Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you charge tuition?
A: No, the Charter School is a tuition-free public school serving North Carolina students grades K through 8. The Willow Oak Montessori Children’s House preschool program will remain a tuition-based private school operated by a separate non-profit entity. By law, there is no priority given to Children’s House students in the Charter School lottery.
Q: Who pays for Charter schools?
A: Charter schools are supported by federal, state, and local funds, including state and county taxes. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools do not receive county taxes for constructing facilities. Charter schools often supplement the government funds they receive with grants and community donations.
Q: Can you serve my child if they have a physical or learning disability?
A: Yes! Our Diverse Learning Community team is responsible for ensuring that we meet the needs of every child in our school community. We also contract with outside providers, as necessary, for individual services as required. We will not request information about your child’s individual needs, their IEP, or their 504 Plan until after your child has been admitted to our school.
Q: Do Willow Oak students have to take the state’s standardized tests?
A: Yes. As public schools, charter schools must participate in the state’s annual End-of-Grade (EOG) testing beginning in the 3rd grade.
Q: Do you provide school lunch? Do you participate in the free and reduced school lunch program?
A: Our school lunch program is currently on hiatus because of staffing shortages within Chatham County Schools. We hope to be able to offer this service again in early 2022. In 2021, Willow Oak Montessori began partnering with the School Nutrition Services of Chatham County Schools to allow WOM students the opportunity to receive free lunches and afternoon snacks at school during the 2021-2022 school year. For 2021-22, there were no income or other requirements to determine eligibility, and lunches were provided at no cost to all interested students. However, we do not yet know what the eligibility requirements for free or reduced lunches may be for future years. Please note that Willow Oak's school lunch program requires families to opt in for the entire school year and is not a program where you can pick and choose to get lunch only on certain days of the week.
Q: Do you offer transportation to or from school?
A: We wish we could! We have been investigating this, and it is not financially possible at this time. However, we are working out how we might make this a possibility in Willow Oak's future. At the start of each school year, we will do our best to help connect Willow Oak households to one another so that you might form carpools or help with driving for students who live near you or on your way to school. Please reach out to the Main Office if you need help with transportation and we will do our best to help you!
Q: What steps are being taken to address equity and diversity in your school?
A: After several years of attempting to start off with and then increase diversity, the Board of Directors formed an Equity Team to study what could be keeping us from being a school of choice for families of color, families of limited financial means, families of students with disabilities, and all other populations of families that have not traditionally held power in our society. The work of this team is explicitly beyond viewing equity as "meeting needs," though that is included. Instead, we are focused on studying our culture and shifting power to make our community more aware and welcoming of all. This is hard and important work and we welcome your involvement. For more information, please reach out to us at email@example.com and we will connect you to a member of our Equity Team.
Q: How much homework will my child have?
A: Montessori Schools typically do not assign daily homework. In order to ensure an appetite for work during the school day, we encourage children to spend their time after school pursuing their personal interests, interacting with their families, and relaxing. Many activities may constitute homework, including household chores. Responsibilities at home help the child develop language skills and cultural awareness. Making math a real part of the home environment and giving the child a voice in family decisions are important to every child’s growth. Reading with and to your children every day will result in quality family time and confidence building. As students reach the Upper Elementary and Adolescent grades, they will have some at-home project work.
Q: What extracurricular activities will be available to my child at your school?
A: Willow Oak Montessori is committed to making meaningful extracurricular activities available to students. Currently, Willow Oak has an Ultimate Frisbee team for grades 6-8. We are taking feedback from school staff, students, and families to help determine interest in additional clubs and activities. In the past, Willow Oak has offered extracurriculars in fine arts, music, chess, physical fitness, and sports.
Q: Can I read your charter application?
A: Of course. You can access our charter here.
If you have any additional questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org