WCA 101: Our New Families Guide to WCA
You've completed enrollment, you are excited to have your children walk through our halls, meet new friends, and benefit from our child-focused approach and Christ-centered emphasis. But what's next? Aside from just showing up the first day, what can you learn, do, and get plugged into to feel on that first day like you are ALREADY part of our school?
We asked ourselves the same questions, and from this discussion sprang WCA 101. WCA 101 is designed to familiarize you with important policies, get you started on necessary paperwork and administrative items, familiarize you with some of our school systems, educate you about our programs and how to get your student involved in them, and much more. We will also provide many tips and tricks on how you, the parent, can get involved at WCA, because when we are all engaged in God's school, we can reach heights unimaginable!
Thank you for investing your time to learn more about your child's new school, and we hope you come out of WCA 101 ready and informed! If there are any other questions we can answer, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Being in the know....that's a great feeling, right? Conversely, not being in the know, or being in the dark is nothing but trouble! This section of our WCA 101 is intended to point you to key school policy documents and the high points of those documents, as well as provide some answers to frequently asked questions so you arrive to WCA prepared...and in the know!
The Williamsburg Christian Academy Student/Parent Handbook
The WCA Student/Parent Handbook is the official policy manual covering such things as absence and tardy policies, electronic devices policies, emergency procedures, grading standards, extended care and also spells out our mission, vision and core values. Every new family should become very familiar with all the sections of the handbook, as you will be required to sign a form indicating that you have read and understood the policies laid out in the handbook, and are willing to abide by the policies spelled out in it. Many of the items below are actually excerpts from the Student/Parent Handbook. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL STUDENT-PARENT HANDBOOK)
There are some things you just need to know right off the bat, and other smaller details that may or may not appear in any handbook. So, we will cover all that info here. We also are developing an in-depth list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), which we hope to populate over time to answer almost ANY possible question you might conceive of as a new parent. So here are the basics:
School Start: Upper School 8:05AM Lower School 8:15AM
School Dismissal: Lower School 3:00PM, Upper School 3:15PM (Wednesday dismissal: Lower School 1:55PM, Upper School 2:10PM)
School begins promptly at the time indicated above, and it is imperative that students arrive at school on time. Such habits are critical to success in later life, and we seek to instill punctuality in our community. Any student in grades K-12 arriving after the times listed above is considered late to school.
If the student arrives within 5 minutes of the class start time, they may go right to class. If K-12 students arrive more than five minutes after their class start time, they must report to the front office, sign the tardy log and obtain an office pass before he/she goes to class.
There is a consequence, dependent on grade level, for excessive tardiness to school and to individual classes. For details, please see discipline sections for divisions in our Student/Family Handbook
Lower School periods are managed inside the classroom. All lower school students have Praise and Worship on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday with Chapel on Friday. All students are dismissed at 1:55PM on Wednesdays to accommodate staff professional development as we progress through our PYP authorization process.
Upper School is on a bell schedule with block class periods. For the Fall of 2022, the schedule is as shown below. Note students have half their classes on Monday/Thursday, and the others on Tuesday/Friday. There is also a short period on alternating weeks on Wednesdays. Wednesday also contains our Approaches to Learning (ATL) and Chapel periods. Diploma students have a slightly different schedule on Wednesday for Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge sessions.
Our school is two stories with Lower School on the first floor, together with our gymnasium and locker rooms, kitchen, cafeteria/auditorium ('the Cafetorium') , and library (the 'Downstairs').
The upper school as well as the college counseling room, Learning Support Services room, upper school library and DP lounge, and Residential Program center are on the second floor ('the Upstairs'). Our Field Hockey field is in the front of the building, and our baseball, soccer, and softball fields are in the rear of the building. We also have a set of cross-country running trails on the grounds.
Williamsburg Christian Academy has a comprehensive security system and process. Entry to the building is limited to the front doors alone. We have a multi-camera system for monitoring our entrances and exits.
All entrants to the building must check-in at the front desk with their purpose for visit, and are badged as a visitor. The only exception to this policy is during special events open to all parents and family.
Parents or other authorized persons wishing to check a student out of the building for an appointment, must check-in at the front office, and their student will be paged and escorted to the office as required. Under no circumstance will a student under 5th grade be released to someone who is not a parent and has not been designated as an authorized pickup person by designating them officially in the School Dismissal Manager program.
Your mandatory activity fee paid with your tuition covers your student's participation in any and all extracurricular events, including clubs, societies, and athletics, to encourage robust participation in as many activities as they show interest in.
Be advised that in order to participate in any athletic activity, you must complete all applicable forms, as well as review the athletic handbook. Transportation to and from each activity's events is generally provided for the students, but not for parents. In some activities, parental transportation will be required for off-site practices and events (e.g. swimming).
Additional expenses and costs may be applicable in some activities for uniforms, gear, or entry fees.
You can always reach the school during business hours (Monday through Friday, 8AM-3PM during the school year, 9AM-3PM during the summer) at our main phone line, 757-220-1978. You can also contact us in urgent circumstances at our information email address at firstname.lastname@example.org, which is monitored 7 days a week. Answers to many questions can be found here on our website.
To reach certain staff members directly you can access our 'Who to Contact' List which is found HERE.
There are different requirements for Preschool, Lower School, and Upper School Students. There are very specific colors required for both shirts, slacks, and skirts, and all shirts must have our WCA Logo embroidered on them. You can choose to buy uniforms through our uniform provider, Flynn O'Hara, or purchase your own from a store such as Target or Wal-mart and have them embroidered by our embroidery partner, Embroidery Connection. More details on dress code specifics can be found in the Student/Family Handbook, but for your reference, a quick reference guide is provided by clicking the image to the right.
WCA also has a robust onsite school store with consignment items and select spirit wear items, and an online school store, wear you can buy a wide range of polos, hoodies, tanks, tees, and much more featuring our school logo.
WCA has a designated period for lunch each day in our Cafetorium. Students may bring their own lunch to school, or you may opt to purchase lunch options from our kitchen. The process for signing up and paying for lunch options are all contained in your FACTS parent portal (to be discussed below).
Due to the fact that many of our students have active nut allergies, we respectfully request that all parents refrain from packing lunches with strong nut ingredients if at all possible.
The Official WCA School Year Calendar
The WCA Official School Calendar is your go-to resource for determining what's going on and when at WCA. Everything from testing dates to recitals, picnics to awards ceremonies and much more is all located in our Google calendar embedded on our website. A straight listing of major balanced year calendar (BYC) events is also available to view. Be sure to look through the calendar to see when key events will be occurring this year. Clicking any event on the calendar will open a box, which many times gives additional details on the event.
Events listed on the Google Calendar can be added to your Google calendar by clicking on the plus sign at the bottom of the calendar, or you can add specific events by clicking on the event in the calendar and selecting 'copy to my calendar' in the window that pops up. Check back throughout the year, as many additional events are routinely added to the calendars as their dates are firmed up.
We also have a clean one-sheet Balanced Year Calendar for printing and magneting to the fridge-- or however else you would like to display it for a bigger picture look at WCA events.
Drop-off and Pick-up Guidelines and Etiquette
The goal of our drop-off at school and pick-up from school policies is 100% aimed at making our transit into and out of school as safe as possible for your students, while also being efficient and less stressful. Our pickups are facilitated using the School Dismissal Manager program, and you will receive credentials and instructions on how to use that after you have completed enrollment. Please login to School Dismissal Manager and read the guidance provided by clicking the button below so you arrive at school that first day as a true drop-off and pick-up pro!
Flipped Learning, Brightspace, and FACTS
Brightspace is our Learning management and communications system. Although your children will be using this system to participate in our flipped classrooms, do work remotely, interact with their teachers and get check assignments and grades, you will have access to Brightspace too as a parent. You will be able to see the progress of your children in their various classes, check up on grades, and eve communicate and get information on athletic teams and extracurriculars that your student is involved with. Keep on the lookout for your Brightspace login credentials for Brightspace for Parents!
FACTS School Management System was implemented in 2022 to upgrade our accounting, enrollment, and lunch program in one interface. Through FACTS, you will be able to monitor and pay tuition, fees and lunch costs, access forms, and re-enroll. You should have created a FACTS Parent account when you enrolled , if you'd like to log in now and browse through the various functions, you can reach the parent login by clicking on the FACTS to the left or above, depending on what device you are viewing this guide from. You can also always find the link to FACTS login on our Parent Central page, in the quick access side buttons, or in the right menu on mobile.
The myWCA app
The app represents a major leap forward in communication capability, and also is a tremendous resource for all parents and students to quickly and easily access commonly sought-after information on our website, links to all of our third-party software providers such as our carline system ("FastLane"), to our school record and finance system, FACTS, and to Brightspace, our Learning Management, and Communication system.
The app also has a calendar system that works in concert with our google calendar system.
We highly recommend downloading the app...if you want to take some time to get it now, we'll wait for you.... ; )
School Supply Lists/Book Lists
Although some supplies and most books are supplied by WCA, each student is expected to come to school with a set of basic school supplies for the year. These items for Lower School students are listed in our school supply lists, published each summer on our website. All items, unless specifically noted, should be labeled with your student's name. These are the minimum required items, you are welcome to outfit your child with additional materials.
Materials needed for Upper School Students vary by class. We do publish a core materials list for most upper school classes, but additional materials may be required by each instructor. Click on the image to the right or below to view the upcoming school year's supply lists
Athletics Handbook and Requirements
Athletics is one of the primary columns at WCA and is mentioned directly in our mission statement, fortify the Seven Pillar concept of Wellness. We encourage ALL of our eligible students to participate in athletics at WCA. With many sports and activities to choose from, from team-oriented sports, such as field hockey, basketball, and soccer, to individualized sports in a team setting, such as swimming, golf, and cross country, we feel there is something for every student to participate in, regardless of athletic background or abilities. Our emphasis is on participation, for the many fantastic lessons contained and Christian growth experiences that abound in athletics.
Most JJV, JV, and Varsity sports programs are open from grades 5 and up, but we have been steadily rolling out intramural options for our students from Kindergarten and up (our 'Junior Eagles' program). For those participating in a designated sport at WCA, there are several requirements to get started, most importantly the submittal of a sports physical and the completed form acknowledging that the student-athlete and parents have read and comprehended our Athletics Handbook and additional regulations. To see all requirements to get a green light to participate on WCA athletics teams, visit our Athletics Requirements page HERE.
This completes the WCA 101 segment of 'What to Know'. Congratulations, you are now in the know!