant to be an homeschooling “spine” for those educating classically. SGCA Inc. is not meant to replace the homeschool parent’s role as their child’s legally responsible educator.
ON COMMUNITY DAY
We seek to be flexible for parents and therefore, we have a model that is flexible with regard to parent participation. We no longer require parents to serve on campus weekly after the 2018-2019 school year. We will instead, employ parents in positions that are assisting in classrooms that need it. This will give our students and teachers more consistency and the ability to reach for excellence in our classrooms. However, parents will have to serve (if they are not Academic Mentors or Assistants) at one of our Learning Celebrations per year. Learning Celebrations are held on Friday evenings mostly, and periodically throughout the year. They include events such as Science Fair, Wax Museum, Poetry Cafe, and Theater performances. Some parents may feel a need to learn alongside their student, and we encourage that. Others may be strong in the classical model and enjoy the break. Academic Mentors will be there to model for and support parents, as well as children. We just ask that parents refrain from being in the classrooms the first 4 weeks of school, while teachers establish their routines and authority in the classroom with their students. Parents are still very welcome to be on campus, and listen in from outside the room those first few weeks or just hang around. They can always join their student for lunch!
Students should come to classes with their corework completed. Corework completion is a requirement of our community. Two weeks of non-corework completion will result in contact from an Academic Mentor or Director to discuss what may be happening that is preventing their completing assignments. SGCA Inc. reserves the right to remove any student without refund from our community, who demonstrates an unwillingness to complete the assigned corework on a regular basis. Students must be picked up no later than 3:00pm. A charge of $1 per minute late after 3:00pm will be assessed and charged to families who fail to pick up on time. A revocation of drop off privileges may happen if parents fail to return in a timely manner more than twice (barring an emergency) or if their child is not able to comply with adult instructions easily, as determined by an Academic Mentor or Director – there will be no refunds of tuition if a child loses their drop off privileges. We are not intended to be a childcare program in any way. We are here to come alongside homeschooling parents who are classically educating their children. If it is determined that your child requires your assistance to make it through their day successfully, then you will be required to remain on campus to ensure his/her success in participating. So we suggest you sign up with the understanding and ability to be on campus each week, if need be.
During the days students are at home with parents, they should be assisting their students to complete any corework assignments necessary for class participation the following week.
Academic Mentors are fellow homeschooling parents or contracted professionals, who have a passion for sharing Truth, Beauty and Virtue with their students and are “masters of their art” in the subject they are teaching. They understand the Christian classical tradition and have an ability to see Christ in all things. Background checks have been required on all Academic Mentors and Assistants. Academic Mentors will also have answered questions regarding their faith, what experience they have had with teaching and what their own learning background is. The Director will take time to get to know the applicant and pray about whether it is the right fit for the Community before adding anyone as an Academic Mentor.
Academic Mentors are responsible for assisting with curriculum choices, developing a syllabus, planning out a scope and sequence, preparing lesson plans, and preparing for class time. They are required to teach utilizing the Christian classical pedagogical methods outlined by the Schole’ Groups philosophy, participate in collaborative meetings, and support students/families throughout the entire year. They are considered amazing servant leaders. If you are interested in learning more and becoming an Academic Mentor with Sola Gratia Classical Academy Inc. then you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire as to any open positions.
Academic Mentor Assistants are those who have been hired to work in a classroom for a full or half day, to assist the teacher with their classroom. They should be reliable and eager to come alongside the teacher and students. The classrooms where Assistants are hired would be Lower Elementary (K-3rd), Art, Nature Studies, Nursery, Playground, and Theater.
This is what it’s all about! We want to see students inspired to Excellence. Students are responsible for attending classes and completing all corework assignments. Students should be working towards demonstrating a heart of humility and respect to those older and younger, as well as maintaining Christ centered relationships with their peers. Academic Mentors, assistants and students are collaborative learners pursuing Beauty, Truth and Virtue together. Logic School and Upper elementary students are expected to model for those students behind them in grade; humility, cooperation and kindness – the beginning steps of becoming a mentor. Opportunity will be given for the older students to serve the younger students, to foster virtue.
Students of all ages and classes are expected to be obedient and respectful to their Academic Mentors and Assistants in the classroom. They are expected to show respect and kindness to their fellow students, bearing with one another in love. They are expected to be self-controlled, respectful and responsive to redirection and input from their Academic Mentors in order to remain on campus without a parent. If a child is still in need of work on these character qualities, then a parent is expected to remain on campus to assist the child in their development.
If a child exhibits repeatedly disruptive and disrespectful behavior, even once a parent has been required to stay with them on campus to work on the problem behavior, the Director reserves the right to discontinue that student’s participation in the community. Students must participate fully in our two or three days of instruction (all classes) in grades 4 and up. Failure to participate fully can result in expulsion. No refunds will be given if a student is asked to leave the community. All parents should apply with an understanding that SGCA Inc. is not a substitute for parenting toward virtue at home. In addition, parents should be setting the tone for respectful behavior towards others, and especially the leadership team. SGCA Inc. maintains the right to remove any student from its enrollment, without refund, if the school feels that the parent(s) are not in harmony with the philosophy of our community.
Parents are required to serve assisting with at least one learning celebration per year. We truly hope that all parents will want to support their student(s) and serve with joy. We also require parents to deal with both Academic Mentors and the Director in a respectful manner both in front of students, as well as via communications of text/email. We must model and cultivate a culture of respect, if we expect our students to exhibit that same respect.
We ask that students be kept home if they are sick with any of the following:
- Fever with 24 hours
- Discharging nose
- Contagious cough
- Throwing up within 24 hours (we ask that you keep all students home in your family if there is a stomach bug running through your home)
- Contagious illness of any kind
As a general rule, please walk in love towards others and consider how you would feel if someone else brought their kids to school with whatever your child is sick with.
We believe there is a direct relationship between a student’s appearance and their behavior. The goal of our dress code is to facilitate the educational environment and create a sense of belonging. We want to reflect a high level of excellence, modesty and Christ-likeness. Please ensure your student is dressed according to our dress code. We will ask parents to bring appropriate clothing if a student comes in clothing outside of uniform code.
Tops: Parents must purchase an SGCA monogrammed uniform shirt from Lands End for each student, to be worn on community day. Our student color is cobalt and they may purchase an additional sweater to wear over the polo shirt in either black or charcoal.
Bottoms: Girls may wear khaki, navy or black Bermuda shorts, skorts or pants. Boys may wear pants or shorts. Kahki or Black is acceptable. Sample of uniform bottoms.
Shoes: Close toed shoes are required for boys and girls to protect their feet when we are outside. NO Flip flops please. This is especially important in the younger classes where they easily fall and run around a lot.
Discipline: Academic Mentors are in charge of their class and the students in their class, even if the parent is present. Please allow the Academic Mentors to handle your student during class time. Students will first be redirected to appropriate behavior or compliance. If the behavior persists, then the Academic Mentor may reserve the right to handle the situation using their best judgement for that particular situation and child. If the Academic Mentor feels it necessary, then they reserve the right to require a parent to remain on campus with their student, or pick up their student if necessary. Academic Mentors also reserve the right to revoke drop-off privileges, suspending them until appropriate behavior is maintained for a minimum time period in class with the parent present. Appropriate behavior is defined as listening to instructions, being respectful, maintaining cooperation, and kindness with the Academic Mentor and fellow students. We ask Academic Mentors to set classroom discipline policies that are working towards developing virtue in their students while modeling virtue themselves in the process.
If a conflict should arise between the Academic Mentors and a parent, the principles set forth in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 13 will be used to guide any action taken. The Director may be involved if a resolution can not be reached.
Assessments: Students in grades 4th and up will occasionally have assessments to gauge what relationship the student has made with the material being taught, and where they are in the mastery process. Assessments also allow Academic Mentors to gauge the effectiveness of their instruction and see areas they require further work. We do not want to encourage competition between students within this regard. We strive to help students see the individuality of the assessments, and not look at it as a linear line they are placing themselves upon. If needed due to a class becoming competitive over grades, we may hand assessments directly to parents in carpool line for their student, rather than give them out in class.
Technology: We do NOT allow electronics of any type on campus. This includes, and especially means, cell phones. Your student will need to “check at the door” any of their phones or other devices and get them back at the end of the day, however, we prefer you just not allow them to bring them to begin with. If you need to reach a student, you can contact myself and the Assistant Director, as we are readily available via text, email or phone, and you can get a message to a student. The temptation is too great to be on phones during any breaks, lunch/playground time etc., and this is a culture we are not cultivating at SGCA.
Class Placement: We recognize that some students are exceptional and capable of producing work in excess of their peers/age group. We also recognize that others may struggle compared to their peers. We want to accommodate for any children that show strengths or struggles. Please let us know on your application if you feel your student falls in either category. The grade breakdown is a general guideline for placement. If you need to discuss your student’s placement, you can contact the Director email@example.com with your request. Accommodations will be made to meet the academic skills of the students, and not be strictly based on ages or grades. In this consideration, however, please be sure your student has the emotional and behavioral maturity to move up if that is what you are requesting. It would be preferred to have a student start in a class that may not be challenging enough and move up once that is confirmed through demonstrated skills and behavior, rather than being in a situation that is too challenging for the child and creates frustration or disruption to the other children in the class or Academic Mentor. We want all the children to flourish and be challenged within the context of their own skills and abilities to perform, remembering that behavior is a piece of that skill acquisition. We can accommodate for minor learning differences, however, we are unable to handle children deemed “special needs” or have moderate learning disabilities. Our Academic Mentors are not trained to handle these situations, therefore, it would not serve the student or class well.
Weapons: Students should not bring any kind of weapon to school. This includes pocket knives, guns or other paraphernalia that could be construed to be a weapon. Immediate suspension and possible expulsion for anyone caught carrying weapons on their person or in their possession on campus
Supplies/Currriculum: A community wide Supplies/Curriculum document per grade will be given out prior to the start of classes, so parents can purchase what will be required. A community wide Scope & Sequence will be made available when school begins, to allow for parents to add living books or other materials they deem wise to reinforce their students learning on campus.
Assignments: Students will be able to access all their corework assignments for classes via ClassReach.
Grading: Quizzes, tests, corework completion and project work scores will be recorded in ClassReach. Homeschooling parents are always welcome to override any grades, as their wisdom deems fitting, for their student. We are giving grades as a general guideline and based on rubrics of our own requirements, parents may have additional or different requirements of their homeschooling student. We merely are providing some baseline for parents to work from.
Student Lunch Period: Students are expected to bring their own bagged lunch to class each day. Only WATER is allowed for drinks on campus. No student is permitted to leave school for lunch unless prior parental permission is obtained in writing. Students should bring a healthy bagged lunch each week.
There will be a planned time of leisure for the students on Wednesday called Schole’ lunch, where students will be eating and watching a performer. It may involve things such as: live music, books read aloud by authors, artists, jugglers, dog trainers –to name a few possibilities. These performers are a way for our students to see the true, good, and beautiful, as well as gifts and talents that can be used for the Lord. It expands their vision of the world in which they live and the ways in which God can use them to serve others as well.
A variety of methods will be used to encourage students in virtue formation. Service projects to reach out to the community and beyond will be completed as part of their Schole’ lunches on Mondays for our older students in grades 4th and up. These projects such as stuffing beans and rice for crisis ministry, making parachord bracelets for the military, writing cards for children in the hospital, stuffing bears for special needs children, and much more are meant to help the community and give our students a bigger vision for serving the world.
At the completion of the schole’ period, students will be given ample time to run and play on the playground outside –weather permitting, through the use of structured playground games and activities. We do request parents not allow their students to bring in sticks or other items from home for the playground time. Playground game time encourages group play, cooperation, collaboration and team building with peers, as well as further development in following established rules. We found this to be a very effective strategy in developing healthy collaborative relationships among our students.
We love recognizing your student’s special day! The way we do this in Lower Elementary is through a specific day each month to recognize all the birthdays for the month. In Upper Elementary/Logic we have a special Schole’ lunch where we recognize their birthdays for the month as well. We do ask that you refrain from bringing in cakes/cookies etc. for birthday celebrations. (We do have a large number of health conscious families that don’t like their students to have sugars/dyes.) Academic Mentors in Lower Elementary will give out a birthday badge for each students birthday they are celebrating that month! Academic Mentors will let you know what sort of special snacks are allowed (cheese, crackers, fruits, etc.). Upper Elementary/Logic will celebrate with a recognition time during Schole’ lunch each month.
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
We do NOT follow Wake County Schools system. They close much too early and often, over weather related events. We run on our own schedule, as we recognize that predictions can be wrong, and weather patterns can develop differently than predicted. We will notify parents if we are going to have to cancel a day of classes via our Facebook Page, Email, and ClassReach. A decision will be made prior to 7:00am the day of classes. We will consider whether delaying classes by an hour or two or closing for the day is wisest. It is our primary desire to not have to cancel classes, due to the affect it would have on the final weeks of school or breaks, to add back those days. Regardless of our decision to go forward with classes, if a parent does not feel comfortable driving on any given day we have decided to commence with classes, please do what is best for your family.
The Community will use ClassReach for communication of assignments, student attendance, record keeping, etc. Zoom Rooms may be offered on an additional day/time by some Academic Mentors to provide time to go over corework and answer questions for students/parents, if they so deem. Parents will be notified of this by each Academic Mentor that offers this blessing. We have an active private Facebook page that you can request to join. We also have a public page to LIKE!