Frequently asked questionsANSWERS FOR PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES
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What kinds of students does EPIC serve?
This is a particularly difficult question to answer because we don’t serve students with a single diagnosis. Many of our students have anxiety and face challenges with mood regulation, frustration tolerance, and social skills. Academically, many excel in some areas and struggle in others.
Is EPIC a "2e" school?
While we work exceedingly well with students who have been designated as “2e” (twice-exceptional), we don’t identify with that label and believe it’s often used to discriminate on the basis of race and class. All our students perform above grade level in at least one subject, but many did not come to us that way. While “2e” schools only accept students who others have identified as gifted, we believe every student has unique gifts and are dedicated to creating an environment where those gifts can flourish.
Does EPIC give grades?
At EPIC, we emphasize process over product, and we don’t believe traditional grades can holistically capture our students’ growth as learners. Instead, our teachers implement a variety of formative and summative assessments in order to measure each student’s progress and differentiate our curriculum to meet their needs. We regularly communicate this progress to families through reports, work samples, parent-teacher conferences, and less formal ongoing check-ins.
What is EPIC's homework policy?
We don’t assign homework at EPIC. Research indicates that homework has no positive impact on academic performance in the primary and elementary grades. Our students work incredibly hard during the day and often attend additional therapeutic sessions outside of school. When they’re home, they deserve time to bond with their families and just be kids.
Does EPIC accept students who have exhibited persistent physical aggression?
Yes, with open arms. At EPIC, we understand that every behavior is a function of need and that many students come to us from schools that have failed to meet those needs. When children are immersed in a truly therapeutic setting like ours, many behaviors that have previously been identified as pervasive and persistent are extinguished completely. We take the safety of all our students very seriously, and we’re thoughtful about creating classroom environments that will afford every student the greatest opportunity for success.
What are EPIC's hiring practices?
At EPIC, teaching positions are offered only to those with extensive classroom experience as well as an educational philosophy that aligns with our mission. Candidates for lead teaching positions require substantial prior experience as special education teachers to be considered. Associate teachers and teaching assistants need prior experience working with students with special needs, though they do not need prior experience as lead teachers. Regardless of prior experience, all EPIC team members must complete a rigorous two-week intensive training program before the beginning of the academic year that includes crisis resolution practice through roleplay, review of classroom management and support strategies through discussion and roleplay, and document review and case conference sessions for all EPIC students. Staff members also receive ongoing training throughout the academic year through in-house training as well as outside education conferences, workshops, and other professional development opportunities.
How can families get involved at EPIC?
Families are a vital part of the EPIC community, and we work hard to bridge the gap between home and school. We welcome families to EPIC for monthly celebrations honoring students’ academic and behavioral successes, such as publishing parties, music recitals, and math museums. We also hold a monthly Parent University, offering workshops on topics ranging from sensory needs to writing to crisis management. During COVID-19, these events happen over Zoom. Before the pandemic, we hosted regular parent-staff mixers, which we’re looking forward to resuming in the future.
When is the best time to apply?
While we accept applications on a rolling basis, most spots are filled between the months of February and April.
What hours and months does EPIC operate?
EPIC is a ten-month program that runs from September through June. We also offer a summer experience in the months of July and August. Classes typically run from 9 am to 3 pm, but we have adjusted our schedule to accommodate blended and remote learning.
How old must my child be to attend EPIC?
Students must turn five by December 31 of their kindergarten year.