The Enrollment Lottery is now completed.
We are continuing to accept Letters of Intent for all grades,
and children will be added to wait lists, first come, first served.
Please visit the Enrollment Process page for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a charter school?
Charter schools are publicly funded elementary or secondary schools in the United States that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools. This is usually in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school's charter. Their founders are often teachers, parents, or activists who want to bring an innovative approach to the local public school community.
Does MacLaren charge tuition?
No, it does not. MacLaren is a public school and, like all public schools, does not charge tuition. However, also like other public schools, there may be fees charged to cover certain costs. There are payment plans available for these fees as well as income-based reductions.
Is MacLaren a District 11 school?
No, it is not. Thomas MacLaren School, while located within the boundaries of District 11, is actually chartered through Colorado's state authorizer, the Charter School Institute.
How is MacLaren governed?
MacLaren is governed by its own Board of Directors. There are currently seven people serving on the Board. As a public institution, MacLaren’s Board meetings are open to the public.
Where is MacLaren located?
MacLaren is located on the first floor of Pulpit Rock Church, 303 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs 80918.
What grades does MacLaren serve?
MacLaren serves 6th through 12th grades.
Is there an entrance exam?
No, there is no entrance exam. As a public school, we offer this curriculum to all who apply. That said, MacLaren may not be the right fit for every child. We are a school of choice and we offer a specific educational environment which may work very well for some children and not as well for others. All families who choose MacLaren are welcome. Each spring, MacLaren holds diagnostic exams for students transferring into grades 7 and higher to ensure proper placement within our program.
What are the school hours?
School is held Monday through Friday and will start promptly at 7:45 a.m. and end
at 3:30 p.m (2:40 p.m. on Fridays).
Does MacLaren offer bus service?
Unfortunately, we are unable to afford bus service at this time. We hope to be able to offer bus service in future years.
My ninth grader has never had Latin or orchestra. How will they be able to take Latin IV or Orchestra IV?
We understand that most transfer students have not had prior experience in Latin or orchestra. We have a transfer program for these students. For students who have experience with a string instrument, we do our best to place that student in an appropriate orchestra.
How does MacLaren address discipline issues?
An orderly and safe school environment is essential to foster the community of learners which is at the core of our educational model. We have clear rules for the students to follow and they are enforced, consistently, fairly, and seriously. We do not tolerate disrespect whether it be student-to-student, student-to-teacher or teacher-to-student. We also expect there to be respect between the faculty and the parents. This is the basis for the civil and productive discourse we encourage throughout the school.
Is there a physical education class? Is there a sports program?
No, there are not physical education classes during the school day. However, we certainly believe that physical activity is important and so we have created a P.E. course to be fulfilled outside of school hours, either through participation in other sports teams, dance class, tae-kwon do, etc., or through fitness classes at a gym or recreation center (e.g. YMCA). Yes, there is an extra-curricular sports program at MacLaren. As a small school, our program is modest and will grow over time. The types of sports that we offer are directly linked to what parents and teachers are able to volunteer in the way of coaching and organizational expertise.
How do you address the needs of children who are struggling in a particular subject? How do you address the needs of children who are further along than their peers and need extra challenge in a particular subject?
At MacLaren, while we do not have ability grouping or tracking, we are able to accomplish a certain amount of differentiated learning during class time. We believe, however, that learning is best done in the context of a community and the interplay of the strengths and weaknesses within the group of students. We know that some children struggle in certain subjects while other children excel beyond their peers. To address these particular needs, one thing we have done is created a seventh hour to our school day to offer faculty-led tutoring for struggling students, challenge sessions for those who are well-ahead in a subject, and a general study hall for the rest of the student body to begin their homework assignments.
Do you have the capability of addressing the needs of children with IEPs or other special needs?
Yes, we do have a special education coordinator and we will bring in specialists as needed. However, as a small school, we may not be able to offer the range of help needed for students with particularly intensive needs.
Are there uniforms?
Yes, there are uniforms.
What does “single-sex classes within a co-ed environment” mean?
We believe that students in this age group are more focused and less distracted when they are in a single-sex environment. We are committed to having single-sex classes for all the core courses of math, science, literature/composition, history, Latin and Humane Letters. Orchestra, art, and drama are taught in co-ed classes. The students eat lunch in a co-ed context. That said, we cannot guarantee single-sex classes until enrollment permits.
How does the enrollment process work?
The first step is to attend an Information Night. Then you will need to submit a Letter of Intent using our online submission form. We will hold a lottery on January 31,2017 for any grade that is oversubscribed. Please read our Enrollment Policy for further details regarding the lottery. After the lottery is held, enrollment will be on a first-come-first-served basis to fill the remaining seats available in the class.
Do I have to re-enter the lottery each year if I am already enrolled?
No. Once your child is enrolled, he or she will always have a spot in MacLaren.
How will the younger siblings of enrolled students find a space in the school?
The lottery is weighted for sibling preference, i.e. siblings of already-enrolled students are automatically ranked higher in the lottery than their peers. That almost always results in a sibling either getting a spot outright or ending up very high on the wait list.