Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Charter Public School?
Charter public schools are public schools of choice that provide parents an alternative to traditional public schools. The “charter” establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure student success.
A charter public school is independently operated and can design elements of its own educational program, hire its own teachers and staff, and manage its own budget. The basic concept of charter schools is that the school enjoys enhanced autonomy, in return for accountability to its founders, parents, the public, and its grantors.
Do SST Public Schools charge tuition?
Tuition is not paid for attending a charter school. SST Public Schools are public schools, funded by the State of Texas. But, unlike school districts, charter schools like SST, do not levy property taxes.
Are SST Public Schools religious?
SST Public Schools is a secular and non-sectarian public school. SST Public Schools are not affiliated with any religious movement, organization, or belief system and are open to all students regardless of race, creed, nationality, or gender.
Who operates SST Public Schools?
Like all Texas Open-enrollment charter schools, SST is operated by a nonprofit educational organization, headquartered in Houston, Texas. SST currently operates 56 separate schools throughout Texas serving families in traditionally underserved communities, including every major city in the state.
The SST Public Schools Board of Directors are dedicated unpaid volunteers who are required to go through rigorous and continuous training in finances, operations and law and who meet regularly to adopt policies and guide the direction of the SST organization.
The SST Public Schools Board of Directors Nominating Committee is interested in individuals with expertise, experience and leadership abilities who will dedicate the time and interest necessary to contribute to the maintenance of SST’s standard of excellence in education.
Why should parents send their children to SST Public Schools?
Excellence is the SST Public Schools standard and this is well demonstrated by SST students who are consistently exceeding state averages on Texas standardized tests.
In the 2018 School Year all SST campuses across Texas met or exceeded state standards on the annual State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam.
SST Public Schools has the proud tradition of competing and winning state, national, and international STEM competitions, state and national academic commendations, and competitive internships at high-ranking universities.
What is STEM Education? Why do SST Public Schools focus on it so closely?
STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, the fields of study that examine the natural world and how it operates. SST Public Schools focus on STEM because it is fundamental to every field of human endeavor, from academic and critical thinking skills to social skills to appreciation and understanding of Humanities, Social Sciences, problem solving and artistic creativity.
Through SST’s Project-Based Learning curriculum, students work on providing solutions to real-world problems. These individual and team laboratory projects and state-wide, national and international rocketry and robotics competitions bring SST students to a deeper and thrilling understanding of both traditional academic topics while teaching them skills beyond the classroom, such as public speaking, teamwork and time management.
SST graduates are designed to effectively navigate college-level coursework by mastering advanced concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. SST graduates have earned seats in the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities, gaining coveted STEM jobs and bridging the gap between students in traditionally underserved communities and lucrative satisfying STEM careers.
What is Project Based Learning, and why do SST Public Schools use it?
Project-Based Learning is a learning method where students master academic concepts through designing, building and experimenting with their own and team projects and problems that search for reality-based, scientific and social solutions. SST students will complete multiple projects every year, giving them ownership in their successes as they learn and internalize lifelong skills in perseverance and critical thinking. It is these strategies that have made SST’s curriculum one of the best in the nation.
What is ”Character Education“ at SST Public Schools?
SST’s approach to learning does not stop with academics. Rather, beginning in elementary grades, SST ‘s goal is to grow its students, into principled and effective adult leader’s possessing key characteristics such as honesty, courage, persistence, integrity, and kindness through Character Education. SST treats Character Education as it does its STEM courses, teaching these vital character traits the same way it teaches academic subjects.
SST realizes that our children are our future. And so, SST uses “Second Step”, a research-based socio-emotional curriculum teaching respect, teamwork and work ethic that provides age-appropriate lessons using music, stories, and art. Second Step works. It is now used in 30 percent of all U.S. elementary schools and is produced by the nonprofit Committee for Children headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
Does SST Public Schools offer additional academic support, such as after-school and Saturday tutorials?
Yes. While each SST campus offers these additional educational services at various times, all SST campuses offer after-school and Saturday tutorials as needed where students can catch up or deepen their understanding and gain additional practice in challenging subjects.
Moreover, SST high school students receive college and career counseling and can participate in independent study and dual-enrollment college classes.
Do SST Public Schools Offer Gifted And Talented Programs?
Yes. SST Public Schools is committed to providing a rigorous, high-quality education to all its students. To meet the needs of those who show advancement in certain areas, SST provides Gifted and Talented Education, or GATE, beginning with students as young as kindergarten.
The GATE program provides accelerated learning through additional enrichment activities, pull-out sessions, and extended lab hours.
What courses are offered at SST Public Schools?
SST Public Schools offers a wide array of both core and elective academic coursework to provide every student with options that match their interests while satisfying state graduation requirements. Of course, SSTs curriculum focuses on STEM and from kindergarten on provides a broad spectrum of classes that boost student interest in STEM fields. Many SST high schools employ an advanced curriculum program in a variety of fields such as engineering, and biomedical science known as Project Lead The Way.
SST students may also qualify for Advanced Placement courses as early as the 9th grade.
You can learn more about SST’s course offerings from Pre-K to 12th grade by clicking the “Academics” tab from this website’s home page.
Does SST Public Schools enroll students with Special Needs?
Of course. SST Public Schools is very proud of its programs geared towards students with Special Needs where qualifying student can receive extra attention from instructors, additional support mechanisms for students and their families, as well as classroom and other accommodations.
Does SST Public Schools enroll students with Limited English Proficiency?
Yes. English Language Learners (ELL) at SST Public Schools receive additional instruction to help them develop their English language skills to help them fully participate in academic and social settings. Through the use of communicative and integrative methods of second language teaching the SST ELL program focuses on mastery of English language skills in listening, comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking.
How do SST Public Schools handle bullying and student discipline?
Students will not learn and succeed unless they feel safe and are in a safe environment. Student safety and well-being is the cornerstone of SST policy that is tough on bullying and other negative behaviors. Additionally, SST’s focus on family dynamics helps to identify and address situations that may lead to student bullying and potential disciplinary issues. SST Public Schools all have an expulsion prerogative and will use it when student safety or well-being is threatened and when otherwise appropriate.
Is there a School Uniform policy?
Yes. SST wants its students concentrating on learning and not on the latest fashion fads. Parents will purchase uniform shirts prior to the start of each school year. Information about accommodations and additional uniform and dress code requirements are found in the SST Parent/Student Handbook on this website.