Discover JRA: FAQ for Prospective Parents
Questions Most Commonly Asked By Prospective JRA Parents
1. Q. What makes JRA different than other schools?
A. We feel that we offer an outstanding performing arts program far beyond what is typically expected of schools within our age range. We believe that what students gain from on-stage performing experiences could never come out of a textbook. They learn responsibility, self-confidence and a feeling of being successful. We also feel that we offer a "family atmosphere" where teachers and students have a mutual respect for each other and where students may live and grow emotionally as well as socially and academically surrounded by a warm, caring, loving staff.
2. Q. Do students need to be talented in the performing arts area to attend JRA?
A. We believe all students are talented and it is up to us to develop it. When watching any of our "shows," it may appear that the students are especially talented in performing arts because we are assisting them to develop to their full potential and it is obvious that they are enjoying themselves tremendously.
3. Q. Where do JRA students typically perform?
A. JRA classes perform on stage at Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, the Sarasota Opera House, and the Players Theater. Students also perform in many nursing homes, retirement centers and for service clubs. Bringing performances to these very special citizens is our ongoing community service project.
4. Q. What is the average class size?
A. Our Nursery class maximum is nine students and our Pre-school class maximum is thirteen students. Our Pre-K class averages fourteen students. Our TK and Pre-1st classes average eighteen with an aide. Our 1st through 8th Grade classes average sixteen students with a maximum of eighteen students.
5. Q. Is there extra help available for remediation and/or acceleration?
A. We have a "learning support" system designed to provide additional help for students that have the need. These learning support times could be to help a particular student who needs additional assistance on a continual basis, to help a student who had difficulty with a particular assignment on a specific day, or to help a student to accelerate in a particular area. These classes are offered opposite P.E. and/or music and are designed to be used no more than two days a week unless there are unusual circumstances. We have two resource teachers, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.
6. Q. How do JRA students typically do in standardized achievement tests?
A. We administer standardized achievement tests each year in April. Our students always score well above the national average. Our school averages fall in the 70% to 78% range, which means JRA typically scores in the top 25% of schools across the nation.
7. Q. Do you keep track of students once they leave JRA?
A. Because of our "family atmosphere," many of our students come back to visit. They can usually "fill us in" on other students that attended JRA and may have left the area. Our first full graduating class, which was then 6th grade, was in 1985. We know that we have had students attend Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Boston Conservatory, Cornell, University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, Bryn Mawr, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, University of South Florida, Georgia Tech, American University in Washington, D.C., Troy State University and Coker College. We have had National Merit Scholars and commended National Merit Semi-Finalists. Each year we have at least three eighth grade students qualify for the Presidential Academic Fitness Award, and we have had as many as 75% of the graduating class qualify. Standards for these awards are set by the US Department of Education. We have had state finalists in the Duke University Talent Search. We have many students receive academic, athletic, music or theater scholarships to the universities they attended. Twenty-five former students have come back to be employed by JRA. Eighteen of the twenty five attended JRA from nursery through eighth grade!
8. Q. What are the teachers' qualifications?
A. Pre-school through Kindergarten lead teachers are degreed in Early Childhood or Primary Education. Our Elementary, Middle School and enrichment teachers have degrees in field or certification. Five teachers hold master degrees and two hold doctorate degrees.
9. Q. Does the emphasis on performing arts create a lack of focus on other academic and enrichment areas?
A. We believe that a well-rounded student should have the opportunity to be actively involved in not only all academic areas but in enrichment areas as well. Students have an equivalent of half-hour classes daily in art, music, Spanish, computer and P.E. Academic subjects have longer daily class periods, averaging fifty minutes in each subject area. Students interested in a greater involvement in the performing arts have the opportunity to do so during after-school hours. Giving students the opportunity to have all the above subjects daily allows both right-brain and left-brain stimulation.
10. Q. How do your students adjust to other schools when they leave JRA? Do they experience problems "fitting in" in a larger student body, especially when they leave to attend a large public school?
A. Our students adjust extremely well in a larger student body. We feel that the self esteem they acquire while at JRA enables them to "fit in" in any size or type of school they choose to attend after JRA. Some of our students have become officers of their high school classes and leaders of many high school groups.