FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What hours will Kingfisher be open?
We are open from 7:30 a.m. till 5:45 p.m. Mon – Thurs and until 5:00 p.m. Fridays. We expect students to be in attendance from 8:45 to 3:30 p.m. to receive the full benefit of the school day. With the extended hours, working parents can allow their children to come early at no additional charge. Our afterschool program is $30/week to each family, for one child and $40 for two children.
What will the student-teacher ratio be?
We anticipate the ratio to be quite low, probably 10 to 1 or less. At Kingfisher, we believe that a small school can be more flexible and family-friendly than a large one, so we try to keep the class-size small as well as the overall school size.
Do class groupings stay the same from year to year?
We begin dividing up the class groups in early August to see where we are, which can vary each year. Children will be considered enrolled when the parents have sent us the application along with the $500 material/deposit fee, which goes toward the total tuition. We believe in multi-age grouping (within a few years span) which allows students to work at their own individual level without the pressure of waiting on slower kids or rushing to catch up to faster ones, as well as offering a cooperative mentoring environment.
This flexible grouping also allows children to explore their interests and to work at their own individual levels on projects that are important to them, rather than trying to fit into a class that doesn’t challenge them. A sixth grader might be working in a 5th grade math book and a 7th grade English book; whereas, a 4th grader might be working in all 5th grade books. Sometimes teachers will offer a special event or class that includes children from other clusters, such as when a 1st grade child comes to the next class up for reading or an upper elementary student goes to the middle elementary class for math. We are flexible and believe in mastery learning, which means we don’t move on until all the concepts (particularly in math) have been mastered.
How will lunch and snacks be handled?
Families are responsible for ensuring the student has a packed lunch and snacks for the school day. Please pack warm foods in a thermos and use an ice pack to keep the cold foods cold. As an environmentally aware school, we request that families use reusable containers and include almost no throwaway trash. All lunch trash will be returned in the lunchbox, so prepare for this by packing a small plastic bag for this purpose. We no longer allow disposable plastic water bottles in the school, but we are happy to refill re-useable water bottles, if needed throughout the day. Please refrain from sending soda, candies, and difficult-to-open (and easy to spill) drink bottles. Please do not send red and purple juices, as they frequently spill and stain everything. Please continue to use thermos containers for hot foods, if possible. We will be offering the option of buying lunch on Friday for $4/plate as a fundraiser for the school.
Will you go on field trips?
Part of our Kingfisher Academy philosophy includes going out into the community—children learn as much there as in the classroom. Field trips occur several times a month, we visit the library weekly and we go on daily excursions into the neighborhood parks. All trips will be planned to support and enhance classroom learning, making the content much more meaningful to the students. Some children may do short internships at local businesses during the school day, and some might do research at the zoo.
What enrichment subjects will Kingfisher offer?
We consider art, music, p.e., foreign language, and technology to be integral parts of our curriculum—not add-ons, but as important to the children and the program as math, reading, and science. The actual set of enrichment offerings can vary year to year. We also encourage and sometimes offer after school clubs that address special interests like karate, gymnastics, swimming, drama, etc. If possible we drop kids off within a couple miles of the school and at the Tucker Rec Center for after school activities.
How does aftercare work? What about early drop-off?
School opens at 7:30 but the academic day doesn’t start until 8:40. Kids can be dropped off from 730 on for no additional charge.
Aftercare is provided for a low weekly fee. If a student isn’t riding the bus or picked up by 4:00 they are in aftercare. Aftercare ends at 5:45 Monday through Thursday and 5pm on Fridays. The fee is $30/week for one child and $40/week for two children.
Alternatively, your child can ride the bus to various after school programs close by.
Can my child take the bus home?
Each afternoon anyone can ride the bus that lives within 5 to 7 miles of the school or can be delivered to various after school programs close by.
The bus usually leaves around 3:15 (to avoid the high school traffic) and generally everyone is delivered by 4:30. If your child is under 9, someone must be home to greet the child when getting off the bus, for safety. The cost is $30/month.
How does the grading system at Kingfisher work?
We follow the national standards for each grade level. Students in 2nd grade and under will not receive letter or number grades and every student has some description on their report card about the quarter. We offer quarterly report cards and parent/teacher conferences upon request.
Students are expected to take the assignments seriously and to slowly learn to manage their time so that there should be very little in the way of homework. There will be long-term projects, however, that may require some step by step procedures to be carried out at home and you will receive information on these as they come up. As we allow students to work at their most challenging level, some kids may complete work at their grade level early in the year and they can move on to the next grade, at that time.
How can we help younger children adjust to the drop-off in the morning?
For the first few mornings, some parents like to stay for fifteen minutes in the beginning of the day and slowly ease out over time until drop off lasts just a minute or two. If your child cries a little on the second or third day—don’t be surprised and don’t feel guilty. But it is important to not make a habit of staying long at drop-off after that first week. School is good for your child and they often come to wish school could happen on the weekends! If you are worried, phone us when you get to work and we’ll check to see if the crying is over and tell you what’s happening.
After the first week, pick a day to come in and “check in” with the teacher once a week, regarding your child, but do not plan on coming in every day—teachers will have more planning to do this year and a ten-minute conference with seven or eight parents every day uses up all their time and your time. We will be diligent about Friday folders and e-mailing, so we hope that will help with communication. If we need to see a parent, the teacher will be waiting for you to get here to pick up your child. We want school to be fun and encourage parents to approach this transition in a positive way. If your child senses that you are confident, they will be confident, as well.
How will you help the transition to high school for my rising 8th grader?
Let us know what schools you are considering and we will talk with them regarding placement, requirements for admission, etc. We will be happy to provide recommendations on high school placement based upon our knowledge of your child and also to simply let you know what’s “out there.” If the school requires test scores, we will work to accommodate that need, often with only a small test booklet charge. To help the transition to high school, our middle school follows the new Federal Standards.
What if my family needs to transfer our child to a public school following our time at Kingfisher? Would it be difficult for our student to fit into a more traditional classroom?
We are happy to work with the students headed for public school—we talk with the potential school to be certain we’re all on the same page and we help the student get ready for the change. Most of our children have done extremely well after transferring. The independent learning that we emphasize works to make our Kingfisher students leaders in their new classes.
Are there any expenses, other than tuition, for which we need to budget?
We know that it is a sacrifice for families to have their children in private schooling and our fees are structured to stay reasonable. Most enrichment courses during the school day are negotiated at a low rate and either entirely covered by Kingfisher tuition or split with the parents at a nominal rate. For instance we contracted out for tennis instruction and covered 70% so the parents payment was only $10 a month. We do ask for an insurance fee of $25 at the beginning of school and sometimes parents may want their little ones to take gymnastic classes or something unique outside of the school. Those payments would be negotiated with the instructor at that time. Some field trips may require additional money, as will buying school supplies and some books for literature study.
What do you expect parents to do to help the school, in terms of management, fundraising, etc.?
We welcome any help folks can provide, but do not require help from working parents.
Absolutely no fundraising sales campaigns will happen at Kingfisher we have sold enough candy, popcorn, wrapping paper, etc. to fill a truck and these campaigns rarely raise enough money to justify the work involved. Instead, we keep our costs low and we write grants to various foundations and corporations. If it takes 10 hours to write a grant for $5,000 and over 300 hours to sell enough wrapping paper to make half that much money, it is obvious that the grant nets more for the time.
We do however have easy options that allow the school to get contributions. These are things like connecting your Kroger card to the school, using AmazonSmile, the Publix school card, and sometimes a supper to raise money for certain projects. Please go to our Support page to see easy ways to help our school stay affordable.