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NHA Logo National Heritage Academies 3850 Broadmoor Ave SE, Suite 201 Grand Rapids, MI 49512
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Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some of the questions we receive most often from parents. We hope you find the responses helpful. This is not an exhaustive list of questions by any means, so if your question is not answered below, please contact us via our convenient online form. We want to hear from you!

What exactly is a charter school?

Charter Schools are independently-operated public schools. There is no charge to parents because funding comes from state tax dollars, just like a traditional public school. In addition to adhering to all of the same state and local rules and regulations, and meeting the same academic requirements as traditional public schools, charter schools have additional accountabilities. They are overseen by their charter authorizer or sponsor, as well as their school board, and are also held accountable by their parents, who can choose another school if they are not satisfied.  In addition, charter schools must be non-sectarian and adhere to all state and federal educational, health, and safety regulations.

How much is tuition?

We do not charge tuition. NHA managed schools are free, state-funded, public schools open to all students.

Where are your schools located?

We currently partner with school boards in nine states: Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, New York and Wisconsin.  Please use our search tool to find the school closest to you.

How do I enroll my child?

You can enroll online by using our School Finder, or you can call 1-866-NHA-ENROLL to speak with a parent relations specialist, who will answer any questions you may have.

Is my child guaranteed a seat if I submit an enrollment application?

As with all charter schools, NHA schools are public schools open to everyone. If there are enough seats available to accommodate all of the applications we receive, then your child is guaranteed a spot. In the event we receive more applications than available seats, we hold a public lottery to randomly select students to fill the seats. The rest of the students are placed on a waiting list, as it is likely that seats will become available.

Are students required to wear uniforms?

All NHA schools have a dress code or uniform policy, although individual school policies vary. In all cases, the dress code requires clothing to be neat, modest and non-distracting to others. Most dress codes include dark or navy blue pants, skirts, skorts, jumpers or shorts; white collared tops; white or navy socks or tights; and loafer-style shoes. Please contact your local NHA school for specific information about their dress code or uniform policy.

Do you offer before and after school care?

NHA does not offer before and after school care as part of our program. However, where there is a high demand for this service, several schools have developed relationships with local day care providers who provide transportation to and from school and, in some cases, offer an on-site program.

Do you provide bus transportation?

The majority of our schools do not offer bus transportation. However, there are a few exceptions to this. At schools where we do not offer bussing, we have seen great success with parents coordinating carpooling. Please contact your local school for specifics about transportation or carpool programs.

What do your parents have to say?

We love hearing from our parents! Their feedback is critical to help us identify what we're doing well and to understand where we need to get better. So, we conduct an annual parent satisfaction survey to assess how well we are serving our families. In the most recent survey, 70 percent of our parents reported they would grade their NHA school with an “A” compared to 37 percent of parents nationally who would give an “A” to their traditional public school. We feel pretty good about those results, but our goal, of course, is to have 100 percent of our parents grade us with an "A."

What is your curriculum like?

We are proud to offer a rigorous and challenging curriculum that has been uniquely designed to prepare our students for high academic achievement in successive schooling environments. Our goal is to graduate students who have not only had the opportunity to achieve academic excellence, but who have also acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in high school, college, and beyond.
NHA’s goal of preparing all students for college success has led us to take a unique approach in the development of our curriculum. Our curriculum has been developed to support any state’s standards, with a unique college-bound approach that articulates the specific knowledge and skills students are expected to master, in each content area at each grade level. The curriculum architecture organizes student learning around exemplars, or categories of learning, similar to the structure of most state standards documents. The exemplars include learning objectives that specifically articulate what students should know and be able to do in each content area and at each grade level. These learning objectives clearly identify the teaching focus, so teachers are able to effectively focus on learning strategies for individual students, providing appropriate levels of challenge.
In addition to teaching the basic core subjects, NHA schools also offer art, music, library, and physical education classes.

What about your Moral Focus curriculum?

We believe great schools develop both a student’s heart and mind. Our Moral Focus curriculum is designed to support our parents' efforts to teach character at home by reinforcing and modeling universal human virtues, such as compassion, respect, and integrity. A different virtue is featured each month of the school year and is supported by curriculum in the classroom. Additionally, teachers model behavior that exemplifies the virtue, recognizing and praising students when they do the same. The Moral Focus curriculum is integrated throughout the school and creates an environment that is not just physically safe, but also emotionally safe. Students are taught to respect their classmates, to make smart decisions, and to resolve disputes in a manner that displays strong character.

Are NHA teachers fully certified?

The Federal No Child Left Behind Act requires that all classroom teachers must be highly qualified. NHA attempts, in all cases, to employ highly qualified teachers who meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. However, state law does permit a small percentage of teaching staff to be hired who are not fully certified, but are otherwise exceptionally qualified to teach specific subjects based on education, experience, or content knowledge. In most cases, these teachers are working toward certification. NHA conducts an extensive interview and background check process with all of our teachers to ensure that they meet or exceed state requirements.

I’ve heard that charter school students don’t perform as well academically as their traditional public school peers. Is that the case at NHA?

Actually, it's quite the contrary. Student achievement varies from school to school based on how long the school has been in operation and how long the students have attended, but results of state standardized test scores show that many of our students are outperforming their peers at their local public school districts. Test results also reveal that most NHA students are progressing at a faster rate, meaning they are showing more academic growth in a school year than their peers.

What type of extracurricular programs do you offer?

Extracurricular program options vary by school, but most offer intramural sports programs, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, and cross country. In addition, there are also after school clubs like drama, chess, cheerleading/dance, orchestra, Spanish, etc. Please contact your local NHA school to obtain specific details on the extracurricular programs it offers.

I’ve heard that charter schools take the “best students” from public schools?

We understand that this is a common misconception, but the truth is that parents and students choose charter schools. NHA schools are open to all students and we are proud to serve a very diverse student body. Many NHA schools are located in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and our student population is representative of the communities we serve. For the 2010–2011 school year, 64 percent of NHA students were eligible for free and reduced lunch.

What is your discipline policy?

NHA’s goal is to address the needs of students through a quality education program. To be effective and to fulfill this goal, we believe that students need a positive, safe, and orderly school environment in which learning can take place without disruption. It is our belief that students who do not obey the rules of good conduct are interfering with the learning process and safety of others, as well as minimizing their own opportunities to learn.

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