Frequently Asked Questions
What calendar does Micro-School follow?
We follow the Trackers Homeschool calendar and meet for about 33 weeks out of the year. This is broken up into 3 seasonal terms:
Fall term 9/8/20 - 11/19/20.
Winter term 11/30/20 - 12/18/20 & 1/4/21 - 2/26/21.
Spring term 3/2/21 - 4/02/21 & 4/12/21 - 5/20/21.
Our program days for 2020-2021 will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We lightly correlate with the Berkeley Unified calendar.
What are the school hours?
In Fall 2020, our program will meet from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
Is after school care available?
Unfortunately we are not able to offer after care due to our small program size and COVID regulatory guidelines.
Are scholarships or financial aid available?
Trackers is committed to providing financial aid to the greatest extent possible. Limited financial aid is awarded based on availability and need. However, as a new school, our resources are limited. Please contact us using the form on the bottom of this page to inquire about scholarships.
Do you provide lunches or snacks?
Due to our outdoor program occurring in the field, students need to bring their own lunch, snack, and water bottle.
Where do students report to school?
All classes meet primarily at Camp Herms, 1100 James Place, El Cerrito. There may be opportunities for all groups to meet at other local sites, such as the Emeryville Marina. We will be in touch with all families well in advance for this potential. Note: We are not transporting students this year due to concerns around exposure during the COVID pandemic.
Are you really going to go outside in all weather?
Yes! Our years of experience have taught us that when dressed appropriately, children thrive outdoors year-round. We teach children to be safe and happy outdoors in any weather. In cases of severely inclement, unsafe weather or Air Quality levels, we may postpone or reschedule a session. Guidance is offered to parents in preparing and dressing their child for success.
What are your safety protocols during the pandemic?
All children must pass the temperature check before being dropped off.
All Participants and staff must wear a properly fitted face mask and keep appropriate social distance, sitting at least 6 feet apart when taking masks off for water & food breaks.
Restrooms are thoroughly sanitized after use with a CDC-approved disenfectant solution.
All staff carry sanitizing spray to disinfect hands and materials throughout the day.
Staff note which adult drops off and which adult picks up to aid in any potential need for contact tracing.
What are the safety protocols around air quality?
Whenever the Air Quality Index (AQI) is higher than moderate, we inform parents via text and email the day before of the possibility of a cancellation due to unsafe air quality conditions. We make final decisions on whether camp will operate or not by 6:30 am on the day of the camp session, and notify all parents via email and text at that time. We do not operate camp sessions in AQI levels of 150 or above.
Do you also spend time indoors in a classroom?
While we spend the majority of our time outside, we also spend time utilizing covered structures for any written work as needed.
How many children are in each class? What are the child:teacher ratios?
Lower Elementary: 8 children: 1 teacher
Upper Elementary/Middle: 8 children: 1 teacher
What is your discipline philosophy?
We encourage students to find the limits of the natural world by learning from the wild and from each other. We set very clear, firm safety limits and allow freedom within those boundaries to develop self-regulation. Through conversation and community building, children balance independence with accountability to their community and the natural world. If a child consistently crosses necessary safety boundaries, we work with them and their parents to find positive solutions that take into account the needs of the whole group.
How do you approach literacy?
Micro-School is an environment rich in the written word. Students read, write, create, and learn through all manner of texts and media. We welcome students who are working on their literacy skills. For elementary and middle school grades, we recommend that students be reading at a minimum of at or one level below grade level. For students who need more support around reading or writing, we will work with families to find outside tutoring or other learning opportunities to help supplement their work.
Does micro-school assign homework?
Research clearly shows that busywork-style homework does not have a significant effect on knowledge retention or academic achievement in the elementary years. We generally would rather children participate in and help maintain the home, or just have fun with their family in the evenings! That said, as a three day per week program, we will often provide work for students to do on their home-days to continue extending their learning.
How do you approach students with special needs?
We believe all children should have an IEP! Every person learns in a different way, at their own pace. Individualized, project-based learning means being intensely familiar with all one’s students abilities and needs. We will trust our teachers to present curriculum in a way that provides the right level of challenge at the right time. When we observe that a student could benefit from additional support, we will work with the parents and call in outside resources as necessary to help provide the tools to succeed for that child.
How do I begin the application process?
Will we be able to meet teachers before school begins?
There are several opportunities to meet our teachers prior to the school year beginning. You can contact us using the form at the bottom of this page and we will be happy to set up a time for you to talk with our leadership staff. To learn more about our talented teaching team, please see our Story and Team page.