Frequently Asked Questions for Parker Performing Arts School
If you do not see your question below, please feel free to ask any additional questions by emailing us at i[email protected].
Do I need to be a resident of Parker or Douglas County to attend PPA?
No. Any student in Colorado may enroll at PPA. Enrollment is obtained through an unrestricted lottery. To place your child’s name in the lottery pool, you must complete an Intent to Enroll Form. Please visit our Enrollment page for more information
What is a Charter School and how is it different from my neighborhood school?
The following information is from the Colorado League of Charter Schools
Charter Schools are public schools that are parent led, other public schools are led by the school district.
Charter schools are unique public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement.
- Charter schools are public schools
- Colorado charter schools must be non-profit by law.
- Charter schools do not charge tuition
- Charter schools use non-discriminatory enrollment practices.
- There are no test-in requirements to attend charter schools.
- There are 265 charter schools in Colorado serving over 134,000 students ('21-22).
- Charter school enrollment in Colorado is 15% of total public school enrollment in the state.
- Charter school students must take state assessments.
- Charter schools are subject to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
- Charter schools serve a broad range of diverse students, including low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities or other special needs.
- Colorado charter schools are geographically dispersed across the state and serve urban, suburban and rural communities across 70 localities in the state.
- Charter school programs and academic designs are as diverse as the students they enroll. Some charters implement longer school days, while others implement curricula specifically designed for at-risk students, gifted children, pregnant/parenting teens, juvenile offenders, and more. Parker Performing Arts School will incorporate performing arts instruction into each student’s school day.
For more information, please refer to the following resources from the Colorado League of Charter Schools:
For more information and Frequently Asked Questions about Colorado charter schools, see the FAQ page of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).
Why a Charter School?
- Innovative Educational Programming
- Charter schools have the freedom to use new and innovative teaching styles and curriculum to offer a unique educational option for students and parents.
- Decisions for charter schools are made at the local school level, not at the district or state level. This allows parents to be involved and to have their voices heard.
- Because the school is governed by a local Board of Directors, needed changes can be made quickly, avoiding the red tape so often associated with the public school system.
- Charter schools are allowed to require uniforms, which studies have shown to aid in student focus and performance.
- Charter schools are funded by tax dollars and receive per pupil revenue (PPR) just as neighborhood schools do. There is no tuition!
- Parent involvement
- Charter schools can require parents/guardians to volunteer with the school. When parents are encouraged to be a partner in their child’s education, students succeed!
What are PPA class sizes?
We generally have 75 students per grade K-8 overall, and 3-4 classes of 25 in each grade level. For example, there are 3 total 2nd grade classes of 25 students = 75 students overall in 2nd grade. We educated approximately 600-700 students overall in the school.
Unique to our model, there will be 1 teacher and 1 teaching assistant in every elementary class.
*Please note that this is just an example and class sizes and ratios are subject to change based on enrollment.
What hours will the school be open, starting and finishing?
Middle School (Grades 5-8): 8:00am – 3:30pm
Elementary School (Grades 1-4): 8:15am – 3:15pm
Kindergarten: 8:15am - 2:45pm
Wednesdays - Late Start Day (Middle School (5-8) 9:00am - 3:30pm and Elementary (K-4) 9:15am - 3:15pm)
Which calendar will the school use?
Our school calendars are available here.
Generally speaking, we will use the Douglas County School District Conventional Calendar but always check our official calendar for official dates and times.
How much homework will my children get per day?
In short, as much as necessary for students to be academically successful, and this can be VERY different for each individual child. For our school, a good rule of thumb will be 10 minutes multiplied by grade level per day. There will be times where work is lighter and work is heavier like any school.
We also allow some time in each school week for students to work on homework during the day to reduce after school loads. Every student is unique, and what could be small amounts of time for one student could take another much longer.
Examples of Typical Homework Load:
Kindergarten = 10 minutes
1st grader 10 minutes X 2 years of school = 20 minutes
2nd grader 10 minutes X 3 years of school = 30 minutes
8th grader 10 minutes X 9 years of school = 90 minutes
Additionally, musicians will need to practice at least 20-30 minutes a day outside of school hours to be successful with their instrument. The theater students will also require time to memorize lines to be successful. Choir and Dance students also will require some practice at home to be successful.
Though we do expect PPA to meet and exceed State standards academically and in the performing arts, our goal is not to create excessive homework. Some other charter schools are designed to give lots of homework, so there are often broad strokes of generality that are painted onto all charter schools because of the few that choose to do this. We are not one of them.
My child is on an IEP or 504 plan. Can he/she attend PPA? What support services will PPA offer?
Yes, all special education students with legally defined mild or moderate needs will be welcome at PPA after their personalized IEP or other plan is reviewed by DCSD Officials to determine and affirm that PPA can best serve the child's educational needs and requirements.
As a public charter school, PPA will offer special education services and student support services with oversight provided by Douglas County School District. In fact, educational research shows that the unique and differentiated digital curriculum we offer as well as the one-to-one iPad environment at PPA will be more than ideal for some students with special needs.
Do students audition to be admitted to the school? Is enrollment based on students’ talent or ability in the performing arts?
No. Because PPA is not an arts “magnet” school, enrollment is not based on performing arts talent or ability. No auditions will be held for admission, and enrollment is open to all students. As a public charter school, PPA cannot discriminate for enrollment or show partiality to any particular group or student demographics. The PPA student body will be made up of individuals at all points on the spectrum in academics and from beginner to advanced in each performing arts offering. The PPA performing arts curriculum will offer opportunities for students at all levels to be challenged and to improve their abilities.
Will students at PPA wear uniforms?
Yes. Uniforms are a key element of the student culture at PPA. Research shows that students who wear uniforms perform better in class, and are able to focus more on their school work over those students who do not wear uniforms. PPA Uniform Policy.
Will before and after care be available at school?
Yes, absolutely. Before and after school care will be provided as part of our “Spotlight” Program. PPA is licensed and insured to provide before and after school care in addition to care during school breaks. Use of this service, including payment, will be arranged between parents and the PPA Spotlight program. More information is available here.
Will you teach my children handwriting?
Yes of course.
Will PPA offer foreign languages?
Knowing it is important to a handful of our parents, we are willing to offer languages as part of our before and after school programs if there is demand and people are willing to participate. However, we do not intend to offer languages as part of our curriculum during the school day. Why? Because our emphasis is specializing in the performing arts we simply cannot be a school that can offer every educational option while still maintaining our school’s Vision and Mission. We do offer many courses in the Performing Arts that are not taught in any middle school in Colorado.
Will we say the Pledge of Allegiance at the school?
Yes, students will participate in this tradition during their first class period.
Will families be asked to volunteer for the school?
Yes, we will ask every 2 parent family to pledge 30 hours of volunteer service per year, and every single parent family 15 hours of volunteer service per year. This will be tracked per family.
Will PPA have a Pre-School?
Currently we have no current plans to add a pre-school to the PPA campus.
If you want more information about the PPA Pre-School or High School possibility, please direct all questions and inquiries to the PPA Board of Directors by emailing [email protected], and please attend PPA Board of Directors Meetings to express interest in this amazing possibility.
What makes PPA unique?
There is no other school in the region like PPA.
At PPA, students will engage with the performing arts as a daily part of their school day, which is very different from what is offered at other schools in Douglas County. Research shows that an arts-rich education is key to developing skills that are vital for success in the 21st Century, such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. The education model at PPA also includes technology-infused instruction and differentiated digital curriculum delivered in an exciting one-to-one iPad environment that will further fuel student passion and engagement and fostering 21st Century Skills.
Does PPA curriculum meet state standards?
Yes. As a public charter school, PPA will be required to meet all state academic standards. All core academic subject curriculum and performing arts curriculum at PPA will be aligned with Colorado Academic Standards (CAS).
Guides to the Colorado Academic Standards can be found on the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website: http://www.cde.state.co.us/standardsandinstruction/guidestostandards
What is a 1:1 iPad environment?
A one-to-one iPad environment is a learning environment in which each student has a school-issued iPad. The devices are owned by the school, but assigned to each student (not shared between students or used as “class sets”). Students in grades 3-8 will be able to take their devices home each day. To better assist our younger students, grades K-2 will use their iPads in class only.
Entrusting each student with his or her “own” iPad helps empower students to take ownership and responsibility for their education. A one-to-one iPad environment also increases student access to course materials, teacher lectures, videos, notes, etc. Curriculum can be differentiated for each student, and students can engage with course content in innovative and creative ways. Other benefits of a one-to-one iPad environment are increased attendance, decreased behavior issues, increased student engagement and passion for learning, and the development of 21st Century Skills. The one-to-one iPad environment will prepare students for success in high school, college and career.
To see what a one-to-one iPad environment looks like, please watch this video.
What are 21st century Skills and why are they important?
21st Century Skills are skills that today’s students must master in order to be well prepared for college and career (known as “post-secondary and workforce readiness”). The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (www.p21.org) identifies four learning and innovation skills (known as the 4 C’s) as being the foundation of 21st Century Skills.
The 4 C’s:
- Creativity and innovation
- Critical thinking and problem solving
The Douglas County School District has identified these skills as crucial elements of DCSD’s World Class Education initiative. As a new charter school in the DCSD system, PPA will help the district provide parents with a unique school choice that is focused on providing an enriching learning environment that fosters the 4 C’s in students. The unique performing arts focus of PPA, along with the one-to-one iPad environment, will help instill these skills in students in all grades levels.
To learn more about 21st Century Skills, click here to view the Framework for 21st Century Learning.
What is differentiated digital curriculum?
Differentiated digital curriculum is curriculum that is delivered digitally to students (via the iPad) and can be tailored to meet each student’s unique needs. Differentiated digital curriculum provides real time feedback on student performance, which enables teachers to intervene and adapt instruction to meet each student’s unique needs. This real time feedback also helps students and parents know exactly how students are doing. With differentiated digital curriculum, students work at their own pace and have a sense of independence and control over their studies, which leads to greater student engagement. Students who are advanced are allowed and encouraged to work ahead and be challenged, while students who are behind are supported and provided with work tailored to helping them catch up.
How will the performing arts be taught to each student at each level?
PPA does not require any performing arts experience to attend our school, as we are created to make arts accessible to all students. We will offer classes that are appropriate for beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners.
Students in grades 1-4 will be exposed to a variety of performing arts courses, called "Encores", to cultivate foundation skills in each of the performing arts disciplines offered at PPA. The Encore classes for these grade levels consist of music, dance, theater, tumbling, and art. Kindergarten students experience a variety of the arts in their classrooms.
Students in grades 5-8 select performing arts classes as Electives, allowing them to specialize in the arts discipline(s) of their choice. More specialized courses will be available for these grade levels, as well as advanced options in each artistic discipline.
Will PPA charge tuition?
No. Parker Performing Arts School is a tuition-free public charter school within the Douglas County School District. The school will be funded with per pupil revenue (PPR) from public tax dollars, and will not charge tuition.
What is an Intent to Enroll?
Charter schools represent school choice. An Intent to Enroll form is simply a way to let us know that you are interested in having your child(ren) considered in the lottery for enrollment at PPA. The Intent to Enroll form is non-binding. If your child is chosen in the lottery, you will be notified using the contact info you enter on your Intent to Enroll form, and you will have 48 hours to accept enrollment at the school. You can always turn down enrollment if you choose, but you will not have the choice option to enroll at PPA without completing the form.