Frequently Asked Questions
What is a charter school? A charter school is a public school whose operation is autonomous from the local school district and based on a contract with the State Board of Education. It is funded by the government in much the same way other public schools are, but may be initiated and run by a group of parents, educators, and/or community members who define the school’s philosophy, curriculum, governance and fiscal practices under the guidelines of state and federal law. Charter schools typically focus on a special curriculum approach, a new school organization approach or some other feature that sets them apart from local district school offerings.
Why do we need charter schools? People need a choice in education to address the different learning needs of their children. For most families, local district schools work well for them, however there are many who need something different but may lack the resources to pursue other options such as private schools and home schools. Charter schools were established to provide additional academic choices within the public school system. Their purpose is to continue to improve student learning, encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods, create new professional opportunities, establish new models of schools and measurement tools, and provide greater opportunities for parental involvement.
How do charter schools benefit the community? Besides offering a choice in education, charter schools can help relieve some of the overcrowding in existing district schools without placing undue burdens on taxpayers. As non-profit organizations, charter schools raise funds or secure private financing for their facilities without bonds or tax levies. A charter school is one less school a district needs to bond for.
As schools of choice, meaning parents choose them, charter schools provide a beneficial and healthy pressure within the public education system to be more responsive to parents and students, and evaluate improvement. The presence of charter schools in a community often results in increased performance across all surrounding schools.
Charter schools typically engage local businesses and other organizations to help provide resources and services to the school and its families, and utilize volunteer service and parent involvement which saves money and encourages stronger working relationships among educators, parents and the community.
Do charter schools take money from public schools? Charter schools are public schools. As a public school, charter schools receive revenue per pupil according to state guidelines. This per pupil state funding follows a child to the public school in which they are enrolled, whether it is a district school or a charter school.
Are charter schools subject to the same laws as other public schools? Yes. Laws regarding religion in schools, school fees and tuition, health and safety, civil rights, annual reports, and most other matters are the same as other public schools.
Are charter schools subject to meet state standards, state testing AzMerit? Yes. Like all public schools, charter schools are required to meet all state standards, participate in AzMerit testing and applicable accountability requirements.
Does Adams Traditional Academy charge tuition? No. Charter schools are public schools and as such may not charge tuition or require students or parents to make monetary contributions (although donations are accepted and appreciated). Charter schools are subject to the same rules regarding school fees as other public schools.
Is Adams Traditional Academy’s enrollment limited to certain types of students? No. A charter school is part of the public education system and is open to all students, without discrimination, on the same basis as other public schools. Like all public schools, charter schools are required to provide access and services to all students, including students with disabilities and those who are limited English proficient. If the number of applicants exceeds the available capacity of the grade levels within the school, students are selected at random by lottery. Enrollment preferences are extended for siblings of enrolled students.
What is the average classroom size at Adams Traditional Academy? ATA’s class sizes average 25 students in grades 1 through 8 and 20 in kindergarten. In addition, many classes have an aide present in the classroom with the teacher, bringing the teacher/student ratio down to about thirteen.
Does Adams Traditional A academy require uniforms? ATA believes a dress standard is a necessary element in promoting a healthy learning environment, including equality, citizenship and school pride. The school has adopted a uniform-style dress standard that attending students are required to abide by.
Does Adams Traditional Academy operate on a standard or year-round schedule? The enrollment of ATA is limited to a specific capacity, making a year-round schedule unnecessary. ATA operates on a standard school schedule and closely aligns its calendar with the Deer Valley School District to accommodate those families who may have other children that attend local district schools.
Is there bus service for Adams Traditional Academy students? In response to parent demand, we have established a bus route from Anthem travelling along the I-17 corridor. If you live north of the school and are interested in service, please stop by the office and pick up the information packet. This packet includes an introduction letter along with bus routes and an acknowledgment page. A signed acknowledge page is required for each child riding the bus. There is a fee to ride the bus. Parents are encouraged to participate in carpool groups.