Frequently Asked Questions

Highland Academy

What grade levels do you serve?

We currently serve students in grades TK-8.  

What is the dress code?

Shoes will be worn at all times. Sandals or flip-flops may be worn, except during P.E., closed toe shoes required for all athletics.

Shirts must cover the midriff (stomach) even with arms fully outstretched above the student’s head. Undergarments (i.e. Bras and straps, underwear or boxers) must be covered at all times. 

Baggy pants worn low on the waist (known as sagging) may not be worn at school. 

All shorts must have a minimum of a 5-inch inseam; Skirts must reach mid-thigh.

Clothing or accessories shall be free of writing, pictures, or any other insignia, which are crude, violent, obscene or sexually suggestive. Any clothing that advocates racial, ethnic, religious, or other prejudice toward any group are not permitted. Any clothing depicting the use of tobacco, drugs or alcohol, or are otherwise considered inappropriate.

Earrings, jewelry, or accessories, which present a safety hazard to the wearer or others, are not suitable for school. Some jewelry may be required to be removed for P.E./athletics.

Identified gang attire such as bandannas, haircuts or hair rollers, baggy shorts with long white socks, “do rags,” or any gang-related/gang-type paraphernalia are prohibited.

Do you have an after school program?

Yes! Our HOWL (Helping Others While Learning) Program is open every school day, from dismissal until 6:00 pm. It is available for Highland Academy students of any grade. Program information, including availability, can be obtained by contacting the front office at 951-266-0220. Once at capacity, HOWL maintains a waiting list and admits students only as space becomes available.

Are you part of Beaumont Unified School District?

No, Highland Academy is an independent charter school and is not a school of the district. Beaumont Unified is our authorizer and, as such, as certain oversight responsibilities. However, Highland Academy has its own Board that is responsible for oversight and governance.

How many students do you have?

Highland Academy maintains a current enrollment of 340 students.

Do you have a block schedule?

Yes! Highland Academy middle school students spend more “block” time with their teachers and have fewer interruptions and transitions throughout the day. 

Students will only see one half of their teachers on Mondays & Wednesdays, but they will see the other half on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On Fridays they see all their teachers and wrap up the week.

We feel that giving teachers and students more “block” time together increases the rigor and quality of the learning that takes place in the classroom.

How big are class sizes?

Smaller than most schools around. In fact, middle school class sizes average only 25 students! In our elementary program, classes are even smaller at 22 students. Research has proven that more face time with teachers drastically improves student achievement across the board.

How much does it cost to attend?

Nothing.  Highland Academy is a free public school available to any California student.

When is Open Enrollment? Do you have a lottery?

Open enrollment is during the month of March. During this month, anybody desiring to enroll in Highland Academy is welcome to submit an enrollment application for the upcoming school year.  

Whether we have a lottery or not depends on the number of enrollment applications we receive. If we receive less applications than the number of spots we have available, then everybody is enrolled for that grade level and there is no lottery. 

However, if the amount of applications exceeds the spots we have available, then all applications, irregardless of when they were received, are placed in a public random lottery.

Can I enroll my student after the school year has already started?

Yes, we accept applications throughout the school year. If there is currently space in that grade level, then your student will be enrolled once we receive and review the required paperwork. If the grade level you are interested in is full to capacity, then your student is placed on the waiting list instead.  You can contact the school at anytime to see you current position on the waiting list.

Does your school have a sports program?

Yes! Highland Academy competes in most major sports currently offered for middle schools in our area.  

What is Highland Academy’s policy on bullying or harassment?

Highland Academy follows the law and prohibits harassment or bullying on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, race, color, national origin, religion, or disability.  Please see a member of the school’s administrative team if your student has been a victim of such behavior. 

General Info About Charters

How are charter schools held academically accountable?

Charter public schools, unlike traditional public schools, are academically accountable in two ways. They are held accountable by their authorizer and, most importantly, by the families they serve. When a team of school developers submit their charter petition, they must define their academic goals. To be authorized, their goals must be rigorous. In order to stay open, they must meet or exceed those goals.

Families make the choice to enroll their children in charter schools, and families can remove them if they are dissatisfied with the school. A charter school that neglects its academic duties will soon find that its enrollment has dwindled, and major changes may be necessary for the school to remain open.

California law gives charter schools autonomy and flexibility in exchange for increased accountability. Charter schools must be renewed at least every five years by the school district or authorizer to ensure they have good academic results, and that they are operating in a fiscally and operationally responsible manner.

Are charter schools for-profit?

Highland Academy is not.  For-profit charter schools represent less than 1% of charter schools in California. 

How are charter schools different than traditional public schools?

The most important word is flexibility!  Every charter school is allowed the freedom to create its own educational methodology. Teachers, students, parents and administrators all have a say in the types of instructional methods, materials and academic programs the school offers. Charter school models can include, but are not limited to: college preparation, distance learning, dual language immersion, performing arts, math, science, technology and much more!

How are charter school’s funded?

Money allocated to charter schools does not come out of school districts’ budgets. The state and the federal government allocate education funds based on the number of students, their grade level and their needs. If a student chooses to go to a charter school, the money is allocated to the charter school to educate that student. In other words, the money follows the student. It is the student’s money, not the district’s.

Do charter schools take money away from school districts?

In California, traditional district schools and charter public schools are funded under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) which allocates state and local tax dollars to public education agencies based on the number of students in each grade level. Additional funding is provided for students with high needs, such as low-income pupils and English learners and foster youth. Public funding generally follows the student to the public school the parents choose, whether a charter school or a traditional district school. When charter schools are funded, there is no overall loss of public school money because charter schools are public schools.

What oversight is provided to charter schools?

Charter schools must operate in accordance with state and federal law. They must abide by health and safety laws, and cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Charter school governing bodies are often subject to various laws that apply to nonprofit public benefit organizations, such as ethical financial practices, and public body rules, such as open meeting laws. Also, like all public school districts, charter schools must have an annual independent financial audit in accordance with state rules. Charter schools also have oversight from their authorizers (the local school district). Authorizers review financial reports, Accountability Plans, and they have the authority to conduct audits to determine if the charter school should be renewed at the end of the charter school’s term (usually every five years). An authorizer can revoke a charter school for violations of law, fiscal mismanagement, or if the school is not meeting pupil academic outcomes or the terms of its charter.

Are charter schools here to stay?

Families of the hundreds of thousands of students in California who attend charter schools would not call charters a fad. Evidence argues that the public has never been more supportive of charter schools based on growth in charter school enrollment, waiting list numbers, and polling data. This growth in support has occurred during a period when charter schools have been held more accountable than traditional public schools and have strengthened their performance.

Charter schools are an important part of the state’s public school system, providing a space for innovation, educational opportunity in low-income communities and unique curriculum options. Charter schools have been reinventing public education in California for decades now.

Are charter schools public schools?

Yes, charters schools are public schools. They are non-sectarian, tuition-free and open to any student who wishes to attend. Charter schools allow parents, teachers and the community to transform our public school system. Choice is a powerful tool for parents seeking access to quality education for their children.