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Creativity CoLaboratory FAQs

The following FAQ questions will provide families with various information about the Creativity CoLaboratory Charter School at Appel Farm. If you do not see the information that you are seeking, please feel free to email us at creativitycolab@appelfarm.org and we will be happy to send you information.

When is there a tour and information session?
How can I enroll my child? What is the admissions process?
What type of student would be a good fit for this school?
What is a charter school?
Is there tuition for the charter school?
Won’t a charter school hurt my local school by taking away money and resources?
How is the founding group qualified to open and operate a charter school?
What is arts integration?
What is STEAM and how does it relate to arts integration?
What type of student would be a good fit for this school?
Are the teachers certified?
What are the hours of the school?
What is the daily schedule?
Does the school offer before or after care?
What is the school calendar?
What can you tell me about the weekend retreats, Day of Service, and summer camp?
What is a digitally enhanced learning environment?
What are the class sizes?
Will my child have to take PARCC?
Is it true that there is no homework? Will my child be able to learn everything they need to without homework?
What is the discipline policy?
What is the grading policy?
What opportunities are there for parents and families to be involved?
Does the school offer transportation?
Will the school provide lunch?
What is the dress code?
My child has an IEP or is an ELL. How will their needs be meet?
My child has medical issues/allergies. Will there be a nurse on site?
Is the school safe? What safety procedures are in place?
What are the options for the students as they enter high school? How will they be prepared for the more traditional learning environment?

 

When is there a tour and information session?

Please join us for a Creativity CoLaboratory Open House on Sunday, January 27th at 2:00pm for a tour and information session.

How can I enroll my child? What is the admissions process?

Each student applying to Creativity CoLaboratory will need to submit a basic application. When the application period opens we will announce it on our website and send information electronically to our mailing list. Applications will be available online for download and in paper at the Appel Farm office. If you would like a paper copy of the form mailed to you, have questions, or need assistance completing the application, please email us at, CreativityCoLab@appelfarm.org.

If there are more students than there are available spaces in a grade group, there will be a lottery for that grade. An independent, certified professional will conduct the lottery and will ensure that all persons who complete an application form are fairly and equitably represented in the lottery. Separate lotteries will be conducted for resident (Alloway, Elk, Franklin, Pittsgrove, South Harrison, Upper Deerfield, Upper Pittsgrove, Woodstown) and non-resident (elsewhere in NJ) students. Resident students will be chosen first and receive preference for enrollment. Separate priority lists will be established and maintained for each grade level. If a child is admitted to the school, any siblings on the waitlist immediately move up on the waitlist for their grade to the highest position that follows any siblings previously placed there. Waitlists remain valid for one year.

When a student receives a space in the school they must complete the enrollment process by submitting an Enrollment Form, and the Enrollment Packet by the designated due dates.

What type of student would be a good fit for this school?

Creativity CoLaboratory focuses on individual interests and balances a rigorous academic curriculum with
arts-centered learning. Students who value thinking outside of the box, want learning to be fun, and who learn
best in a creative, engaging environment will find success at Creativity CoLaboratory.

What is a charter school?

A charter school is an independent public school of choice that is founded on a charter (a statement of purpose),
which has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Education. A charter education is entirely
tuition-free. A charter school must follow all of the requirements of the State of New Jersey, including
curriculum and standardized testing. All charter school teachers must be highly-qualified and possess valid New
Jersey teaching certificates in the subjects they are teaching.

Is there tuition for the charter school?

Creativity CoLaboratory is a public school, and like all other public schools it is tuition-free. In public education, money follows the child. Creativity CoLaboratory will receive 90% of the per student tuition rate with the remaining 10% staying at their sending school. Creativity CoLaboratory will work with local schools to ensure that all students are receiving the best education.

Won’t a charter school hurt my local school by taking away money and resources?

Money follows the child. If a child is no longer in the local school, the local school no longer has to pay to
educate the child. A charter receives 90% of that students state tuition, while the remaining 10% stays with the
student’s local school. Creativity CoLaboratory will work with local schools to ensure that all students are
receiving the best education.

How is the founding group qualified to open and operate a charter school?

Creativity CoLaboratory was founded by a group of committed citizens who identified a need in the community;
a need for a school that will help all students be their best selves. The founding group is supported by Appel
Farm and shares the Appel Farm values of safety, community, diversity, fun, & personal growth, and recognizes
Appel Farm’s successful approach to arts education and working with youth.

The founding board is comprised of qualified members, as per the State of New Jersey. They are supported by a
qualified charter network operator, Camden’s Charter School Network, who has twenty years of STEAM
education experience. Appel Farm has fifty-eight years of experience with positive youth development and
successfully delivering high quality arts education programming both on-site and with school and community
partners.

What is arts integration?

Arts integration is an interdisciplinary teaching practice through which arts content and other content is taught
and assessed equitably in order to deepen students’ understanding of both. Experiential and process-based
learning are the core of arts integration, making it a catalyst for inquiry, collaboration, and critical thinking.

More information about arts integration in NJ can be found in the Arts Integration User Guide, which can be
accessed by visiting, www.njpsa.org/documents/EdLdrsAsSchol2017/artsintegration2017_v2.pdf

Arts integration example: What does history look like? In groups, students will research specific periods of
history to gain a complete understanding of the period in time. Students will research and critically analyze
multiple sources including historic records, artifacts, and scholarly works. Students will answer questions of their
own choosing, relating to their own curiosity and interests, as well as questions provided by the teacher. Once
students have developed a full picture of the historical period, they will adapt the Mechanicals scenes from
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ensuring historical accuracy to their time period. Students will
create the director’s vision, which will be rooted in their historical knowledge; design and build the set, props,
and costumes to reflect the time period; cast the show; rehearse; market the show; and perform their show for
the community. Curricular areas explored: history, literacy, and theatre.

What is STEAM and how does it relate to arts integration?

STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. STEAM is an example of arts
integration. Studying STEAM in an integrated manner better prepares students for the professional world of the
future.

STEAM example: How can we improve water quality? Students will physically explore various environments (i.e.
farm, residential, urban) to observe and document (i.e. photograph, sketch, write) water retention, runoff, and
flow. Students will test the water at the various sites and analyze the results, comparing and contrasting the
results from various sites. Students will research the ideal water quality for each location. Based on
observations, tests, and research, students will hypothesize solutions for improving water quality. Prototypes
will be designed and built to test the hypothesis. Students will share their results and solutions in a formal
presentation. Curricular areas explored: Science (water flow, water testing, scientific method), technology
(research, solutions), engineering (designing and building), arts (photography, sketch, design), and math (water
testing, designing and building).

Are the teachers certified?

The teachers at Creativity CoLaboratory will hold valid and appropriate NJ teacher certificates. As a public
charter school Creativity CoLaboratory is required to follow the NJ Department of Education certification
requirements. In addition to holding the required certificates our teachers will share our philosophical approach
to education and positive youth development. Our teachers will be dynamic, fun, caring and creative.

What are the hours of the school?

7:30 – 8:30 am Before School Enrichment
8:20 – 8:30 am Student
8:30 am School Starts

4:00 pm Student Dismissal
4:00 – 6:00 pm After School Enrichment

What is the daily schedule?

Click here to see the Daily Schedule.

Does the school offer before or after care?

A before and after care program will be available to students attending the school. Details will be released as
soon as possible. When available, information will be on our website, www.CreativityCoLaboratory.org, and will
be distributed electronically to our mailing list.

What is the school calendar?

Click here to see the 2019-2020 School Calendar.

What can you tell me about the weekend retreats, Day of Service, and summer camp?

Creativity CoLaboratory holds two overnight retreats a year, in October and March. Students spend a Friday
night at Appel Farm, bonding, having fun, and engaging in unique learning experiences. On Saturday families join
their student for a full day of enjoyable activities designed to strengthen family connections and provide
students the opportunity to be leaders. The retreats are a central part of Creativity CoLaboratory’s philosophy
on learning, and student and family participation is required.

Creativity CoLaboratory aims to raise thoughtful, contributing members of a global society. One way this is
achieved is through schoolwide Days of Service. On these days, occurring four times each year, the entire school
community participates in projects that benefit the school and greater community. The ideas for the projects are
student driven and connected to real world learning. Participating in service learning is meaningful and
enjoyable. Days of Service are regular school days and participation is required.

For students and parents who are looking to keep the joy and learning lasting the whole year Appel Farm Arts
Camp is an easy solution. Creativity CoLaboratory students can join other like minded youth, age seven to
seventeen, for two, four, six, or eight weeks of enriching overnight summer camp. Appel Farm prides itself on
making camp accessible and offers a range of scholarship and tuition assistance.

What is a digitally enhanced learning environment?

Creativity CoLaboratory recognizes that technology plays a vital role in our ever-evolving world. To be successful
in almost any vocation it is essential to be knowledgeable and comfortable with the many aspects of technology,
from use to programming to safety. It is anticipated that each student will be equipped with their own
Chromebook (or equivalent laptop) and have regular access to class sets of iPads, as well as Raspberry Pi’s and
Windows computers. Students will use Google Classroom on their Chromebooks to work individually and with
peers on projects. Students will use a variety of educational and creative apps on the iPads to enhance
instruction. Windows machines will be equipped with design and creative software to support learning, and
Raspberry Pi’s will be available to learn and practice coding.

What are the class sizes?

Creativity CoLaboratory will have a maximum enrollment of ninety-six students in our inaugural year. We
anticipate there will be two classes for each of the four grades (5th – 8th) and twelve students per class. In
subsequent years our enrollment will grow, but the emphasis on small class sizes and individual learning will
remain.

Will my child have to take PARCC?

Creativity CoLaboratory, like all NJ public schools, is required to meet the Department of Education
requirements for testing, which, at this time, include PARCC. Though our students are required to take the test,
the Creativity CoLaboratory curriculum will not be focused on test preparation. We believe that our curriculum
and project-based approach to learning will help our students do well on standardized tests, and most
importantly, will prepare them to be successful in all aspect of life.

Is it true that there is no homework? Will my child be able to learn everything they need to without
homework?

Creativity CoLaboratory’s approach to whole-child development is grounded in research, and this includes our
no homework policy. A key part of the whole-child development experience is achieving a balance between
focused time for academics, family time, enrichment, creativity, athletics, and free time for children to explore
their imaginations and rest. For decades, scientific studies have told us there is no benefit to homework in
elementary and middle school. Homework offers no academic advantages and it is stressful for both students
and families. There is no scientific research to support the notion that homework improves academic
performance, develops work ethic, responsibility, time management, or is useful in preparing students for the
real world. There is plenty of scientific research that supports the importance of free play, daily reading for
pleasure, and spending time with family. With no homework, our students will have time to play, explore, relax,
spend time with friends and family, read for pleasure, and enjoy being kids.

Decades ago, the American Educational Research Association released this statement: “Whenever homework
crowds out social experience, outdoor recreation, and creative activities, and whenever it usurps time that
should be devoted to sleep, it is not meeting the basic needs of children and adolescents.” The research from
the AERA is corroborated by and expanded on in Alfie Kohn’s book, The Homework Myth.

What is the discipline policy?

Creativity CoLaboratory believes that discipline is about guiding children and helping them learn to make good,
healthy decisions. Discipline is not punitive, it is about learning what is expected. Creativity CoLaboratory’s
policy on student discipline centers around two evidence-based practices, Collaborative Problem Solving and
Restorative Practices.

The skills and knowledge that students develop at Creativity CoLaboratory are aligned with the New Jersey
Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) – the learning guidelines established by the New Jersey Department of
Education. This standards based approach of mastery education makes transition into high school seamless. Our
students will be able to demonstrate that they have mastered the 8th grade NJSLS, resulting in a smooth
transition to high school.

Projects and report cards will not be graded on a traditional “A-F” scale. Report cards will be standards based
and student driven. Student and teacher will equally assess learning. Students will lead conferences with their
families once a quarter. At these student-led conferences the student will articulate what they have learned,
what they need to learn, and what their plan is to achieve mastery.

What is the grading policy?

Creativity CoLaboratory’s approach to whole-child development is grounded in research, and this includes our
mastery-based learning approach. Students engaged in mastery education develop agency over their learning by
focusing on their personal growth. This holistic approach requires students to demonstrate learning before
advancing. Students must demonstrate mastery of learning more than once and through multiple measures such
as, verbal or written explanations or demonstrations. In lieu of “A-F” grades, students are assessed on a scale
from emerging to proficient to advanced. This scale makes it easy for students, as well as teachers and parents,
to understand where they are on the continuum of learning. It also provides a clear path, allowing students to
understand what else they need to learn before achieving mastery.

The skills and knowledge that students develop at Creativity CoLaboratory are aligned with the New Jersey Student
Learning Standards (NJSLS) – the learning guidelines established by the New Jersey Department of Education. This
standards based approach of mastery education makes transition into high school seamless. Our students will be
able to demonstrate that they have mastered the 8th grade NJSLS, resulting in a smooth transition to high school.
Projects and report cards will not be graded on a traditional “A-F” scale. Report cards will be standards based and
student driven. Student and teacher will equally assess learning. Students will lead conferences with their families
once a quarter. At these student-led conferences the student will articulate what they have learned, what they need
to learn, and what their plan is to achieve mastery.

How can families get involved?

Creativity CoLaboratory recognizes the value of having parents and families actively involved in their child’s
education. We celebrate and welcome family involvement. We have intentionally developed many opportunities
to engage families.

Twice a year families are invited to participate in Family Day Camp. These Saturdays, in October and March,
offer families the chance to spend a fun, enriching day with their student and allow the students to take on
leadership roles as they share and celebrate all that they’ve learned. Family Day Camp is a regular school day.

Community is a core tenet of Creativity CoLaboratory. We foster community within the school, we connect to
the community and see it as an important part of our learning environment, and we believe that it is important
to give back to and support our community. Four times a year the entire school community – which includes
parents – participates in projects that benefit the school and greater community. The ideas for the projects are
student driven and connected to real world learning. Participating in service learning is meaningful and
enjoyable. Days of Service are regular school days.

In addition to the above mentioned days, families will be invited to other events throughout the school year,
including: four student-led conferences, Creativity Confab (a weekly whole school gathering, during the school
day), and celebrations (in school and after school). We are exploring options such as a Parent Teacher
Organization and similar opportunities. Plus, families are welcome at any time to come and support the learning
and see it in action.

Does the school offer transportation?

It is the responsibility of the sending school district to provide transportation, or aid in lieu of transportation, for
all students attending the charter school. Creativity CoLaboratory is looking into transportation options for our
families; however, at this time, there is no set plan to provide transportation. As we get to know our families and
assess their needs we will work together to create a transportation plan.

The NJDOE Charter School Transportation Procedures can be viewed by visiting,
www.state.nj.us/education/finance/transportation/procedures/charter_proc.pdf

Appel Farm will be offering a fee-for-service before school enrichment and after school enrichment for families
needing child care outside of the school day.

Will the school provide lunch?

Creativity CoLaboratory believes that food is fuel, and the type of fuel we put in to our bodies makes a
difference. We aim to help our students understand the critical relationship between food and energy, and we
strive to help our students understand the consequences of healthy eating. Our students will understand where
food comes from, and be involved in growing food in the on-site organic garden and preparing it.

Creativity CoLaboratory is looking into breakfast, lunch, and snack options and will be releasing more
information as soon as possible. When available, information will be on our website,
www.CreativityCoLaboratory.org, and will be distributed electronically to our mailing list.

What is the dress code?

Details will be released as soon as possible. When available, information will be on our website,
www.CreativityCoLaboratory.org, and will be distributed electronically to our mailing list. Let us know what you
think: Uniform? Or No Uniform? Email us your thoughts at, CreativityCoLab@appelfarm.org.

My child has an IEP or is an ELL. How will their needs be meet?

Creativity CoLaboratory prides itself on creating a nurturing learning environment that celebrates and honors
each student as an individual and as an important member of our community. We recognize that everyone has
individualized learning needs and timelines. We believe a whole-child, student-centered approach to learning is
the best way to help each student be their best selves.

As a public school in NJ, Creativity CoLaboratory is required to meet the learning needs of all students, including
those with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or those who are English Language Learners (ELL). Students
entering Creativity CoLaboratory with an IEP in place or designated as an ELL will be evaluated by the Child Study
Team annually and the requirements of the IEP will be met. If a current student is recommended for an
evaluation, the Child Study team will evaluate and determine eligibility for special education and related
services. To learn more about special education in NJ you can view, “Parents Rights in Special Education” at,
www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/form/prise/prise.pdf.

My child has medical issues/allergies. Will there be a nurse on site?

As a NJ public school, Creativity CoLaboratory is required to appoint a school physician and employ a certified
school nurse to provide nursing services while school is in session. The certified school nurse, working under the
supervision of the school physician, will write and update, at least annually, the individualized health care plans
and the individualized emergency healthcare plans for students’ medical needs, and instruct staff as

appropriate. The certified school nurse will also develop and implement healthcare procedures for students in
the event of an emergency.

Is the school safe? What safety procedures are in place?

Safety, both physical and emotional, is the first of our core values. We will create and maintain a safe
environment so that our students can learn and thrive.

At this time, Creativity CoLaboratory is diligently working to write and adopt a comprehensive school safety
plan. All policies and procedures will meet state and federal requirements and recommendations for school and
student safety. We will share the full plan as soon as it is adopted by the Board of Education.

What are the options for the students as they enter high school? How will they be prepared for the more
traditional learning environment?

Creativity CoLaboratory students will excel when they graduate and transition to high school. By spending their
formative middle school years exploring endless possibilities, finding their passions, becoming advocates for
their learning, and working to master important skills such as communication, collaboration, creative and critical
thinking, and cultural competency, our students will be prepared to succeed in high school and beyond.

Appel Farm has meaningful partnerships with many of the local high schools (and many of the K-8 schools in
southern NJ) and we plan to strengthen those relationships so that we can help our students and families in
making the high school choice that is right for them, whether that is transitioning back to their sending/receiving
high school, applying to one of the many Vo-Tech/Career and Technical Education programs available in Salem,
Cumberland, or Gloucester counties, or pursuing other alternative educations (such as online learning).