Frequently Asked Questions
Charter schools are schools of choice—choice for parents, students, teachers, and administrators. Parents and students get to choose to enroll in a school that offers a unique learning environment, alternative learning methodologies, etc. Teachers and administrators get more authority to make decisions than at most traditional public schools. These schools are also free from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.
Charter schools are emerging as an alternative to the traditional system of education. Since state legislatures passed charter laws in the 1990s, charter schools have seen enormous growth. There are now approximately 5,600 public charter schools enrolling an estimated two million students nationwide, according to National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS)¹. The numbers equate to a 13% growth in students in just one year. Meanwhile, an estimated 600,000 students remain on waiting lists to attend the charter school of their choice, according to Education Week². California added 109 charter schools in the 2012-2013 academic year alone, according to California Charter Schools Association³.
This significant milestone demonstrates increased demand from families who want more high–quality educational options for their children. Chartering gives schools the freedom to tailor programs to the needs of the community. Chartering also allows the school to run autonomously of the existing public school system. Parents and educators are looking at chartering as a way to increase educational choice and innovation within the public school system.
Charter schools fit in a niche between private and public schools. They are funded with public money (except for their facilities) and they are an alternative to regular public school systems. Charter schools receive waivers from public school districts in exchange for promising better academic results. Click here for more information about Samueli Academy.
(1) National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Dashboard Data from 2011-2012: http://www.publiccharters.org/publication/?id=637
(2) Education Week’s Blog / Charters & Choice, "Waiting List for Charters 600,000 Students Strong, Group Says", 6/12/12http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2012/06/waiting_list_for_charters_600000_students_strong_group_says.html
(3) California Charter Schools Association, "California Charter Schools Grow to Over 1,000 for the 2012-13 School Year while student enrollment grew by an unprecedented 70,000 students " press release, 10/23/12http://www.calcharters.org/blog/2012/10/california-charter-schools-grow-to-over-1000-for-the-2012-13-school-year-while-student-enrollment-gr.html
No. Samueli Academy, like all charter schools, is a free public school.
Absolutely! Samueli Academy has a maximum of 125 students per grade level, grades 7-12 (for a total of 775 school-wide). When more than 125 students apply in a given year, a lottery will be utilized to determine admission. A waiting list will then be established.
Why should I send my child to Samueli Academy instead of the traditional public school district in which I reside?
The advantages to charter schools, specifically Samueli Academy, are numerous. Being a charter school, Samueli Academy has the ability to offer a unique and engaging educational experience designed for future college and career success and is free from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. For a comprehensive list of the many features unique to Samueli Academy, click here.
Utilizing a nation-wide search, Samueli Academy hires those who display a unique passion for education. Not only do Samueli Academy's teachers inspire their students to learn, but they give the individualized attention (aided by small class sizes and a small student population) every student needs to thrive in all aspects of high school.
Utilizing Project-Based Learning, Samueli Academy breaks the mold of typical classroom instruction. Teachers no longer lecture for hours in front of the classroom, demanding students memorize facts for upcoming tests. Instead, Academy teachers guide students through a deeper level of thinking and solving real-world problems, letting students take control of their learning and enabling them to achieve a new level of academic understanding and excitement! For more information on Project-Based-Learning and Samueli Academy's classroom experience, click here.
Yes and yes! Samueli Academy will offer a full host of Advanced Placement courses and its instructional blueprint is designed to help ensure acceptance into any college in the country. All courses are A-G approved for the University of California and California State University colleges. Our full-time College and Career Counselor, Rocio Gomez, is ready and able to assist students with their post-high school plans. For more information on Samueli Academy's plan for college readiness, click here.
Samueli Academy offers a wide variety of elective classes, with more to come each year. The classes offered are, in part, determined by student surveys given out before each school year. Some of the classes may include but are not limited to, Engineering courses (including Robotics and 3D Modeling), Design courses (including Fashion and Jewelry), Spanish, Art, Gardening, and Digital Photography. Future classes will include Drama, Music, Band, Dance, Choir, Virtual Enterprise, and computer classes including Digital Media, Web Design, Graphic Design, and Mobile App Design. In addition, Samueli Academy offers many courses to students who may be struggling (Academic Coaching, Calculating Confidence, etc.) in any subject.
Samueli Academy has assembled a Career Advisory Board filled with Orange County businessmen and women who meet on a monthly basis to ensure the concepts being taught in the Engineering and Design courses are up-to-date with industry standards. This board also identifies opportunities for job shadowing, career mentors, job fair days, and internships for Academy students. Between their junior and senior years, all Academy students must complete a six-week internship in Orange County which will offer real-world experience and connections for all students. Upon graduation from Samueli Academy, this real-world work experience combined with a curriculum designed by industry professionals will help propel students to future career success. Samueli Academy staffs a full-time College and Career counselor to assist students with their post-high school plans. Samueli Academy also boasts a vibrant work-based learning program. click here.
Absolutely! There will be many opportunities for Academy students to earn college credit while in high school, which ultimately results in parents saving money! More information on this will be available soon. click here for more info.
Does Samueli Academy offer opportunities outside of the classroom, such as athletics, clubs, activities, tutoring, and more?
Yes! A vibrant and enriching after school program is a vital part of Samueli Academy experience. We will offer a wide array of athletics, clubs, activities, after school tutoring, and more. For more information about our after school program, click here.
Public Charter School for all students - no tuition fees. Take high school and college classes at the same time.