Frequently Asked Questions
What is a charter school?
A charter school is a tuition-free public school that operates under a performance contract (a.k.a. “charter contract”) with its school district or the Charter School Institute that defines regular performance targets the school must reach.
Through this contractual relationship, charter public schools are not run directly by the district school board or the Charter School Institute but rather by an independent governing board, which does grant the charter public school certain flexibilities in the areas of staffing, budget, and curriculum.
But while charters do have flexibility over certain inputs, it is important to note that they do not have flexibility over outputs. In other words, if a charter public school is not hitting its performance targets and getting positive results for its students, the district can revoke or non-renew its contract.
In this way, charter public schools are more accountable than other public schools in that they must regularly reach their performance targets or risk having their contract revoked and their doors closed by the district or Charter School Institute.
To learn more about Colorado charter schools, here a few more helpful links!
- Colorado Charter School Basics a one page document with key background information on charter public schools in Colorado;
- Colorado Charter Schools: Myth vs. Fact that lays out some of the common myths about charter public schools along with the relevant facts from here in Colorado; and
- A synopsis of some of the key findings of the state’s most recent analysis of charter public schools in Colorado, which demonstrates the positive results charter schools continue to garner for Colorado’s children.
Is AAK a private school?
No! Just like all Colorado charter schools, we are public, nonreligious, open to all, cannot charge tuition and cannot screen students.
What is the tuition to attend AAK charter school?
There is no tuition to attend our school. We are completely tuition free, including our Extended Day program which begins at 7:00am and runs until 5:30pm.
Can I tour the school before enrolling?
Absolutely! Picking the right school for your child can be a difficult process! We highly recommend touring the school. We offer tours weekly on Tuesdays at 10am and Wednesdays at 4:30pm. We also are happy to set up a Shadow Day for your student to see if AAK is a good fit for them. Call the school to let us know you are coming at 970-226-2800.
Do I have to live in a certian neighborhood to attend AAK?
No! We are a public school of choice, which means we don’t have any geographic boundaries for enrollment. We have students attend from all across the Front Range. The only requirement is that you live in the state of Colorado.
Is the Extended Day Program really free?
Yes! Starting in Fall 2019, we are excited to be able to offer completely free before and after school program for all AAK enrolled students. Families will have to sign up to utilize the program, so we can staff appropriately, but there will be a limited amount of drop-in spots available each day for emergencies. Learn more about the program here!
Are uniforms required?
Yes, students are required to wear uniforms. You can find the complete list of acceptable clothing and shoes in the parent/student handbook.
Will there be free transportation to the school?
AAK assists with carpooling information but does not provide door to door busing.
Will students receive a hot lunch? If so, what is the cost?
Hot lunch is provided by Michaels of Denver Catering. Rates for full paying students are $3.85/lunch & milk. Students that qualify for Free/Reduced lunch can eat for free, but parents will still need to order meals online. Please inquire at the front office for free/reduced lunch rates and how to apply. Rates and eligibilty information for 2018-19 can be found here.
Do you offer breakfast for students?
Breakfast is provided by Michaels of Denver Catering. Rates for full paying students are $2.50/breakfast & milk. Students that qualify for Free/Reduced lunch can eat for free, but parents will still need to order meals online. Please inquire at the front office for free/reduced lunch rates and how to apply.
What type of volunteer activity is expected of parents?
AAK relies heavily on the help of our parent community. We ask that parents volunteer at least two hours a month. Parents are asked to volunteer in areas that meet their skills and interests. The specific tasks vary widely from reading to Kindergarten students to aiding in office duties. We understand that you have busy schedules–in lieu of volunteering, families may opt to make a $50 donation to the school.
I understand that a lottery is held if “too many” students apply. How is the lottery handled? How do you ensure that it is fair?
The open enrollment period for 1st-5th grade runs from November 1st – February 28th and November 1st – January 31st for Kindergarten. During this time, if the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces in a given grade, a lottery is held. The lottery time and date are set forth in a public hearing after the open enrollment period. The lottery is open to the public. A member of the administrative staff of the school and a member of the Board of Directors are both in attendance at the lottery. First preference is given to siblings of students already enrolled. Once the slots are filled, the remaining names are drawn and put on the waiting list in the order drawn. As spaces are made available in those grades, students are taken from the waiting list. If there is no waiting list in any grade, students are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis after the open enrollment period.
How do you handle the standardized state tests? Are these administered just as they are in the local public schools?
State Tests are administered just like any other public school. We participate in the same tests and use this data to help drive our school improvement.