Frequently Asked Questions
You Have Questions, We Have Answers
If you are looking for an answer to a question about Chance Academy, look no further! Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Are you a school?
We operate as an educational choice for families who have decided to homeschool their child. As such, we are registered as a private, nonprofit business in DC and in Maryland. All students create a portfolio of curriculum and academic progress that is supervised either by the family’s home county or an approved homeschool umbrella organization.
Do you charge tuition?
Yes. However, our commitment to equitable access for all means that no family is turned away for inability to pay our modest tuition. In addition, qualified families can apply for a sliding scale tuition or free tuition based on income and expenses.
What are your hours?
8:45 to 4:00PM Monday through Thursday with a focus on Academic classes and 8:45 to 12:50 on Fridays with a focus on elective classes like art, music, game play, rugby, yoga, dance. We serve a breakfast snack from 8:30 – 8:40 AM.
Can we enroll in classes mid-year?
Chance Academy offers rolling admissions opportunities if the program and the family are a good fit, although we recommend starting at the beginning of the academic year in September.
Can my child attend part time?
Students may attend one or a selection of classes as long as they can commit to attending the class according to its daily schedule.
My child is advanced in some subjects but not in others. Can Chance Academy work with this difference?
Students are placed in classes based on their skill level and social-emotional maturity. As such our classes are developed to be multi-aged and not based on an artificial age-grade level. Some classes are effective with a broader skill range than others so we work to create a schedule that allows students to be placed in the most appropriate class. Sometimes we can arrange for small-group work within a class to accommodate level differences as well.
My child has ADHD/anxiety/autism spectrum disorder/sensory processing issues. He has an IEP from his old school. Can he take classes at Chance Academy?
Our classes are not designed to serve students with special emotional, social, psychological, or physical needs. Our team does not have the training required and we do not have counselors on staff. However, we can and do work successfully with some students who are high-functioning and have a grasp of appropriate social and academic behavior.
To be successful at Chance Academy, parents must fully disclose all the diagnoses for their child before enrolling. The family needs to share documentation from other schools, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. that help us understand if we would be a good fit. We achieve good outcomes when we work directly and openly with the family and agree on social and academic expectations for the student.
Communication is regular and ongoing, with the possibility of our suggesting ways in which the family can help us, including requesting an aide for the child.
Can my child lose their opportunity to attend Chance Academy?
As with any family who joins our program, we reserve the right to counsel out a family when the Chance team agrees that we are no longer able to provide the academic and social-emotional needs for a student.
What is individualized learning? Would my child get one-on-one teaching?
Individualized learning means that after whole-group instruction, each student gets individual attention to understand and meet the objectives of the lesson. This allows us to challenge more advanced students and to give extra support to students who need it. In addition, we also have a supervised daily period, called Study Cafe, where students work independently on class assignments and can receive extra assistance.
Will my child be graded?
At Chance Academy, we believe that every child can learn, grow, and shine. But each child is an individual and grades do not capture individual growth. We use portfolios, projects, and hands-on activities to demonstrate the learning of each student. This allows us to acknowledge everyone’s progress.
The learning goals and objectives for all classes are based on national standards for each subject. These goals and objectives are used to evaluate each student’s academic growth using a proficiency rubric scale. Each student also uses the same proficiency scale to reflect on their growth in learning the class objectives. The teacher and student evaluations are used to help the student determine next-step goals for improvement.
Is Chance Academy a religious school?
We are not a religious school nor do we have any affiliation with any belief system even though we are hosted by a church. Until we obtain our permanent place we have been renting space from Northeastern Presbyterian Church.
How many students are in your classes?
Class sizes can range from 2 or 3 to a maximum of 15 students. Our larger classes often have a second co-teacher to assist the lead teacher to support individualized learning.
Can my child try a class or the full program first to see how it goes?
Yes. All new families can attend the first month tuition-free to determine if Chance Academy is right for the family and our team.
Are students given tests at Chance Academy?
Students are given formative and summative assessments to help us better to understand how to improve a student’s academic growth. These assessments may be traditional tests and quizzes but also include other means for assessing students like projects, presentations, essays, games, etc. Many of these assessments include rubrics or general observations to develop feedback for each student so they can see where they excel and where they need to improve.
We do not administer standardized tests nor do our classes focus on teaching to the test.
Will my child have homework?
Independent practice (homework) helps students grow in their confidence and fluency of their skills in mastering learning objectives so that they can apply these skills to higher-level tasks. To help students complete independent practice, we minimize the amount of homework by providing a daily study cafe period in which all students are expected to work on assignments. At times, with larger projects or reading assignments, students may need to complete these at home.
Students are expected to read daily (either teacher-assigned or free-choice) and the comfort and quietness provided by a home environment is likely the most conducive place to do this type of activity. For larger projects, teachers work together to stagger the assignments and give reasonable due dates that include having the time on Friday afternoons to work at home.
Does Chance Academy provide official transcripts?
We help each student create a portfolio that includes a record of the student’s academic progress, class syllabi, and assessments. These portfolios are assembled three times during the academic year and parents are responsible for keeping these records. When a student needs a record of attendance at Chance Academy, we will provide a letter that summarizes the classes the student has taken. Students also routinely ask for and receive reference letters from particular teachers. Together, the portfolio, the summary letter, and reference letters have been accepted for enrollment at schools and colleges.
What is the enrollment process?
Attendance at Chance Academy is based on shared values, openness to our approach to learning, understanding how we operate as a community, and supportive parent engagement. As such, our process emphasizes getting to know the student and their family through a series of conversations and onsite visits.
The process begins with a meeting between parent(s) or guardians and members of our Chance Team. We establish an understanding of the child’s previous school experiences and discuss what expectations the family has for the child’s learning and personal growth.
If the Chance Team and the family determine that Chance Academy can support a child’s academic and social-emotional growth, we arrange an onsite visit. During the visit, parents have an opportunity to see the space and speak briefly with teachers. The student spends time with their presumed class, mostly determined by age, and can spend anywhere from a few minutes to an entire day onsite.
After the onsite visit, the Chance Team shares observations and checks in with the student and parents to determine how things went. The student is always welcome for a second visit if needed.
If the Chance Team and family agree that Chance Academy will work well with the student, the family completes the enrollment application and we proceed from there with details about joining us. We will arrange for formative assessments in math and English Language Arts (ELA) to ensure your child is initially placed in the most appropriately leveled class. The assessments are informal and allow time for your child to feel comfortable with their most likely ELA and math teachers. It is at this time that the family can specify financial aid needs.
As you complete the enrollment application, you may request the financial aid application and you will need to pay the yearly non-refundable application fee of $50. All new families receive free tuition for the first one month of classes after which to continue attendance at Chance Academy, families must begin payment of the agreed-upon tuition.
Do you provide career planning exploration?
All of our older students (approximately 11 and older) take a multi-year class called Future Ready. To develop this class, we have partnered with Find Your Grind (findyourgrind.com) which provides research-based curricula and professional learning services for children in grades 6 through 12 that blend self-discovery, career exploration, and 21st century skills development.
Completion of Future Ready helps a student to understand their strengths and preferences in order to determine the lifestyle they want to lead. Ultimately students uncover their unique passions, learn about important topics like life communication styles, balance, networking, leadership, continued education requirements, money and more which then help them determine their path in life. If you’d like to take the lifestyle assessment yourself and see what the beginning of the program is like, try it at this link: https://lifestyleassessment.findyourgrind.com/
I want my child to be college-ready. Does your program prepare students to succeed in college?
We pride ourselves on developing each student’s foundational skills of verbal and written reasoning and communication, strong analytical skills for independent thinking, individualized learning strategies, confidence to self-advocate, and a keen understanding of how to navigate an ever-changing world. We believe that these skills will serve our students well in any future path they choose to pursue including being college-ready.
SEL (Social Emotional Learning) is an important part of your program. Why is it necessary and how do you implement this kind of learning?
SEL is broadly defined as the skills to adeptly and respectfully navigate being a productive individual, being a positive member of a larger community, succeeding as a student or employee/employer, and forming healthy relationships.
We believe that these skills are important and can and should be explicitly taught in the same way that any academic or life skill is taught.
We utilize a number of strategies to develop these skills, including Restorative Practices to build community and to manage conflict, in-class discussion, individual support as needed, family engagement and support as needed, and a specific K-8 curriculum, Fly Five (flyfivesel.org).
This combination of strategies, lessons, and activities guides how we work to promote positive, multicultural, and age-appropriate teaching to develop our students’ social and emotional growth.
Do you provide before and after care?
Not at this time.
Ready to Transform Your Child’s Learning Experience? Get More Info
If you are interested in learning more about our educational community program and exploring whether Chance Academy is right for your child, fill out the form on this page to receive more information.
For immediate questions, call 240-746-2550