Check out the FAQ’s below:
Q: East Point Academy is a charter school and is a member of the South Carolina Public Charter School District. What is a charter school?
A: Charter schools are public schools designed to foster innovation, boost achievement and give educational choices to parents and students. Charter schools are approved and funded by the state of South Carolina. Also, there are no attendance boundaries for schools like East Point Academy as long as the student is a resident of South Carolina.
Q: What is immersion?
A: Foreign language immersion is a well-researched educational program in which part of the school’s curriculum (e.g., math, science, art) is taught using a foreign language. Students in language immersion programs achieve high levels of foreign language proficiency as well as overall academic performance, typically at the same level or higher than students in English only programs. Immersion teachers expect new students will not begin school with any knowledge of the language. Teachers will use a variety of techniques to convey meaning such as gestures, facial expressions and the use of models and concrete objects to make students feel secure, comfortable and relaxed.
Q: Why is it better for my child to start learning a language in elementary school?
A: Research shows that exposing children to a second language at an early age stimulates the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students who learn a language before the onset of adolescence are more likely to have fluent pronunciation. A number of experts attribute this proficiency to physiological changes that occur in the maturing brain as a child enters puberty.
Q: Why is Mandarin Chinese the language taught in the immersion classes?
A: China is among South Carolina’s top five export markets. Mandarin is spoken by more than 1 billion people in the fastest growing economy in the world.
Q: Will two languages confuse my child or hinder his or her English language skills?
A: Studies have shown that learning two languages does not confuse children or hinder their learning. In fact, cognitive and academic benefits are evident in bilingual students. By the end of the elementary grades, immersion students perform the same or better than students in English-only programs on standardized tests in English.
Q: How can I help my child with homework if I don’t speak or read Chinese?
A: The Chinese immersion teachers will make a conscious effort to explain thoroughly the homework assignments. Whenever necessary, depending on the complexity of the material, teachers will send home an explanation of the homework and review the completed homework in both languages. Textbooks used will be the South Carolina adopted texts written in English. Supplemental materials in Mandarin will be provided. Parent University, which is a set of free information sessions for parents of EPA students, are available for parents wishing to learn more about Mandarin and Chinese culture. While teachers work hard to help each student with their Mandarin comprehension in the classroom we do offer additional individual tutoring on an as needed basis. The fees for afterschool tutoring vary based on private or semi-private options. For information on tutoring placement contact, Dr. Fiona Du.
Q: Who is in charge of East Point Academy?
A: East Point Academy was founded by a Planning Committee composed of interested educators, business people and parents who completed an extensive application process to gain approval for the school. The school principal supervises the day to day operations of the school. The Head of School is Mr. Mark Bounds. You may contact him at mbounds@EastPointSC.org. The Board of Directors is composed of nine members, five elected and four appointed. All parents and staff have the opportunity to vote. Elected board seats are filled on a two-year rotating schedule.
Q: What will the school day and school year calendar look like?
A: The tardy bell rings at 8:15 a.m. to start the day for middle school (grades 6-8) and the Elementary school (grades 2-5) and 8:30 a.m. at the Primary campus (3K – 1) students begin their day.
Dismissal begins at the Elementary campus at 3:15 p.m. Dismissal for middle school is 3:45 p.m. At the Primary campus, dismissal begins at 2:45 p.m. for pre-school and 3:00 p.m. for kindergarten and 3:10 p.m. for 1st. After school care is available from 3:00 – 6:00 on a fee basis at both campuses.
Students may be dropped off at school as early as 7:15 a.m. at the Elementary campus and 7:30 a.m. at the Primary Campus. The school calendar is similar to the calendar for surrounding school districts, and is posted on the website. The Mid-Autumn festival and the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) will be celebrated with activities held at the school. American celebrations such as President’s Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, etc. are included in lessons and/or school activities.
Q: Will any type of Chinese or American religious instruction be taught at the school?
A: No. As with any public school, religious instruction is not allowed as part of the school curriculum.
Q: What is the school size and class size?
A: Enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year is around 575 students. Teacher to student ratios average 16:1 because many Primary and Mandarin classes have co-teachers. The cap on each classroom is 23 students.
Q: What are the qualifications of the school staff?
The school is staffed by certified and/or highly qualified teachers from China and the United States. Mandarin teachers are certified through the international certification agreement with South Carolina. These teachers are chosen from a select group to have the opportunity to teach in the United States. Other staff members fluent in English have early childhood or elementary certification in South Carolina. In addition, teaching assistants who may not be certified but have experience in Mandarin, English, early childhood or elementary instruction are employed at EPA. Mandarin Language Arts teachers are native speakers of Chinese and are fluent in English.
Q: Who are the major partners of the school?
A: The University of South Carolina and the Confucius Institute are important to the success of East Point Academy. The Chinese Association of Columbia partners with EPA to hold Chinese Celebrations and community events.
Q: How do I apply?
A: The application process is free and applications can be accessed at http://eastpointsc.org/enroll/enrollment-process-and-forms. Current year applications are still be accepted, although many classes have waiting lists for the 2017 – 2018 school year. Open enrollment for the 2018 – 2019 school year will start in January 2018.
Q: What if I have more questions?
A: Feel free to contact us! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call either campus.
- East Point currently serves students in 4 year-old pre-school*, Kindergarten**, and 1-8th grades. Our new elementary school is under way and will be completed during the 2018 – 2019 school year. Our middle school will undergo renovations to be completed during the 2019 – 2020 school year.
- Teachers follow the South Carolina curriculum guidelines and standards for English, math, science, social studies, art, music and physical education. Students are assessed with NWEA MAP in grades K-5 and PASS in grades 3-8.
- Students are immersed in math, science and Mandarin instruction, which is provided by certified teachers who are fluent Chinese speakers. Students are assessed in Mandarin with ACTPC testing beginning in sixth grade.
- It is expected that students will not know Mandarin upon entering school so teachers will use drawings, objects, pictures, gestures, and expressions to support learning. Parents will be provided information to help students as they learn to read, write and speak in English and Mandarin. Students entering EPA at second grade or above may require tutoring after school hours, which is paid for by their parent(s) or guardian.
- Students receive instruction in English reading, social studies, writing and speaking by a certified, fluent English speaking elementary teacher.
- An after school program is offered until 6:00 p.m. each day Monday – Friday at both the Primary and Elementary campus. The cost for this service is $65 per week and $15 per day.
- The Primary campus is located at 1340 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, South Carolina 29033. The phone number for the Primary campus is (803) 739-4992 and the fax is (803) 739-4977. The Elementary/Middle school campus is located at 1401 Leaphart St. West Columbia, SC 29169. The phone number for the Elementary campus is (803) 926-0520 and the fax is (803) 926-0524.
- Each elementary class has an ipad carts for student use. Middle school students are issues a Chromebook. Parents are required to pay and insure fee on the Chromebooks as they taken home with students. Smartboards are used in the classrooms for all grade levels.
- A certified food service provider provides breakfast and lunch to students. Parents can order lunch from a published menu or parents can choose to pack the child’s lunch. The menu is posted weekly on our parent information portal, Bloomz. EPA is a peanut and tree nut free school.
- Students have daily recess and access to outdoor play areas when weather permits. Recess and PE will be held inside during inclement weather.
- Art, music, PE, drama and Chinese Dance are provided as part of the regular school schedule. All related arts classes, aside from PE, are taught in Mandarin.
- Library resources are available to students in both Chinese and English.
- The school mascot is the Panda, and the Primary campus cafeteria is named Pandy’s.
* 4 year-old pre-school is a fee based program. Fees for the day program (8:30 am – 2:45 pm) is $5500 per year. Daily early arrival is available beginning at 7:30 a.m. Payment plans are available.
** Kindergarten is free for students who will be 5 by 9/1/2017.