Frequently Asked Questions About Birches
The Birches Academy is a K-8 arts integrated charter school with approximately 225 students.
Drop off is from 8:25-8:45. School Day is 8:45-2:50 Dismissal is at 2:50
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an Arts Integrated Curriculum?
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How is Birches Academy financed?
Birches applied for, and received, a $600,000 Federal Start Up Grant. These monies allowed the school to secure a location, furniture, books, curriculum, technology, etc. The school also receives $5,597 per student from the State of New Hampshire. Additional monies needed are secured on an ongoing basis via grants, fundraising and donations.
If you’d like to support The Birches, please see our Get Involved section of this website.
What is the curriculum?
The Birches is committed to providing a rigorous academic program. All subjects align with the Common Core State Standards and State of New Hampshire Frameworks. Specific programs are chosen by the Head of School and teaching staff.
The goal is to offer flexibility in order to meet each child’s needs and ability to progress. Subjects are integrated and differentiated as appropriate. Resources are aligned with Common Core, research based, student centered, hands-on, and include arts integration (fine art, music, and/or performance), all in an effort to promote higher order thinking skills.
Will there be assessment?
The Birches is required to take the same standardized tests as all New Hampshire public schools. Therefore, we will administer the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) testing until it is phased out. After that, we will administer the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) aligned Standardized Test that will be required of all New Hampshire public schools.
The Birches administers a standardized test of its choice (NWEA’s MAP test) in order to document a baseline assessment of each student. Ultimately, this will provide us with the immediate feedback necessary to meet the needs of each individual student. Day-to-day assessment will include formal and informal methods based on students acquiring competence on the Core Competencies.
My child is on the wait list. What does that mean?
Our wait list is constantly moving. Just because your child has been wait-listed, it does not mean that he/she is not going to get in. When your child moves to the top and a ‘seat’ becomes available, we will contact you. Movement in the wait list happens all year long!
What happens if one of my children is accepted through the lottery process, but not the other(s)?
Siblings receive priority placement, as long as there is space available in the class. If there is not an available spot in the appropriate grade, then the sibling(s) will be added to the top of the wait list.
Are there before/after school programs or care?
We offer Before/After Care for students. Please review our Before & After Care page for hours and additional information. We also offer a variety of enrichment programs based on student interest, parent interest and staffing availability. Click here to check out our Enrichment page.
Is there a music program?
Music is an important component to educating the whole child at Birches Academy. As an arts integrated school, we incorporate music, along with fine arts and performance, into the core curriculum. In addition, students attend music class and are expected to play a musical instrument.
How many teachers are in the classroom?
Birches Academy has multi-age classrooms, with each classroom housing two grades. Each classroom in K-5 has one Lead teacher and one Assistant Teacher. The Birches Academy strives to maintain a 12:1 ratio
How do you teach to the ability of each individual student?
The Head of School and every teacher are committed to assessing and understanding each child’s ability. Teachers, parents and students will meet together to set individual goals for the student. There will be additional instructional material, aside from the programs implemented in the classroom. Teachers have options and the flexibility to best meet the needs, abilities and learning style of every student in order to facilitate, and maximize learning for each.
What is a portfolio and how does it work?
Birches Academy utilizes a “Portfolio Method” – Students will work with teachers to select works to be scanned and added to their individual portfolios. This allows students and teachers to reflect on progress and have a firm understanding of what is possible. Each student’s portfolio will travel with them as they progress through the grades.
Does the school have a library?
A portion of the Federal Start up Grant was used to purchase books for the school. Each classroom houses a library with age and grade appropriate books. Teachers also have access to book lists and literacy resources above/below grade level to meet the needs of individual students in their classroom.
Is Birches a nut-free school?
We are not a nut-free school. If your child has health or allergy concerns, please contact the Head of School to discuss the best plan for your child.
My child had special medication and allergies. Do you have a nurse?
State law does not require us to have a nurse on staff. Because we lack the funds for this position, we do not currently have a nurse at our school.
Any medications are distributed by the Head of School, as agreed upon with parents. Many teachers are trained in First Aid/CPR. If your child has health or allergy concerns, the Head of School will meet with you upon acceptance in order to determine the best plan for your child.
Do the classrooms include any technology?
The Birches is committed to the inclusion of up-to-date technology in the school. A portion of the Start-up Grant was used to purchase computers, iPads, projectors, smart boards and other tools for each classroom. Teachers take advantage of opportunities to introduce and incorporate technology into the core subjects.
Do you offer physical education/a gym?
We are required to offer physical education under New Hampshire state law. We do not have a gymnasium, but make use of open classroom space and outdoor space to engage in physical activity on a regular basis. A physical education teacher is being added to the staff.
Is there green space available for the children to play?
We have outdoor space, as well as some playground equipment, available to students. This may not look like your traditional school yard with a swing set and slide, but it does include an area for children to run, play basketball, four square, etc. Each class has daily outdoor recess, as weather permits.
Is transportation provided?
Birches Academy is located in Salem, New Hampshire. Children who reside in the Salem school district are eligible for transportation provided by the district.
For other, out-of-district students, we encourage carpooling, and provide assistance in facilitating those opportunities.
Do you offer foreign language?
Currently, all students from K-8 are exposed to varying degrees of Spanish as part of their curriculum.
For more information about the foreign language aspect of our curriculum, please click here.
My child has an IEP. How will that work?
If your children is on an IEP or 504 plan, these remain in place at Birches.
However, the school district from which your child is coming is responsible for providing the services (Sending District). That can mean different things. Some school districts may want to send a representative from their district to Birches, or they may wish for us to provide the services and reimburse us for the costs.
After you receive notification that your child has been accepted to Birches Academy, please contact us to schedule a meeting with you, your Sending District and The Birches Academy Head of School. We are required to discuss your child’s IEP, strategies for the Sending District to meet the needs of the student and whether The Birches Academy will be the best placement for your child.
Where is Birches Academy located?
We are located at 419 South Broadway in Salem, New Hampshire. Click here for directions
Where do the students eat lunch?
The Birches’ students eat in the calm environment of their classrooms with their teachers and teaching assistants. A hot, healthy lunch menu is provided daily by Balducci’s Restaurant.
Are there volunteer opportunities?
Yes! A charter school relies heavily on the involvement of their families and community. In whatever way you are able to volunteer, we welcome you! For information on how to volunteer, click here.
Where do our graduates go to continue their education?
Our graduating students have gone on to a mix of Public, Private and Charter High Schools. Here is a sample of some of the high schools that our students have gone to:
Public: Salem HS, Timberlane HS, Windham HS, Pinkerton HS
Private: Central Catholic, Trinity, Lowell Catholic, Presentation of Mary
Charter: Granite State Arts Academy
If you have any questions that were not answered on this list, please feel free to email them to email@example.com.