What is The Early Light Academy?
We are a K-9 Charter School approved by the Utah State Charter School Board and the Utah State Office of Education.
What is the mission statement?
The mission of the Early Light Academy is to deliver a high-quality education with a deep, rich and engaging curriculum utilizing effective instructional techniques and emphasizing history, taking our students from the Stone Age, to the Space Age to the Information Age and beyond.
What is a Charter School?
Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are granted a specific amount of autonomy (determined by the state law and the approved charter) to make decisions concerning the structure, curriculum, and educational emphasis of the school. In return for the autonomy, charter schools are held accountable for the academic achievement of the students in the charter school.
Can anyone attend a Charter School?
Yes. Like other public schools, charter schools are open to every child regardless of race, religion, disability or academic ability. However, many charter schools have specific educational missions focusing on particular topics or students with particular needs. Also, charters have a cap on enrollment.
Why would/should a parent choose a Charter School for their child?
Charter schools, by design, offer innovative curriculum, greater flexibility and accountability, and more opportunities for parents to participate significantly in school governance and operation.
What are the main differences between Charter Schools and traditional public schools?
A Charter School becomes it’s own school district which provides greater flexibility in curriculum adoption, local input, more parental involvement, and a need to specialize in the academy’s area of chosen focus.
Students tend to be motivated by an interest in the focus or teaching method of the school instead of proximity to the nearest traditional public school.
Charter Schools have a cap on enrollment legislated by the State of Utah, which leads to more flexibility in the classroom.
How many Charter Schools are there in the United States?
The first charter schools opened in Minnesota in 1991. In 1996, there were 250 charter schools nationwide. By 2005, almost 1 million students were enrolled in close to 3,300 charter schools nationwide. To date, forty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed charter school legislation.
How are Charter Schools funded?
Charter schools are funded on the principle that state funds follow the student. A differentiated WPU is applied to Charter School students. In distributing funds under the Minimum School Program Act, to charter schools, charter school pupils shall be weighted, where applicable, as follows:
The vast majority of funding comes through the WPU. In addition, the legislature appropriates funds each year to replace some of the local property tax revenues that are not available to charter schools. Charter schools may also apply for state and federal start-up funds and specialized funds if qualifying students are served in approved programs.
A charter school may not charge tuition or require students or parents to make donations and is subject to the same rules regarding school fees as other public schools.
How charter schools are funded is subject to changes in legislation.
Utah public schools are partially funded from revenue collected through property taxes. Much of the state of Utah, however, is federal land and property tax revenues are not collected from federal lands. The U.S. Congress, in exchange for not taxing federal land, gave lands to Utah schools at statehood to help compensate for the lost property tax revenue. The lands are held in a legal trust for Utah public schools. Utah public schools own 3.3 million acres of Utah land. The lands are managed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration and must, by law, be used to generate money for public schools. The money is put in a permanent savings account, which is never spent, but invested by Utah's State Treasurer. An Investment Advisory Committee appointed by education representatives act in an advisory capacity to the State Treasurer. The interest earned from the permanent fund now goes to each public school in the state. School and district-level committees prepare plans, approved by local school boards that identify an academic need and a proposed solution using the annual dividend. Distribution of the funds is based upon student enrollment numbers. The program reimburses schools based upon the previous school year’s enrollment. For this reason, first-year schools are not eligible for funds, since they do not have enrollment numbers on which to based payment. Early Light Academy will not be receiving School Trust Lands Funds in our first year of operations, but will be eligible for funds during the 2010-2011 school year. In compliance with policy and guidelines, Early Light Academy will form a School Trust Lands Committee, comprised of both elected and appointed members, which will prepare and submit a plan for the use of the funds at the school. Please watch for opportunities to be involved with this committee as the school year progresses. More information on School Trust Lands can be found at www.utahtrustlands.com or www.schoollandtrust.org.
How many students will attend the Early Light Academy?
At full capacity the Early Light Academy will have 750 students. There will be 3 classrooms per grade level, with a maximum of 25 students per class.
What is the expected class size at Early Light Academy?
No more than 25 students per classroom, with the exception of a few classes such as Physical Education and Choir which are designed for more than 25 students.
What type of schedule will The Early Light Academy follow?
The Early Light Academy will run on a traditional school year and will not have year round track options. There will be a maximum or 3 classrooms per grade with no more than 25 children per classroom (75 students per grade).
How much parent involvement is required?
Parent involvement is a crucial element in student success. The Early Light Academy asks that academy families volunteer a minimum of 35 hours per academic year. Please note this expectation is per family, and not based on the # of students enrolled per family.
Is ELA a public school?
All Utah Charter Schools are public schools.
Will dress code be required?
Students will adhere to a strict Dress Code. Read the Dress Code Policy.
Do Charter Schools have the same testing requirements as traditional public schools?
Yes. Charter Schools are public schools and therefore have the same requirements as all Utah State public schools in regards to student testing.
What are ELA's credential requirements for teachers?
Consistent with all public schools in Utah, all of our teachers will meet highly qualified standards and will be licensed, certified teachers or be qualified to teach under the USOE's Alternative Route to Licensure Program, or otherwise authorized through the State Board of Education. For more specific state requirements by grade, please reference our charter which outlines R277-520(3).
Will ELA offer a foreign language program the first year?
ELA currently offers Spanish I and Spanish II to 8th and 9th grade students.
Why did ELA choose K12 for Math?
K12 Math was selected because it more fully and completely fits the mission and vision of Early Light Academy. Saxon is a quality program as well, but K12 offers a more hands-on, interactive approach to learning that is more multi-sensory. It also provides more consistency and greater integration since K12 is the curriculum we are using in other content areas (science, art and history). The content recommended in the Core Knowledge Sequence is one major foundation of the K¹² curriculum. K¹² is also built upon analysis and comparison of state standards; curricular recommendations of prominent professional organizations (such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Council for History Education); and extensive research into the cognitive psychology behind effective learning, with a focus on the structure of knowledge in each academic discipline, as well as common misconceptions that block effective learning.
Who is managing the services and support for The Early Light Academy?
Academica West provides charter schools with comprehensive services and support. The company maintains a reputation of excellence and currently serves six operational and three planned charter schools throughout Utah. Academica West ensures that each of its client charter schools is professionally managed and operated in compliance with local, state and federal laws/regulations. This begins with facilitating the completion and timely filing of all financial and programmatic reports to proper governmental agencies. In addition, Academica West provides human resources development, board trainings, payroll, annual financial audit support, professional accounting services, internal control development, and curriculum support along with a list of many other services. Most importantly, Academica West will work diligently to ensure the vision of Early Light Academy is faithfully and effectively implemented.
Where can I get more information on Charters?
Further information about charter schools can be found at the following websites: