1. Why Monarch? The faculty at Monarch Learning Academy is united in its belief that children learn best in a small academic community where they actively participate and learn skills that encompass whole-child development. At Monarch, participatory, student-centered learning teaches our students not just a given course’s content, but also the skills required to be their own and each other’s teachers. The Christian environment and culture at Monarch encourages friendly and supportive interaction between age groups, and a collaboration that organically fosters confidence and character.
2. What kind of student is a good fit for Monarch? The successful Monarch student is above average to average academically, and thrives in an environment where they are truly engaged and their ideas are taken seriously. Monarch families are encouraged to take full advantage of the amount of support and opportunity that is offered by our small class size and our active parent community. Monarch familes have a service-oriented mindset and want their children's education to take place both inside and outside the classroom.
3. Is Monarch affiliated with a church? Monarch functions independently from Church on the Drive, where we rent space. We are a nondenominational Christian school, not affiliated with any particular church.
4. What are your class sizes? Our class sizes are 12-15 students from Kindergarten through Grade 8. In the preschool, child to teacher ratios vary from age to age and are always lower than what is required by DCF. Each preschool class has a minimum of two teachers.
5. Is there before-care and after-care? Yes. Before-care is available starting at 7:30am. Our after-care program runs until 6:00pm. We also have weekly afterschool enrichment classes and a study hall.
6. Tell me about the facility and outdoor spaces. Monarch is located in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando, on the Church on the Drive campus. We are within walking distance to Dartmouth Park. We have spacious classrooms, a courtyard, a large play space and a learning garden. There is a dedicated computer lab/library and art studio.
7. Why small classes in the upper school? Classes with 12-15 students are an incredible opportunity for teachers to explore concepts and teach skills that might normally be reserved for tutoring or an older age group. In addition, teachers can be increasingly responsive to students’ individual needs and interests. A rapport and connection between student and teacher and among students can quickly develop, allowing for a supportive, respectful and productive learning environment. Small classes allow our teachers to meet with students individually and in small groups daily.
8. What are the benefits of a child-centered, project-based curriculum? Besides giving students a solid foundation in all areas of learning, our classes go beyond the traditional and mechanistic transmitting of information from teacher to student. At Monarch, we seek to experientially teach students how to learn. Learning is a cooperative enterprise in which the students and teacher work together as partners. A curriculum that is rich in project-based learning encourages meaningful inquiry and critical and creative thinking. Projects incorporate all subject areas as well as the students’ interests and knowledge. The result is a school full of engaged students who love to learn.
9. How is your curriculum developed? The foundation of our upper school (K-8) curriculum is in line with the Common Core Standards and based on a scope and sequence written by the faculty. The skills and content that are covered in both the upper and lower school classrooms stay the same from year to year, and we draw from multiple resources when planning lessons and projects to accommodate for specific learning styles as well as individual interests unique to a class.
10. Are there volunteer opportunities for parents? All great schools know that providing opportunities to reinforce the home-school connection is an important component of student success. At Monarch, where community is a core value, parent volunteer work is needed and appreciated. Monarch’s Parent Volunteer Hours requirement necessitates each family to volunteer 25 hours in the area of their choice, or make a $250 donation to the school. Ways to satisfy Parent Volunteer Hours are classroom assistance with projects and field trips, welcoming new families, library, book fair and organizing fundraisers, among others.
11. How does the school communicate with families during the school year? Most general school communication is via e-mail. Teachers communicate with families informally every day and are happy to schedule meetings as needed. In grades K-8, report cards and progress reports go home four times a year, and conferences are held once in the Fall and again in the Spring.
12. What can I expect on an admissions tour? You can expect a full tour of the school when it is in session, as well as an opportunity to ask specific questions of the Director, who will personally conduct your tour.
13. What's your service learning program like? At Monarch, we feel strongly about going outside our walls to serve our neighborhood, community, city, and world. In addition to mentoring programs within between older and younger students in our classrooms, we have forged meaningful partnerships with nonprofit organizations in our city that reinforce service ideals in our students and benefit our community at large. Further, each summer we participate in a week-long service intensive in Guatemala where we build wood-burning stoves in a rural Mayan community, improving health of stove recipients and providing a hands-on immersion experience for our students and their families. Finally, our unique Monarch Serves class is a part of K-8 curriculum and allows students the opportunity to explore issues, activism, service, and implementation. Service is at our core.
14. What are your hours?
Toddler, Twos, Threes: 9am-12 Noon
First Grade: 8:30-2:30 (Early release on Wednesdays at 2pm)
2nd - 8th Grades: 8:30am-3pm (Early release on Wednesdays at 2pm)
Study Hall is optional and free of charge for 6th-8th grades from 3-4pm.
Before-care is offered beginning at 7:30am and after-care is offered until 6pm.