Global Village Academies

GVA Douglas County- Parker » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The School Day, School Calendar and Location
 
What are the school hours?
  • 8:00 AM-3:30 PM
Does the school have the same calendar as the Douglas School District? 
  • Generally yes, but the GVA school calendar is about 2 weeks longer.
Will there be fees for the before and after school programs? 
  • Yes, please see the information listed on the before and after school care program webpage.
Are there any fees or tuition to attend the school? 
  • No. GVA-DC is a free public school and offers tuition-free full-day kindergarten.
Do students have to live in the Douglas County Public School District?
  •  No. Any Colorado student may enroll.
When is the school lottery? 
  • The lottery is held in December.
Will you provide lunch and will you offer free and reduced lunch pricing? 
  • Lunch is provided by the Douglas County Public Schools Nutrition Program.
  • To see if you qualify for Free/Reduced Lunch, apply here
Do you require student uniforms? 
  • Yes, students are required to wear a GVA T-shirt or Polo shirt with blue or khaki colored pants. 
  • Girls may wear blue or Khaki dresses or skirts. 
  • The GVA T-shirts and Polo’s can be purchased on the GVA website directly from the supplier or Land's End.
What about school safety?
  • GVA has a School Safety and Emergency Response Plan in place. 
Teaching Staff and Instruction
 
What is the average student to teacher ratio?
  • GVA DC averages about 28 students per class.
  • Kindergarten classrooms have one aide per classroom.
Are your teachers licensed?
  • GVA-DC teachers meet or exceed all state and federal requirements for highly qualified teachers. 
  • Language immersion teachers are all native-language speakers with elementary and middle school teaching experience. 
What extra-curricular options and non-core classes will be offered? 
  • The after-school enrichment program is called ENCORE and is a fee-based program offering a variety of classes by local speciality instructors. 
  • These may include dance, taekwondo, art and more depending upon student interest and availability of instructors. 
  • GVA-DC also has annual events such as a science exhibition, an oratorical festival and monthly international assemblies featuring a different country.
What is your curriculum? 
  • The Colorado Academic Content Standards are the center of the K-8 curriculum. 
  • These curriculum content standards are supported with aligned instructional materials and include: enVisions Immersion Mathematics, Better Immersion Chinese Literacy, Tesoro Spanish Literacy, Mille Image French Literacy, Russian and German Ministry materials, and the SPARK Physical Education Program. 
  • The ‘Voices’ English balanced Literacy program with read aloud has six school-wide themes focused on building character and global awareness. Teachers spend a considerable time with students around Perspective Taking and Conflict Resolution, as these are core to promoting Cultural Competence and the ‘We Teach Peace’ Character Education Program. Additional high-quality instructional units of study have been developed in Science and Social Studies to deliver in English and the target language.
Do you issue regular report cards?
  • Report cards are distributed after each trimester. GVA-DC report cards are standards-based in that they show each student’s progress compared to state standards by subject.
Do your students take the state PARCC tests? 
  • Yes, all students starting in 3rd grade take the state PARCC test. 
  • Starting in Kindergarten students take DIBELs assessments for reading; MAPS testing to measure academic progress and the ACTFL test to measure fluency and literacy levels in the new language. 
  • These standardized tests are in addition to regular unit tests and quizzes.
Language Immersion
 
What is language immersion?
  • Language immersion is an instructional approach that enables students to learn a second language “naturally” by learning core subject areas in a new language. 
  • It’s the approach that Europe has used for centuries and it’s based on the fact that the brain of a younger student is more flexible and adept to learning a second language when it’s naturally incorporated into instruction.
How is this different from just learning a foreign language? 
  • Most foreign language classes are limited to a couple of hours per week and not offered until upper-grade levels. 
  • They primarily focus on basic speaking skills and grammar. 
  • Immersion is about learning core subjects within a new language; preparing GVA students to be fluent in discussions about math, science, social studies, and cultural events in addition to literacy.
  • Eighth graders who have gone through our program enter high school as freshmen with skills that are generally at or above AP (Advanced Placement) levels.
What does language immersion look like in the classroom?
  • Core courses are taught in the immersion language in order for students to gain reading, writing and speaking skills in a new language. 
The instructional pattern in GVA-DC is as follows:
  • Kindergarten = 50% of instruction in Spanish, Chinese, or French
  • 1st & 2nd grades = 50% in new language. 50% of courses in English
  • 3rd thru 5th grades = 33% in new language; 67% in English
How can a kindergarten student learn in a new language they don’t know? 
  • It becomes natural because the brain is developmentally still very open to accepting language skills. 
  • Learning to read or do math in Spanish, French, or Chinese actually strengthens the capacity for learning math or reading in English. 
  • The neural brain pathways that enable this great capacity for learning actually begin to close off as we get older, making it more difficult for older mono-lingual learners to add new language skills.
Does learning in language immersion hurt student’s ability to keep pace in English and other subject areas and hurt their test scores? 
  • Even though you might think so, it doesn’t. 
  • Research has proven this and Global Village Academy’s experience in the Aurora and Northglenn Campuses have demonstrated that students are at or above grade level learning through immersion. 
  • Plus, by the time these students reach 8th grade, their reading, writing and speaking skills in a new language are the equivalent of a native student speaking the target language.
How can I help my student with homework if he’s learning Chinese and I don’t know Chinese?
  • Homework in the immersion language is very limited. 
What has research shown as the benefits of learning more than one language? 
  • Research has shown several benefits including improved overall academic progress, enhanced student sense of achievement, increased cultural awareness, enhanced career opportunities, improved chance for college admissions, and better critical thinking skills.
What options do students have with advanced language skills once they reach high school? 
  • GVA is currently working with colleges and high schools to develop a specific advanced dual credit language skills track that will enable our students to earn college credits for their advanced language skills while they’re still in high school.
English Language Learners, Gifted & Talented Students & Special Needs Students
 
How does this program work for English Language Learners? 
  • This is an exceptional program for ELL or ESL students because learning through immersion builds upon each student’s current language skills. 
  • Therefore a Spanish-speaking student will be able to build their English skills without discounting their Spanish skills. 
  • ELL students in the GVA program have repeatedly shown significant academic achievement growth that far exceeds that of students in traditional ESL programs.
Do you have programs for Gifted and Talented students? 
  • GT students are provided expanded study and learning opportunities within the GVA program.
  • A teacher is assigned as the Gift and Talented coordinator.
Does GVA provide services for special needs students? 
  • Yes. As a public school GVA provides services in accordance with state and federal guidelines that are based on the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) that is developed by specialist and staff members.
Miscellaneous Questions
 
Do you have a school nurse?
  • GVA-DC has a part-time nurse overseeing the school as required by state law. Additionally, each campus has an aide who is the daily acting nurse.
Does GVA have any working relationships with other countries?
  • GVA currently has partnerships with the Beijing Foreign Language School and the Spanish Ministry of Education.
  • GVA also was one of the nation’s first Confucius Classroom programs and has received nearly $2 million in federal grants to develop language curriculum and train foreign teachers in language immersion instruction.
If my student is accepted through the lottery process, will his sibling automatically be enrolled? 
  • Yes, siblings are given priority in the enrollment process.
Who governs the school? 
  • The school is governed by a local five-member Board of Directors that includes community members with education, business, and government experience. 
  • The local board also has three of its members serving on the statewide Global Village Collaborative Board, which guides the central administrative services provided to all GVA schools.
How large is the Global Village Academy network? 
  • The first Global Village Academy started in 2007 in Aurora with 220 students. 
  • Today, there are more than 2,900 students enrolled in the five GVA campuses and preschools.