Arco Iris Spanish Immersion School

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Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in your school!
Click on each section to find out more about our school. If you don't see the answers to your questions here, please submit them via the contact form located on the top right of the page.
  1. How does Arco Iris compare to public schools in the Beaverton School District?
    1. Similarities - Our school year calendars are similar, we use the same teaching standards to guide our instruction and we participate in all state assessments.
    2. Differences - We receive a smaller percentage of funding from the state so we have to fill the gap with fundraising, we have an independent governing body, we have more latitude in our specific choices for curriculum and instruction, and we have a dress code.
  2. Is Arco Iris bound to all the same rules as the Beaverton School District?
    1. We follow the majority of BSD's rules and policies.  However, we have our own school board and,  as a charter school we have some flexibility to design our own program and create our own policies.
  3. How do I know what my student should wear?
    1. The dress code details are available on our website.
    2. Our Parent Teacher Organization helps with an annual uniform exchange program to help reduce uniform  costs for families.
  4. How many fundraisers should families expect each year?
    1. We have 2 fundraisers a year-  a move-a-thon in the fall and our annual auction in the spring.  The funds raised goes towards our Gap contribution (more info found here)
  5. Is there a fee to join the school?
    1. There is no required fee. However we ask each family to contribute $750 per student  each year in the form of fundraising or direct donations. We  receive 85% of the per pupil funding allocated by the state and we have to make up the remaining 15% through fundraising. In addition, charter schools like ours are required to cover expenses that traditional public schools do not, such as technology services, rent/mortgage, etc. As a result, we operate with a considerable shortfall per student.  The suggested $750 donation is called the Gap donation and it covers the gap between our revenue from the state and our operating budget. (more info found here).  
  6. Is Arco Iris a diverse school?
    1. Yes!  This is one of our greatest strengths.  Nearly half of our families and approximately 75% of our staff identify as multicultural.
  1. How much instruction do students receive in Spanish and English?
    1. In kindergarten, the ratio is 80/20 and this shifts to 65/35 in grades 1-5. Students receive between 45-60 min. of instruction in English each day.
  2. What will my child be learning at this school?
    1. Our academic learning outcomes are aligned with the Common Core standards in math and language arts and the Oregon Department of Education state standards in science and social studies.
    2. We use the Singapore Math curriculum in grades K-5.
  3. What is Singapore Math and why does Arco Iris use it?
    1. Our school’s original charter identified Spanish immersion and rigorous mathematics as the organizing principles of the school. Singapore Math is a highly regarded program that builds deep understanding of mathematical concepts through multistep problems and concrete illustrations.
  4. What can I expect from a language immersion program?
    1. Students learn all subjects except English and PE in the target language rather than just studying the language itself.  The goal is for students to become proficient in the second language and develop increased cultural awareness while reaching a high level of academic achievement.
    2. Students in immersion programs tend to score higher on verbal intelligence tests and have greater linguistic awareness and mental flexibility. 
    3. The first year can be difficult as students adjust and transition to being in a new environment where they do not understand everything at first so parental support is highly encouraged.
  5. Are there special classes like art or music for students?
    1. Spanish is our focus, so we do not offer music or art.  However, we do incorporate music and art into cultural studies within the classroom.
    2. We have a parent-run library available for students.
    3. All students receive 30-45 minutes of PE instruction each day.
  6. Do students get to go on field trips?
    1. Yes.  Each grade level does approximately 2 field trips per year.
  7. Where can my child continue their Spanish in middle school?
    1. Our in-district students have the option to enroll in one of the BSD Spanish Immersion middle school programs.  Out-of-district families should check with their home district to explore middle school options.
  1. How do I enroll my child? 
    1. We’re glad you are interested in joining the Arco Iris community! To begin with, fill out the application for the upcoming school year. After submitting your application, sit back and wait for the results of the lottery.  In order to be considered for the lottery for the next academic year, applications must be submitted online by the end of open enrollment of the current academic year. Review our website for dates.
  2. What is a lottery? 
    1. When we have more applications than spaces, state law requires us to hold a lottery to fill our available spaces.
  3. When is the lottery drawn? 
    1. The lottery is drawn a month after the open enrollment period ends. Review our website for specific dates.
  4. What is the order of priority for the lottery?
    1. Students with currently enrolled siblings - in-district. (Beaverton School District boundaries are determined by a student’s home address)
    2. Students with currently enrolled siblings - out-of-district.
    3. In-district students without siblings
    4. Out-of-district students without siblings
  5. How do I know if I got in?
    1. We will notify you by email after the lottery. Your email will either welcome you to the school or inform you that your student is on the waiting list.
    2. You do not have to be present for the lottery, but you are welcome to attend if you want to see the process.
  6. How many spaces do you have each year? 
    1. Kindergarten has 81 spots available, with preference given to siblings of current students. That means fewer than 81 spots will be left for new families.
    2. The number of openings in grades 1-5 vary depending on how many students return from the prior year.
  7. What happens if my child doesn’t get one of the openings?
    1. All students who do not get space are placed on a waiting list in the order assigned from the lottery. We use that waiting list to fill spaces that may become available throughout the summer and the subsequent school year.
  8. What if my child doesn’t get in at all? Am I automatically entered into the lottery next year? 
    1. No. You must turn in a new application each academic year you wish your child to be considered for the lottery.
  9. I live in another school district. Can my child still attend? 
    1. State law requires us to place all Beaverton School District residents before accepting any out-of-district students. If there are still spaces in a class once all the in-district residents have been placed, then the out-of-district students will be accepted in the order determined by the lottery. 
  10. How do I know if my child has moved up on the waiting list? 
    1. We will email you immediately if a space becomes available for your students. You can also contact us at [email protected]. Due to the large volume of inquiries, responses may take up to three business days.
  11. How old do students have to be to enter kindergarten? 
    1. In general, the student must be at least 5 by September 1st.  
    2. Special age considerations for 1st grade may apply to children who have completed kindergarten at a private school, in a different state, or in a different country.
  12. If one of my children gets an opening, does that mean the elementary-aged brothers and sisters automatically get in too? 
    1.  If one of your children attends the school, his or her siblings will receive prioritized enrollment the following year. In other words, if there is space available in a grade in a subsequent year, the siblings will be prioritized above new enrolled applicants. If there are more prioritized siblings than spots, we hold a sibling lottery. In-district siblings will always get priority over out-of-district siblings.
  13. How many people are usually on the waiting list? 
    1. This changes from year to year and from grade to grade. In general, the waitlists tend to be shorter at the upper grades.
  14. How long do I have to accept a spot? 
    1. If your student is chosen in the initial lottery, we hope that you will make your enrollment decision right away so we can notify people on the waitlist if a spot opens up.
    2. Between the time of the lottery and Aug. 1, families will have 5 calendar days to turn in paperwork for spaces offered before the following school year. 
    3. If you are offered a spot after Aug. 1, you will have 2 calendar days to make a decision.
  15. Is there tuition to attend the school? 
    1. There is no tuition to attend the school. We are a public charter school with 85% funding from the state. Arco Iris has set a goal of 100% family participation to close this gap, and we provide several fundraising opportunities throughout the year to enable families to donate. We know that some families are able to contribute more than the $750 Gap Contribution and some will need to contribute less.  Regardless of the size of your contribution, we hope that all families will find a way to financially support our school. 
  16. Do students need to know both Spanish and English before enrolling?
    1. We have a Spanish proficiency requirement beginning in grade 3.  
    2. Students in grades 3-5 can be functioning up to 2 years below grade level at the time of their application based on their test results and still be admitted. The test measures reading, writing, listening and speaking and takes 1-2 hours to complete.
  17. What if my student speaks no Spanish when they enroll?
    1. This is a common situation, especially in kindergarten.  Parents can expect a period of adjustment as students become accustomed to an immersion program.  They may show frustration initially, but students learn quickly and by mid-year, most of them are comfortable listening and speaking in Spanish.
  18. Can I observe a classroom before making a decision? 
    1. Due to the number of inquiries and the logistics of coordination, we do not schedule unsupervised classroom observations or visits. We do not provide shadow days.
    2. We encourage all interested families to sign up for one of our tour dates.
  19. How can I learn more about the school? 
    1. In addition to reading the information on our website, you can attend a tour or send an email to [email protected] with your questions.
  20. What are some things my family should consider before making the decision to enroll at Arco Iris?
    1. Is your child ready for a rigorous academic environment?
    2. How attached is your child to his/her current school, friends, and teachers?
    3. How is your child’s ability to transition to a new environment?
    4. Does your child have siblings in another school that result in multiple drop-offs and pick-ups to coordinate? (Our school does not provide school bus service)
    5. How does our school location impact your commute to/from work?
    6. Does your child have any knowledge of the Spanish language? (Starting in 3rd grade, students are required to take a Spanish proficiency exam when they are offered a spot before they can be enrolled)
  1. What are the start and end times for the school day?
    1. School starts at 8:30 and the doors open at 8:10.
    2. We have a staggered dismissal for kindergarten and 1st grade to help with traffic congestion.  Kindergarten and 1st grade end at 2:45 and grades 2-8 end at 3:15.
  2. When does the school year start and end?
    1. Arco Iris generally follows the Beaverton School District calendar. However, we have additional days off for staff professional development and we may have slight variations in holiday and parent teacher conference dates.  
    2. Our first and last day of school and our major holiday breaks typically align with BSD.
  3. Are there transportation services?
    1. We do not have busing available.  Many of our parents choose to carpool to reduce traffic congestion.  
  4. Is there a school lunch program?
    1. We contract with Fresh and Local for lunch service.  Families may apply for free and reduced priced lunches if they qualify based on the state’s income guidelines.
    2. We do not have a cafeteria, so students eat in their classrooms.
  5. What is the class size?
    1. Classes are capped at 27 students.  Teachers in grades K-3 receive additional support from instructional assistants to lower our adult to student ratios in those grade levels.
  1. How do you accommodate students with special educational needs?
    1. We receive services from the Beaverton School District for students with an IEP.  We do not have full-time support available on-site.
    2. We have staff members who work with families to develop 504 plans and to support students’ social/emotional needs.
    3. We do universal screeners for Talented and Gifted (TAG) identification in grades 3 & 5.  Teachers provide TAG accommodations in their classrooms.
  2. Is there before and after school care?
    1. We have fee-based programs available each day from 7:00am - 8:15 am and from 3:15pm - 6:00pm. These programs are staffed by our Spanish speaking instructional assistants and they include homework help, recreational activities, and snacks.
  3. Is there a nurse on site?
    1. We do not have a nurse at school, but we contract with a nurse to develop Health Management Plans for students with medical needs.
  4. What if my student has a food allergy?
    1. We are a nut free campus
    2. We do not allow outside food to be brought into classrooms for parties unless it meets our guidelines for students with food allergies.
  5. Do you have after extra curricular school activities?
    1. At the current time, we are not offering extra curricular activities due to staffing constraints.  However, this is subject to change.
  1. What happens if my child can't do their homework and we have no Spanish speakers at home? Is there homework help or tutoring available?
    1. We do not offer tutoring services, and we fully expect that many families do not speak Spanish in the home.  We encourage families to reach out to their teachers if students are struggling with homework.
  2. Can I volunteer at the school?
    1. Yes!  We rely on parent support and we ask each family to put in 20 volunteer hours per year.
    2. All volunteer opportunities are posted on our parent volunteer platform.
    3. In order to volunteer, parents have to do an annual background check and they have to comply with the most up-to-date vaccination requirements in our area.
  3. Is there an active parent organization at the school?
    1. Yes!  Our Parent Teacher Organization is open to everyone.  This group helps with everything from fundraising to classroom celebrations to teacher appreciation events.  They are always looking for new members.
    2. Joining the PTO as an active volunteer is a great way to learn more about the school, to help make friends with other students and families, and to contribute to the richly diverse community of families that makes up Arco Iris.