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Terra Schools - FAQ

GENERAL/ADMISSIONS FAQs

What are the steps in the admissions process?

1. Attend a Tour or Open House
2. Apply on Ravenna
3. Parent Meet & Greet
4. Student Visit
https://www.terramarin.org/how-to-apply

GENERAL FAQ

What is the Application Cost?

$100, if a family needs a waiver please have them contact admissions@terramarin.org

What is Ravenna?

Ravenna is a 3rd party application platform that TMS uses to receive and process applications. Ravenna is used by most private indepedent schools in the Bay Area.

How do I apply for financial aid?

What level of income is needed to qualify for financial aid?

Financial aid is calculated by a third party using SSS methodology determines how much aid each family will receive. However, Terra Schools will carefully consider every application and meet with family to better allocate the resources to best serve our community.

What does the socio-economic diversity of the school look like?

37% of our families receive financial aid

How many days a week can my child attend (Preschools)?

5 days a week

What are the hours?

School hours: 8 am-8:45 am Drop-off 8:45 am - 3:15 pm School day 3:15 pm-3:25 pm Pick-up 5:30 pm Aftercare pickup https://www.terramarin.org/tms-at-a-glance

What are the start and end time of the school?

8:45 am - 3:15 pm. Early Morning Care: 8 - 8:45 am (included in tuition); Afterschool childcare: 3:15 - 5:30 pm (additional fees); AEP Programs vary by program and hours (https://www.terramarin.org/after-care).

Are there before care and aftercare options?

Yes, school will open and have early care at 8 am and after school childcare ends at 5:30pm (https://www.terramarin.org/after-care).

What is the cost of aftercare?

CHILD CARE: cost depends on the number of days/week; charged monthly AEP: cost depends on which program (Mandarin, Spanish, art) and which session (https://www.terramarin.org/after-care)

Do you offer transportation?

Yes, TMS has 2 bus services - North Route(Fairfax and San Rafael) and San Francisco Route (South Beach, Ingleside, Miraloma, Haight, Inner Richmond, Presidio). The cost is additional and not included in Tuition.

How many students per class?

Student / Teacher Ratio:

  • Terra Mandarin Preschool - 5:1

  • Terra Spanish Preschool - 5:1

  • Terra Marin Lower School - 10:1

  • Terra Marin Upper School - 14:1

 

Average Class Size:

  • Terra Mandarin Preschool: 25

  • Terra Spanish Preschool: 5

  • Terra Marin Lower School: 12

  • Terra Marin Upper School: 15

https://www.terramarin.org/tms-at-a-glance

What is a typical class size?

10 - 12 students is the average, but some classes meet in smaller cohorts and some classes meet in larger groups (i,e. play practice)

Do siblings receive a discount?

No, in general elementary and preschools do not give discounts. However, TMS tries to meet the community needs as much as possible. Please get in contact with admissions@terramarin.org for more information.

Do you offer summer school?

We do not offer summer school but we do have a fantastic Year-round Camp Program for children 2.5 - 10 years old. We also have a CIT (Counselor In Training Program) for students who are 12 -13 years old.

What are the electives offered?

Music, Art, Drama - We have specialist teachers who only teach their specific electives.

How is the school handling COVID-19?

Students and staff are tested weekly. TMS partnered with a local lab who sends parents results within 12 - 24 hours

Are masks optional on campus?

TMS follows Marin Counties masking guidelines; currently masks are optional on-campus unless a classroom is exposed or there is an outbreak then masks are worn for 10 days

In what grade is technology introduced?

Students in the 5-8th grade receive an IPAD as part of our schools integrated technology program. Ipads are used to learn how to type, to work on essays and research projects. Ipads are not used for non-educational purposes. 7th & 8th graders are allowed to take home ipads; 5th & 6th graders keep ipads at school

Do students learn handwriting?

Yes, in kindergarten (script) the 3rd grade begins cursive writing.

How does the school communicate with parents?

We have 2 weekly newsletters that go out every Sunday. One for our K-8th and one for our preschools. The newsletter includes some information about what happened in class that week, what happened in Earth Education, and is the place for announcements. Teachers are also available and willing to share any feedbacks, updates or to discuss about anything else during pick-up and/or drop off.

What is the school lunch program like/cost?

We currently do not offer a hot lunch program.

How many people on Faculty and Staff

2022-2023 - 45 people faculy & staff; 35 teachers; 10 faculty and staff

Why did the Terra Schools choose Clarity?

We have chosen Clarity as our financial aid application provider in order to better serve both our current and prospective families. We are confident that this change is going to make the process of applying for financial aid easier for families.

How does Clarity make it easier for me to apply for financial aid?

Clarity offers a streamlined, mobile friendly application that can be completed in as short a time as 20 minutes. Additionally, Clarity removes the need to upload your 2022 W2 and 1040 by transferring them directly from the IRS. This reduces the amount of information that you will need to enter manually and makes it possible to complete the application quickly and efficiently.

How many people on Faculty and Staff

2022-2023 - 45 people faculy & staff; 35 teachers; 10 faculty and staff

Is my information secure with Clarity?

The Terra Schools take the privacy and security of your personal information very seriously. Clarity is certified for both GDPR and SOC2 and uses enterprise-level security standards including end-to-end encryption of all personally identifiable information. For more information, please refer to Clarity’s Privacy Policy.

How will this impact my award?

Just as in prior years, if your financial circumstances have not changed, you will not see significant changes to your award. If you have any questions about your individual circumstance, please reach out to us.

Will I still need to apply every year?

Yes, you will need to submit a Clarity application each year in order to qualify for financial aid; however, Clarity retains your information from previous applications, so it will be even easier to reapply.

Can I complete my Clarity application on my phone or tablet?

Yes! Clarity’s application is fully mobile-friendly so you have access wherever you are.

When do I need to apply?

You must submit your full completed application by

  • Friday, January 19, 2023, for returning families

  • Thursday, February 15, 2023, for new families

CURRICULUM FAQs

What is the Harkness Method? Are there any other schools using this method?

Harkness is a discussion based teaching methodology that challenges students to sit at the center of education and make meaning of new information together. Students lead and explore ideas as a group, "developing the courage to speak, the compassion to listen and the empathy to understand", while the teacher facilitates the discussion and fosters a safe environment for the discussion

CURRICULUM FAQ

What kind of training do teachers have for social emotional learning?

Social Emotional- Responsive Classroom, Zones of Regulation, How does your Engine Run, Mindful Schools, Heart & Mind

What kind of training do teachers have for Reggio-Emilia.

Reggio Emilia Emergent Curriculum- John Gunnarson, Early Childhood Education consultant and professor with 20+years of experience. Learn and The Brain Conference Yearly, Innovative Teacher Project

What kind of training will teachers have in project-based learning and in Earth Education?

Project Based Learning- Brightworks

 

Nature Curriculum- Richard Luv and Nature Connections weaves nature into PBL. Tracker School

What is the philosophy on homework?

PK & TK: No homework is assigned. K-4th Grade: we believe that less is definitely more in this case. We also believe that homework is an extension of what happens in the classroom. 5th - 8th Grade: While we do believe less is more, we do also want to prepare our students for highschool, which has a much more rigours courseload. Per night, we expect roughly the number of minutes to be spent on hw be associated with which grade each student is, e.g., 5th graders have 50 mins of hw; 6th graders have 60 mins of hw, & so on.

Will there be foreign languages offered ?

Preschool and TK - Mandarin immersion. K-8th - Spanish and Mandarin; students in K-4 choose one or two languages and have class for 3 hours/every week.

What are the views on acceleration? My child is advanced in...this way. How will that be fostered?

First, we must recognize the simple fact that no two children are the same. Assessments are essential to revealing and defining the needs and level of each child and customized learning plans will be key to a child’s success. Our Band Scheduling will allow for student mobility in both Math and English Language Arts, creating opportunities to blend age and academic levels into one class. Our Band Scheduling would make it possible for a 1st grader to attend a 3rd grade Math class, for example.

My son has difficulties in this way... what kind of support system does the school have to address this?

Our literacy specialists, educational consultants, and learning specialists will not only identify and assist each student depending on the grade with his/her unique learning differences, but also share and communicate that information with all the members of a student's learning team (student, parent, advisor, teachers, outside professionals etc.). Our literacy specialists, educational consultants, and learning specialists will collaborate with teachers regarding student support needs, and assist parents in understanding their child's unique learning profile, all the while focusing on keeping our children academically engaged, while providing a social and emotional support system.

Is your school common core? What is the curriculum ?

We feel that children learn best when inspired by their own curiosity through connection and collaboration, and our tenets revolve around experiential learning, and a steady exposure to nature. 

We feel that both are essential and both are interrelated. We are not dedicated to the Common Core per se, but we see the validity of it, and through our integrated curriculum, I believe our students not only hit the key points of the Common Core, but excel far beyond them. But our curriculum is not based on the Common Core.

What kind of enrichment programs are available?

Terra Schools offers several after school enrichment programs as well as before and after care. To name a few: Spanish Immersion, Mandarin Immersion, Art, Athletics... More info: https://www.terramarin.org/enrichment

What if a family makes a deposit or commitment and decides not to attend in Sept?

Deposit 'hold' a space for a child. These are non-refundable.

What are the electives offered?

Music, Art, Drama, Spanish, Outdoor Education. These classes will also be infused into our program.

What is the bus schedule?

We organize the stops according to the families that we have. Currently, Target stop pick up time in the morning is 7:30am and Presidio YMCA at 7:45am. After school, we worked our way backward. School dismissal time is 3:15pm, bus leaves at 3:30pm. Presidio YMCA drop off time is 3:45/3:50pm and Target stop at 3:55-4:05pm (depending on traffic)

EARTH EDUCATION FAQs

What day a week is the Earth Education program?

Terra Mandarin Preschool: 1 Day In Nature
Terra Spanish Preschool: 3 Days In Nature
Terra Marin K-8 School:
- (K-4) 2 Days In Nature
- (5-8) 1 Day In Nature

EARTH EDUCATION FAQ

What info do we need to tell to Earth Ed parents/students as part of pre-screening?

1) Under extensive care, guidance and supervision, Terra Marin School's Earth Education program will be properly instructing youth on how to safely use knives, make campfires, climb trees and wade in creeks as part of our Earth Education curriculum. Is this something both you and your child are OK with?

2) Can your child follow the "3 P's", being, can they...
A: Pack) take proper care and responsibility for their backpack and the contents inside?
B: Potty) go to the bathrooms on their own with a guide at the door?
C: Parent) be without their parent in the woods for the duration of class?

3) Is your child OK with getting dirty, being near insects and hiking varying distances, and do they own clothing that can get dirty/muddy ("nature clothes")?

4) It is required that your child does not leave the group at any time during Earth Education days. This includes but is not limited to; leaving without telling a guide, walking away from the group despite the guide asking them not to, being non-responsive when asked to stay with the group and attempting to get lost on purpose. Does your child understand this and can they agree to staying with the group during the duration of class?

5) There will be no use of gaming devices or electronics for the duration of our time in the field, with the exception of cameras to take pictures. We disconnect to reconnect :)
 

SUMMER CAMPS FAQs

SUMMER CAMPS FAQs

What should the student bring?

Backpack (their school backpack should work fine) that can hold...
- Water bottle at least 24oz or bigger
- Close-toed shoes (hiking shoes are ideal)
- A packed snack and lunch (kids tend to get hungrier in the woods)
- Weather appropriate clothing (jackets for cold weather, shorts for warm etc.)
- Personal medications
- Bug spray & sunscreen

What’s the outdoor program?

Students spend a full day each week outdoors off-site, exploring Marin and learning from our world's greatest teacher - nature.
Led by a highly trained Earth Education specialist, children learn to track animals, find their way back to base-camp blindfolded, and grind acorns into flour to make food. They learn ancestral skills and crafts. https://www.terramarin.org/earth-ed-curriculum

What are the benefits of the outdoor program?

Nature play needs to be a fundamental part of every childhood. Earth education allows students unstructured time in a structured environment. This meaningful connection with nature grounds children, gives them a sense of place and belonging, and makes them more effective learners who are prepared to embrace challenges and soar academically.

 

The results are proven: Spending time in nature boosts academic performance, focus, engagement and love of learning. https://www.terramarin.org/earth-ed-curriculum

Where is Earth Discovery Camp Located? 

Terra San Francisco Camps:

  • Crissy Field

  • The Presidio

  • Bakers Beach

  • Ocean Beach

  • Golden Gate Park

  • San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Terra Marin Camps:

  • McNears Beach Park

  • China Camp State Park

  • Phoenix Lake

  • Horse Hill

  • Hauke Park

  • Blackie's Pasture

  • Old Mill Park

  • Tennessee Valley

  • Rodeo Beach

  • Muir Beach

What is your Refund Policy?

 If we need to shut down the camp due to a COVID case within the camp cohort, you will be refunded for the remaining days not attended. If you cancel your registration due to personal reasons more than two weeks (14 days) before the start of the camp, you will receive a full refund minus a $50 administrative fee. If you cancel within 14 days of the start date, no refund will be provided unless the cancellation is COVID-related. If the cancellation is due to COVID, please contact us at camp@terramarin and we will determine the refund on a case-by-case basis.

Do you provide snacks and/or lunch?

Yes, we provide hot lunches for Earth Discovery Camps, but not for the language camps.

What does my child need to bring in their backpack?

An entended packing list will be sent via email after registering. In short, please be prepared to pack snacks (2), water, shoes, weather appropriate clothing, hat, jacket, personal medications, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, tissue paper for nature bathroom breaks, 1 complete change of clothes.

How does shuttle work? Where are the pick-up and drop-off locations?

Is there swimming at camp?

There is no actual swimming at Terra Marin’s summer camp. Beach days with campers are spent building sand castles, studying tide pools, going on hikes, collecting treasure, wave tag (shins deep only), and interacting with the plants and animals in the beach ecosystem. We have scheduled times where we actually interact with the water- there isn’t free play all day by the ocean. Our counselor staff is vigilant in ensuring the safety of our campers, especially while at the beach. Additionally, campers always have a choice to refrain from water play and participate in a dry land activity with another counselor.

What happens in case of bad weather?

All Marin camps will take place at Terra Marin School if it is safe to do so. SF camps will be moved to Terra San Francisco School. We will communicate via email about this. 

What does aftercare look like?

Indoor & outdoor play, free choice in various activity centers, snack is provided.

Who are the camp counselors? What is their training/experience?

Our camp staff educators are resilient, reliable and professionals in their respective fields. Earth Discovery educators are seasoned camp counselors and have all studied and/or worked in environmentally affiliated programs. Language Immersion staff are trained to teach and demonstrate necessary language skills. All staff are CPR and First Aid certified. 

What is the students:counselors ratio for camps?

7:1

What is the process in case of an emergency?

If necessary, we will call 911 and parents accordingly. If we need to move camp, we will relocate to Terra Marin School or Terra San Francisco School. 

How do you keep all the kids together?

Camp begins with a morning circle where we outline and set expectations for our camp day. Then we transition as a group throughout our time from activities to games as we execute the daily flow. We eat lunch, walk, talk, and learn as a team. Ending with a closing circle, concluding the day just as we began, together.

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