Parent FAQ

FAQ's


About Sky Mountain Charter School

Fast facts:

  • SMCS is managed by Innovative Education Management (IEM).
  • IEM Charter Schools are home-based, publicly funded, independent study charter schools. We are required to follow the same rules as a regular/traditional California public schools when it comes to state testing, grade level standards, and attendance.
  • IEM Charter Schools are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • IEM Charter Schools are public schools, we do not charge tuition or fees.
  • Students are assigned to an Education Specialist (ES); the ES is a credentialed teacher who oversees the student's education. The parent/guardian serves as the day to day teacher.
  • IEM Charter Schools do not have a set curriculum; families work with the assigned ES to develop individualized learning plans based on their educational philosophy and student’s learning style.
  • Families meet with their assigned ES a minimum of once every 20 school days.
  • IEM Charter schools allocate funds to each ES for each student they serve to use towards approved non-sectarian educational materials, curriculum, and classes. 
  • IEM Charter Schools are not able to guarantee enrollment; ES assignment is first come, first serve, based on the date received of applications and when we have ES availability within each geographic area.
  • IEM Charter schools are “Parent Driven.”
  • To learn more about our “Parent Driven” philosophy, you can read Parent Driven Schools written by Randy Gaschler; founder of IEM Charter Schools., 

Do you follow  Common Core Standards?

  • Yes. 2014 was our transition year into Common Core and the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Common Core standards and assessment requirements were fully implemented in the 2015 school year.

 

For more information about curriculum and common core please visit:

https://skymountaincs.org/curriculum

 

For information about state mandated testing and assessment requirements please visit:

https://skymountaincs.org/assessments

Enrollment Process

How do I apply?

You can apply by going to: 

https://skymountaincs.org/enrollment

 

Please do not disenroll from your current school. Acceptance of a student’s enrollment application does not constitute enrollment with an IEM school. Students are not considered enrolled until they have met with their Education Specialist and signed the Student Agreement.

What documents do I need to submit with my enrollment application?

Required Forms

  • Birth Certificate (copy only) – All Students
    • Other acceptable forms include, but are not limited to U.S. or foreign birth certificates
      • adoption records
      • passports
      • baptismal records
      • previous school records
      • other forms of U.S. or foreign government-issued identification
      • affidavits from a parent/guardian or pediatrician
  • Immunization record – All students (In accordance with Senate Bill 277, please submit record of any immunizations received). 
  • Health Exam – TK, Kindergarten and 1st grade students
  • Oral Health Exam – TK, Kindergarten and 1st grade students who are entering a CA public school for the first time
  • Proof of Residency, to include, but not limited to, any of the following:
      • Utility bill
      • Correspondence from a government agency
      • Rental property contract/lease
      • Declaration of residency executed by the student's parent/guardian

 

Required Forms if Applicable

 

Special Education Required Documents if Applicable

  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) – Most recent, whether active or inactive
  • 504 Plan – If drafted
  • Or, if no IEP, a copy of all assessment reports

 

High School 

  • Unofficial Transcript – High School Student (please work on obtaining an unofficial transcript as soon as possible once submitting an application, you will need this during the initial enrollment meeting with an ES) 

What are the policies on immunizations?

SB 277 eliminates the option for parents to use a Personal Beliefs Exemption (PBE) for required immunizations. As a provision to SB277, students enrolled at an Independent Study School are exempt from immunization requirements, however, schools are not exempt from continuing to collect, maintain, and report immunizations annually. What does this mean for you and your student(s)?

For existing and new families this means:

  • Beginning January 1, 2016, families are no longer able to use a PBE to waive immunization requirements. Medical exemptions will still be allowed.
  • Parents are required to submit immunization information to schools whether complete or incomplete.

As a reminder, beginning January 1, 2016, students enrolled at an Independent Study School are exempt from immunization requirements but the schools are not; schools must continue to collect, maintain, and report immunizations annually.  Additionally, parents are still required to submit immunization records even if they are not complete.

When do you start accepting applications for the fall/spring semester of each school year?

  • We start accepting 1st Semester/Fall applications each year on January 1st.
  • We start accepting 2nd Semester/Spring applications each year on the first day of school.

Is there an enrollment cutoff date?

  • Yes. The enrollment cutoff date slightly varies each year; closed enrollment is in February/March.

When can my child start kindergarten?

  • To start kindergarten a child must turn five on or before September 1st.

Do you offer Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?

Yes. We offer TK and the following is our approved policy:

  • Kindergarten age appropriate students are allowed to choose TK if their 5th birthday is between the last day of the school year -September 1st.
  • A child is eligible for TK if he or she turns five between September 2nd-December 2nd.
  • Students who turn 5 after December 2nd  will be eligible for TK on their 5th birthday and for the remainder of that school year. These students will need to start kindergarten fall semester of the next school year and not continue another year of TK.
  • TK students are required to submit an immunization record if one exists (In accordance with Senate Bill 277 please submit record of any immunizations received. Records will be accepted whether complete or incomplete.)
  • TK students are required to have a completed health exam and oral health exam for school entry.
  • Children who are age-eligible to attend kindergarten, but choose to enroll in TK will need a signed Kindergarten Continuance Form verifying that the parent/guardian agrees to have his/her child continue in kindergarten the following year.

 

If a family enrolls in TK is a two-year program; whether the student is kindergarten age or TK age.The exception to a two year program is for students who turn 5 after December 1st but before the end of the school year. These students will not have a two year program and must begin kindergarten at the beginning of the next school year. Students actively enrolled in TK are promoted to kindergarten the following year. We do not promote from TK to first grade and we do not change grade levels mid-year for actively enrolled students.

My child will turn 5 after December 2nd, when can I apply for enrollment?

Enrollment Application Acceptance Dates

Families who wish to apply for enrollment in the current school year may apply at any time during the school year up until enrollment closes in February/March.

 

Families who wish to apply in advance for future enrollment may apply under the following guidelines:

  • To apply for the fall/1st semester of the current school year, applications will be accepted beginning in January, prior to the start of the following school year, until the last day of the 1st semester.
  • To apply for the spring/2nd semester, applications will be accepted beginning on the first day of the school year in August, until enrollment closes that following March.
  • Applicants who will turn 5 after December 2nd may follow the same guidelines above, but they may not enroll until the date of their 5th birthday. Applicants who will turn 5 after enrollment closes for the school year will not be eligible to enroll until the following school year when they are age eligible to attend Kindergarten.

 

Please note: Acceptance of a student’s enrollment application does not constitute enrollment with an IEM school. Students are not considered enrolled until they have met with their Education Specialist and signed the Student Agreement.

 

What happens after my enrollment packet is completed?

  • Once student records receives a complete enrollment packet with ALL required documents, the application will be processed. 
  • Once the application is processed the student(s) will be placed on the prospective student assigning list.
  • Special Education applications will be sent to our Special Education department for review.
  • Once an ES is available, your student will be assigned. The ES will contact you to set up an enrollment meeting.
  • You are not officially enrolled until you have met face-to-face with an ES and signed a student and charter agreement.

How can I check on the status of my application?

  • Please allow 3 business days for the office to process your enrollment packet.
  • If you apply using our online application website, you can check your application status by logging into your online application account.
  • If you apply by downloading and sending in your application you can check your application status by contacting Parent Support 844-283-7113

Why can’t you guarantee enrollment?

  • Enrollment is first come, first serve  based on the date received of completed applications  and when we have an ES with space available in each geographic zip code service area.
  • Students with completed applications are placed on a “prospective” student list. The placement on that list will continue to adjust as students are assigned to ESs. 

I would like to talk to a live person about your schools. Is there a person I can call?

  • Yes. Please call our Parent Support Department at 844-283-7113. Parent Support is also available  by email at skyparents@ieminc.org

Does your school have a Special Education program?

  • Yes, we have a Special Education program that provides a variety of services based on a student's IEP as well as having a program that meets both federal and state Special Education legal requirements.

Can I be enrolled in another school while attending?

  • No. We are a public school and do not permit dual enrollment.
  • However, you can apply to our school while enrolled in or applying for other schools. Once you are officially enrolled, you must immediately unenroll with any other school(s). There may be no overlap of attendance.
  • Note: Concurrent enrollment with Community College is not dual enrollment. 

My children attend a private school that I pay for out of pocket. The school does not file an affidavit with the state. Can I enroll my child at your school and keep him/her enrolled at the private school since an affidavit is not filed and I am paying out of pocket?

  • No. California law prohibits dual enrollment situations and IEM schools are very careful to never be in a situation of dual enrollment.

Can a student expelled from another school enroll?

  • The expulsion report must be submitted with the application to be reviewed by the director who will make the final determination.

After attending the charter school can a student enroll in a traditional school?

  • Yes.

Working with an Education Specialist (ES)

When can I meet with an ES?

  • The first meeting with an ES will be once your student(s) has been assigned to an ES and he or she contacts you to setup and initial enrollment meeting.
  • Once you are enrolled you meet with your ES a minimum of once every 20 school days.

Where do I meet the Educational Specialist?

  • In person meetings take place in a location that is agreeable to you and the ES; your home or a public facility (local library, coffee shop, etc.)
  • ESs are not required to meet at the family's home; however, oftentimes this is an option. This will be decided between you and your ES.
  • Virtual meetings take place via ZOOM teleconference. When opting for virtual meetings, families will have a minimum of three in person meetings per year with their ES. 

Can I request an ES who matches my educational philosophy?

  • ESs are required to be well versed in different styles of learning and will work closely with you to best understand and support your educational philosophy and your child's learning style. 
  • ESs honor our parent choice philosophy while providing professional consultation in alignment with grade level standards.
  • Each ES has an advisor who is also available to families if there are any questions or concerns that the family and ES need guidance with resolving.

I want to have a long-term partnership and not constant change.

  • The ideal situation is a long-term partnership; change of ES is avoided whenever possible.
  • IEM Charter Schools hire ESs as needed to accommodate the growth and needs of our students.

How long/often are the meetings?

  • Mandatory Learning Record (LR) Meetings take place at least once every 15-20 school days.
  • LR meetings may not exceed 20 school days.
  • LR meetings are typically about 1 hour per student.
  • A missed meeting results in the issuance of a truancy.
  • Two truancies result in being dropped from the school.

Instructional Funding

How does school funding work?

  • The instructional funds (IF) are set up in an IF account that is managed by the ES. When families place order requests  for curriculum/supplies with an approved product vendor, sign up for classes with an approved service vendor, request online managed licenses (OMLs), or choose to participate in school provided services (ESi, High School Support classes, field trips, Science and Art in the Park, etc) the ES will issue a purchase order from the family's IF account to the approved vendor.
  • For the 2019/2020 school year, the maximum IF appropriation for each student is:
    • $2,700 (TK-8 students; per student); $1,350 each funding period.
    • $3,000 (high school students; per student); $1,500 each funding period.
  • The state of CA funds IEM Charter schools based on average daily student attendance (ADA).
  • Instructional fund rates are subject to change each year based on state budget.
  • Instructional funding is prorated by day for late enrollment.
  • All materials purchased with IFs is the property of the school and must be returned upon leaving our school; including consumables. Parents will be responsible to pay for materials lost, stolen, damaged, or not returned to the school.

How often are Instructional Funds (IF) allocated and what are the amounts?

  • The Instructional Funds are dispersed 2 times a year into the ESs budget. The total funding amount is divided in half and added to instruction funds twice a year.

Can I use my instructional funds to pay for my child's team sports, such as his or her soccer team or baseball team?

  • No. IFs cannot be used to pay for team sports. They can be used to pay for lessons that teach specific skills and must be done through an approved vendor.

Is your school compliant with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)?

  • No. Like most Independent Study Schools, our charter school is not compliant with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requirements.  We are not an NCAA school at this time. There are no courses available on our NCAA approved list. We will update with changes as they occur.  

Can I be reimbursed for curriculum I have already purchased or registration fees I have already paid?

  • No. A parent cannot be reimbursed using state dollars by the charter school for any out of pocket expenses that have already been paid at any time for any reason.

Can the funds be used for extracurricular activities? If so, what options are there?

  • Yes. However, you must be using an approved vendor and the student’s educational needs in the core areas are being met. The ES must have evidence that the student has the materials that he/she needs for core academics (math, ELA, science, history) prior to placing a purchase order for anything extracurricular. 

How are consumables and non-consumables handled?

  • All materials ordered with state funding, including consumable items, such as workbooks, pencils, paper, clay, and any other materials consumable in nature, are the property of the school.
  • Materials are loaned to enrolled students for their educational usage only. The items must be returned to the school via the assigned ES when the student is done using that item, or when the student leaves the school.
  • If an item has been “consumed” by the student—used up and no longer usable by any other student—then it can be “archived” by the ES.
  • If a student disenrolls or is dropped by the school prior to the end of the school year for any reason, all materials must be returned to the school within two business days. Families will be billed for any items not returned, including those that are consumable in nature. Student transcripts will not be released until all materials are returned.

What happens if I lose or break something that is property of the Charter School?

  • You will have to pay to replace the lost or broken item.

Can I purchase religious curriculum with my instructional funds?

  • No. IEM schools are public schools. State funds may not be used to purchase religious material.

Vendor Information

Can I add new vendors? How long does the process take?

  • Vendor Application (to be filled out and submitted by the vendor) 
  • There is no guarantee of vendor approval; vendors must meet certain criteria and be determined as an appropriate fit by our Vendor Relations specialists.
  • There is no guaranteed timeline on this, since it depends largely on the vendor completing and submitting their welcome packet information and contract.
  • We require Live Scan for service vendors; this is part of their initial setup packet requirements.

Does a vendor have to be in the system prior to the first day of school or can they be added during the school year?

  • Vendors can be added throughout the school year.

Do you have an approved vendor list?

Yes at: 

https://skymountaincs.org/vendors

Learning Records

How much reporting/documentation is required?

  • Attendance and daily engagement is tracked and marked  by the parent, and is verified by the ES.
  • The parent will keep track of concepts and activities covered during each learning period to be reported to and reviewed by the ES. 
  • Student learning must align with attendance claimed. This may be shown through written work, video footage, pictures, and/or discussion.
  • The ES must interact with the student and/or view the full body of student work at each LR meeting. 
  • The ES will collect a minimum of one work sample from each subject area or HS course per semester for the official learning record portfolios.
  • The ES is responsible for keeping official learning records.

What samples need to be provided?

  • Samples are reviewed and collected for all subject areas or HS courses by the ES at the monthly meetings.

How flexible are you in terms of classical, chronological history, nontraditional curriculum, etc... Do I have to keep a daily log for PE and workbook samples for other subjects?

  • IEM schools are standards-based schools; the way in which the standards are met is flexible.
  • A daily log and workbook samples are not required, but samples are required to be provided to your ES at each learning record meeting. There are many ways of providing samples, the details can be discussed with your ES. 
  • Students are required to work toward state mandated standards.
  • The ES must be able to verify that the student learned enough to constitute the amount of attendance claimed (regardless of the educational style). This can be verified through pictures, videos, discussion, and written work.
  • There are restrictions and special policies regarding high school curriculum choices. Please visit our High School page at:

https://skymountaincs.org/guidance

Do you plan field trips, and will they be in my area?

  • Field Trips are planned by our Group Educational Activity Coordinators. On average, one trip is offered each month. Trips are scheduled in a variety of locations and on different days of the week/at different times. This is in an effort to allow as many students to participate as possible. You may sign up for a Field Trip via your ES. If you have suggestions for future trips, please let your ES know.

Can my high school attend community college?

  • Yes. High school students can be concurrently enrolled if they qualify for attendance based on the standards set by that college for high school students. They must be enrolled with the school for a minimum of 20 units and cannot take more than 20 units from a college within a semester.

How many units are required to graduate?

  • 210 credits are required to graduate
  • There are a few different graduation pathways that will be discussed and determined with the parent, student, ES, and guidance counselor. 
  • Graduation pathways 

 

For more information about high school, please see our High School page at:

https://skymountaincs.org/guidance

Networking

Do you support/encourage parent networking?

  • We strongly encourage parent networking and support. It is key to the success of the school.

Do you have a Parent Council?

  • Yes. Each school has a Parent Council and Governing Board which is actively involved in the school. 
  • The agenda and minutes from Parent Council and Governing Board meetings are posted on the schools websites.

 

For more information about Parent Council please visit: 

https://skymountaincs.org/parentcouncil

Homeless Liaisons

Questions about McKinney Vento Homeless Students Right, contact the schools McKinney Vento Liaison:

Employment Opportunities

https://skymountaincs.org/employment

Do you have suggestions for other school options I can pursue while waiting for enrollment into the IEM school of my residence?

Contact Us

4535 Missouri Flat Road, Suite 1A
Placerville, CA 95667

Counties Served

Inyo
Kern
Los Angeles
Orange
Riverside
San Bernardino

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Accreditation

ACS WASC Accredited
WASC Accredited
Independent Study
Individualized Learning Plans
Parent Choice