The application, lottery and notification process: We are committed to a clear and transparent application process for Options.
The sequence of events and information for enrollment are in the application packet and on the website. All enrollment is processed by the Gordon school office. The Gordon office will notify all families of their enrollment status, as stated in the enrollment information. As do other programs around the state, Options uses a policy of sibling priority and honors the needs of families who have already made a commitment to Options.
The class configuration for a multiage classroom is flexible. There are, of course, some variations of numbers in each classroom. Also, the grade levels within each class may change (K-1 or K-2 for example OR 2-3 or 2-4). Some grade levels may be shared between two classrooms.
The teachers union contract specifies class size limits for each class.
See #1 above.
Why are we actively recruiting?
It is important to maintain a waiting list for a number of reasons. Our program needs to maintain full enrollment throughout the K-8 grades so that we continue to have a balanced multiage student community and also to make sure our class sizes stay above minimum district requirements (we don't want to lose a class / teacher due to low enrollment). As stable as our community is, we do have some natural attrition due to a number of reasons. Often several new students are offered places as vacancies occur.
We need to continue to foster interest in our program so we do not experience a dip in application numbers that could threaten our future enrollment. It is important to maintain our waiting list so that we are continuing to demonstrate to the district that our program is in demand. Clearly parents want alternative educational models for their children. While we cannot provide a place for every one of those students, it is our hope that the demand for our program continues to send a message to the district that they need to continue to invest in alternative approaches to education.
What is Options? Is Options part of Gordon? How is it different than a regular program?
Options is a K-8 multiage program that is a part of Gordon Elementary School with significant family involvement. The Options teachers are part of the Gordon Elementary staff. The Options students have music, PE, computers and library ias part of Gordon Elementary student body. Options students also eat lunch and use the computer lab at Gordon Elemtnary. Options students also have recess and assemblies with Gordon students. The Options teachers are deeply committed to teaching grade level standards in hands- on, project based ways, that encourage the development of independent learners while supporting a high level of student engagement.
What does Multiage mean? How is it different than "split grade" classrooms?
Multiage classroom configurations are intentionally and carefully planned. Additionally, careful planning and intentionality are required in order to maintain balanced classes for the long term. A split grade at another school may be intentional or it may be the result of a large number of students at one grade level.
Multiage requires teachers to be creative, flexible, and focused on state requirements while designing curriculum for individuals. Research reports that multiage classrooms develop the caring learning environment needed for optimum academic growth, and the nurturing of the whole personality through reducing competition in classrooms. People learn best when their emotional and social needs are met. In multiage classrooms, children learn the altruistic behaviors that help them interact within a real world situation where diverse people work and learn together. Multiage classrooms focus on affective as well as academic growth.
Is the curriculum different? Do Options students take standardized tests?
Options is a public school program and the students take the same district and state assessments that other students take. The Options teachers are responsible for teaching the same Common Core Standards that other teachers are responsible for teaching. The Options teachers work as a team to provide engaging instruction and hands-on projects that meet grade level requirements. The teachers use both district curriculum and supplemental resources.
How do Options students compare to regular education students? What are the long term outcomes for Options Students?
Assessment data suggests that Options students as a whole are strong readers. Nearly 100% of Options students met grade level standards on the state reading assessment in spring 2013. Math scores in Options continue to gain momentum due to the very strong teacher team that is currently in place. Many former Options students self report that they have enrolled in college.
How can this program afford to do all these extra field trips and other things that regular public school classes can't?
The highly dedicated and supportive Options parent group raises money to support enrichment activities for Options students.
How do the parents participate? What if I/we work during school hours and cannot volunteer in the classroom?
There are many ways for parents to participate. Classroom teachers can provide information about classroom support that can be accomplished outside of school hours. Additional commitees provide opportunities for nights/weekends work for parent involvement. A parent from the welcome committee can provide information about the parent group and the committees.
What is the parent group? Who can join / Do we have to join?
The parent group, North Kitsap Options Parent Group, is the non-profit group that raises money for enrichment activities and helps to coordinate many important activities. All Options parents are invited to join the parent group. As a public school program, we cannot require membership in the parent group. However, significant parent involvement is a critical part of the Options program and it is assumed that parents will be fully involved.
How does the application process work? How will the places be filled? When/How will we be informed if our child is being offered a place?
Specific enrollment information and timelines are posted on the district website and also in the application packet.
If my child does not get in, do I have to apply again next year? How long will my child stay on the waiting list?
This information is also listed on the district website and in the enrollment packet. Students stay on the waitlist for one year. It is the parent/guardian responsibility to contact the Gordon school office to update the application if they wish to remain on the waitlist after one year.
Why do siblings get preference over other applicants?
Sibling preference is also on the website and in the application materials. Sibling preference is used in other programs around the state. It honors the commitments of families who are already involved in the program. We wish we could offer spaces to more students who apply.
What if my child has special needs, can we still apply?
Anyone can apply to Options. Individual situations are based on space, our enrollment guidelines, and whether or not the services that a student needs are available at our campus.