1. Is the ATLCA an accredited academic institution?
Yes, the ATLCA is accredited through the Georgia Accrediting Commission (G.A.C.).
2. How is the academic school year defined?
The school consists of 180 days of instruction divided into two semesters (fall/spring).
3. Does the ATLCA follow the same academic calendar as the Chatham County Public School System?
Yes, the ATLCA follows the same academic calendar as the Chatham County Public School System, as well as the same disaster plan of action.
4. Does ATLCA offer financial aid?
No, the school does not currently offer any financial aid. We are able to recommend outside scholarship opportunities for interested families. Though not given through our academic program, we do accept scholarships from these participating programs:
Arete Scholars Fund
The Ash Tree Learning Center Academy has partnered with the Arete Scholars Fund, to offer scholarships to low-income families. If your household income qualifies you child for free or reduced lunch, then your child is likely to be eligible for up to a $5,800 scholarship to attend private school.
For more information, please visit the Arete Scholars Fund at www.AreteScholars.org
AAA Scholarship Foundation
The Ash Tree Learning Center Academy is also partnered with the AAA Scholarship Foundation, which provides Georgia Private School Tax Credit Scholarships to K4 – 12TH grade students, who come from low-income families.
For more information, please visit the AAA Scholarship Foundation at www.AAAScholarships.org
GA Special Needs Scholarship Program (GSNSP)
The Ash Tree Learning Center Academy is an authorized private school, participating in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program (GSNSP). This program is a parental choice program for special needs students attending Georgia public schools and some private schools, who are served under an Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.)
An I.E.P. is designed to meet the unique educational needs of a child, by helping them to reach educational goals easier and learn more effectively, through tailored academic programs.
There is no application to participate. A student must meet certain eligibility requirements to participate in the GSNSP for the first time:For more information, please visit the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program at www.SpecialEdOptions.com
5. What is the primary curriculum for the ATLCA?
Our curriculum is primarily from Christian publishing companies, such as Bob Jones and ABeka.
ABeka Book provides Christian schools and homeschools with outstanding curriculum and textbooks built on a foundation of academic excellence and Christian character training.
BJU Press publishes Christian school curriculum for K – 12th. BJU Press materials seamlessly integrate biblical truth with academic excellence, in order to help students develop critical thinking skills and a love for learning they need for their Christian lives.
Each school day and includes a Bible Study lesson and pledges to the American and Christian flags and to the Bible.
6. Do the students attend Chapel?
Learning from God’s Word begins in Pre-K and continues through to 12th, as part of daily instruction for all students. Age-appropriate topics and real-world connections help bring the Word to life! As students enter high school, in-depth topical studies equip our students to make an impact in their world.
Wednesday mid-mornings are designated for Chapel. This is a time of scripture, praise songs, and instruction from Pastor Morris Brown of Metro Savannah Baptist Church, and from other guests whose personal and public ministry serves as an example to our students. Students are expected to bring their Bibles to chapel and Devotions.
7. Do the students have a uniform or have to adhere to a particular dress code?
Yes, students have a uniform that they are required to wear daily. Please see the Parent/Student Handbook and/or the Student Uniforms tab to get more detail.
8. What is the school discipline system?
The ATLCA operates on a demerits system that deals with student behavior.
To best carry out a plan of discipline, procedures have been put into place to ensure open communication among teachers, parents, and students. Each teacher will send home a copy of the discipline expectations for their classroom. Before a student is referred to an administrator, the teacher will have first communicated with a student and will have made contact with the parents. This will allow the parents the opportunity to discipline their own children before the administration intervenes. However, certain actions will require immediate referral to the administration.
The ATLCA does offer Corporal Punishment (i.e. paddling, spanking, switching, swatting, and/or forced exercise). This punishment is administered by a certified school professional, done privately, completed by a person of the same sex as the student, and observed by a school official and/or administrator. If you wish for your child to receive corporal punishment, you may sign a pre-typed letter or communicate in writing to the school that it is your wish for your child to receive corporal punishment.
9. What is the school’s attendance policy?
Quality education requires regular school attendance. A student’s level of success in school relates directly to class attendance and quality of work.
As the school day begins promptly at 8:00 a.m., any student arriving after that time will be considered Tardy. For every 7 un-excused tardies a student attains, those tardies turn in to 1 absence.
Although we are a private Christian school, we still adhere to the attendance policies of of Chatham County Board of Education. According to the attendance policies set forth by the CCBOE: A student may miss no more than 10 days of school through the duration of a semester of 20 days of school throughout the academic year. If a student misses more than those alotted days of school, they will face retention or be required to attend summer school (at an additional expense).
It is the school's responsibility to determine if the absence is excused or unexcused:
- When a student is absent from school due to illness, the parent or guardian is required to telephone the school secretary on the day of the absence between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. This call does NOT constitute an excused absence.
- The parent or guardian must send a note on the morning of the student’s return, in order for the student to be considered for an excused absence. However, any absences not cleared with written verification within three (3) days after a student returns, will become an unexcused absence.
Students who have missed 5 or more unexcused days in a row, are considered truant. Parents are allowed to send in five hand written excuses per school year. Absences are excused for personal illness, death of immediate family member, observance of religious holidays, and active duty military leave. You may look at all details of the attendance policy in the Student Code of Conduct that went home earlier with your child. Any student who misses 15 or more days in a school year could face retention.
10. What is the school’s policy on student cell phones?
The ATLCA would prefer if students did not bring cell phones on campus. However, if you feel your child should have access to a cell phone, the school requires that students turn their cell phones to the front office, where they can be safely locked away and not be a distraction during the school day. At the end of the day, students may pick up their cell phones, before leaving campus.
11. Does the ATLCA offer transportation?
The school does not offer transportation.
12. What is the school’s policy on students having cars?
Senior-level students are allowed to have cars on the ATLCA campus. However, at this time, students are not allowed to leave campus for lunch, nor are they allowed to loiter in their car in the parking lot, during school hours.
13. What are the graduation requirements?
The ATLCA is a college preparatory school and students who graduate will meet the minimum requirements for state schools in Georgia. Students should check for any additional requirements for acceptance in the colleges of their choice.
Individual students transferring into the Ash Tree Learning Center Academy are evaluated and a set course of study agreed upon. Their total number of credits may or may not equal the Ash Tree Learning Center Academy graduation requirements, but they must meet the minimum requirements set forth by the state of Georgia for a college prep diploma.
14. Does the ATLCA dispense medication to students?
The ATLCA does not currently have a nurse on staff, so we do not dispense any medication to students, nor are students allowed to bring prescription/over-the-counter medications or etc. on campus.
If your child has a medical condition that requires them to take medication daily, we recommend giving the student their medication before coming to school. In the event that a child is sick and requires further treatment, parents will be notified and asked to pick up their child from school.
15. How does the school handle lost/stolen items?
The ATLCA discourages students from bringing personal and valuable items from school, for it is the school’s policy to not be responsible for any lost/stolen items.
We have restricted the use of cell phones on campus and have banned items such as: MP3 players, tablet computers, iPods, and electronic hand-held games.
16. What is the policy on student searches?
A. Lockers and Personal Possessions Within a Locker
Pursuant to Georgia statutes and the Georgia Association of Private and Christian schools, school lockers are the property of the school. At no time does the school relinquish its exclusive control of lockers that are provided for the convenience of students. Inspection of the interior of lockers may be conducted by school officials for any reason and at any time, without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant. The personal possessions of students within a school locker may be searched only when school officials have a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover evidence of a violation of law or school rules. As soon as practicable after the search of a student’s personal possessions, the school officials must provide notice of the search to students whose lockers were searched, unless disclosure would impede on ongoing investigation by police or school officials.
School desks are the property of the school. At no time does the school relinquish its exclusive control of desks provided for the convenience of students. Inspection of the interior or desks may be conducted by school officials for any reason and at any time, without notice, without student consent, and without a search warrant.
C. Personal Possessions and Student’s Person
The personal possessions of students and/or a student’s person may be searched when school officials have a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover a violation of law or school rules. The search will be reasonable in its scope and intrusiveness.
D. It shall be a violation of this policy for students to use lockers and desks for unauthorized purposes or to store contraband. It shall be a violation for students to carry contraband on their person or in their personal possessions.
17. How does the school discipline cyber-bullying that happens off campus?
If it is brought to the attention of the ATLCA administration that a student is being cyber-bullied and we are provided with proof via Facebook posts, emails, text messages, and etc., the student bully will be automatically suspended from school. We have a zero tolerance policy on bullying.
18. Can parents call to speak with their child’s teacher during the day?
The ATLCA does not encourage parents to call to speak with teachers during the school day, because it is unlikely that we will interrupt a teacher during class instruction.
If you really need to speak with your child’s teacher, we recommend calling after school hours or setting up an appointment at the front office, to meet with your child’s teacher.
19. Are parents and/or other family members of a student, allowed to drop in on their child during the school day?
Although we appreciate parental involvement, for the safety and security of the students on campus, we ask that all visitors make an appointment with the front office.
After school, a parent or family member is free to meet with the child’s teacher, to set up a time to come and observe class instruction and your child in class. This is done so that we can keep class disturbances at a minimum.
20. Does the school offer an After-Care Program for parents/family members who can’t pick up their child on time, at the end of the school day?
The ATLCA does not currently offer an After-Care Program for families that have difficulty picking their children up from school, and unfortunately, we do not currently have staff that is able to stay and sit with your child beyond school hours.
If your child is not a school bus rider or can walk home, we recommend seeking alternative transportation methods (i.e. day care pick-up, city bus pass, car pool with other families, & etc.)
21. Do students get to take class pictures?
Yes, usually during the month of October, students take professionally done class pictures. These pictures will be used for the school yearbook, but parents may order copies of the pictures.
Throughout the school year, Friend Day, student organization, athletic, and Senior pictures are also taken for the yearbook.
22. What is the school’s policy on Community Service?
High school students (grades 9th – 12th) are required to do 20 hours of Community Service a year, concluding with 80 total hours of community service prior to graduation.A student must complete their community service hours before they can graduate.
If a student is transferring in from another school, they should provide proof of completion of community service hours.