Mid-South Gifted Academy
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a micro-school?
A micro-school is an intentionally small school led by a trained professional and focused on meaningful, integrated, project-based, whole student learning and community involvement. Micro-schools are also called the modern-day one-room schoolhouse in that students from different ages and grades are learning alongside each other, grouped together for some projects, but working individually for part of the day on a very personalized learning path. Teachers in micro-schools serve more as guides than lecturers, and they harness the power of adaptive technology and research-based methods to ensure each child is learning and advancing at an appropriate pace.
What ages do you serve?
We serve children ages 6-12, and will grow with our oldest students all the way through high school. Our future plans include hiring lead middle and high school guides and an early childhood guide to lead our 5/6 year old program.
How do you define gifted?
“Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.” (The Columbus Group, 1991)
What are tuition costs for the 2018-2019 school year?
Our tuition is $12,500. All fees are built into the tuition and cover enrollment, materials, a laptop, and local field trips.
Do you offer financial aid?
Not at this time.
Do you require cognitive or academic testing as part of the application process?
Yes, we want to make sure we have a complete picture of a child before making an admissions decision. These scores are just one piece of the puzzle. Through the application process, we will look at any testing data you have from your child’s current school, and we can also provide names of local psychologists who offer this testing.
What is the admissions process?
We value your time and want to make the admissions process as streamlined as possible. Please email us to learn more about our program. We are happy to answer your questions and walk you through our application process. We are available to speak by phone or in person.
Please visit our admissions page for more information.
Once an application is submitted, we will schedule an informal meeting with you and your child. We will consider a variety of factors when determining a child’s fit for MSGA and his or her admission to the program. They include:
- Academic records including report cards and standardized test results
- IQ test results
- Demonstrated motivation and readiness for independent learning
- Student work samples
Are grades used to track progress?
No. Students at Mid-South Gifted Academy will take part in mastery-based learning and work toward goals specified on their personalized learning plans. They will be assessed informally and formally to determine what they can do or create with what they learn. Individualized narrative reports will be shared with parents on a quarterly basis. Each child will use the following to track progress:
- a badge system to track mastery and progression of skills
- a digital portfolio
- a student blog to publish writing and other projects
- Presentations of Learning- formal presentations to classmates, family and community members
What is Mastery-Based Learning?
Mastery learning focuses on mastering a topic before moving on to a more advanced one. Whenever possible, students demonstrate mastery by applying new learning through performance tasks and presentations. In the traditional system, the time allotted to learn something is fixed and comprehension of the material is the variable. In a mastery-based system, all students will achieve a high level comprehension of a concept, and the variable is the time it takes students to get to mastery. This allows all students to work at their own pace and have a true understanding of a topic or skill before moving forward. While this shift in education would help all children, it is essential for gifted learners because they can often achieve mastery at a quicker pace and are therefore limited in a traditional academic setting. Click here to learn more. Follow this link to view Sal Khan’s Ted Talk on the importance of teaching for mastery.
Does my child need to be advanced in all subject areas in order to thrive in this environment?
No. Many of our students are working above grade level in one subject but on grade level in another subject. Even a gifted learner who struggles in an academic area can thrive in this environment because of the flexibility and personalization that allows us to meet students where they are and move them forward.
Do you administer a standardized test?
The state of Tennessee requires our school to administer a nationally standardized achievement test covering the basic academic areas to each student in third through twelfth grade.
How do you know this works?
While the micro-school movement is relatively new within the last decade, the philosophies and educational methods used in micro-schools are not new or untested. We have simply taken the best of what’s out there and combined it to create a 21st century school for children who need more challenge, personalization, and flexibility to reach their full potential. We use multiple sources of data to monitor growth and ensure progress. Because of the extreme efficiency of our model, in schools like ours around the country, students gain an average of two to three grade levels each year in math, reading, and language arts.
How much time do students use computers?
Our blended learning model allows each child to spend a portion of the school day working on math and language work that is appropriate to his or her readiness level. MSGA students spend about one hour per day (total) on programs such as Khan Academy, IXL, KidBlog, Biblionasium, and Duolingo. A personalized learning plan along with weekly and daily goal setting will help direct this time. Additionally, students may use their computers for research and writing during group and individual projects.
What is your homework policy?
MSGA students do not have required homework, but many of them choose to blog, code, or work on passion projects at home. Reading for pleasure is always encouraged!
Is Mid-South Gifted Academy a religious school?
No. We open and close the day with a prayer, but participation is optional. No formal religion curriculum is taught.
Do you offer special services or behavioral support for students with special needs?
As a small school with only four full time teachers, we are not able to offer special services for severe learning disabilities or behavioral challenges. We will determine our ability to serve students on an individual basis.
How do you build in time for physical exercise, music, and art?
Students participate in enrichment classes that include art, music, physical education, yoga, and STEM. Brain breaks and energizers are part of each day, and students have ample outdoor opportunity for exercise and activities.
Aren’t the public and private schools around here excellent?
Many of the area schools have passionate leaders and teachers. Unfortunately, for some students, a traditional school environment does not provide enough challenge, personalization, and flexibility to allow them to reach their full potential. Our school was created to meet the needs of those learners.
Won’t your students miss out on after school sports and fine arts opportunities by attending such a small school?
Without homework, our students have more time to pursue such endeavors outside of the school day. They have a lot more time in their schedule to take advantage of sports, music lessons, and theatrical opportunities in the community.
Is Mid-South Gifted Academy approved by the State of Tennessee?
Yes. We are an approved private school, and Mid-South Gifted Academy exceeds all compulsory education requirements for the state of Tennessee.
What does the calendar and schedule look like for 2018-2019?
We are following the same calendar as Collierville Schools. Our hours are 8:00-3:00, with drop-off from 7:45-8:00 and pick-up is at 3:00.
Do you offer before or extended care?
Not at this time.
Where is Mid-South Gifted Academy located?
Mid-South Gifted Academy is located inside of Collierville United Methodist Church. The address is 454 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville.