Frequently Asked Questions
2023-2024 School Year
Atlas is a new tuition-free public charter school that opened in the Fall of 2021 for curious, creative, and compassionate kids. We instill a love of learning while empowering our kids to build a healthy future for themselves, our community, and the world. Atlas is growing smart! This year we will serve only kindergarten, first, and second grade students and will add a grade each year until we are a K-5 elementary school. We are currently enrolling kindergarten through third grade students for the 2023-2024 school year.
What is a charter school?
Atlas is an open-enrollment charter school in St. Louis. Charter schools are:
- Tuition-free and part of the free public school system
- Held to state and federal academic standards
- Open to all students, including those with disabilities
- Funded primarily through a combination of federal, state, and local tax dollars
When will Atlas be a K-5 school?
Atlas opened with kindergarten and first grade for the 2021-2022 school year and will add a grade each year thereafter. Therefore, Atlas will be fully grown as a K-5 school for the 2025-2026 school year.
Where do I apply?
Who can apply?
Atlas is open to all families with children eligible to enter Kindergarten-Third Grade for the 2023-2024 school year. Your child needs to be 5 years old on or before 10/1/23 if you apply to kindergarten for the 2023-24 school year.
What is required to apply?
Our application is all you need to apply to Atlas. Once offered a seat and as part of the registration process, we will need proof of residency, birth certificate, and immunization records.
What is the age requirement for kindergarten?
The “cut-off” date for birthdays is October 1st for the year you apply. For example, your child needs to be 5 years old on or before 10/1/23 if you apply to kindergarten for the 2023-2024 school year.
What is the enrollment timeline?
First Enrollment Period: October 1st - November 30th @8pm
Application Deadline: Wednesday, November 30th @8pm
First lottery: Friday, December 2nd @5pm
Families will be notified within 2 business days of the lottery (Dec. 6th)
Second Enrollment Period: December 1st - February 1st @8pm
Application Deadline: Wednesday, February 1st @8pm
Second lottery: Friday, February 3rd @5pm
Families will be notified within 2 business days of the lottery (Feb. 7th)
Families have 10 business days to accept or decline (Feb. 21st)
Third Enrollment Period: February 2nd - April 5th @8pm
Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 5th @8pm
Third lottery: Friday, April 7th @5pm
Families will be notified within 2 business days of the lottery (April 11th)
Families have 5 business days to accept or decline (April 18th)
How does the lottery work?
If the number of applicants for either lottery exceeds capacity, Atlas will enroll students randomly, with preference for eligible new students given in the following order:
- Children of Atlas faculty & staff who reside within the boundaries of the St. Louis Public School District
- Siblings of students currently enrolled as of the lottery date
- Students who reside in the 63103, 63108, or 63110 zip codes
- Students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and
- Other student applicants
Should a lottery be held, all completed and accepted applications submitted during the enrollment period will be publicly drawn in random order until capacity is reached. Lotteries will be randomized by computer and certified by a third-party public official or outside firm to attest to the lottery’s fairness.
Additional applicants after the lottery will be added to a “waiting list,” which will rank applications that were submitted during the enrollment period. Applications received after the enrollment period will be added to the bottom of the waiting list. These applicants will be identified by number and by grade.
Additional seat capacity after the third lottery will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis to eligible students.
What is the timeline for accepting/declining an offer?
Families will have ten business days to accept or decline an offer.
What happens if I decline my offer or miss the deadline?
Families who decline an offer or do not respond by the deadline permanently release their seats to the waitlist. Families can opt to join the end of the waitlist if they would like to be reconsidered for their seats.
I have multiple children applying for Atlas. Are they all guaranteed spaces?
Preference for siblings is given to those who already have an enrolled student at Atlas.
How is the waitlist drawn?
For those applicants not offered a seat initially due to capacity, the lottery will assign students to a waitlist in ranked order based on our lottery preferences. If a spot opens up, we will offer a spot in order of the waitlist.
How is Atlas funded?
Atlas is funded primarily through a combination of federal, state, and local tax dollars. We also have received generous grants from a local and national incubator.
Can you go over the school calendar? What happens during intercessions?
Our year-round model is broken up into seven academic sessions, each consisting of approximately five weeks of instruction followed by a two-week intersession. During intercessions that do not fall on traditional school breaks, students have the opportunity to participate in camp-like enrichment programs on a sliding scale led by trusted community partners. This exposes kids to unique learning opportunities such as a dance or science camp that they might not have had otherwise. With our calendar, families won’t have to worry about finding childcare when they aren’t in session. The intersession programming will be offered on a sliding scale basis so that all families can access programming. Teachers will be engaged in meaningful professional development during the first week of each intersession. For more information, click "Calendar" under the "About" tab.
Do kids get the summer off?
There is approximately a three-week summer break for all students.
Where is Atlas located?
Atlas is located in the Educational Building at 2845 Washington Ave, right in the heart of St. Louis' Midtown neighborhood. The building, owned by Central Baptist, is situated within walking distance of Saint Louis University and Harris-Stowe State University, the fantastic resources and attractions in Grand Center, and St. Louis staples such as the Aquarium at Union Station.
Will you provide transportation?
At this time, we do not have plans to provide transportation to and from Atlas. We know we cannot be a truly equitable school if we do not offer transportation, so we are working hard to secure transportation for families who need it the most.
When does the school day begin and end?
The day begins at 8:00 am and ends at 3:30 pm. We provide before and after school care on a sliding scale fee.
How large are class sizes?
We have approximately twenty-six kids in a class, with at least two educators in each classroom.
Do students take field trips?
Yes! Except at Atlas, we call these “Expeditions” instead of field trips. Expeditions expose students to various learning experiences and are an integral part of Atlas' curriculum.
Do you require uniforms?
We want Atlas to be a joyful school community where all students and families feel welcome and safe. It’s important to us that our students recognize their inner greatness and that no one ever feels “less than” anyone else. Therefore, we think uniforms level the playing field, and there won’t be as many issues with kids feeling left out.
Are there opportunities for families to volunteer?
There are many ways that you can become involved in our school community. If you are interested in being part of Atlas’ Family Council or would like to be an Atlas Ambassador, reach out to Genevieve Backer at [email protected].
What kind of family involvement are you looking for?
At Atlas, we believe that our students thrive when our team has a strong partnership with families. We know that families know their children best, and we work alongside you to ensure that each student receives the education they deserve. We believe that open and honest communication is key to a solid foundation of our relationship as we work together to provide an amazing education for your child.
How will students with disabilities/gifted students be supported?
As a public school, we accept and welcome students with all different educational needs. We have a special education teacher, a Director of Student Support Services, and we partner with Miriam Learning Center to help deliver services such as occupational and speech therapy.
What's up with the graphics of kids in your logo?
At Atlas, we call our students “explorers” because we want them to explore the community and world around them. Our graphics are kids having fun while exploring!