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We're so glad you're here ... and even more excited to meet you. Are you interested in visiting our school? Send us a note below.
As a parent-teacher cooperative, there are lots of opportunities to get involved though our Tuition Reduction Options, and tuition assistance is available. Learn more below.
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What is your average class size?
We cap our classes at 14 students. Research shows that this number is optimal for supporting learning. Occasionally, classes are enrolled to 15 if there is a special circumstance, but this is done only after careful consideration with the curent classroom teacher and taking into account the dynamics of the current class.
What grades do you serve?
Blacksburg New School is an indpenedent K-8 school, organized by our Elementary (K-5) and Middle School (6-8) buildings.
What is your plan for this COVID-19-affected fall?
We are in the midst of determining our plan for Fall 2020. All K-12 schools in Virginia (whether public or private) must adhere to the guidelines mandated by the governor. BNS will follow the guidelines that make reopening allowable and advisable. We are eager to get students back to in-person schooling and are currently hoping to be able to do that for all students 2-5 days per week. We will also offer an online-only option for students with high risk family members or other concerns. This past spring our school offered a lively at-home/online program…and we did that well (see Macaroni Kid article). We will improve upon what we learned in the spring and position ourselves in preparation to pivot to all online/at-home if it becomes necessary in the fall.
What is a parent-teacher cooperative school?
BNS was founded by a group of parents in 1971. For almost 50 years we have remained connected to those roots. While the academic program is delivered by a professional teaching staff, much of the other work of the school is done by parents in a cooperative fashion. During “normal” operations parents can be found supervising students on the playground during arrival and during lunch recess, cleaning the school, meeting to hire new teachers, coordinating fundraising events, reviewing budgets, and taking care of the building and grounds. Parents and teachers prioritize a sense of community and team up together to “raise the kids.”
How much parent involvement is “required”?
Parents are offered the opportunity to do a regular service to the school for a reduced tuition (see Tuition Reduction Option information). This service, however, is not required. In addition to TRO jobs, there are other ways to be involved—serving on the school’s board of directors, making a content-related presentation to a class, working with the middle schoolers on an elective class. While we expect parents to support their children’s school lives, the level of involvement in the daily working of the school is determined by each family. And that level often changes from year to year depending upon everything from varying job responsibilities, new babies, dissertations, caring for parents, and more. There is a trusted ebb and flow in the who’s-doing-what that works.
Is BNS an accredited school?
Yes. The school is accredited by the VCPE-approved accrediting organization Virginia Independent Schools Association. VISA conducts an on-site visit and review of curricula and procedures every 5 years.
Can my child enroll in BNS kindergarten if they don’t meet the “five by September 30” cutoff?
While we legally could allow early admission for younger children, we are committed to developmental integrity and choose not to do so. We have occasionally admitted younger kids as Pre-K students (when an unfilled Kindergarten enrollment spot is available). They begin their K year the following year. We find that kids who are academically advanced at age 4 are still 4-year-olds and we feel that reality needs to lead their early schooling. From time to time children have entered Kindergarten reading at an advanced level and they are provided with the space to grow and be challenged...while enjoying being a little kid with little kid friends. If a younger child’s advanced skills are truly self-driven there is not issue of boredom--at least not in the proper preschool. We encourage families to find preschools that provide the opportunity to play, interact, and learn good solid social skills while engaging in math and literacy activities as initiated and enjoyed.
How much outside time is provided to students?
We believe in recess at BNS. For elementary students, the morning arrival time occurs on the playground. There is a late afternoon snack recess, a mid-day lunch recess, and 3 PE periods outside. The afternoon pick-up time happens from the playground. And the state-licensed After School Program is almost entirely outside. The school has a beautiful playground with lots of options for play. Middle school students also have a healthy set of outdoor options during the day.
[Please note: There will be adjustments to all of this in order to comply with mitigation techniques during the time of COVID-19. While we may not be able to have playground free play time, we hope to have large chunks of class and snack times spent outside under big tents.]
How is the transition from BNS to high school?
Each year brings the school the opportunity to gather information from families who have one child at BNS and an older child (a BNS graduate) in a local high school. This information has helped us create a transition that is quite smooth. Most of our students go to Blacksburg High School, with some going to Community High School in Roanoke, Christiansburg High School, and Radford High School. While specific information about grades, test scores, and college admissions is kept confidential by the high schools, many students and their parents share information with us. We find that students feel very well-prepared (academically and socially) for high school and that they tend to navigate their high school years with confidence and kindness.
Will my child take standardized tests at BNS?
No. BNS does not administer standardized tests. Nor does BNS spend school time teaching to such tests. Students are meaningfully assessed (via reading inventories, math curricula unit tests, teacher-designed quizzes and tests) to assure readiness for the next level of learning. Students entering high school often take SOLs to validate a credit (e.g. for a high school level class taken at BNS—like Algebra I) and do very well.
What are the main reasons parents choose BNS for their children?
- Highly experienced teachers
- Small class size
- Innovative and challenging curriculum
- Ability to have kids in one school from K-8
- Inclusion of Art, Spanish, Music, PE in the core curricula beginning in Kindergarten
- Sense of community built upon relationships—benefitting kids and their parents
- State accreditation—which facilitates simple transfer of high school credit classes
- High expectations for behavior
- Outside time!