Many people have been asking questions about Heritage Community Charter School in the Caldwell School District. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
How did the idea for Heritage Community Charter School arise?
The idea for Heritage Community Charter School began with a small group of parents who desired a “school of choice” option for their children within the Caldwell School District. The Caldwell School District did not currently have an operating charter school in its district at that time.
HCCS founders began discussing their vision for educating children in 2009, collaboration with Caldwell School District superintendent, district staff members and community members began in 2010.
We commend the great work being done in the Caldwell School District and look forward to becoming an educational partner as we join in their innovative efforts towards education. The founders worked to develop a vision, mission and approach to education that was unique, reflected the needs of students in the community, offered a different focus and replicated successful models that have led to high student achievement in other schools.
The HCCS petition was presented to the Idaho State Charter School commissioners and was unanimously approved by the commissioners at our first hearing on September 23rd, 2010!
The purpose for developing Heritage Community Charter School started with the foundational belief that every child can learn regardless of socio-economic background, nationality, language or disability, and that every child should have access to a fair and equitable education.
The mission of Heritage Community Charter School is to educate students so that they graduate prepared for success in post-secondary and career environments; committed to lifelong learning; bi-literate and able to serve as leaders in their communities.
The vision of HCCS is to develop within our students an individual belief that they can attain High academic achievement, through which they develop a Continuous love of learning throughout their lives, and gain the skills necessary for Communication that is effective, all in a Safe and respectful environment in which all students feel they contribute.
Although the curriculum is intended to be rigorous and challenging, HCCS is not intended to be a school for only the “best and the brightest”. The foundational belief and philosophy that all children can learn and feel individual academic success will be realized through an individualized approach to meet each students needs and to create experiences where each student can feel success. The HCCS founders believe that this program will be especially beneficial to a target population that is extremely diverse.
What kind of education will students receive at the school? What are some unique aspects of the school?
In order to re-enforce the foundational belief that all children call learn, and fulfill the mission, vision, and purpose of HCCS, the educational programs and models were carefully researched and thoughtfully chosen, taking into account the demographics of the Caldwell School District. The combination of both the Core Knowledge Sequence and a Dual Language Immersion Model we believe, will fulfill all the aspects of the HCCS mission, vision and purpose, and we believe will successfully meet the needs of our community.
The Core Knowledge Sequence is classical in nature and provides the “framework” or “spine” of what to teach and when to teach it (aligned with Idaho State standards and benchmarks), but not necessarily “how” to teach it. Although “best sources” are recommended, Core Knowledge traditionally moves away from “textbook” learning and allows teachers creativity and flexibility within their own classrooms to develop instruction that fluctuates with the interests and learning styles of each individual class from year to year.
The Dual Language Immersion Model (DLI) serves many purposes at HCCS and provides many benefits to all students.
DLI models are typically described as classrooms taught by a bi-lingual teacher where students receive core content instruction in both their native language and a second language at a 50/50 ratio. Varying factors will ultimately determine the initial implementation model and immersion ratio used during the implementation phase at HCCS. The goal of HCCS is to have full implementation of DLI in all K-5th grade classrooms at a 50/50 immersion ratio by the opening of the 2016 school year (five year implementation plan).
The primary years (K-5) at HCCS offer some of the most optimal developmental stages for language development. HCCS primary grade teachers will use innovative teaching approaches that promote the use of the foreign language for meaningful interaction, unlike the traditional development of formal structural knowledge first with meaningful interaction later. The meaningful interaction in our classrooms will naturally develop this structural knowledge. All students, not only the gifted, benefit from exposure to foreign language instruction at all levels of the school experience. Research strongly indicates that intelligence plays only a minor role in predicting the achievement of foreign language proficiency (Genesee, 1976). A positive attitude and curiosity to learn is the most important qualities a student can bring to the foreign language learning experience.
The secondary grades will continue the Core Knowledge sequence but move away from direct instruction teaching methods in the primary grades to Socratic teaching methods in the secondary grades. The strong language component of HCCS will also continue in the 6th through 8th grades learning Latin and in 9-12th grade allowing students to study a language of choice. The previous years of Spanish and Latin in particular will prepare students for further language development and greater skills in literacy, math and science.
Will my kindergartner/first grader learn to read in English? How do these students perform on the state standardized tests?
Students at Heritage Community Charter School in Caldwell will continue English language instruction and reading as part of the core content. Spanish language instruction is not intended to replace English language instruction. Research shows native Spanish speakers acquire English much more rapidly once they understand their native language and native English speakers acquire Spanish at a more advanced rate when immersed in the language. The main goal of the Dual Language Immersion Model at HCCS is second language acquisition. Michael Rosanova, Ph.D., a professor of education at Chicago State University, Montessori-certified teacher, and an expert in bilingual education states,
“additional long term benefits for children who have gone through a childhood dual-language immersion experience are greater cognitive flexibility, greater facility in concept formation, greater creativity and problem-solving skills in verbal and math problems, and obviously, a greater facility of vocabulary than their monolingual peers.”
Additional research from the Center for Applied Linguistics states that students in a dual language immersion program do as well or better than their English only peers on standardized achievement tests.
What age group will the school service?
Heritage Community Charter School will serve the age groups that attend elementary school, middle school and high school. The implementation of each grade level is based on the following plan.
As approved by the Idaho State Charter School Commission, HCCS is authorized to offer enrollment our first year (2011) in the elementary school primary grades (K-5) at full capacity with two classes of 30 students each (60 students per grade); with the secondary grades opening at a reduced capacity consisting of sixth grade with two classes of 30 students, 60 total 6th grade students, one class of 30 students in both 7th and 8th grades for middle school aged students, and a pilot charter high school program with a total of 40 students in grades 9th-12th.
The goal of the pilot secondary program the first four years will be to collect data to ensure successful implementation of the secondary program at full capacity in year seven (2017). The potential enrollment for the first year will be 520 students and will continue to grow as each successive grade continues through the program until each grade K-12th has a total of 60 students per grade with a maximum enrollment of 780 students in the 2017-2018 school year.
Where are you located?
HCCS is located at: 1803 E Ustick Road, Caldwell, ID 83605 on approximately 10 acres of land just southwest of the Caldwell YMCA.
Will you be in portables or a permanent building?
Our priority is to provide the most optimal learning environment for our teachers to teach and our students to learn in with our decisions being driven by our commitment to be fiscally responsible so that we are a sustainable entity. This requires conservative budgeting, and creative fundraising. We will be starting our capital campaign “Build a Classroom, Build a Future” in 2011 with the hope of support from local Idaho Corporations that HCCS will be in a position to purchase a permanent facility within the next few years.
The HCCS Board of Directors recently signed a conservative lease contract with Caldwell School Development LLC., and they have begun construction on a brick and mortar building to house K-6th grade the first year and is on schedule to be ready to open the first day of school in August 2011. 7th-12th grades will be housed in portable units for the first few years but will have access to the facilities in the primary grade building including a library, gymnasium/lunch room with a “scratch” kitchen offering hot lunch service and a science laboratory and music room.
What is the time line for the school?
HCCS conducted it’s lottery on March 18th, 2011 and will continue to accept applications for enrollment from prospective students throughout the 2011 and subsequent school years.
HCCS has hired it’s principal and is currently accepting applications and conducting interviews for faculty and staff in K-12 positions.
Parents of students selected through the lottery for registration will be contacted to register their students. Several parent and student information meetings will be held in the next few months. During the summer expect to have some “grade get togethers” so students will have the opportunity to meet their fellow classmates and teachers and begin building friendships well in advance of school opening.
HCCS has signed a lease contract with a development company and they have begun construction on a brick and mortar facility near the intersection of U-stick and Indiana in Caldwell and plan to be ready to open for the first day of school in August 2011.
Will students be required to wear uniforms?
Yes, students will be required to wear uniforms at Heritage Community Charter School.
- A school uniform makes it easier for the school authorities to recognize students belonging to their school and will help school authorities to differentiate between primary and secondary students on the HCCS campus at all time.
- A school uniform also saves the school administrators from having to police what the students wear. There are no daily battles regarding what’s appropriate or not for school.
- A school uniform eliminates preoccupation of status labels and fashions during the school day that can hinder the learning environment. Wearing the same type of dress reduces social snobbery and peer pressure.
- A school uniform reduces incidents of bullying and theft and eliminates associative gang affiliated attire attributing to a safer school environment.
- A school uniform can instill a sense of discipline and community feeling.
Will busing transportation be provided?
Students who reside within the primary attendance area will be eligible to have busing transportation to and from school for students enrolled in the 1st-8th grades. Students who reside outside the attendance area in places such as Boise or Meridian or other surrounding communities will not have access to the buses and will need to be transported to and from school.
What is the School Supply List for 2012-2013 ?
Please click here to open the list of Supplies for the new school year.