Frequently Asked Questions
2021-2022 School Year
Atlas is a new tuition-free public charter school opening 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! We will initially serve only kindergarten and first grade students and add a grade each year until we are a K-5 elementary school.
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 will start with kindergarten and first grade for the 2021-2022 school year and 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 and first grade for the 2021-2022 school year. Your child needs to be 5 years old on or before 10/1/21 if you apply to kindergarten for the 2021-22 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 10/1/21 if you apply to kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year.
What is the enrollment timeline?
First Enrollment Period: October 20th - November 19th @8pm
Application Deadline: Thursday, November 19th @8pm
First lottery: Monday, November 23rd @5pm
Families will be notified within 2 business days of the lottery (Wednesday, Nov. 25th)
Families have 10 business days to accept or decline- December 10th
Second Enrollment Period: November 20th - January 21st @8pm
Application Deadline: Thursday, January 21st @8pm
Second lottery: Monday, January 25th @5pm
Families will be notified within 2 business days of the lottery (Wednesday, January 27th)
Families have 10 business days to accept or decline - February 10th
Third Enrollment Period: January 22nd - March 11 @8pm
Application Deadline: Thursday, March 11 @8pm
Third lottery: Monday, March 15 @5pm
Families will be notified within 2 business days of the lottery (March 17th)
Families have 10 business days to accept or decline - March 31st
How does the lottery work?
How does the lottery work?
All eligible students who apply will receive a spot at Atlas as long as we have spots available in that grade level. Atlas does not discriminate based on race, religion, economic status, gender identity or expression, national origin, language, special education needs, ability status, or any other identity. Again, all eligible students who apply will be accepted. However, if the number of applicants exceeds capacity, Atlas will hold a public lottery on the enrollment timeline specified.
If the number of applicants exceeds capacity, Atlas will enroll students randomly, with a preference for eligible new students given in the following order:
- Children of faculty & staff
- Siblings of students currently enrolled as of the lottery date
- Students who reside in the 63108 or 63110 zip codes
- Students who qualify for free and reduced lunch
- Other student applicants
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. Therefore, this is not applicable for the 2021-2022 school year as we will not have students already attending Atlas. However, if your child is already enrolled in Atlas for the following years, their siblings will automatically rise to the top of the waitlist, but an offer is not guaranteed. See Lottery for more information.
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.
Do kids get the summer off?
There is approximately a three-week summer break for all students.
Where is Atlas located?
Our team is excited to announce our location 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.
Here are a few details about the space:
- The building will serve as our home for Atlas’ first 2-3 years of operation while we work to build our dream school in the Midtown area.
- The Education Building was a school in the past and currently has five classrooms, offices, a full commercial kitchen, several bathrooms, and a large gym with a stage. We will make minimal improvements to this space, such as painting walls, but the building itself is in great shape.
- We are currently working on construction drawings and gaining bids to build out five additional classrooms in an adjacent building currently not in use. We are working as hard as we can to get these renovations completed by this summer and ready for the first day of school in September.
- While we are leasing from Central Baptist Church, Atlas will remain nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, and other operations.
- Atlas has a letter of support from Alderwoman, Marlene Davis who is excited for us to be located within her ward.
- There will be ample parking for families and staff.
- While there is no traditional playground connected to the Educational Building, we will convert one of the large parking lots into an outdoor play area with tricycles, nets, balls, and other outdoor equipment and activities.
- Atlas has already obtained all permits needed to occupy the existing Educational Building.
- We will be adding Atlas signage to the building.
We know that you are excited to see the building, and we are excited to show it to you. Unfortunately, we cannot give in-person tours just yet, but we hope to have a virtual tour posted soon.
Will you be in person when you open?
Right now, the plan is to be in person! We will be keeping an eye on recommendations from the CDC and act per their guidelines. We feel that we can open safely with such a small student body in year one, and we know that young children learn best in a classroom environment rather than behind a computer screen.
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. That said, we cannot currently promise transportation.
When does the school day begin and end?
The day begins at 8:00 am and ends at 3:30 pm. We will provide before and after school care on a sliding scale fee.
How large are class sizes?
We will have approximately twenty-six kids in a class, with two educators in each classroom.
Have you hired all your teachers?
We are currently accepting applications for new hires and have started interviewing our first applicants. We are excited that such a fantastic talent pool has already applied!
What specials/related arts will be offered?
All students will take classes in related arts. In year one, students will take music and art class daily.
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.
Will 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. However, we want our Founding Families to help decide the specifics of what the uniforms should look like!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 will have a special education teacher, and we plan on partnering 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!