Mid-South Gifted Academy

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 ages 5-13 (K-8th grade), and will add one grade level each year as we grow with our oldest students.

How do you define gifted?

“Intellectually Gifted” means a child whose intellectual abilities, creativity, and potential for achievement are so outstanding that the child’s needs exceed differentiated general education programming, adversely affects educational performance, and requires specifically designed instruction or support services.

For information on gifted characteristics and what gifted learners need, visit the websites for Tennessee Department of Education and National Association for Gifted Children.

What are tuition costs for the 2019-2020 school year?

Our tuition is $12,800. 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.

What is the admission process?

We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2019. Applications will be considered in the order they are received.

Please visit our admissions 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 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 help move them forward.

Are grades used to track progress?

No. Students at Mid-South Gifted Academy take part in mastery-based learning and work toward goals specified on their personalized learning plans. They are assessed informally and formally to determine what they can do or create with what they learn. Individualized narrative reports are shared with parents on a quarterly basis. Each child uses 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.

Do you administer a standardized test?

Once each year, we administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills to our students in grades 3-8.

How do you know this works?

While new to this area, micro-schools have been successfully operating in other parts of the country for over ten years. The philosophies and educational methods used at MSGA are research-based and driven by child development and the needs of the learners. 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 helps direct this time. Additionally, students may use 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?

We do not 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, 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 most gifted children, 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.

Do 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 2019-2020?

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 currently leasing space inside of Collierville United Methodist Church. We will move to our permanent location, 121 E. South Street, this summer.

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