What are your application deadlines?
We are currently in the application process for families looking to start in the fall of 2017. Here are the important dates to know:
• January 14, 2017: Early Application Deadline
• February 1, 2017: Regular Application Deadline
• February 1, 2017: Financial Aid Application Deadline
Visits and interviews take place early in the process. Regardless of when you apply, you will find out admissions decisions within two weeks.
How much homework is there?
Orion International Academy is a college preparatory school; it is assumed that students will be able to manage a homework load commensurate with a college preparatory curriculum. Many of our students participate in sports and other recreational activities, and we try to accommodate them where we are able. For instance, every student has a study period built into their weekly schedule. Also, teachers work with all students to improve study, research, and organizational skills so they can complete their homework as efficiently as possible.
How will colleges know you?
We invite college representatives to visit our school, so they know who and what we are. We prepare students for the SAT and ACT by covering appropriate material and skills, such as essay writing, and administering other standardized tests during the school year. Many of our upper school courses prepare students for AP exams if the student wishes to take them.
How do I know that my child will be challenged?
As at any rigorous college-prep school, Orion International Academy students take multiple years of English, history, math, science, language, and art. Students who are more advanced in a subject are offered Honors and Advanced Placement courses.
How do you promote economic and racial diversity in the student population?
Different economic and racial backgrounds are well represented in our student body. Financial aid is available to low-income applicant families. We send all our press releases to publications that target communities of color, and we advertise in these publications. As our staff expands over the years, we will be able to broaden our outreach into various communities.
What is the research on how people learn, and how do you use it?
Our curriculum and instructional methods are based on the cognitive research on how people learn.
Research shows that…
All learning is constructed out of prior knowledge, so we…
• Have teachers and students articulate their current knowledge to use it as a foundation for new learning.
• Create a curriculum that is a spiral, returning students to core topics over the years in fresh contexts and more demanding forms.
• Have students use their knowledge in multiple contexts.
Students can assimilate and use new information better when it is orchestrated in meaningful ways, so we…
• Use the methodologies of the disciplines (English, history, math, science, etc.) to organize course material.
• Help students learn to sense and establish relationships and patterns that make information easier to retrieve and apply in new situations.
Learning improves when students think about their thinking, so we…
• Have teachers model how they monitor their thought processes.
• Coach students to explore their own thought processes to become more strategic, effective thinkers.
Learning improves when students discover for themselves, so we…
• Offer hands-on, experiential study.
Can you explain how you set your tuition?
We have several goals in mind when we set the tuition each year. First, we want to attract and retain the best teachers and compensate them well. Second, we have many startup costs during our first years including buying furniture, supplies, equipment, and textbooks. Finally, we are saving up to expand our facilities as we grow. Our tuition is comparable to that of other independent schools, and, as with the other schools, tuition covers only a portion of actual operating costs per year. The rest is made up through generous contributions from our investors.
Do you require the ISEE?
Starting in 2014-2015 school year, students must take the ISEE for the current year and have the scores sent to us. However, if applicants are applying to other schools that require the SSAT test, Orion International Academy will accept SSAT test scores in lieu of ISEE test scores.
The ISEE provides teachers a common baseline to judge where students are in their learning. While we consider the ISEE as part of the application process, we would not decline a student on the basis of his or her ISEE score alone.
For more information about this exam, please visit www.iseetest.org.