Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum age for admittance to kindergarten in California?
In accordance with California Education code, a child needs to be 5 years old on or before September 1st for entry into Kindergarten.
Citizens of the World Charter Schools Los Angeles provides transitional kindergarten to children turning 5 years old between September 2nd and December 2nd only. Our developmental and highly differentiated model ensures children are continually progressing.
What are Citizens of the World schools?
Citizens of the World (CWC) schools challenge students to realize their full potential and thrive in a diverse society. We are tuition-free schools open to all, committed to serving diverse communities in Los Angeles and Kansas City. We develop sophisticated thinkers who master content and have a courageous and compassionate sense of responsibility for themselves and all people.
Citizens of the World Los Angeles (CWC Los Angeles) is comprised of three K-8 (soon to be four) neighborhood charter schools. All of our schools are tuition free, non-religious public schools committed to socio-economic, cultural and racial diversity. Our students are enrolled through a randomized and blind lottery, which provides a lottery preference to students who reside within the boundaries of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). We rely on parent and family engagement, including on and off campus volunteer time, as well as voluntary financial donations.
What is a Charter School?
Charter schools are independent, tuition-free public schools that are able to be more autonomous in exchange for agreeing to be held accountable for student achievement. Like traditional schools, charter schools were created by states to serve the public. Charter schools are supervised and directed by, as well as accountable to the public through charter authorizing agencies, according to federal regulations under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Charter schools are funded using tax dollars based on the number of children enrolled. The per-pupil funding follows the student, which means that public schools, whether charter or traditional, in most states receive equal resources per child.
Enrollment in charter schools has grown by 62 percent, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In 43 states and DC, nearly 2.9 million students now attend charter schools— representing more than 6 percent of all public school students nationwide.
Charters are accountable to the public for producing strong student results: 15 out of 16 recent studies show charter school students are outperforming their traditional school peers and showing the strongest improvement levels for underserved student populations. For more information, check out the most recent study completed by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes.
We are proud that our school model has a demonstrated track record of academic success.
How are Citizens of the World schools funded?
Like other public schools, Citizens of the World schools are funded by the district and state according to the number of students attending our schools. We refer to that portion of our budget as “government funding.” As a nonprofit organization, we also fundraise beyond government funding to bring in additional money to fully pay for our educational model. Our educational model costs more than what we receive in government funding, so we host fundraising campaigns throughout the year, secure corporate matching gifts, receive grants, and host community events to make up the difference in costs. We have a team of professionals to support fundraising at each school and rely on parent volunteers to support this important work.
Do you provide transportation?
No, we do not provide transportation.
Do you have an after school program?
Don’t worry- we got you covered. All of our current CWC Schools offer both morning care and an after school program and CWC West Valley expects to do the same. We will provide more information about hours and programming as the school year approaches.
How does the Citizens of the World teaching and learning model work?
Our small classrooms – typically 26 students – are led by two adults, one Lead Teacher and one Teaching Associate.
Our classrooms are challenging and joyful learning environments that engage children through fun projects tailored to their personal experiences, strengths and needs. Our teachers take the time to get to know each child as an individual. We empower children to think critically and learn to engage respectfully and productively with fellow students by developing their capacity to enter into and understand the lives of others.
1. Learn to think critically at high levels, mastering standards in reading, writing, math and science.
2. Learn how to engage respectfully and productively with others. Our students develop life skills such as debate, conflict resolution, personal self-reflection and independence. They learn to constructively collaborate and solve problems creatively with those who have different perspectives and backgrounds. Our children learn social and emotional tools many adults wish they had at a much earlier stage in life.
3. Learn in a personalized, meaningful, fun way. Children learn hands-on by partaking in practical activities that allow them to start thinking and talking about things they already relate to, and then build upon their own emerging theories to learn new skills and content. At CWC, student learning is not only enriched by – but meaningfully partnered with – explorations in music, visual and dramatic arts, physical education, technology, and library skills.
Could you provide some examples of what this model looks like in the classroom?
Second graders may work together in small groups as if they are a family living on a farm, negotiating over whether they should stay on the farm, given negative health impacts occurring from pesticides, while weighing family salary needs and other working conditions. As they build skills to compromise, they learn how to analyze competing considerations, what is required to make change happen, and what is required to come to consensus – while also learning math, science, persuasive communication and writing, as well as creating art and music.
First graders learning about diversity, interdependence and science may create a “Fishbook” page (akin to Facebook) that allows them to map out various relationships and dependencies among animals in a coral reef in a fun, creative way.
Kindergarteners may learn to develop the skills to become writers (e.g. characters and plot development) by first developing puppets they are excited about and then acting out a play.
When students create their own learning adventures in these ways, they get very invested in and excited about learning. Further, our integrated approach to learning enhances projects and academic exploration not only because teachers can weave in content from one subject to the other to foster connections between them, but also because students, as unique learners, can access natural cognitive processes through these activities.
For example, students studying the “blue note” in blues music begin to understand the historical and cultural beginnings of a genre of music, along with a meaningful exploration of how music taps into and expresses universal expressions of emotions. And children as young as Kindergarten explore the mathematical concept of multi-axis symmetry through the artistic exploration of cut paper snowflakes.
Who are your teachers? How are they recruited/trained?
Are diverse, talented, caring adults who are given the flexibility to decide how to meet student needs while being expected to help all children learn at high levels.
Meet all state and district employment, certification and security clearance requirements and have passed through a rigorous screening process.
Regularly assess student progress and improve their teaching along the way.
Know students have mastered a skill or ability when they have applied that skill or ability in a novel situation.
Are afforded the room to create a teaching and learning experience that has meaning to them, within the boundaries of best practices.
Are trained to guide children to develop within appropriate boundaries and treat them respectfully.
Our students get the benefit of many teachers’ minds, because our teachers work closely together and are accountable to one another for meeting student needs.
Are students with disabilities and English Language Learners welcome at CWC West Valley?
Yes! We support children of all needs, including English language learners and those with special needs. Our teaching and learning model is particularly attractive to families of students with diverse needs because it includes hands-on instruction that is highly differentiated. Students receive focused attention to their needs and strengths, as teachers implement individualized instruction based on data-driven assessments.
In some cases, we have successfully transitioned students who used to attend schools with more restrictive learning settings to CWC’s general education setting; we are proud that many students are thriving because of our model.
How does your model serve communities?
Our students are being prepared to become future leaders who are able to solve problems and generate peace and prosperity. Our parents and teachers believe that peaceful, prosperous communities start with richly diverse classrooms that value critical thinking, creativity and human connection.
How do you engage and partner with parents?
We greatly value parent and community engagement. We work to create numerous opportunities for parents to be actively involved in our schools, including volunteer opportunities, parent surveys and community-building events. Each CWC school decides how to best work with their parents. For example, CWC Los Angeles has a parent representative nominated to their regional board. CWC schools engage parents and communities in schools through a variety of channels, including a principal’s coffee, academic meets up, email and text messages, letters sent home, parent meetings and phone calls – and invite parents who are able to be active participants in additional school-level committees.