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Western Center Academy

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools that are responsive to students’ need and are held accountable for improved student achievement.  Charter schools are open to the public, tuition-free, participate in state tests, employ credentialed teachers, and do not discriminate.  Charter school parents cited challenging curriculum and individualized student attention as key reasons for their high level of satisfaction according to a 2007 University of Southern California field study.

What is the relationship between the Western Science Center and the Western Center Academy?  
The Western Science Center (WSC) is a non-profit community organization with oversight by the Western Center Community Foundation Board of Directors.  The mission of the WSC is to inspire our community to discover the past, explore the present, and promote a sustainable future.  The Western Science Center delivers its mission through exhibits, community programs, and support of the Western Center Academy.

Can parents visit the Western Center Academy before enrolling children in the lottery?
The Western Center Academy has a 60 day open enrollment period during the months of March through April.  During this enrollment period, parents will be invited to attend several scheduled "Parent Nights" during which the principal and staff take time to discuss all aspects of the school’s philosophy and structure with the parents of prospective students, and answer any questions they might have. The purpose of these meetings is to give parents the information they need to make an informed choice about whether the Western Center Academy is the kind of school they want for their child.

How will I know if my child was selected by the lottery?
Families selected by the charter lottery for the available openings are notified by phone, email, and/or mail and invited to visit the school and attend an orientation meeting.  Families not initially selected are put on a “wait list” in the order that the random lottery process selected them. If a family who was selected by the lottery does not choose to register their child, the family of the next child on the wait list is contacted. When all openings are filled, families who were not selected will be notified by mail and put on a “wait list” in the order that they were selected by the lottery.

Are WCA staff credentialed and qualified?
All of the teachers at Western Center Academy are employees of Hemet Unified School District and are credentialed by the state of California and have interests in the fields of math, science and technology.  One of our most important goals is to have a highly qualified staff who continually strives to improve its skills and abilities through ongoing practice, research and professional development.

Are charter schools required to take state performance tests?
Yes.  State performance tests are given to all students at Western Center Academy.  However, we do not believe that standardized tests alone are sufficient to determine a child’s achievements. WCA uses a wide variety of tools and processes, in addition to standardized tests, to provide information about the progress of each child.

Nutrition
Students will have a 30 minute lunch break daily. As we have no cafeteria services, students are to bring a snack and lunch from home. We encourage the children to finish their own lunches; we discourage the sharing, exchanging or throwing away of food. Please monitor your child’s lunch box and adjust their food portions, if necessary. Clearly label your student’s lunch box with his or her name. A well balanced nutritious snack and lunch help promote academic success.  

Volunteer Opportunities
There are a number of ways to participate at Western Center Academy. We welcome parents as classroom volunteers, lab assistants, snack and lunch helpers, and committee members.