Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a charter school?
A: Charter schools provide parents a choice in the education of their children -- and it is a public choice. Public tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools. Local, state, and federal dollars follow the child to a charter school. The schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition.
Q: Do charter school students take the state mandated tests?
A: Yes. All public charter schools are required to administer the state mandated tests. United Community School students will take the NC End of Grade (EOG) tests in Reading Comprehension and Mathematics in grades 3-8. UCS students will take the NC EOG tests of Science in grades 5 and 8. United Community School students will take the NC Writing Assessment in grade 7.
Q: Is there a fee or tuition to attend UCS?
A: No, charter schools are public schools and therefore are tuition-free. There are no fees required to attend UCS. All students who are able to attend public schools in NC are eligible to attend United Community School.
Q: Is there a school uniform policy?
A: Students are not required to wear uniforms.
Q: What are the school hours?
A: School begins at 7:50 a.m. and dismisses at 2:45 p.m.
Q: When does student drop-off and student pick-up begin?
A: Student drop-off begins at 7:25 a.m. and ends at 7:50 a.m. Pick-up begins at 2:45 p.m.
Q: Will United Community School provide transportation for students?
A: Parents will be responsible for the transportation to and from school for their child. We encourage families to form carpool systems in their surrounding neighborhoods or to make arrangements with local child care facilities for before/after school drop-off and pick-up.
Q: Will United Community School provide breakfast and lunch every day?
A: Students will need to bring a bag lunch each day and lunch is eaten in their classrooms (or outside, weather permitting) with teachers. We contract with MyHotLunchBox.com to provide an optional daily hot lunch. Parents pay through their site and the food is delivered to the school.
Q: Does United Community School have an after school program?
A: United Community School has an on-site program called Camp U. Camp U is also aligned to the Basic School Philosophy so children enjoy hands-on activities, while feeling safe, cared for, and respected. Operational hours are Monday-Friday from 2:45 pm to 6:00 pm. There is a one-time registration fee and a weekly rate of $80. Siblings receive a discount. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Q: How many grade levels will there be?
A: United Community School is currently K-7. Each year, we add another grade level. In 2020, United Community School will operate as a K-8 school.
Q: When can students apply to United Community School?
A: Parents may complete online applications for the 2019-20 school year at www.UCSnc.org.
Q: Will there be a lottery?
A: Each year a lottery will be held when we receive more applicants than the number of openings for those grade levels. The lottery for the 2020-21 school year will be held in the 2nd semester of 2020 and will be a public event.
Q: What happens if my Application ID # is drawn at the lottery?
A: Once a student number is drawn, the family will need to confirm intent to enroll. To confirm intent to enroll at United Community School, each applicant must complete and submit the enrollment packet. The packet contains several forms that must be completed in order to officially enroll at United Community School. These enrollment packets will be distributed via email.
Q: What if I am not able to attend the lottery?
A: The lottery results will be posted on Lotterease.
Q: When must I confirm my intent to enroll?
A: Families who go through the lottery:
Once applicants are initially notified of their enrollment through Lotterease, they have seven calendar days to accept the enrollment by completing and submitting the registration packet. If a registration packet is not received within seven calendar days from the applicant, the enrollment may be denied. If the enrollment is denied, the student will have to reapply to United Community School if they still wish to attend.
Q: Do you offer Gifted Education?
A: UCS students receive instruction tailored to meet their needs as gifted learners in their own classrooms. We intentionally staff each classroom to create a low student to teacher ratio so that teachers are able to differentiate instruction for all students throughout the day and ensure that students are working on appropriately-leveled learning tasks.
Q: Do you have an activity bus?
A: There is a school bus for transporting students to and from field trips.
Q: What is your inclement weather policy?
In the event of inclement weather, parents are advised to check our website, school Facebook page, email, text message, and listen to area television stations (WCCB, WBTV, and Spectrum) for information regarding closings. If no announcement of delay or cancellation of school is heard, you should assume school is scheduled as normal. In some cases, school may be cancelled after students arrive. Parents must make arrangements beforehand concerning where their child is to go if school is dismissed. Make sure your child knows your “emergency bad weather plan” before inclement weather arrives!
Q: Do you follow the Charlotte Mecklenburg School calendar?
A: No, we follow a modified year-round calendar. However, since we do have students with siblings in CMS schools, we make an effort to schedule our major breaks (winter break/spring break) around the same time as the CMS breaks.
Q: What is “looping” and what are the benefits?
A: Looping is a practice where a teacher stays with his/her class from one year to the next. At United Community School, teachers generally serve a multiple-year loop with their students. By staying with the same teacher for a looping cycle, students are able to develop a deeper relationship with their teacher and students in their class, and this in turn, positively impacts their learning. Multiple year experiences also enable teachers to get to know students well, as learners, so they can successfully and appropriately challenge them in all academic areas without wasting time annually figuring out the learning needs and levels of new students.
Q: What if I'm late dropping off or picking up my child?
A: If you arrive after morning drop-off has ended, please park in the visitor's lot and walk your child into the school building in the front office. You will need to sign your child in at the front desk and a tardy slip will be issued to you. If you arrive after afternoon dismissal has ended, please park and walk into the school through the front door. Your child will be waiting in the front office.
Q: What if my child is absent due to illness?
A: As a courtesy, please email your child's teacher and the secretary. Upon return, please send an excuse note in with your child. In order to maintain a healthy environment for all our students, we ask that you follow these guidelines to assist you in determining whether your child should attend school:
Please keep your child home...
Until they have been fever free (less than 100° F) for 24 hours
If they have vomited/had diarrhea within the last 24 hours
If they have red conjunctiva of the eye with discharge
If they have an unexplained/undiagnosed rash
Until they have had a prescribed antibiotic in their system for 24 hours.
Q: Can staff administer medication to my child?
A: School employees will be allowed to administer medications prescribed by a doctor upon written request of the student's parent or guardian. The medication used at the school must be in its original container with the child’s name, the dosage information, the drug, and the physician’s name printed on it. If school personnel must administer medication, the parent must provide a doctor’s signed authorization with the prescribed medicine in its original container. In addition, the student’s parent or guardian must provide written directions with the student’s name, the name of the medicine, the time and method of administration, the dosage, a summary of possible side effects, and the termination date for administering the medicine. For safety reasons, the school will not accept telephoned permission. The parent/guardian is responsible for supplying and retrieving the medication. The school retains the right to reject the request for administration of medicine.
Q: How do you communicate with parents?
A: To serve you, our students and parents, we strive to maintain good communication. Therefore, every elementary classroom teacher updates a teacher webpage that includes the class schedule, curriculum and homework information, helpful tips for parents and student resources, and upcoming events. School-wide newsletters are sent on a monthly or quarterly basis. Please check email frequently and notify us of any changes. If you do not have access to email, please let us know so we can provide additional support. If you need to reach your child’s teacher, contact them at school or via email to arrange a time to set up an appointment to discuss your child so you can receive the full attention that you deserve. Your first point of contact with any issues will always be the teacher or staff member who is closest to the particular situation.