FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND POLICIES

Policies

What is your policy on immunizations?


At a minimum, children are required to have completed vaccinations for both measles and pertussis, as outlined in both the CDC and State of Oregon immunization guidelines, prior to starting school at Heritage.* For most children in the US, that will mean 2 doses of measles and 5 doses of pertussis vaccines. For children who have spent time outside of the US or with certain medical situations, additional doses may be necessary. We require the vaccines to be products officially licensed in the US. We will allow students to enroll with submission of evidence of the presence of an accepted contraindication to the administration of both measles and pertussis vaccines. We will also consider students who have been previously unvaccinated but who are willing to commit to a schedule to become fully vaccinated. If you have questions whether your child meets these conditions, please contact us. Our policy is intended to protect the most vulnerable within our community who cannot be vaccinated including students with medical contraindications, siblings under one year old, and parents or other family members who are taking immunosuppressive drugs. Exemptions from this requirement must be requested and approved by the Heritage School Board of Directors prior to completing the admissions process. * The vaccine for measles is currently part of the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps, and rubella) and the vaccine for pertussis is part of the DTaP vaccine (for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis). Please consult the CDC or State of Oregon guidelines for recommended doses and schedule (see links below). Please note: Students attending Heritage before this policy was published (April 2019) are exempt from the requirement for measles and pertussis. However, this exemption does not apply to siblings that later apply to the school and does not apply to future policies that may be enacted in response to current or future public health threats, such as COVID-19. Additional Information:

We welcome you to contact us with any questions that you have.





General

How did you choose the name, "Heritage School," which more often brings to mind a fairly conservative connotation?


One of our founders, Parviz Samiee, suggested this name, which was inspired by Persian culture, which places immense value in one’s heritage. He wanted to provide a lasting educational heritage for children, and a school that fosters an abiding love for learning seemed a fitting match for the name, “Heritage School.” Conservative would not be a fitting description of this school, which offers a more innovative curriculum. We do not, of course, reject the time-honored, traditional values that anchor our society. We find that a more progressive educational approach allows us to incorporate teaching strategies that open doors to a vibrant, flexible learning environment.




Is Heritage a school for gifted children?


A public school TAG coordinator once visited Heritage and noted that this is the model for what TAG education aspires to achieve. However, we believe all children are “gifted” and that most children can thrive in a program that allows them to explore their interests, participating in hands on learning, supported by a solid academic framework. Every child deserves enriching educational experiences, not just those labeled “TAG.” And certainly bright students capable of soaring should not be held back by the confines of a lock step curriculum.




Do you require testing before you accept students?


No. We do not require academic testing before we accept students at Heritage School. However, we do ask that parents observe the school in action, during the school day, and we then ask that those interested in pursuing enrollment bring their children to spend time as guest students on a separate visit. This allows us to get to know prospective students in the context of a day at Heritage, and it allows the children to experience learning in this kind of environment. After students are accepted (which is usually in the spring), we do some diagnostic testing just before school starts in September so we can know where to begin.




Does Heritage exist as a reaction against public schools?


No. Heritage School is not at all adersarial to public education. There are many fine teachers who strive to provide exemplary educational experiences for children in public schools and we hold these teachers in high esteem. They are charged with multiple, challenging tasks. They truly deserve commendation for their achievements in a climate that increasingly limits their opportunities to go beyond a “teaching to the test” mindset brought about by the well-intentioned but restrictive “No Child Left Behind Act.” Although this piece of legislation was later repealed, the effects are still being felt with the continued focus on testing related to the Common Core standards. We support public education, which serves a vital need and deserves better funding in order to accomplish its important mission. We just find ourselves drawn to teaching in an environment that allows us to construct a curriculum that can more easily be tailored to individual children’s needs.




Aren't most private schools a refuge for children of the wealthy?  Is this a school where "status" matters?


We can’t speak for other private schools, but Heritage School includes students of diverse backgrounds. While tuition is not inexpensive, we strive to keep it as affordable as possible. Heritage parents come to us looking for a safe, wholesome, nurturing educational environment where their children can develop to their full potential academically. They are not here for “status.” They seek challenge but don’t want a “pressure cooker” approach. This is not a “prep school.” Heritage parents love to see our younger students fully enjoy their lives as children, inspired to work wholeheartedly at school but unencumbered by busy work masquerading as “homework.” Heritage parents love to see the older students undertake sophisticated studies, like Shakespeare, but they are delighted to see those same children enjoy their childhoods free of peer pressure to dress provocatively or to engage in risky behaviors. Children can be children at Heritage. Social status plays no part in the decision to send one’s child to school here; the parent community is supportive, friendly, and down to earth. Many make genuine sacrifices to send their children to Heritage, and there is a warm camaraderie among Heritage parents. We especially love to see the lasting friendships that grow among parents, not just among students.




What kinds of fundraising activities happen at Heritage School?


Although tuition is the main source of income at Heritage School, we have begun some limited fundraising since our conversion to a parent-led nonprofit corporation. For example, during our school's 30th anniversary party, we had a silent auction, featuring items donated by Heritage parents, alumni, and friends. Since it was so popular the first time, we decided to host another auction in September of 2019, during the combined 35th Anniversary / Olsen Retirement Party. We were able to raise money for new technology, teaching materials, and other items that were not covered by tuition costs alone.




Is Heritage a religious school?


Heritage School does not promote any specific religion. Our founders drew their spiritual direction from Christianity. The values of cooperation, self-discipline, compassion, and reverence for life are basic foundations of their Christian faith. They recognized that Christianity is by no means the only great religion espousing these values, but their faith inspired them to build Heritage School. In accord with our intention to foster moral development, we want our students to respect people of diverse beliefs as well as those who are not affiliated with any religion. Our school community welcomes and includes people of many faiths, as well as people who follow no particular religious tradition. We teach children to love others. We believe children's moral development will be enhanced in an atmosphere that includes opportunities for informal discussions of faith if relevant to the subject. For example, studies of Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, or Janusz Korczak include discussions of how their religious beliefs influenced their lives. The spiritual values that anchor our school are those that promote reverence for life and the development of ethical values in an inclusive, nurturing environment. We model these principles in our daily relationships with one another.




How much is tuition?


Please see our Tuition and Fees Schedule for a breakdown of costs.




Is Heritage School open during the COVID-19 pandemic?


Yes! Heritage is open and following current ODE guidelines for small schools. For additional details, please see our operational blueprint.





Admissions

Will you have openings for new students in the coming school year?


Current Heritage families sign contracts in early March if their children will re-enroll for the coming school year. We usually fill openings before the end of the current school year, but we occasionally have openings in the summer. Please send an email inquiry for updates about current openings.




When may I schedule a visit to Heritage School?


Most visits take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday in February, March, April, and even as late as May. We rarely schedule visits for the fall, since our highest priority time is to help our newest students transition into our program. By springtime, even our youngest are usually fairly independent, resourceful learners, allowing us to accommodate more visitors to the classroom. If your child is not yet old enough for first grade, it is best to wait until the spring of your child's kindergarten year to schedule your child's visit. We accept older students too, and we usually schedule their visits for the springtime.




What time of day is best for a visit to Heritage School?


We recommend that you come for the first part of the school day, arriving between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. This provides an opportunity for you to see our morning meeting and how we organize the school day. Glen teaches math in the morning. Visitors usually follow Glen as he moves from one math group to the next. When students are not in math groups during the first part of the morning, they are either working on follow-up math assignments, or they are involved in a variety of cooperative and independent studies and activities. Occasionally you will also find students engaged in other teacher-led activities during this first block of time in the morning. Most adult visitors come first thing in the morning and stay for about an hour or two.




May I take my child with me when I visit Heritage?


We prefer that you come without children for your first visit. We want you to give your undivided attention to observing the school, and we have found that it can be distracting for parents to juggle attending to their children's needs and focusing on what is going on between teachers and students. If you are interested in pursuing enrollment after visiting the program firsthand, we will schedule a separate visit for your child, who will have the opportunity to be a guest student for a half day or full day (with a couple of Heritage students as special hosts).




When is the best time to call for an appointment?


Generally, we prefer that you submit an inquiry form for the initial contact. However, you may also call us after 3:15pm on school days. We suggest that you leave as specific a message as possible, indicating your interest in visiting and suggested days of the week you are most available. You should also mention your child's name and current age and let us know if you already have submitted an application.




How many new students do you take each year?


The number of new students entering Heritage School varies from year to year. We usually have a total enrollment between thirty five and forty students. We accept students in grades one through eight. We do not take kindergartners.

You may call or email us to find out if there is an opening at this time.




How do you decide which children you will accept? Do you test?


We take many factors into account when we consider whom to enroll. We do not require academic testing as a condition of enrollment. We do find that students entering first grade at Heritage will transition best if they can recognize all the letters of the alphabet and know most of the initial consonant sounds as well as some of the vowel sounds. Some students enter already reading; others acquire reading skills during their initial year at Heritage. Not all students enter Heritage School at the first grade; many children have been accepted at older grade levels. Heritage School includes students with a variety of strengths, needs, and learning styles. We welcome those of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.




If I turn in an application form, will I get on the waiting list?


We keep a file of applicants instead of a “waiting list.” The term "waiting list" implies that there is a chronological listing of students who will be given a spot once an opening occurs. The process of enrollment at Heritage takes more factors into consideration since we have such a wide range of ages. We keep all applications on file and contact parents should an opening occur in their child's age group. During enrollment season, we encourage parents of prospective students to come and observe the program in action and then we arrange visitations for the prospective students. After allowing as many visitations as possible, we make our enrollment decisions.




Does Heritage School offer scholarships?


Unfortunately, we do not yet offer scholarships to Heritage. We are hopeful though that we will eventually be able to do this once our nonprofit is more firmly established.





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