Q: What is the tuition cost for Saraha Children’s School?

SCS’s first goal is to care for and provide an excellent education for its students.  To accomplish this, we have hired excellent teachers to join with competent staff and volunteers.  SCS needs to be able to pay its educators and run the school.

For the 2018-19 academic year, our tuition scale is $7,000 for the full school year for a single child and $5,000 for the full year per child for siblings. We ask any families willing and able to offer payment above this base rate to kindly offer any additional support which we will directly apply to our scholarship fund.

Q: Do you offer financial aid?

It is our greatest desire to provide a non-discriminatory alternative private school for students of all financial levels. Based on our financial ability to do so, we hope to be able to offer scholarships based to qualifying families.  We are dedicated to continuing our research and attainment of financial support in order to offer these scholarships. Please contact us at school@saraha.org for current information.

Q:  What grade levels are offered at Saraha Children’s School?

We currently provide complete academic education for K-6.

Q: When does the school day begin/end?

The school day begins at 9:00 am and ends at 3:00 pm, and class is held Monday through Friday.

Q: Is before- and after-school care available?

We do not have a before/after school program as of yet. We would be willing to provide  one if there is demand and financial support for this program.

Q: Is there a formal dress code or required uniform?

There is no dress code or required uniform necessary to attend Saraha.

Q: How much outside play time will the children get each day?

At least 45 minutes of outdoor free play/recess time. There is also the potential for extra outdoor activity time as weather and lessons permit.

Q: Will the school schedule/calendar follow that of 4J public school system?

Saraha’s schedule/calendar will follow that of the 4J system for major holidays/vacations. There may be possible slight differences with respect to teacher conference days. As well, since 4J continues to extend their use of furlough days, there may be arbitrary days through out the year that Saraha Children’s School will be in session while 4J schools are not.

Q: Are meals offered at Saraha, and is the school strictly vegetarian?

The answer is no, to both questions. We are not currently set up to prepare and serve school lunches, though this may become a possibility in the future.  Parents should provide lunch. It is not necessary for children to adhere to a vegetarian diet at SCS, though they are welcome to do so.

Q: How many children are there per classroom?

To date, we plan to have 15 students maximum per teacher. This will usually amount to 15 students per classroom, though for some events classes may be combined.

Q: How will technology be incorporated into the curriculum?

SCS will provide technological resources for basic skills and learning, word processing, PowerPoint presentations, etc. The use of this resource will depend upon lessons, curriculum, and teacher assessment.

Q: What is the volunteer requirement for participating families?

SCS encourages voluntary involvement of parents in the school. We also have a volunteer requirement of at least 3 hours a month volunteer time from each family. We are currently creating a volunteer schedule with a list of differing volunteer positions. More information will be available at a later date.

Q: How will the school keep parents informed of school events, activities, etc?

We hold community communications as very important. We plan to send out a monthly email with notices, updates, reminders, etc. As well, there will be one administrative staff member available by phone at all times during the school day, and by email at all times.

Q: What happens if my child becomes sick or injured?

Parents will be notified immediately. In the event of an obvious health emergency, 911 may be notified as well.  In addition, we will require teachers and staff to become CPR certified.  The office/administration at SCS should be able to handle individual health issues without the disruption of general classroom education.

Q: What are the qualifications of Saraha’s teachers?

SCS teachers are selected based on a combination of professional credentials, experience, and personal merit.  As per the requirement of the State of Oregon for private schools, at least 50% of SCS teachers and administrators will be Oregon State certified and registered. These teachers will work in combination with experienced and generally qualified teaching assistants and volunteers.

In general, Saraha requires that all teachers have a great deal of previous teaching experience, and that their values, and methods fit in well with Saraha’s intentions. Teachers should be kind, patient, non-judgmental, and personable with all children, parents, and staff.

See www.sarahschool.org for information on current  teachers and administrators of the school.

Q: How will my child’s progress be evaluated?

We do not plan to provide graded assessment/report cards. Instead, we will offer individual teacher written assessments to be shared/discussed in individual parent-teacher meetings. In addition, students will be administered state tests at the 5 different grade levels required for home schooled students. These are 3rd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade, and if we add high school levels at a later date, 10th grade and 12th grade testing will be included.

Q: Are there any extra-curricular clubs/activities being offered at Saraha?

Depending on demand, extra-curricular subjects/activities such as art, dance, music, etc. may be offered by qualified volunteer teachers and teaching assistants.

Q: Will there be field trips during the school year?

Most certainly! We plan on incorporating fun and exciting field trips into the school year. They will be determined by the subject of the curriculum and projects.

Q: Will Saraha implement State Standards or Core Curriculum?

Saraha’s main curriculum approach is for project-based learning, integrating Buddhist principles with education in reading, writing, math and science.  In order to ensure that SCS graduates are able to succeed in the greater educational sphere, we plan to loosely follow Core Curriculum standards.

Q: How will discipline be addressed at Saraha Children’s School?

First and foremost, we plan to communicate our goals for community respect and cooperation to the children from the start. This will set a level of behavior expectation. We will depend upon the interplay of older and younger students as a means to hold each other accountable to remember these goals. We will not support tattle tailing, or bossing around among the children, but rather will encourage children of all ages to share with their younger peers the importance of being responsible for their actions. When necessary, we will implement time outs for meditation. This usually helps in the long run to teach children the importance of allowing behavior impulses to calm, giving room for clear thinking and better choices. If extra steps are necessary, we will send the child to talk with the administrative or dharma staff about their behavior and choices. As a final step to very difficult situations, we will set up conferences with parents to solicit support from home.

Q: Will the school hold fundraisers?

Yes. We hope to include the children and families in fun projects to raise funds for our scholarship program.

Q: Will families be expected to contribute extra money in addition to tuition?

There will be a non-refundable school supply payment of $150 each year that is required in addition to tuition. If families have the means to offer extra funding toward Saraha’s scholarship program, we welcome all voluntary generosity. Though we intend on offering full, thorough and complete education to all children, if parents choose to ask the school to bring in a qualified tutor for any subject specifically for their child, the family is expected to pay for those additional services.

Q: How much of the curriculum is comprised of Buddhist dharma (teachings?)

Answer Part one: With respect to actual Buddhist lessons, there will be approximately one hour of direct teaching/practice through out the day. These lessons will be comprised of inspirational chanting/prayer and meditation for the benefit of all beings everywhere, Tibetan language lessons, and final dedication chanting/prayer to offer all good deeds completed through out the day for the benefit of all beings.

How will this look? In the morning, the whole school will meet together to begin inspirational chanting/prayer and meditation to benefit all beings for approx. 15 minutes. Tibetan language lessons will begin right after, and will last for 30-45 minutes. During these language lessons, kids will learn and study the basic Buddhist tenets of compassion, generosity, patience, discipline, etc. Then the children will begin their regular studies for the rest of the day, except for the last 20. In these last 20 minutes, the school will meet together again and partake of the final dedication chant/prayer to offer their good deeds to benefit of all beings. The only additional element will be an offering prayer out of compassion for the benefit of all beings at lunchtime.

Answer Part two: With respect to Dharma outside of the above lessons, we hope that it will permeate through out. Buddhists believe in Buddha, which means Enlightenment. They believe all people can realize Enlightenment, and that an enlightened being is capable of universal benefit and goodness with the intention of altruistically relieving oneself and all others from suffering. Though there are no extra lessons planned for this conceptual aspect, we aspire that all students will practice generosity, patience, compassion, diligence, and wisdom in everything they do at Saraha Children’s School. The school and what it stands for will only ever exist within the minds and activities of those engaged with it. So, “How much Buddhism” there is in our school depends entirely upon how generous, patient, kind, diligent, and wise the children, parents, teachers and all staff connected to the school are. In this sense, we hope the Buddhist aspect of our school permeates all facets, including, hopefully, the lives of all involved as well.

Q: Does my child/family need to be Buddhist to enroll in Saraha children’s School?

Not at all. We do not teach or practice other religions at Saraha, but we also do not disparage them either. During the morning, students will be engaged in chants/prayers/meditations that belong to the Buddhist tradition. No one will be forced to partake if they or their parents do not want to learn and practice the Buddha Dharma, but it might not be useful to attend the school if this is the case.

Q: How should families of other faiths reconcile the differences in beliefs?

Buddhism is a faith that does not deny the possible goodness within other faiths. Buddhism is essentially the practice of generosity, kindness, patience, attentiveness, and wisdom with the intention of realizing the enlightened state in order to be of benefit to others. This practice is not exclusive to Buddhists. The only reason it is called “Buddhism” is because this is the path that the historical Buddha taught. These are qualities that are inherent in all beings regardless of religious orientation. With this in mind, to us, it seems easy to reconcile differences.

Q: Will Western holidays be celebrated?

We do not plan to celebrate any specific religious holidays whether “Western” or Buddhist. This is primarily because we wish to be respectful of all religions and as such do not want to offer pat or simplistic versions of ultimately meaningful celebrations. Since we are choosing to follow this route, we do not feel it is balanced to celebrate Buddhist holidays in school either. We do not plan to incorporate into the curriculum religious holidays. Of course, we will not disparage any child’s personal celebrations, and do not intend to disallow excitement, conversations, or the sharing of traditions among the students if they choose to engage this way during the day.

Otherwise, our school calendar will follow 4J public school calendar, which does seem to be centered on particular “Western” holidays.

Q: How is the day structured?

Approximately 45-60 minutes first period engaged in Buddhist Dharma activity and lessons, including aspiration chants/prayers for all beings, meditation, and Tibetan Language class. Regular curricular classes, with time for snack, 45 minutes of recess, at least 30 minutes for lunch, and short concluding chant/prayer/meditation to dedicate all good deeds to the benefit of all beings everywhere. We are certain this schedule will become more specific once teaching staff is hired and lesson plans are created.