FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW IS THE ST. ATHANASIUS ACADEMY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SCHOOLS?
First and foremost, we are a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Second, our mission is to offer quality and affordable education through an Orthodox Christian lens.
St. Athanasius Academy provides a broad approach to teaching. While the academy encourages its staff to utilize Socratic methodology in their classrooms to direct students to come to natural conclusions, each teacher brings their own teaching style and method. We limit overhead, training, and faculty requirements to keep tuition as low as possible. Instead of in-house training, we focus on partnering with great teachers who are proficient in their subject areas and have a passion for education. All of our faculty are Orthodox Christians in good standing. However, we do not have a faith requirement for families or students. We welcome students from all backgrounds.
While our teaching approach is broad, our content is not. This quote from The V. Rev. Richard Ballew, of blessed memory, explains our approach to curricula.
“If the mainstream of Orthodox Theology were likened to a river, I would want to swim out to the middle of that river and go downstream from there. This is how I interpret St. Vincent of Lerins’ hermeneutic of believing and teaching that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all – universality, antiquity, and consensus.”
HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND ON TEXTBOOKS AND MATERIALS?
The maximum amount you will spend on textbooks and materials is $50 per subject for the school year. Our teachers make every effort to utilize free and low-cost textbooks and materials.
Textbooks that cover multiple subjects may cost up to $100. Examples include foreign language books that can be used for multiple years. Also, our elementary classes for Social Studies & Writing are a combined class.
MAY I REGISTER A STUDENT FOR THE NEXT GRADE UP?
Please contact us before you begin the enrollment process, and we will be happy to help you determine the best placement for your student.
MAY I REGISTER A STUDENT WHO HAS LEARNING CHALLENGES?
We are thankful to partner with parents who are taking responsibility for the development of their children. However, most of our teachers are not equipped or trained to serve students with learning disabilities. In many cases, students with learning challenges are able to participate fully in our courses with outside assistance. Please contact us before enrolling so that we may discuss options and possibilities.
WHAT ARE THE TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS?
Our goal is to provide a friendly classroom setting for the purpose of interaction, engagement, and collaboration. We do this in Edmodo.com, our virtual classroom. Edmodo can be accessed both by computers and smart devices (tablet or smartphone). All students are required to have a microphone, webcam, and headphones to participate in the course. Webcams are required to be on during class for safety reasons. Fortunately, webcams are a standard feature on all laptops and smart devices. We recommend that students be on a computer or laptop during the video call, but this is not required.
We recommend 3mbps each way per student. A minimum of 1.5mpbs each way per student is required. Keep in mind that this is per person who is on the internet. If 5 people were in the house, it is wise to assume that all five people will be on the internet during class time.
The computer needs to be snappy when browsing the internet, opening and closing programs.
Please have a designated quiet area for the student. Background noise (other kids, dogs, etc) create a distraction for the rest of the students, the teacher, and makes it difficult for your child to focus.
WHAT IS YOUR GRADING POLICY?
Faculty assess achievement of the student and assign grades according to a collegial GPA: 4 (A, excellent), 3 (B, above average), 2 (C, average), 1 (D, below average), 0 (F, requirements not met). Every effort will be given by the faculty to help students succeed, but laziness and lack of achievement cannot be ignored. Also, it is unfair to give two students the same grade who did not apply themselves equally. Therefore, grades will be at the discretion of the teacher.
Some classes will simply be a pass/fail recommendation from the teacher. Keep in mind that all grades are ultimately up to you, the parent. The grade is a recommendation, not a final record.
WHAT IS YOUR ATTENDANCE?
We do not have an official attendance policy, but a lack of attendance could affect participation and final grading by the teacher. The virtual classrooms are available to any students with internet access. We attempt to record all video calls to make them available for students who are absent. The recorded videos, while not as useful as live interaction, are made available for enrolled students to review when absent. We are unable to promise that 100% of all video calls will be recorded and posted online.
IS THE ACADEMY ACCREDITED?
We do not have accreditation at this time. Our school partners with families by offering live, online courses that help provide additional teaching, curriculum structure, accountability, and community to students. Parents should take care to ensure compliance with state laws and keep records of study for student transcripts. Grades will not be housed by St. Athanasius Academy and we do not provide transcripts.
Log the hours that your child spends completing assignments and in engagement. One credit is approximately 120-180 hours of work over an entire school year. 150 hours is the average for a year-long academic course such as English or History. One course for one semester counts as one-half credit. We try to avoid legalism when tracking time, but we generally assume 2 hours a week of instruction and about 2-4 hours a week of homework over 30 weeks (a full school year) of instruction equals one credit.
WHAT IS THE CLASS SIZE & STRUCTURE?
For middle and high school, core studies meet twice a week for approximately 40 minutes in an online virtual classroom. The time and day of the week are set by the school and the teacher (in an attempt to accommodate the teacher’s schedule). Some of our classes, such as Orthodox Studies, meet once a week. For elementary school, the classes meet 25-30 minutes twice a week.
Our standard is to have a maximum of 12 students. Teachers may request a different maximum on specific subjects. Exams are not required by the academy and are at the sole discretion of the teacher. Most quizzes, exams, and tests are proctored at home by the parents to maximize live engagement.
Parents are allowed to silently audit courses for free that their children are enrolled in. We offer this option to support the family in teaching the faith to Orthodox youth.
DO YOU HAVE A WAITING LIST?
If a subject is full, then parents may contact us to indicate interest. If a spot becomes available, we will notify students on the waiting list in the order in which they requested to be put on the list. In some cases, we may add a duplicate if the subject fills up quickly. In these cases, we will notify those on the waitlist of the new option when it becomes available for registration.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
2021-2022: All core subjects are $266 because they meet twice a week. All other classes are $198 for the year and only meet once a week. A third tier exists for one-semester classes, such as Personal Finance, that meet once a week. Those classes are $98 for the semester.
Students may withdraw from a subject up to 30 days after enrollment and receive a refund on tuition minus a $15 processing fee. The processing covers the administrative time it takes to remove the student from the class, inform the teacher, and issue the refund.
Once the school year has started, students may withdraw from a subject up to 14 days after the first day of the year and receive a full refund on tuition minus a $75 processing fee.
Due to our low cost, we are not able to offer a discount if multiple students from the same household enroll in the same subject. Multiple students from the same household in class will still result in the same amount of work for the teacher.
Please note, 75% of tuition is paid to the teacher. The remaining 25% pays for administration and expenses.