FAQ

These are some of our most frequently asked questions. Please also see our “About” page for more information about what makes TESG unique. If your question isn’t answered on that page or here or if you’d like more details about a topic, please contact us at theexperientialschoolgso@gmail.com.

What is a charter school? How much does it cost to attend TESG?

A charter school is a public school granted the right to operate by the state of NC. More information about charter schools can be found here

Because TESG is a public school, it is free to attend. There is no tuition!

How big will the school be?

In our first year, we will enroll 276 students in grades K-6. Our class sizes for kindergarten are capped at 18 students.  For grades 1-6, our class sizes are capped at 20. We will have two classes for each grade level. 

Our classes are arranged in “houses”–a set of classes that are grouped together. Students within a house will often work together on projects, eat lunch together, take field trips together, and present their work to one another. Teachers within a house will plan together and will share students in guided reading groups, writing workshops, math workshops, and PBL activities (see below). This structure helps build community between all our students and teachers and facilitates flexible grouping by student interest and need. We will have one kindergarten house made up of our two kindergarten classes. Each kindergarten class will have one teacher and one assistant teacher. The other houses are made up of four classes. We will have a 1st-2nd grade house, a 3rd-4th grade house, and a 5th-6th grade house. For grades 1-6, each class has one teacher and an assistant teacher shared with the other classes in the house. 

What is your school’s philosophy?

We believe in children’s innate intelligence, curiosity, creativity, and wonder. We believe children are active knowers/innovators. We believe inquiry-based, multi-modal learning experiences encourage children to explore their passions and work actively with their community. We believe that social justice should be the lens for all our teaching and learning.

conceptual model

What is experiential education?

In experiential education (ee), children learn academic skills and content knowledge (meet standards) through hands-on, active, meaningful work. At TESG, ee has six characteristics: (1) Learning is inquiry-based. (2) Learning is hands-on and active. (3) Learning occurs in context. (4) Learning is creative and cooperative. (5) Learning occurs in a supportive environment. (6) Learning is interdisciplinary.

kolb-learning-cycle

What is project-based learning?

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is one of our experiential methods. It is very different than the typical project a student does in school (or that parents spend time doing “with” their child at home). The following graphic from studentsatthecenter.org helps explain the difference. Screen-Shot-2017-05-23-at-1.46.02-PM

Students and teachers have different roles within a PBL project than they do within a traditional classroom. In traditional classes, students are often passive receivers of knowledge and teachers are the active presenters of knowledge–a “sage on the stage”. PBL creates a new dynamic in the classroom.

Students in PBL work in collaborative student groups; pose and solve real-world questions/problems; plan, research, experiment, and reflect; and produce a product/solution. They learn by doing and creating!

Teachers in PBL help students set project tasks and timelines, learn information and skills needed for their tasks, and find project resources and expert advisers. They ensure learning goals in all subject areas are attended to within the context of projects. They coach and facilitate.

Edutopia.com has some great videos about PBL.

Does TESG have a religious affiliation?

No, because TESG is a public school, we do not have a religious affiliation. All children and families of all faiths are welcome to attend TESG.

Will the children wear uniforms or follow a standard mode of dress (SMOD)?

No, students at TESG are welcome to wear clothing of their choice. Their outfits and shoes should be weather appropriate and comfortable for work and play. We love seeing children’s creative fashions! 

What calendar does TESG follow?

TESG will follow a 185 day calendar. Our school year will begin each year in late August and end in early June. This year we begin on August 20, 2018. We have recently edited our calendar to more closely align holiday breaks with GCS. Please see the new calendar here.

What are the daily school hours?

The school day will run from 8:30-3:30, with classrooms opening at 8:00 and fee-based early morning care available from 7:30-8:00. All children not attending an after school club, tutoring session, or activity must be picked up by 3:45.

Where is the school?

Our school building is located at the corner of Church and Washington Streets in Downtown Greensboro. Yet in experiential education, the school isn’t just the building–it’s the community! Our location offers students access to many resources available in downtown Greensboro, including: LeBauer Park, The Historical Museum, The Children’s Museum, The Public Library, The Cultural Center, Elsewhere Museum, Triad Stage, and more! 

These community partnerships expand the classroom into the world outside of it, allowing students to learn in meaningful, hands-on, and socially conscious ways.

Mindshift_HiImpactLearning_Image

What kind of safety plans do you have?

TESG will follow typical public school safety protocols.  We will keep exterior doors externally locked and use cameras to monitor who enters the school. Everyone entering the building will enter through our main lobby, where they will interact with our staff and sign in if they are fully entering the school. Everyone working with students will be background checked. As with all schools, we will also have safety plans in place with local emergency responders and will review our protocols with them regularly. We are located in an urban area and as such, the public will be moving around the exterior of our building regularly. We are confident that the protocols we have in place will ensure the security of our students and the building.

Will there be transportation?

We will provide bus service with community stops for families at no cost. We will also facilitate carpools to help families who prefer that method of transportation. And for families who prefer Greensboro Transit, we are very accessible to public transportation.

Will there be after school care?

There are three primary options for full-time after-school care.

The Community Theatre of Greensboro has partnered with TESG to offer Drama Time. The programs runs daily from 3:30-6:00 pm and is hosted on-site at the school. Students participating in the program explore a variety of creative and performing arts activities like singing, movement, acting, improvisation, and arts and crafts. The program is designed to promote self-expression, imagination, public speaking skills, social and mental awareness, physical coordination, self-confidence, self-discipline, self-respect, and teamwork skills. The fee for Drama Time will be comparable to ACES and payable directly to CTG. 

TESG has also partnered with the Center for Visual Artists to offer after school, holiday, and teacher workday care through CVA’s KidStudio and Artventure programs. Families register for these programs directly with CVA and all fees are paid directly to CVA. For more information about the terms and conditions for these programs, families should visit the websites linked above. On school days at 3:30, TESG staff will be responsible for transporting children from the school to the CVA studios on the 4th floor of the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center. We gather children enrolled in CVA KidStudio to a central meeting area, ensure that children are ready for the walk, accompany them on foot to the CVA studios, and sign them in to their rooms. Families are responsible for picking their child up from the CVA studios. On holidays and teacher workdays, families are responsible for registering their child for Artventure in advance of the day and for dropping off and picking up their child directly from the CVA studios.

The city of Greensboro offers after school and teacher workday care that families may arrange if they better suit their needs. Details about the city after school care programs can be found here: Recreation Center After School ProgramsWe will announce which recreation centers are community stops soon. We will not be able to provide transportation to other recreation centers.

Some families may choose to enroll their students in extracurricular classes/lessons with the Children’s Museum or tenants of the Greensboro Cultural Center (the Center for Visual Arts, Dance Project, Greensboro Ballet, etc.). We will walk groups of students to these locations and parents can pick them up from there after their classes/lessons.

Certain days of the week, our teachers and community partners will offer clubs hosted on campus. These activities may help fill the gaps in afternoon care left by other options. Exact offerings will be based on student and community interest, but possibilities include coding and robotics clubs, Odyssey of the Mind, Battle of the Books, chorus, dance team, and drama club. Teachers will also offer after school tutoring for students who need it.

What will lunch be like?

Students are welcome to bring their lunches or pre-order food from the school. Lunches will be available for pre-order each week from local vendors downtown. Lunches will include water. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch will receive those same services at TESG. See the Lunches page for more details.

How much unstructured play time do children have each day?

Research shows that unstructured time is crucial to a child’s social, emotional, and academic development. Children at TESG will have several opportunities during each school day to play and be social. While the exact amount of unstructured time may vary from day to day, students will have no less than 30 minutes of recess (a period of non-instructional play, preferably occurring outdoors) and no less than 30 minutes for lunch.

What is TESG’s stance on homework?

As experiential educators, we believe that people learn all the time in all spaces–not just in a classroom during the school day! As such, we will help families support their child’s curiosity and creativity at home and help them find the learning opportunities that exist all around. A walk around the neighborhood or a trip to the grocery store can be learning adventures! Playing a board game or helping make dinner can be real-world ways to practice all kinds of academic and social skills.

Specific policies on homework will be developed in community with our teachers and administrators, taking into account families’ thoughts and current research on the topic.

4 ways to learn

How will TESG support the needs of my child?

TESG recognizes that all children need different forms of support and instruction to thrive. We believe in creating an environment that is responsive to the abilities, needs, and preferences of students and families. TESG will provide the full continuum of services that students needs to be successful as determined by IEP or 504 plans.

Students and families that need English language learning support will also receive those services.

Similarly, students who need additional challenge in their curriculum in order to meet their full potential will receive differentiation within the classroom and will have access to a variety of extension activities that let them further follow their curiosity and explore their academic passions. 

What tests will kids take?

TESG will have significantly less standardized testing than most traditional public schools. We limit our standardized testing to the assessments required by North Carolina: K-3rd grade literacy tests, 3rd grade reading EOG pre-test, 3rd-8th grade math and reading EOGs, and 5th and 8th grade science EOGs.

How will I know what my child is learning?

At TESG we use a variety of methods for tracking student learning and communicating that growth to families. In addition to informal daily or weekly progress communications, we use “I Can” checklists, portfolios of student work, narrative evaluations, and project products and presentations to show families what their students are accomplishing.

With “I Can” checklists, students, teachers, and parents can see which standards students have mastered and to what degrees, helping everyone keep track of the child’s progress. Portfolios offer the evidence for the “I Can” checklists, matching student work to the standards. At the end of grading periods, teachers write narrative evaluations for families, offering their insights into the student’s progress. Students may also write reflections on their own learning to share with families. Finally, PBL units always culminate in product presentations, giving families the opportunity to see the tangible results of their student’s hard work. 

What social curriculum will you use?

At TESG, we focus on learning how to be a positive part of a community in partnership with Peaceful Schools NC

What is TESG’s discipline policy?

TESG is committed to helping students learn how to be caring and engaged members of the community. As such, rather than impose rules on the students, we will work with them each year to create guidelines for how we interact with one another. Following the practices of Peaceful Schools NC, we will co-construct a set of “guiding questions” each year that students will use to monitor their own and others’ behavior. For example, we might decide to ask ourselves

Are we…

  • Treating others with kindness and compassion?
  • Demonstrating respect for ourselves, others, and our surroundings in all we do and say?
  • Taking responsibility for ourselves?
  • Being open to new ideas?
  • Seeking out help when we need it and helping those around us?
  • Conducting ourselves in a safe manner?
  • Actively participating in our learning community?

Teachers and students can then use these guiding questions to help remind each other what is expected of them in our community. When students need more support to meet these expectations, we encourage students to use healthy and positive problem solving, conflict resolution, and communication skills to resolve conflicts and correct mistakes. This practice, again guided by Peaceful Schools NC, is modeled by all TESG faculty and staff on a daily basis. Staff will always be available to supervise and assist in the process as needed. In addition, these skills and practices will be part of the very foundation of TESG’s overall approach to student learning.

How will you teach reading and writing?

We base our literacy program on the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. This program includes using techniques like writing workshops, rich classroom libraries, leveled reading groups, teacher-student reading, and writing conferences. The focus is on meeting each child where they are and growing their literacy skills alongside a love for reading and writing. Process is just as valuable as product, and we encourage children to use their literacy in hands-on, meaningful ways, often in service of PBL or another experience-based activity. 

What volunteer opportunities are there for families?

Family volunteers are crucial to TESG’s success. There are no volunteer hour requirements for our families, but for those who have the time and desire to get involved–we will happily put you to work! Once the school opens, we will need family volunteers to serve as reading and math buddies, project helpers, office greeters, field trip chaperones, experts in residence, garden helpers, playground supervisors, and so on. We could also use your help right now! There is so much work to do to get the school ready to open in August. If you are interested in volunteering, please email us (theexperientialschoolgso@gmail.com) and we will put you in contact with our family volunteer coordinator.