What is a public hybrid homeschool?
A public hybrid homeschool is a public school that incorporates both school and parent involvement in educating students. This combination provides the flexibility of homeschooling with the support and community of a school. Families can choose between a 100% Homeschool Program or a Hybrid Program, with 3 days at school and 2 days at home. Those families who choose the Homeschool Program still receive the support of an assigned credentialed teacher, and are invited to attend all TLC events and field trips.
Why choose TLC?
The Learning Choice Academy was founded in 2004 by educators in direct response to the needs of parents and students who were looking for something different from their traditional public schools. Every TLC student is set up to succeed through direct support from teachers and a personalized learning plan that meets their academic and personal needs. In addition, The Learning Choice Academy is distinguished for being:
Personalized -- Personalized learning enables us to meet each student’s unique needs.
Flexible -- Our approach empowers families to choose the educational path that works for them.
Caring -- Our teachers and small school sites create a supportive community.
96% of TLC parents report that their child’s progress has improved since enrolling at TLC and 98% of parents would recommend TLC to a friend.
What program options do you offer students?
Families can choose between our Homeschool Program and Hybrid Program.
As part of our Homeschool Program, parents homeschool 5 days a week. Families are assigned a credentialed teacher, called an Educational Partner, who provides support and meets with families at least once every 6 weeks. Families can also attend all TLC field trips and events.
As part of our Hybrid Program, students attend a school site for classes 3 days a week and parents homeschool 2 days a week. On school days, credentialed teachers instruct in core subjects and enrichment electives. Students also have the opportunity to engage in collaborative and project-based learning. Families are assigned a credentialed teacher, called an Educational Partner, who provides support for homeschooling days, and meets with families at least once every 6 weeks.
How does the school send out parent communication including emergency alerts?
The school uses an interactive communication tool called Parent Square for all school-wide communication. ParentSquare is a two-way private communication platform for schools.
All school, resource center, educational partner and program information will be sent from one centralized place to your computer or mobile phone via email and/or text or you can download the FREE app. The system simultaneously sends out school communication via text, email and an app update. You can specify your communication preference to receive information in the method you prefer. In the event of an emergency the system will default to all methods of communication despite your preferences.
How do I register and change my communication preference for ParentSquare?
You will receive an invitation email or text to join ParentSquare. Please click the link to activate your account and register. It takes only a minute. This is what you need to do:
Create a password
Click the box to agree to the terms
You can change your communication preferences from within your ParentSquare account. This is the best method for ensuring all school communication is delivered in the format that you prefer right from the start. You can also unsubscribe from email at any time by clicking the link in the footer of every message. You can also opt-out of text at any time by texting STOP to any text message you receive.
What if I'm not receiving ParentSquare communication?
ParentSquare information is received directly from a secure link with our student information system (SIS). Please verify your email and phone number with your Educational Partner to make sure it is listed correctly in the system.
If you need to make a change to any contact information within our system, please complete a change of information form. A copy of the form is available on our website in the forms section. Once the changes are entered the system may take up to 24 hours to update.
What is the protocol for school communication?
The Learning Choice Academy has revealed that the vast majority of questions and concerns are successfully settled by discussing them with the Educational Partner. However, to ensure that parents and students have the ability to express opinions and make requests for changes, and to support the personnel and efficiency of school performance, The Learning Choice Academy has developed a protocol for submitting personal petitions. Parent/Student should discuss any difficulty or make any inquiry directly to his or her Educational Partner. The EP will make every attempt to gather information or resolve the issue. If parent/student is not satisfied with the outcome, the Request for Consideration form should be completed and an appointment made with the Resource Center Administrator (RCA) to discuss the subject further. If parent/student determines more action is necessary, (or if the EP in the initial step is also the RCA), an appointment may be made with the TLC Academy Assistant Director. The Assistant Director will personally discuss the matter and attempt to establish an acceptable agreement. If additional discussion is required the next step will be to meet with the Executive Director. If the determination of the Director is not adequate, the parent/student then has the option of presenting the problem before the TLC Academy’s Board of Directors. It should be understood that the Board’s determination of personal questions or concerns relating to the specific student will follow the expressed school policy. If the topic is of more common, school-wide application, the Board will take the matter into thoughtful deliberation.
What is PeachJar e-flyers?
PeachJar is an electronic flyer communication tool. To view school-approved
eflyers, simply click the Peachjar button on our website's homepage.
This “green” initiative will save our schools tons of paper and make receiving flyers more convenient for parents. No action is required on your part. You will receive a welcome email from our service provider (Peachjar) that includes a username and password. This is provided to give you the opportunity to manage your account and flyer delivery preferences.
You do not need to login to receive or view school eflyers. To ensure smooth delivery of this communication, we suggest you add email@example.com to your email contacts. When you receive your first eflyer, be sure to click “always display images.”
This system is used exclusively for distribution of school-approved flyers. Your email address will not be shared or used for any other purpose. Thank you for
supporting our efforts to ensure parents are well informed about school programs, activities, and events.
How can I advertise a non-school-related opportunity through TLC?
Email a short description of the opportunity to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the activity is something that other students would enjoy (and if advertising it would not violate federal laws like those pertaining to separation of church and state, etc.), we will include it in 1 issue of the newsletter and/or 2 weekly bulletins.
Can I use my student’s extended units for purchase of curriculum?
Extended units are to be used for the tuition of classes that offer remedial or enriching instruction and not for the purchase of curriculum. TLC will purchase the instructional materials students need to fulfill their core studies. There are a few occasions when there appears to be a combination of purposes and a student’s units can “purchase” the curriculum. An example of this is with Aleks, a computerized tutorial program that offers an online tutoring “class”. Another example is an online Driver’s Training class. It is important to talk with your Educational Partner first to ensure the type of program in which you wish to enroll your student complies with the school requirements. All payments must go through the Extended Unit Class procedures and TLC cannot reimburse parents for tuition paid to online programs.
I like to use an eclectic approach to education. I would like to purchase instructional materials throughout the year for each subject. Can I continue to order throughout the year?
The Learning Choice Academy purchases one major textbook or instructional material to be used for each subject for the year. However, TLC recognizes the value of offering a variety of resources for student instruction. The school has developed a supplemental library at each Resource Center and extensive list of thematic units which may be used. Discuss your interests with your EP to select alternative materials.
Is there an amount of school funds allocated to purchase my student’s curriculum? Can I order maps, calculators, and other items as long as I don’t go over that amount?
The school appreciates the financial responsibility it has to provide instructional materials to all of its students. At the same time, it must retain the ability to provide support in other ways, such as meetings with credentialed teachers, tutoring sessions and classes. In order to offer a quality, multi-faceted instructional program to all of the students, there must be limits placed on curriculum expenditures. Rather than set a certain dollar amount, the school proposes to purchase the core curriculum for every student. Additional items are considered enrichment and, just as in traditional classrooms, are an option the parent-teacher may choose to purchase on his or her own.
TLC will only purchase one main textbook or instructional material for each subject and I can’t return them mid-year and order something different. I am not sure I will like the materials I ordered. Can I order curriculum on a “trial” basis?
No. There are two reasons TLC developed its curriculum policies: 1. Continuity: If a teacher begins instruction with one instructional program and changes after a time, the sequence of skills or learning standards may be interrupted. Because each publisher presents objectives in different order or style, the student may repeat skills or miss some standards altogether if curriculum is changed mid-year. 2. Fiscal responsibility: If you are not sure the materials you selected will fit your student’s learning style, have your student answer questions and complete work on a separate notebook. Then, if you conclude you will need to change the workbook or text, it will remain in new condition.
I have not finished instruction by June. May I keep the curriculum through the summer?
The textbooks and materials must be returned in June so the school can update its inventory and make appropriate purchases of new/replacement curriculum. If your student only needs to complete one or two subjects and your student is in high school, you may use the same curriculum as part of our TLC Summer School, if TLC holds summer sessions. It will be returned to the curriculum library, checked in, and then checked back out as material for the next school year. Summer school is only available to high school students. You must sign up for summer school with your EP if you plan on using the same materials. If your student is not enrolled in summer school, he or she cannot keep the curriculum over the summer.
Does TLC purchase foreign language programs for students not in high school?
Foreign Language is not a required core subject in grades Kindergarten through Eighth Grade and therefore is not part of the Core Curriculum. TLC does have Foreign Language materials as part of the supplemental library that may be checked out and used on a monthly basis through the school’s library. A great resource for foreign language is available to all TLC students through United Streaming, and other online programs are also available. Ask your EP!
My student enrolled in another school and was told TLC Academy has not sent the records. Why not?
If your student has not returned all the curriculum previously used, the school may withhold payment of Extended Units or student records (grades or transcripts) until it is received.
Enrollment and Registration
What is an Educational Partner (EP)?
When you enroll with TLC, a credentialed teacher will be assigned as your Educational Partner (EP). The EP will guide and assist both parents and students as you choose textbooks and materials, and will help identify appropriate extended learning opportunities. The Educational Partner will also work together with you to create a personalized learning plan for each student. This plan will facilitate the coordination of the student’s educational activities and ensure that learning needs are accommodated. The EP is the first point of contact between you and TLC. If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of your child’s education, contact your EP first before going to another staff member. According to our policies, the EP is able to identify students’ learning levels and progress, make suggestions on how the parent can extend or strengthen their instruction, and validate student attendance. EPs also need to review all work completed during a learning period, and they need to collect all of the work completed during the learning period in order to best assist the students. You should cooperate with the EPs as they collect student work and evaluate the educational progress of the child.
May I designate my Educational Partner? If I am not happy with my EP, may I make a change?
It is not possible to guarantee placement of an Educational Partner with a family who requests a specific EP. All EPs are knowledgeable and equipped with teaching strategies to assist parents. If at any time a parent or student feels they are not receiving adequate service, the issue should first be discussed with the EP. The majority of the time, improvement in communication dramatically improves the quality of the partnership. At the time of registration you may place a request for a particular EP, but we do not have the ability to guarantee your family will be placed with the Educational Partner requested. The EP you designate may already have a full roster. If you begin working with one of our TLC Educational Partners and encounter problems, we think it is important you inform the EP of your concerns. Before asking for a change, first discuss the difficulties you are having and communicate what you would like modified. Please remember our EPs work with many different parents and may not be aware of your style of teaching. The best way to avoid misunderstandings is to have a conversation when you first meet and describe your expectations in the beginning. If you and your Educational Partner have talked about your dissatisfaction and it is agreed the relationship is not meeting your needs, you may ask for a change and we will try to comply with your request. A change of Educational Partners causes a break in the continuity of the student’s instruction, and making multiple changes within one year is highly discouraged.
Why am I asked to give information about our family’s income?
Every school collects the information and reports the total number in each category to the state. Your personal information is not part of this report. Instead, the state and federal Department of Education use the collective numbers to analyze funding needs, compare school testing results and offer schools the opportunity for additional grants.
Why does TLC ask about my level of education? Is it necessary for me to have a college degree to teach my children?
The question about the parent’s level of education has nothing to do with your ability to instruct your child. This is another piece of data that all schools report to the Department of Education. As with the financial information, the report does not include individual names. It is a summative report that is used by both federal and state departments to allocate school funding and calculate API scores. Some parents have asked if TLC benefits if a high number of parents report high levels of education. Actually, exaggeration of parents’ schooling can hurt the school and that is why we ask everyone to be accurate with their answers.
I want to hold my student back a grade or promote them ahead of other students in their age range. Why are test scores so important in the decision?
While TLC understands that some students do not test well, standardized tests are accurate in determining whether a student is far below the basic level of understanding that should be achieved in each grade. Standardized tests are not the only criterion that TLC uses as a basis of making promotion and retention decisions; the recommendation of the EP and student work samples are also important. Decisions about promotion or retention are not made unless students have been enrolled with TLC for at least one year precisely because we believe it is important that the decision be made by a teacher who knows the student’s skills well. The use of standardized test scores to determine if a student will be promoted or retained is a recognized standard of judgment in schools around the nation.
My student is already 18 and a legal adult. Do I, as the parent, still need to sign the master agreement, events forms etc.?
After a student’s 18th birthday, a parent signature is no longer required on any TLC forms. However, the student still needs to turn in the same forms that they turned in before they became an adult, except that instead of a parent signature, the student needs to sign now.
How do I find the most up-to-date information about different events being held?
The most up-to-date information on events is found on our website, www.learningchoice.org, which is updated regularly. Event information is often one of the primary reasons TLC parents visit our website. Flyers, resource center postings and the weekly bulletin also highlight upcoming events. Our goal is to promote an event up to 3 months in advance in as many different ways as possible. You can also contact your EP, Office Manager, or the Events department directly with any questions or suggestions.
How can I pay for the different types of events?
Families can pay with cash or checks. Checks should be written to “The Learning Choice Academy.” If paying for multiple field trips at the same time, please write separate checks for each event. Separate checks are required for each event within our RSVP system and to maintain clear accounting practices.
Students can use Extended Units for TLC-sponsored field trips. Payment must be submitted at the time of an RSVP. Units cannot be used for food at events or field trips. Cash payments should be given directly to the Office Manager so a receipt can be given to the parent.
Can other homeschool families attend TLC sponsored field trips or special events?
TLC does sponsor at least one community event each year that is open to all homeschool families as an outreach opportunity. Monthly school-sponsored field trips and events are not open to the community since state funds designated for TLC students are used to plan and pay for these enrichment opportunities. This also minimizes the risk of exposure and liability to the school. Non-TLC families are not familiar with our policies and practices for families and staff. Many families appreciate the opportunity to maintain a more personal, small group atmosphere in which their students can develop consistent friendships with other TLC students.
Does TLC require a waiver for field trips, assemblies and events?
Yes, families should complete a master waiver at the beginning of the year that is a release of liability for all events. If a master waiver is not on file with the school student's will not be allowed to participate in any event until it is complete.
The waiver is accompanied by a list of specific events for the entire year and is updated as needed. An additional RSVP form is required to register for each optional event. A master waiver allows families to not have to fill out a new waiver with every event registration.
What if an event I want to attend is sold out? Do you have a waitlist?
If an event is full when you register a TLC staff member will let you know that you are on a waitlist. We will hold your reservation form and contact you if space becomes available. Space becomes available when another family cancels or we are able to increase participants for that event. TLC makes ever effort to ensure that all families wishing to participate can do so. Registering early for events assists us with meeting the demand for a particular event.
Why do we limit Teen Club to only 7th-12th grade students?
Teen Club was developed to meet the specific social needs of middle and high school students. Many parents felt uncomfortable having young boys or girls attend with students up to eighteen years old. Many of the venues also require a narrow age-range to deliver more intricate, relevant content or instruction. This has become a school tradition in which all students will eventually have the opportunity to participate. Like many other life events, it is an age-level rite of passage.
How can I make a reservation for an event?
Registration forms for field trips are available at each TLC Resource Center, and can also be downloaded from our website. Forms can be returned to your Office Manager, to your Educational Partner, or mailed directly to the La Mesa Resource Center, attn: Event Coordinator, at 4215 Spring St, Suite 221, La Mesa, CA 91941.
Does TLC arrange for carpooling to and from different events?
TLC does not arrange carpooling. Parents are responsible for providing or arranging transportation and supervision for their students. If the student needs a ride, it is parents’ responsibility to write a letter informing the school who will supervise and be responsible for their child at the event. TLC does partner with SANDAG to provide a carpooling resource for families. Additional information about this free community service that is a secure resource for our families is available on our website.
Does TLC have a refund policy for events?
TLC has to book and pay for programs in advance to guarantee availability and secure the best pricing. Therefore, once we accept a reservation we cannot issue a refund. This policy applies to sickness and unexpected emergencies on the day of the trip as well. Additionally, if a student or family registers for a field trip and then withdraws from TLC enrollment, they are not eligible for a refund. If you know in advance that you will be unable to attend, you may find another family to take your place and pay you directly. If an unexpected emergency does come up, please contact the TLC Events Coordinator if you are unable to attend a trip so we will not be expecting you.
What is the returned check/insufficient funds policy that TLC follows?
In the event that a check submitted to TLC Academy for a special event or field trip has insufficient funds to cover the fee, you must repay all bank charges and the balance due to the school by cash, cashier’s check or money order within thirty days (30) of notification. If you have more than two insufficient checks submitted within the year, you will not be able to pay for school activities with a check, but will need to pay with cash, cashier’s check or money order for the remainder of the school year.
Will I receive a confirmation of my event reservation?
An email confirmation will be sent out to all registered families attending that event, including final, specific instructions about a meeting location, tickets, directions, and parking. If you don’t have an email account, TLC will contact you via phone.
How will I know if an event is cancelled or re-scheduled due to weather?
TLC will post an alert on our website within the event link and send out a phone message for weather cancellations. You may also contact the TLC emergency cell phone number listed in all TLC event confirmations. Additional information about rescheduling options will be e-mailed to families within a few days of the original event. TLC and the event location are solely responsible for determining weather cancellations.
Can my student come late to an event?
Many field trips require that you enter the facility as one group before starting the program. Please make sure you arrive on time for a field trip, or you may be unable to attend and will not be issued a refund. Many parents responded to our annual survey requesting that TLC adhere to the published schedule for events. Therefore, TLC will not wait for tardy attendees to enter the field trip.
My student enrolled in Full Day but will not be able to attend all of the dates. Why are his/her funds still allocated for missed days?
In order to provide the Full Day option, TLC must contract for twelve weeks with high quality instructors. After the second week, these instructors will receive full payment based upon the number of registered students. For this reason TLC must secure the students’ allowance for the semester.
I enrolled my student in a class last month but did not submit the paper until the following month. Why won’t TLC accept this class for payment?
As a public school, The Learning Choice Academy must follow sound business practices. Our auditors become concerned when the school cannot account for future financial expenses. For that reason, the financial database system closes accounts at the end of each month and readjusts the budget at the beginning of the following month. This allows the school to report current and future financial balances accurately.
I would like to know exactly how many units my student has in his or her account. Has the provider of my student’s class been paid? Whom do I contact for this information?
Your Educational Partner should be able to answer the questions you have about your student’s account. If your EP does not have the answer immediately, he or she can gather the information and contact you with the answer in a timely manner.
Why has TLC not paid my student’s instructor?
There are a number of reasons your instructor may not have been paid, including insufficient paperwork. Additional reasons a student’s Extended Units may be withheld are that curriculum has not been returned, TLC appointments have been missed or the student has not shown enough work to warrant school attendance. If your student has not returned all the curriculum previously used, the school may withhold payment of Extended Units or student records (grades or transcripts) until it is received. Please make sure all of the following have been completed successfully: The Agreement to Pay form was returned to the school with both parent and provider signature. A current W-9 form for the provider is on file at the school. The provider sent an invoice to the school and included all of the following information: Addressed to TLC Academy (not to the parent) Student’s name appears on the invoice. The dates or month classes were held are included.
My student babysits the neighbor kids for free. Does this qualify as community service or volunteer work?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t. For volunteer work or community service to count for high school credit, it must be done for an established non-profit organization. While it is always good to help your neighbors and friends out when they need it, such help will not count as volunteer service for credit.
I would like more information about my student’s high school program, scholarships or required testing. Who can help me?
Your EP may be able to answer your question, so always start there. However, the TLC guidance counselor has scheduled opportunities to meet in person at each Resource Center and weekly conferences onsite (by appointment). You can get more information by visiting www.learningchoice.org or emailing email@example.com
Why does TLC not pay the cost of books for concurrent enrollment classes through a community college?
If students are advanced enough to handle coursework on a college level, they should be able to write and take notes in their books like other college students do. If TLC pays for the books, then they become TLC property and the student cannot damage them by writing in them. Also, students can sell their books back, through the college bookstore or websites like eBay or Amazon.com, whereas TLC is not able to do so. Often, the textbooks that students use do not fill a requirement from the core curriculum, and TLC cannot use public funds to buy expensive books that cannot be reused for other students.
Why does TLC encourage student testing?
Our school funding is tied to student participation in state testing. TLC is able to offer many opportunities to parents and students because of state funding. It is crucial for students to participate in all components of testing. To maintain state funding, TLC needs students to participate in testing and encourages 100% participation. Test results are also a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum that you are using.
I was given a summary of my student’s scores on the SBAC (state testing) but I am not sure how to read it. How can this test help me with educating my student?
Although the SBAC examination is just one method of determining placement of your student’s educational levels, it can be an effective beginning point for ordering of curriculum or for identifying the objectives that should be emphasized. Your Educational Partner can assist you in interpreting the test results and correlating them to the instructional assignments. Additionally, the CDE offers a set of resources to help you interpret your student’s score report. These resources can be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/resources.asp.
Is there an assessment I may give to my student(s) to identify the most appropriate instructional strategy I can use?
There is a website that allows students to answer simple questions to identify their learning style. You can find information about what learning styles are, detailed explanations, and instructional tips at http://www.learning-styles-online.com/.