FAQ

 

East Point Academy FAQ

East Point Academy is a charter school and is a member of the South Carolina Public Charter School District. What is a charter school?

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.

What is immersion?

Foreign language immersion is a well researched educational system 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.

Why is it better for my child to start learning a language in elementary school?

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 obtain proficiency.

Why is Mandarin Chinese the language taught in the immersion classes?

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.

Will two languages confuse my child or hinder his or her English language skills?

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.

How can I help my child with homework if I don’t speak or read Chinese?

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.  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 tutoring are $30 per hour. For information on tutoring placement contact Junlan Li, jli@eastpointsc.org.

Who is in charge of East Point Academy?

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.

What time does the school day begin and end?

The tardy bell rings at 8:10 a.m. to start the day for the middle campus and 8:20 for the elementary campus.

Dismissal begins at 3:00 for 4K and 5K and at 3:15 p.m. for 1st-5th grade. Dismissal for the middle school campus is at 3:45 p.m.  Horizons After School Experience is available from dismissal until 6:00 on a fee basis at both campuses.

Students may be dropped off at school as early as 7:10 a.m. at the middle campus and 7:20 a.m. at the elementary campus.

Will any type of Chinese or American religious instruction be taught at the school?

No.  As with any public school, religious instruction is not allowed as part of the school curriculum.

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 teachers are native speakers of Chinese and are fluent in English.

Who are the major partners of the school?

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.

How do I apply?

The application process is free and applications can be accessed at www.eastpointsc.org/enroll/enrollment-process-and-forms.  Current year applications are still be accepted, although some grades have waiting lists for the 2018 – 2019 school year.  Open enrollment for the 2019 – 2020 school year will start in January 2018.

If my child isn’t feeling well, how do I know if I should keep them home? What do I do if they have missed school?

A child should stay home or leave school early if they have a fever of 100 degrees or higher, they vomit or have diarrhea, have a severe or uncontrollable cough, have a rash that may be disease-related or for which the cause is unknown or if they have yellow or green mucous coming from the nose. Children should be free of fever, vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours without medication in order to return to school. You can find out more about school exclusion requirements here: http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/ChildTeenHealth/SchoolExclusion/ A parent/guardian must provide a written explanation of the reason for each absence within two school days. If the written explanation is not provided within the two-day period, the absences will be coded unexcused. By law, students are allowed a maximum of 10 days of absence without a doctor’s note. You will want to contact your child’s teachers upon return to school to arrange to make up missed assignments.

What do I do if I must pick my student up early from school?

In instances where students need to be signed out early, parents must sign their student out in the main office.  Students leaving early must be signed out by 2:30 pm.  Only emergency dismissals will be granted after 2:30. We ask you cooperation, as dismissals in this time window are a significant disruption to the dismissal routine.

My student has medication needs during the day. What do I need to do?

Prescription medication forms must be completed and signed by the prescribing physician and parent/guardian and accompany the medication.   Non-prescription forms must be completed by parent/guardian and accompany the medication.  Medications to be taken during school hours must be brought to school and delivered to the school nurse or designated adult (front office staff at either campus) in the ORIGINAL container with ALL LABELS intact, noting name, date, prescribed frequency, dosage and route. Medications kept at school must be picked up by a responsible adult when the medication is discontinued, expired, or at the end of the school year. If you have questions contact Nurse Stewart, tstewart@eastpointsc.org.

 What is the cost for school breakfast and lunch?

Breakfast is $2.45 and lunch is $3.45. If you qualify, a free or reduced cost option is available. Menus can be found at www.eastpointsc.nutrislice.com/menu/. You may also choose to send a packed lunch from home. East Point Academy is a nut free school. The need for snacks will be determined by the teachers based on the class/ lunch schedule. Healthy snacks are to be provided by the parent/guardian and to be sent in daily. Additionally, all students are encouraged to bring a water bottle daily in order to remain hydrated.

If I have questions that do not pertain to a particular teacher, who can I call to clarify?

Many answers to questions can be found on the website and the materials provided to you. For answers to questions not found in these places, the front desk staff is a wonderful resource.  If they don’t know the answer to your question, they can point you in the right direction. You can reach the elementary front office at 803-926-5180 and the middle campus at 803-926-0520.

How many students will be in my child’s class? Can I choose what class they will be in?

Our student-teacher ratio averages 16:1. The exact ratio varies from class to class but we will strive not to exceed 23 students per class, which is well below the state average. Our administrative team works tirelessly to make sure each student is in the class that is the best fit for them. There are many factors that go into placement and we are unable to accommodate class requests.

Will my student have daily homework?

Homework will be given at the teachers’ discretion. Homework reinforces skills, provides practice and contributes to development of study skills. Special projects will be assigned throughout the year as extension of classroom instruction.  These projects will be assigned and parents notified to allow ample time for students to complete the assignment.

Do you offer after school care? Horizons Afterschool Experience runs Monday-Friday from the end of the school day to 6:00 pm.  The cost for the program is $65 per week per child or $15 per day. Students have a snack, physical activity time, tutorials, arts and crafts and homework time. In addition to basic care, a wide variety of clubs and lessons are available during this time. Most clubs and lessons assess a fee for participation. For after care questions contact Rebecca Cuevas, rcuevas@eastpointsc.org.

How are children evaluated?

East Point grades on a ten point scale. Grade calculations will be applied as follows: A – 90-100, B – 89-80, C – 70-79, D -60-69, F – < 59. Each teacher will have their own scale of how homework, classwork, projects and tests are weighted for the grading scale. In addition, students will take a variety of tests including fall and spring MAP tests, SC Ready and SC Pass. All students will be evaluated in Mandarin at the beginning and end of the year via the Oral Proficiency Exam (OPI) and will receive an end of year Mandarin report card based on the OPI as well as reading and writing skills. Our students who are concluding their fifth year of Mandarin immersion (not including 4k) and all middle school students will take the AAPPL test in the spring. Questions about standardized testing can be directed to Dr. Toneka Green, tgreen@eastpointsc.org.

What happens after eighth grade?

The charter for EPA ends at eighth grade. At that time students will either return to their home districts, attend private school or choose another charter school that serves high school students. Our Mandarin Curriculum Committee hosts Let’s Talk High School night each fall to discuss high school options for continuing Mandarin instruction when students move on from East Point.

 Does EPA have a dress code?

Yes. State educational authorities and court decisions have determined that style of dress and hair should not disrupt classes, interfere with learning or prevent instruction and should comply with state health and safety standards. Requiring neatness, cleanliness, and appropriateness in clothing encourages an atmosphere conducive to learning, work, and discipline. Students are required to dress in a way that is appropriate for school. Students will not wear any article of clothing or display any insignia or sign that shows disrespect for any person, creed, race, color, sex, religion, or nationality.

How do I know that my child is safe at school?

There is nothing more important than the safety and security of our students.  EPA staff is trained in emergency procedures and routine drills are conducted to ensure students and staff are prepared in an emergency situation.  We insist that students not only feel safe physically but also that EPA is a safe place for students emotionally.  We will not tolerate bullying in any form.  Programs and policies are in place to ensure that students feel valued and safe at EPA.

 How can I help?

There are many ways you can help East Point Academy. We have a vast and varied network of volunteers. Whether helping in class, joining PTO or the School Improvement Council, chaperoning field trips or running for the Board of Directors, there is something for everyone.

We also have various fundraisers throughout the year and an annual fund that generates much needed funds that go directly to benefit the children of East Point Academy. You can learn more about donating to the annual fund here: https://eastpointsc.org/how-can-i-help/annual-fund/ To learn about all of the ways you can volunteer at EPA, contact Amy Roper, aroper@eastpointsc.org.

May I eat lunch with my child at school? May I visit my child’s classroom?

Parents and guardians are welcome at EPA. You can join your student for lunch any time you would like. Parents are not allowed to go on the playground during recess. We ask that you provide advance notice of classroom visits with your teachers.  There are some occasions when classroom visits could be denied, if a parent presence would be disruptive to the learning or assessment environment.  All visitors during the school day are required to sign in at the main office and to wear a name badge for the duration of their visit.

Do you provide services for students with special education needs?

East Point Academy offers a wide variety of student services including speech, RTI (Response to Intervention) and gifted and talented classes as well as individual accommodations to students to qualify. For questions regarding these services, contact Cynthia Prince, cprince@eastpointsc.org.

What is the curriculum used at EPA? How can I be sure my child knows what they need to in order to be successful in the future?

As a public charter school, East Point Academy is required to teach the SC State Standards prescribed by the SC State Department of Education. Students in grades K through 5 learn English and Social students in the English language and Math and Science in the Mandarin language. In middle school, students are required to take Mandarin as their foreign language. In addition to the core academics (English, math, social studies, science, and Mandarin), students participate in a variety of related arts classes that extend them artistically as well as increase their exposure to the Chinese culture. These classes include Chinese dance, music, art and drama as well as Physical Education. Our goal as a charter school is that students become proficient in Mandarin Chinese as well as meeting their academic goals.

How can I pay for fees?

You can send checks for fees through your child’s blue communication folder or online at www.eastpointsc.org. Please be sure to always note what your payment is for as well as the homeroom and name of your student. For questions regarding financial matters contact Ashley Sturkie, asturkie@eastpointsc.org.