American Academy of Strategic Education

Transitioning from Traditional Schooling to Flexible Schooling and Remote Learning

By Kristin Frimond
Executive Director, Mission viejo
American Academy of Strategic Education
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What is Flexible Schooling versus Remote Learning?

What is flexible schooling?

Flexible schooling allows a student to attend a learning academy for all, some, or part of the week at flexible times. Students learn remotely at home on days they are not the academy– an ideal compromise for some families, and becoming increasingly popular.

What is remote learning?

Remote learning occurs when the learner, instructor, or source of information are separated by time and/or distance and therefore cannot meet in a traditional classroom setting. This is especially useful during illness outbreaks such as Covid-19, extracurricular activities that conflict with traditional school days and times, parent(s) work schedules, and travel.

Why would someone want to choose flexible schooling?

Academic excellence, physical safety, and the desire to pass on the family’s governing values to the children are perhaps the most common reasons parents choose a flexible schooling approach. Flexible schooling maintains the enthusiasm for learning that a child is born with and allows each child to receive individual attention, taking into consideration his/her own learning style and interests. There are probably as many reasons or combinations of reasons for flexible schooling as there are families. It is not the demographics that unites flexible schooling families, but their motivations. 

  • Flexibility. Students and families can complete their academic work on a schedule that works for them. 
  • Choice. Choose the program and philosophy that meet the needs of your family and child. Learning is not a one size fits all process. 
  • Customization. Each student’s curriculum is customized to fit their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and pace of learning. 

Charter Schools

Are Charter Schools considered public schools?

Yes, charter schools are public, free and open to all! Charter schools are accountable to state and federal public education laws and undergo extensive oversight by a local charter authorizer, which is often the local or county school board.

What are “educational funds” and where do they come from?

The majority of California’s educational funds come from income taxes and to a smaller extent property taxes and the lottery. When you enroll in a virtual charter school, you can choose to use those funds at approved vendors for academic programs such as American Academy of Strategic Education.

What is the difference between my charter school and American Academy?

Your child’s charter school is their school of record (SOR). A SOR is an institution that documents and awards credit for courses or programs and will ultimately give your child their high school diploma. If your child is enrolled in a virtual or independent study charter school program, you can elect to send them to American Academy to receive enrichment services like project- and discussion-based classes, student clubs, tutoring, and amazing educational experiences like field trips.  

Is the enrollment process difficult?

Not at all! There are no intense entrance interviews or complicated paperwork. 

How long does it take to enroll and what is required?

Enrollment for American Academy is simple. Just fill out a personal information and health form and sign our basic waivers. It takes about 10-15 minutes.

Enrollment for charter schools takes about 45 minutes and requires:

  • Proof of California residency such as a mortgage, rent receipt, or utility bill
  • Birth certificate or US passport
  • Immunization record (if you participate in immunizations)
  • American Academy or Strategic Education participation form

Enrollment in a charter school allows you to receive charter funds and will provide your student with a school of record.

Social & Academic Progress

How will I know if my child is learning while flexible schooling?

American Academy believes that test scores are a small component of your child’s overall education. Flexible schoolers are well-rounded, critical thinkers that are fully equipped to handle…well, LIFE!

We utilize technology-integrated learning as well as project- and discussion-based learning. We provide performance assessments and evaluations based on the student’s understanding of the core-subject curriculum as well as the student’s physical work including writing samples, teacher observation, and projects. 

The usefulness of standardized tests has been questioned by many educators and researchers. Because they are multiple-choice, they don’t measure the ability to think or create. Many critics call for replacing standardized testing with “performance assessments.”

How well are children socialize who flexible school?

Flexibly schooled students overcome the potential for “lack of socialization” through heavy involvement in learning academies such as American Academy of Strategic Education. Students participate in discussion-based classes that help develop student’s communication skills. They also join social and academic clubs such as Drawing Club, Music Club, Cooking Club, and more. Students also have opportunities to conduct and attend virtual and physical field trips. Most flexible students grow up extremely involved with other children. Flexible learners participate in more field trips, spend more time planning their own education, have unique opportunities to pursue their interests and to apply their talents and work with a wider age span of children and adults—all “real-world” opportunities. Read our ‘Are Homeschoolers Ready for the Real World?’ Blog post here

Can my child still go to college if I flexible school them?

Of course! Almost every college or university has policies for flexible schooling admissions. If a flexible school student wants to pursue a college education, they can certainly do so within some of the finest universities.

Research suggests that those students who were taught in a flexible school environment who attend college, successfully integrate socially and excel academically.

How do flexible schoolers test compare to public school students?

Although California charter schools encourage but do not require students to participate in state testing, in states where testing is required of flexible school learners, they usually score in the 80th percentile or above.

Website Resources:

Never Thought You’d Be Homeschooling? Neither Did I…

And, how I decided to pull my children out of traditional private school…

By Angela Hansen
Founder & President, American Academy of Strategic Education
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Driving to my children’s private school across town one morning, I became increasingly stressed about one of my boys being prepared for his history exam. I was fairly certain that he had not prepared for this exam which I was sure would result in a call home from his teacher! This childish fear of receiving a reprimanding phone call from the teacher caused me to start an impromptu cram study session right then and there in the car.

My son pulled out the study sheet that looked like a ditto copy from the 1940s filled to the brim with bite-sized historical facts. The subject of the history exam was an early explorer, Juan Cabrillo who discovered the Channel Islands (ask me how I remember this…) One of my boys was quizzing the other on the subject matter. The one being quizzed could not recall who discovered the Channel Islands.  Me, getting frustrated with my son not knowing the answer, blurted out: “Juan Cabrillo!” All of my children were shocked and surprised that I knew such a random answer.

And then it hit me. How did I know that answer?! It was not because I was some sort of early explorer history buff. Rather, I realized it was because my three children before him had studied this exact same lesson. Of course, that in and of itself is not bad but this one small story only emphasized the fact that over the 12 years between my oldest and youngest child, while the world had experienced so much technological change, there had not been a single technological innovation when it came to how this lesson was taught.

And suddenly, in that moment, I had an epiphany. I thought to myself, “There has to be a better way for my children to learn than by memorizing piles and piles of facts off an old ditto-copied handout!” To make matters worse, my son frequently told me that his teacher kept saying in class, “I hate computers, I wish they would just go away.” Well, I think computers are here to stay, so I think we should make the best of it and teach our students how to use them.

Furthermore, when my other son kept coming home with 105% or higher on his Advanced Math exams (105%!), the apparent lack of challenging assignments led me to look for alternate schools. He was not being taught at a level that would keep up with his many different talents and abilities. Somehow, in that moment, it became very clear to me that I needed to find the right school for my children.

So, as much as I loved the school my children had attended for all those years, I realized that it was time for my boys to have a change in academic scenery. I went on the search for just the right school. I was sure that in Southern California I would be able to find at least one that would be able to satisfy all of my children’s needs. Unfortunately, it was not that easy.

I ended up enrolling my children in another private school, which turned out to be a mistake. Although the new school was a non-denominational religious school, its morals and standards were in utter disarray, and harmful to its students. Throughout the course of the year, students at this morally-bankrupt school shared inappropriate videos on YouTube with my children – all with the support of the teachers and principal. Additionally, the school’s education and curriculum were of subpar quality, and I was paying far more than what I should have paid for an inferior education.

After having many discussions with the teachers and principal over the students’ inappropriate conduct and the school’s overall curriculum, I decided that if by the end of the school year I could not find the perfect new school, I would pull my children out of their traditional private school and find an alternative education system for them. This compelled me to go back to school to earn my Master’s Degree in Education in Teaching and Learning and to obtain my teaching credential. After making this decision, I quit my full-time job as a Human Resources Director of a large company and set out to be the best teacher my children would ever have.

As the end of the school year came, we did not have a viable new school to send our children to. I told my husband that I would be teaching our boys myself next year. In the beginning he was mildly freaked out by the notion, as evidenced by his first response: “We have invested thousands and thousands of dollars in our children’s education, and for what? So that you can pull them out to teach them at home? Won’t that mess up their education, not to mention their social skills?” It was a tough sell, but in the end, I managed to persuade him to let me take responsibility for their education and socialization.

Since then, our educational journey has been incredible. We opened our doors of American Academy of Strategic Education in September 2017. Our academy was created to support parents in educating their children. Parents, teachers, and students collaborate to design the child’s learning plan, and the teachers at the academy support that learning plan by offering the students the opportunity to study and learn at his or her own pace, participate in lively discussion- and project-based core-subject courses and foreign language classes. Students also participate in fun and interesting electives as well as social and academic activities and field trips.

The partnership among parents, students, and administration provide experiences that encourage students to develop an appropriate sense of independence and the opportunity to engage in a wide range of academic, applied-learning and social experiences.

American Academy promotes a love of learning through flexible, adaptive, and unique educational opportunities.  At our center, the individual talents of students are nurtured while the individual needs are supported in a collaborative and thoughtful learning environment.

Our teachers work to foster habits such as organization, extended concentration, cooperation with peers, compromise and perseverance. As a result, the innate learning that occurs is often more valuable and transferable than objective content alone. It is our goal for students to develop a true love of learning, an inherent will to building lasting relationships with their peers, and a growing love for life.

We look forward to partnering with you and your children on this educational journey.

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Coronavirus Update 3/12/20


Hello American Academy Families, 

The health and safety of your children is of the utmost importance to the staff of American Academy and we have been reassessing the situation in real-time, as we promised.

As of today, March 12, 2020 the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and our nation’s leading health authorities called for all of us to prepare and be ready to adjust in support of the health and well-being of all Americans amidst this rapidly evolving health challenge.

Although there are still no reported cases of children with COVID-19, we are taking this situation very seriously and heavily weighing all aspects of our responsibility to protect the health of our students, Academy community, our staff, and then our larger civic role to mitigate the spread globally. 

Our position will always lean toward carefulness and caution. We have made the decision to begin an organized, temporary academy closure at the conclusion of all school activities on Tuesday, March 17 and move students to a remote learning temporary platform to complete their projects. I am proud to say that our students are already incredible remote learners–which is a useful 21st Century skill to continue to hone! I am also happy to announce that we have a remarkable staff who are ready to provide an excellent online experience for all of our students.

We will move to a remote learning model for students on Wednesday, March 18. We will use Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17 to train the students on Google Classroom while at the Academy. Please be assured this is a preventative, proactive decision, and we have no indication that there is a case of COVID-19 in our American Academy community. Please expect a minimum two-week school closure. 


Google Classroom
All of our teachers including our Kidspot teacher, our Essential Discourse teachers, and World Language teachers are prepared for working with students remotely on their projects and to offer private tutoring sessions through our online scheduling calendar. 

We will be using Google Classroom to work online. Google Classroom is a streamlined, easy-to-use tool that helps teachers manage student’s coursework. In Google Classroom, teachers will work with students on their Essential Discourse projects, World Language activities including one-on-one conversational practice, send feedback, and generally help students progress forward according to each class syllabus. Also, within Google Classroom, students will have the opportunity to regularly communicate with the teacher and other students regarding their projects and see everything in one place.

We have created Google Classrooms that align with the student’s current Academy classes and levels.

Google Classroom Set-up
American Academy staff will help your child set up his/her Google Classroom while at the Academy on Monday or Tuesday. Please make sure your child has his/her electronic device and charger. If your child will not be at the academy on Monday or Tuesday, we will be offering resources for you to help set your child up on Google Classroom personally at home. 

At-home Set-up
We ask parents to prepare at home as well. We need each child to have their OWNGmail” email address to use Google Classroom. Please set this email address up now and send it to your Academy Director. Gmail is free. You can cancel your child’s email address later if you prefer for them to not have one down the road. 

Temporary Situation
We recognize this temporary school closure will create new considerations for our families to navigate. During this health crisis, we will lean on our strong school-parent partnership. 

We understand you may have many questions. Please expect more detailed messages from your Director on remote learning and Academy operations. We will also continue to communicate with you throughout the closure and in the event of any new developments.

We are in this together and are guided by our mission and core values. I am confident that the extraordinary strength of our American Academy community will enable us to persist and thrive in these challenging times. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Warm regards,

Angela Hansen
President and Founder
American Academy of Strategic Education
Phone: 949-371-5785


Check out how our students are doing and what’s coming this Spring at our academies.

How To Enroll

Don’t overthink! It really is that simple to sign up! 

Fall 2020 / Spring 2021  – Open Enrollment!

Thank you for your interest in American Academy!

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines:
Read more about our “Safety From The Front Door Forward” commitment during COVID19 here.

**Special Newport Mesa Offer**
Newport Mesa academy Exclusive Offer Extended. Get a $750 discount off the 2020/2021 academic year. To learn more, please attend a weekly Virtual Meeting or contact


  1. Attend a Virtual Introductory Meeting 
  2. Fill out Enrollment Form and submit to American Academy
  3. If you have any questions, please attend a Enrollment Q&A Meeting

Click on one of the buttons below to download Enrollment Form:

What to Expect

Your personal tour guide will begin your visit by taking you on a tour of our academy and introducing you and your child to our students and teachers. You can expect our students to greet you with a smile and handshake. Teachers will stop and say hello.

Next, your guide will share detailed information about our programs and the student experience, including: classes, clubs, field trips, and educational adventure tours as well as the enrollment process, and charter funding. The entire process will be informative and enjoyable. We look forward to getting to know you.

21st Century Workforce

“Reading, writing, and calculating are small components to being successful in the twenty-first century workforce. However, what about the less tangible skills like thinking critically, embracing curiosity, and being part of a team?”

Living in the moment can be a refreshing way to seize the day. However, how does a child live in the moment and yet be ready for the future workforce? Some may say a traditional path to a career such as a teacher, an engineer, a doctor, a tradesperson, and a lawyer are enough for children in the future. However, most jobs that will be available for children who are now in Kindergarten are currently not even in existence yet. Looking back thirty years ago, few would predict that technology would be an essential component of the workplace or integrated into our daily lives. Careers are continually evolving, and new opportunities arise for future generations. Reading, writing, and calculating are small components to being successful in the twenty-first century workforce. However, what about the less tangible skills like thinking critically, embracing curiosity, and being part of a team? These attributes can propel a child to deeper understanding and success. Parents want to help prepare their child to lead productive and successful lives. Educators plan vigorously to help their students succeed. Educators thirty years ago would never have guessed how computers, the Internet, and mobile devices would come to be an integral part of a person’s life. Now, they can prepare their students to better use such technology. The technology industry has produced new careers requiring new skillsets. Preparing for an unknown job market is a daunting task; yet, parents and educators have helped children be successful in such career fields as technology by building life skills. Tony Wagner, PhD. of Harvard University has conducted massive amounts of education research in the United States. He has called for educational reform as he finds that our school system has been satiated in the nineteenth and twentieth century learning mindset. Dr. Wagner has challenged parents and educators to view a new paradigm in education and learning that will assist children in the twenty-first century. He has identified “7 Survival Skills for the 21st Century” as the cornerstone of the Project Based Learning for the 21st Century (PBL21), which is a unique approach developed by Anne Shaw.


Dr. Wagner interviewed hundreds of CEOs in businesses, educational institutions, and non-profits. Those interviewed were able to provide valuable data in which Dr. Wagner found a common thread in their statements. The “7 Skills Students Will Always Need” were then derived: Curiosity and Imagination; Initiative and Entrepreneurship; Agility and Adaptability; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Effective Oral and Written Communication; Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence; and Accessing and Analyzing Information. Parents and educators may not know what the future holds for career opportunities, but a present advantage is knowing what skills students will need once they get there. In 2001 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum started to appear. Judith A. Ramaley, who worked with the National Science Foundation from 2001 to 2004, is often considered as the person who coined the term, STEM. STEM has picked up considerable momentum within the past decade as a response to the twenty-first century workforce.


Educational academies — like American Academy of Strategic Education — have identified that parents and educators must visualize a different paradigm in education and have learned that helping students to be successful in the twenty-first century, requires parents, educators, and students to view a different paradigm in education and learning. That is why American Academy incorporates PBL21 lesson concepts into its program, where students are able to collaborate, problem solve, and articulate their answers. In addition, student-led clubs allow children to develop leadership skills, build confidence, and explore their curiosity. The academy’s built-in STEM lessons give students an opportunity to showcase their problem-solving skills. Traditionally in education, teachers begin with the standards and then develop the lesson. Unfortunately, this places barriers to the “7 Skills Students Will Always Need.” Creating projects that students are engaged with should be the main focus — those that provide rigor, opportunities for collaboration to problem solve, and spark curiosity and creativity should be the main focus. The standards will be naturally built into each lesson. American Academy is one such educational institution that believes in PBL21 and carefully designs its curriculum around project-based learning for real-world applications. The word “standards” refers to the minimum level of acceptability. PBL21 lessons provide a broader array of assessing students and goes beyond the minimum standards by encompassing the real-world skills that students need to be successful. 


As a result of project-based lessons, students often learn more, achieve high aptitude levels, score high on standardized tests, and are more prepared for the twenty-first century workforce. In addition, student attendance and motivation to learn gradually increase over time. In order to transition from a focus on improving academic testing scores to a more intuitive holistic approach, parents and educators need to have the big picture in mind. Helping children understand the roles they can assume — such as being engaged thinkers, resilient and resourceful learners, creative problem solvers, and active members of the community — provide thinking, social and emotional, and attitudinal skills, such as motivation and self-efficacy, that can be applicable to the twenty-first century workforce. These skills overlap with one another creating a web of understanding that help children adapt to new situations with creativity. Students can seize the day in the twenty-first century workforce with skills rather than content. Albert Einstein once said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” 

By Roman B. Fernando, Executive Director
American Academy of Strategic Education – Newport Mesa

21st Century Schools
21st Century Schools
Education Week 

Come See Us at the Irvine Global Village Festival this Saturday at the O.C. Great Park

American Academy of Strategic Education will be presented this Saturday (10/12) at this year’s Irvine Global Village Festival. Our exhibition booth will be locating inside the Kids Village at booth #57 where most of the kids’ activities will be hosted.

To celebrate the launch of our Mandarin Immersion program this Fall, children who visit our booth will enjoy building and coloring their own miniature dragon puppets.

Parents who visit our booth will get an opportunity to meet our teachers and the academy directors. In addition, all visitors who stop by our booth can enter a draw for a pair of movie tickets every hour throughout the day of the event.

Tickets to Irvine Global Village Festival are $5 per day, per person for those ages 3 and older. A $20 Family Pass offers one-day admission for up to six people. Tickets are on sale now at

Parking is free, but premier parking closer to the festival site will be available for $10 on-site (cash only).

The Orange County Great Park is at 8000 Great Park Blvd., Irvine.

To learn more about Irvine Global Village Festival, please click here.


Check out how our students are doing and what’s coming in our academy this FALL!

Why Homeschool Your Child?

“Even though the U.S. spends more money per student in relation to other countries on education, it does not translate to students performing better.”

A new haircut, book bag, and binder are but a few items to get before going back to school. The excitement is in the air. The smell of all new things creates a buzz. New friends, new topics, and new experiences await children. While some students will attend traditional brick-and-mortar schools, there has been an increase in educational alternatives such as homeschooling, which offer other children a paradigm shift in learning. In essence, children who are homeschooled have new possibilities that await them with greater parental involvement and a close-nit social network over their traditional schooled peers.

There are a variety of reasons parents choose the path of homeschooling over traditional schooling. Some of which are academic performance; social, emotional, and psychological development; and success in the “real world.” No matter the reason, parents as the primary educator create a systemic relationship in a child’s educational journey while being homeschooled.

With the increase of social pressure, school related environmental risks, and a decline in student achievement, parents have become proactive in setting the pace for their child’s future. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), in 2016 out of 34 countries the U.S. ranked:

  • 27th in mathematics
  • 17th in reading
  • 20th in science

Many feel the education system in the U.S. is trailing behind other developed countries. In addition, some feel that teachers are not on the same level of respect as other developed countries. The public perception of teachers must change. Other developed countries have a “bottom up” approach to policy building where most of the decisions are left for individual schools and teachers. Such is the case in Finland. The U.S. consistently performs near the middle.

Even though the U.S. spends more money per student in relation to other countries on education, it does not translate to students performing better. Parents have noticed the trend and have taken a grassroots approach to ensuring their child is successful based on their child’s needs.

Who else knows their child better than a parent? Parents are able to provide an environment conducive to learning. Parents are able to provide moral instruction building a child’s character. Parents are able to provide a nontraditional approach to learning because they understand their child’s learning style. In essence, parents take great pride in being their child’s primary educator. No wonder there has been an increase in children being homeschooled.

While parents are the primary educator for their children, they are aware that it is necessary for assistance. It takes a village has a humble approach to having a balanced life. There are a variety of resources for parents to take advantage of to help their child. Museums, athletic clubs, fine art classes, tutors, and academic institutions like American Academy of Strategic Education have provided parents greater opportunities to help holistically educate their child.

Finding the right program that best meets the child’s needs may seem daunting. However, parents are able to be proactive in asking the right questions when selecting a program that brings out the best in their child. Finding unique programs that are innovative and have an established reputation is a steppingstone. Next, finding a program that is the best fit provides parents opportunities for a child to grow. Knowing what subjects are offered and the flexibility of the program provides options for children and their parents. Parents are encouraged to ask for tours to visit the facilities with their child, meet the director, and learn more about the program. Understanding how a day is structured, what subjects are taught on which days, and what type of coursework (i.e. project-based and/or technology integration) are but a few questions parents can ask about the program. Last, looking towards your local charter school to subsidize the program is a wonderful way to tap into resources.

Programs, like American Academy of Strategic Education, provide individualized learning. If a child learns quickly, he or she may proceed ahead. Having the opportunity for a child to learn at his or her level is one of the greatest advantages of homeschooling. Likewise, if a child does not learn quickly, having the flexibility to slow down and check for understanding without social pressure is a plus.

Unfortunately, this is not always an option in traditional schools. Furthermore, academies like American Academy provide real-world project-based learning and problem solving. The opportunity for students to apply their academic learning through collaborating with their classmates provides greater chances for deeper understanding.

Parents are seeking the long game. They may ask themselves, “What do I need to do to help my child get into a good college?” Research suggests that college students who were previously homeschooled successfully integrate socially and excel at academics. Almost every college or university has policies for homeschool admissions. In the past, homeschooled students have had to take the GED to enter into secondary education. However, this is not the case anymore. Most colleges and universities are homeschool-friendly and, in some cases, favor those who have been homeschooled. Furthermore, when parents partner with a charter school to help meet their child’s needs, the charter school will not only provide approved vendors like American Academy, but a homeschool teacher who is credentialed to collect student work samples and submit to the charter school to show evidence of learning. Students who are in a charter school would graduate from that charter school into secondary education with the assistance of approved vendors. Hence, parents are given the flexibility to meet their child’s needs in numerous ways.

As a final note, being a parent is never easy. There are days that are victorious and those when introspection is a key to growth. Having a deep connection with your child, understanding their specific needs, and being willing to learn alongside them can help parents succeed. The U.S. has a great opportunity to be an educational leader in the world. It does require a paradigm shift in viewing how education and learning takes place. Understanding that there are numerous possibilities and options for children to grow and learn is a starting point. Hence, as children prepare for a new year of learning, understanding that no two students learn the same and providing the best learning environment for children based on their needs – enhances their retention and knowledge.

By Roman B. Fernando, Executive Director
American Academy of Strategic Education – Newport Mesa


Reasons Why Parents Homeschool:

Why Homeschool? Parents, Educators & Students Comment On The Benefits Of Homeschooling:

K-12 Facts:


Fact Maps:

Newport Mesa academy NOW OPEN

American Academy of Strategic Education has an additional location! Newport Mesa academy NOW OPEN! Our new academy is located in Newport Beach and is also conveniently adjacent to other nearby cities of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Santa Ana.

Visiting American Academy is the best way to decide if your child is a fit for our program. We’d love to show you around! Click the button below to schedule your personal tour today.

What to Expect from a Free Tour

Your personal tour guide will begin your visit by taking you on a tour of our academy and introducing you and your child to our students and teachers. You can expect our students to greet you with a smile and handshake. Teachers will stop and say hello.

Next, your guide will share detailed information about our programs and the student experience, including: classes, clubs, field trips, and educational adventure tours as well as the enrollment process, and charter funding. The entire process will be informative and enjoyable. We look forward to getting to know you.