FAQ

FAQ

How much does it cost to go to Acera?

Our tuition for the academic year 2016-2017 is $17,900 for elementary school, $18,800 for middle school.

Are there other costs involved?

We require a Mac laptop, purchased by parents for children in second grade and older.  Specifics are available upon request. There may be additional fees for software, special programs, or trips.

Does Acera have financial aid?

We will be offering limited financial aid for the 2017-2018 school year. We will have more detailed information coming soon.

How many children are in a class?

Our lower elementary classroom has 14 children per class with one full-time core teacher; all other elementary classrooms have 14-16 children per class with one full-time core teacher. Our middle school program has 40 students with two full-time core teachers.

We have several part time teachers that help with math, computer science, statistics and social skills classes.

Our student: teacher ratio is 8:1.

Does Acera have after school programs?

Acera’s after-school program extends the day to 5:30pm.  Part of after school includes enrichment offerings taught by experts in their fields. Enrichment programs offered after school each day are open to non-Acera students. Current offerings include LARP, Metal Casting, Spanish Language Experience, Science Lab, Fine Arts, SEEDS Lab, Robotics, & much more. Read more about these offerings.
Where do Acera Students go to High School when they Graduate?

Our mission is to prepare students for life not just to “get admission” to the “best” high school or college. We want to prepare children to be the best version of themselves and to find the right fit for their next step and their future.

Listed below are some of the high schools which have admitted Acera students:

  • Boston University Academy
  • Buxton School
  • Cambridge School of Weston
  • Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall
  • Commonwealth School
  • Concord Academy
  • Dublin School
  • Gann Academy
  • Meridian Academy
  • Minuteman Vocational Technical High School
  • Newman School
  • Northfield Mount Hermon
  • Pingree School
  • Walnut Hill School for the Arts
  • Waring School
  • Putney School
  • Milton Academy
  • Kimball Union Academy
  • Ethel Walker School
  • Westford School
  • Medeira School

Some students also choose to return to public high schools or vocational tech high schools after Acera.

How long is your school day?

Our school day runs from 8:35 to 3:00PM, Monday through Friday.

Does Acera follow the follow the public school calendar?

Our school year starts the Wednesday after the Labor Day holiday in September. We have a longer winter break than most public school systems and our school year ends in early June. We do follow the same schedule for February and April public school vacations. Professional days and conference days happen according to our yearly needs and are posted on our internal calendar for our families. We do not have half days due to the fact many of our families commute significant distances to get to Acera.

We don’t live in or near Winchester. How can we make this work?

We are thrilled to offer a bus service that services the towns of Waltham, Belmont, Medford, Arlington, and Winchester.  Some of our stops tie in with the MBTA bus lines making it accessible for families beyond these towns as well.  We also do have an extensive carpool network, coordinated and managed by an Acera parent volunteer. It is truly impressive! We have found this to be a critical component to making it work logistically for working families, families with children at different schools, and families traveling long distances to get to us.

Why does Acera require an IQ score for admissions?

IQ tests are routinely used in identifying gifted children throughout the US. We realize there are many different tests used as well and happily will accept those along with the WISC – IV if you care to send in additional testing. Acera requires a WISC-IV for admission because we believe it helps us to determine fit and specific learning styles of children. We require one subscore to be 130 or greater to qualify for admission.

What are the age requirements for entry into kindergarten?

We make the determination about entry age based on each child. Usually our kindergarten students will turn 5 prior to December 1 of their kindergarten year. Every child is different and therefore ready at a different age. If you feel your child is ready to enter kindergarten, please apply. Similarly, if your child is five and we do not feel s/he is ready, we will ask your family to wait a year and reapply.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is Jan. 19; however, we accept applications throughout the year and place children as we have openings. If you are interested in Acera, you should apply as soon as you can. We have a policy of full disclosure to applying families and will give you a sense of whether or not we will have a spot for your child.

I’m not sure if I want to apply. Can I set up an interview or school tour to help me decide?

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer private tours or interviews prior to receiving an application. If you are considering applying but aren’t sure, we invite you to attend an Information Session, as well as our Open House. Information Sessions are scheduled monthly (sometimes twice per month), and are for parents only. This includes a school tour. We hold two Open Houses per year, and we invite parents, children, and friends to attend. Interactive activities are held in each classroom and staff are on hand to chat and answer questions. Information Sessions are required for consideration of admission; Open Houses are optional.

Why do you require attendance at an information session before putting in an application?

We believe the best way to find out about Acera is to attend one of our monthly information sessions.  During the session Courtney Dickinson, Acera’s Founder and Co-Director, gives a broad overview of our curriculum, philosophy and community of learners. It is an opportunity for parents to ask questions and we find most families feel it is a very valuable part of the admissions process.

 I haven’t yet scheduled the IQ/Neuropsych testing. Can I still open an application?

Yes, you may still submit an application without the IQ/Neuropsych testing, but you will not be able to schedule a Student Visiting Day or Parent Interview until the testing has been received. We strongly prefer to know whether or not a child will qualify prior to scheduling a Visit Day, to minimize disappointment.

How does Acera make admissions decisions?

The admissions process can seem daunting to some families. We look closely at each application and consider many different factors when deciding whether to admit a child or not. Academic and social fit are equally important to us. During the process we try to get to know each family and understand their hopes and desires for their child. Every child spends between one and five days in an Acera classroom and parents have an interview.

We then decide how many children we can include based on returning students. We place new children into the group using all the information we have to form the most cohesive classrooms we can.

Based on the qualifications listed on the Admissions Website, my child qualifies for your program, but we were not admitted. Why?

  1. Classroom Space: The size of our school is crucial to our mission- we have small class sizes to ensure that each student receives ample attention from his/her teacher(s). As we continue to grow, it’s important for us to maintain these important ratios, which means that, unfortunately, we have to defer admission to qualified candidates. The best way to avoid this scenario is to put your application in as early as possible (mid-fall to early winter is ideal).
  2. Twice Exceptionality Space: Our program is designed to support the best learning for all students, including those with a Twice Exceptional profile; we are fully committed to supporting twice exceptional students as space allows. There are a limited number of 2E spots in each classroom, to ensure that all students are receiving adequate support as needed. If your child has a 2E profile, it is recommended that you submit your application as early as possible, because of the limit on 2E spots.
  3. Observations during Student Visiting Day and Parent Interview: Our priority is for every student to be a fit for us, and for us to be a fit for every student. If it is felt that our program would not best serve a student or family’s interests, we are always happy to suggest alternate schools or programs that we perceive to be a better fit.

 What are the Student Visiting Days and Parent Interview? Why are they important?

During a Student Visiting Day, the applicant will spend a full day in an Acera classroom. They will be integrated fully and participate as a regular student in our school. A typical accepted student will have spent between 2 and 5 visiting days with us, sometimes back to back as schedules allow. The Parent Interview is between Sandra Zuckerman, Head of Admissions, and the applicant’s parents. This meeting provides a chance for the parents to communicate their hopes for their child’s education, explain any previous school-related frustrations, and ask questions about our program. Both the Visiting Day and the Interview are intended to provide answers and transparency for all parties—we are a unique program and thus want full buy-in from everyone involved. We want every child at our school to be a fit for us, and more importantly, we want to be a fit for every child.