1. What does "leveled learning" mean?
Spectrum students are assessed at the end of each school year, or when they join Spectrum Academy, and then placed into math and language arts classes that teach at the student's appropriate learning level. For example, if your student is in third grade, but they test in to 4th grade language, and 2nd grade math, that is where your student is placed. All of the classes are taught at the same time in each class so that our students can rotate to their appropriate leveled classes at the same time. All core subjects (science, social studies, PE, computers) are taught in your student's homeroom class. Social skills is also taught in homeroom.
An example schedule of the above student could look like this:
3rd grade homeroom 9:00 - 9:10 - Mrs. Manning
4th grade language 9:15 - 11:00 - Ms. Jandy
Social Scene Investigations 11:00 - 11:30 - Mrs. Manning
Lunch 11:30 - 12:00 (with homeroom class)
2nd grade math 12:00 - 1:10- Mrs. Paquin
4th grade language block 2 - 1:15 - 2:15 - Ms. Jandy
3rd grade Core 2:20 - 3:10 - Mrs. Manning (with homeroom class)
2. How can my child get in to Spectrum Academy?
The only way to get in to Spectrum Academy Elementary is to go through the school's lottery. You can find information on www.spectrumcharter.org about the next lottery. There is good news, however. We will be expanding the elementary next year and there will be more places available than usual because of the expansion.
3. How much does it cost for my child to attend Spectrum Academy?
Spectrum Academy is a free public charter school.
4. How can I be involved with the amazing things happening at Spectrum Academy?
Funny you should ask! We would love to have you join us in making a difference in the lives of children who have autism spectrum disorders. Our Parent Action Committee (PAC) is a great place to start. The PAC has everything from 30 minute projects that we need help with, to longer and more involved (but oh, so rewarding) opportunities. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the PAC.
We love drop-in volunteers as well! We always have things that we can use extra help with!
IMPORTANT INFO: To be able to volunteer in the school or to go on field trips as a chaperone or driver, you will need to have a background check completed at BCI (Background Criminal Investigations) in West Valley. The background check takes about 10 - 15 minutes and costs $15. After your background check is complete, they will give you a piece of paper which is stamped with their embossed stamp and gives information on your background check. Please bring that paper to the school.
We require 40 hours per year of volunteer work per child at Spectrum Academy; volunteers make a difference! :)
Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do I need to volunteer at Spectrum?
A: Spectrum Academy has a vision of parents, such as you, wanting teachers with expertise in the Special Education field and that want an environment where their child could feel included and accepted on all levels. In addition to the educational structure, we also provide services to address our students’ social, behavioral and sensory needs. Unfortunately, these necessary services and programs cost more than the Utah State Office of Education allocates per student. This is where you come in — to help shrink that gap.
Q: How many volunteer hours do I need to complete?
A: Each family is required to complete 40 hours for their first child attending Spectrum, and 10 additional hours for each additional student. Example: If you have four students attending Spectrum you would need to complete 70 hours.
Q: If I finish all the required hours but still volunteer for the school, should I still log in?
A: Yes. Some of the grants we apply for ask for our total amount of volunteer hours. We want to tell them as many volunteer hours as we can.
Q: Do I have to do all my volunteer hours at the school?
A: No. We have opportunities to help us outside of school. This may include take-home projects or events.
Q: Do I personally have to complete all my family’s volunteer hours?
A: No. Parents, siblings, extended family, and/or friends are welcome to help your family receive volunteer hours. Be creative!
Q: Do I need to have a background check for any volunteer work that I do?
A: No. You only need to get a background check completed if you want to volunteer with students — this includes working in the classroom, field trips, tutoring, or anything else at the school.
Q: Where do I get my background check completed?
A: Bureau of Criminal Identification Open Monday - Friday from 8 am – 5 pm
3888 W 5400 S Closed weekends and state holidays
Salt Lake City UT 84118 Application fee is $15
(801) 965-4445 You must bring government issued photo ID
Q: Do I have to volunteer in my child’s class?
A: No. We understand that you being in the classroom with your child may cause disruption to the rest of the class. We have many other ways for you to volunteer. We have several different events, fundraisers, and miscellaneous tasks around the school we always need help with.
Q: Does money I spend at fundraising events count toward my volunteer hours?
A: No. Items you purchase at a fundraising event are not used at the school. A donation is given to the school with no expectation of recognition. If you purchase a brick, raffle tickets, or a basket at the gala you are not giving something to the school without that expectation (there is some sort of personal gain). You are receiving a product that Spectrum or a Spectrum family has purchased to help raise money for the school. Other things that do not count toward volunteer hours are the boutique booth fees or admission to fundraising events.
Q: Do donations I make to the school count toward my volunteer hours?
A: Yes. For every $10 of either cash or items you donate to the school, you will receive 1 hour. If you bring in items to donate, you must turn in the receipt. Anything you donate is tax deductible. Please ask someone in the front office for a tax deductible receipt if you are interested.
Q: I brought in my money/receipts to put toward my volunteer hours. Now what?
A: You will need to fill out an “Alternate Volunteer Hours Form.” Attach a copy of your receipt to the filled out form and turn it into the envelope that says “Alternate Volunteer Hours Forms.” You MUST turn in a copy of the receipt to receive credit.
Q: How do I get credit for my volunteer hours?
A: You must log-in on the volunteer computer to receive hours you do at the school. You click “Volunteer” and then find your name on the list. You may add it if it is not there already. Then you click either “an activity” or “a classroom.” Find the name of the activity you are volunteering for or the name of the teacher who’s class you are volunteering in. Then click “Sign Me In.” You need to fill out an Alternate Volunteer Hours Form for hours completed at home.
Q: Who do I contact in regards to volunteering?
A: Wendy Hansard is the Volunteer Coordinator. She keeps track of your volunteer hours as well. If you have any questions, contact her by email email@example.com or by phone 801-936-0318. She will get you in contact with the PTO president.
Q: What if there is a discrepancy with my volunteer hours?
A: Unfortunately, this sometimes happens. Please keep track of your volunteer hours just in case this happens. If you think you hours have been accounted for incorrectly, please tell Wendy. She will work with you to get it resolved.
Q: What do I need to do to drive my child’s class on a field trip?
A: We need to have your background check and a copy of your driver’s license and car insurance turned in to the front office before the field trip leaves.
Q: If I get a company to donate time or money at Spectrum Academy, will that count toward my volunteer hours?
A: Yes! Be sure to let Wendy know if this is the case. The value (whether monetary or time) will be applied towards your hours. Example: If a company donates $1000 to Spectrum, you will receive 100 hours.
Q: If I want to come in on a weekly basis, what sorts of things can I do?
A: We are always looking for people who want to come in weekly! We need people to come in and tutor one-on-one with students who are struggling. You could share a talent (like drama or music) and come in weekly to teach a class (or two). We also have odd jobs in the library and office.
Q: What sorts of things can I do if I work full-time and/or cannot come to the school during the day?
A: We have some projects that can be done at home. This includes things like counting box tops, Campbell soup labels, etc. Sometimes teachers have lamination or other projects that can be completed at home as well. We also have events during the evening or on weekends that we need volunteers to help us with. Remember, we can always use items and money donated, too.
Q: What happens if I do not complete all my volunteer hours during the school year?
A: There are opportunities for hours to be completed during the summer. If you do not complete your volunteer hours, you have the opportunity to pay for them. Ultimately, your child may lose their placement at Spectrum if your hours are not completed.
Q: What if I forget to sign in or out while I’m volunteering?
A: If you come back to volunteer within eight days, the computer will ask you when you left. If not, the computer will automatically sign you out after eight days. The computer is not always accurate so try to remember so you get the credit for the whole time you were volunteering.
Q: Can I use Spectrum’s after-school care free of charge while I’m volunteering?
A: No. After-school care costs $4 an hour. This is to pay the employees working and for any snacks or art projects you child uses while attending. This is not negotiable.
Q: Will observing my child’s behavior in the classroom count towards my volunteer hours?
A: No. If you are in the classroom, you must be helping the teacher for your volunteer hours to count. Sitting with your child will not count.
Q: What sorts of items do you need frequently donated?
A: We ALWAYS need Kleenex, latex-free band aids, copy paper, prizes for the Caughtcha’ Store, gel-filled ice packs (bend-able ones), Lysol spray, Clorox wipes, and non-perishable items for students who forget to bring a lunch (example: Easy Mac, granola bars, etc). Also see your child’s teacher for other supplies needed.
Q: How do I check to see how many volunteer hours I’ve completed?
A: If you have an email address, you will receive monthly emails with your total hours. Otherwise, you can speak with Wendy to get your total.
Q: Can I bring my other children to Spectrum while I volunteer?
A: No. If you are volunteering at Spectrum, we need your undivided attention. Sometimes small children will wander away while you are working and this is a liability for Spectrum.
Q: If my child is attending high school, do I have to do my entire volunteer hours at the high school (or vice versa)?
A: No. Please contact Wendy to make arrangements before you want to volunteer.
Other miscellaneous things that do not count towards volunteer hours:
- Helping your child with homework
- Attending student performances