Frequently Asked Questions

What is a micro-school?

A micro-school is an intentionally small school (150 students or less) 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 progressing at an appropriate pace.

What ages do you serve?

We serve children 3 years old through 12th grade.

Our Montessori primary program is highly individualized and prepares students ages 3-6 to be lifelong learners. Students 5 and up who are ready for more advanced academics can be placed into our Grade 1/2 classroom if the family and classroom teacher decide an accelerated placement would be beneficial.  

Our elementary through high-school studios offer challenging curricula, unique and intentionally structured to build on students’ strengths and interests while developing their areas of growth. 

What are characteristics of gifted children?

traits COPY

Why do gifted learners need a specialized learning environment?

Gifted and academically advanced students require differentiated educational services beyond those typically provided by the regular education program. In a traditional setting, the pace and challenge level of the content are predetermined by grade level standards to be covered, rather than matched to the readiness level of the learners. For gifted and academically advanced learners, this often equates to busy work and boredom and does not allow them the opportunity to work hard and to reach their full potential. In a personalized and mastery-based learning environment, gifted learners spend their entire school days on work that is appropriately challenging. This gives them a sense of joy and purpose in their learning. When gifted learners are challenged daily, they learn how to learn and develop grit. Within our multi-age studios, MSGA students are able to work up to 4 grade levels above, allowing them to be challenged and supported as they work to develop their potential.

What are tuition costs for the 2022-2023 school year?

Our tuition is $13,850. All fees for PreK-8 are built into the tuition and cover enrollment, books, supplies, technology, and local field trips.

Do you offer financial aid?

Not at this time.

What is the admission process?

We offer rolling admission dependent on space and are now enrolling students for the 2023-24 school year. Please visit our Admission page for more information.

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 some subjects but on grade level in another subject. A personalized learning environment allows us to meet students where they are and help move them forward. Typically our students accelerate rapidly once they are empowered to learn in a mastery-based program.

How is learning assessed and monitored?

Assessment is a critical component of a mastery-based program, and we have multiple systems in place to monitor student achievement and growth. MSGA students are excelling in all academic areas and progressing rapidly through grade levels. On our most recent nationally norm-referenced assessment taken in May of 2022, our students scored an average of 3 grade levels above their current level, and several earned grade equivalency scores of 13+ (end of high school). In our mastery-based environment, students work daily toward goals specified on their personalized learning plans (PLPs) and class specific learning goals and projects. Guides continuously assess progress, track data, and provide feedback to students to help them advance in their learning. In addition to the daily assessment and feedback cycle, every student meets weekly with their advisor to check on progress toward PLP goals and to plan next steps. Data is tracked and shared with parents through Google Drive. Parent conferences are held twice each year with every family, and detailed progress reports and self-reflections are shared with parents at the end of each semester. Students use the following to track progress and achievements:

  • personalized learning plan
  • data tracker
  • a digital portfolio
  • 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. 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 achieve a high level comprehension of a skill or 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 and academically advanced learners because they can often achieve mastery at a quicker pace and are therefore limited in a traditional academic setting. Follow this link to view Sal Khan’s Ted Talk on the importance of teaching for mastery.

Do you administer a standardized test?

Once each year, we administer the Iowa Assessments to students in grades 3-12, and students in grades 8-11 have the opportunity to take the ACT. 

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?

We do not offer special services for students with learning disabilities or behavioral challenges. The type of learner who excels at MSGA has great behavior and is highly motivated by and excited for enriched and accelerated learning opportunities. We will determine our ability to serve students on an individual basis.

How is time built in for physical exercise, music, and art?

Students participate in enrichment classes that include leadership, art, music, physical education, and STEM. Brain breaks and energizers are part of each day, and students have ample outdoor opportunity for exercise and activities.

What are your hours?

Our hours are 8:00-3:00, with drop-off from 7:40-8:00 and pick-up is at 3:00.

Do you offer extended care?

We offer after-school care from 3:00-5:00 PM daily.