What is a public charter school?

A public charter school is a tuition-free, independently operated school open to all Verona Area School District (VASD) residents. Charter schools have a unique focus and are designed to foster innovation, boost achievement, and give educational choices to parents and students.

What immersion model is VAIS using?

VAIS utilizes a 50-50 instructional model in grades K-5. Half of each day’s instruction takes place in Chinese. The other half is taught in English using philosophy and teaching styles prevalent in other successful area schools. The goal of VAIS is to create intermediate to advanced proficiency in students by 5th grade. By immersing students in the process of learning in Chinese, VAIS provides them the greatest opportunity to become biliterate and bilingual.

How will my child react to learning in Chinese?

Many parents worry about placing their children into an environment where the classroom teacher speaks to students in a language they don’t understand. Experience and research indicate that children have little problem jumping into a new language. From birth to approximately eight years of age, children’s brains are designed to acquire language rapidly and with native understanding and pronunciation. The VAIS immersion model takes advantage of this window of easy learning language acquisition. Our experience has reinforced that although being taught in Chinese will seem unusual to students the first week or two, instruction in two languages quickly becomes “normal.” While Chinese teachers will speak to the children in Chinese, the children may speak to their teachers in English while they are getting comfortable with Chinese.

How do I help with homework and support my child if I don't speak Chinese?

You can support your child by:

  • reading with your child in English 15 - 30 minutes a day.
  • encouraging your child to embrace Chinese.

VAIS uses online Chinese books and websites that allow parents to practice and learn with students outside of school. Math and science homework will be in English.

How will I know if my child is learning Chinese if I don't speak the language?

All VAIS teachers conduct regular parent-teacher conferences and keep in contact with parents through email or phone calls as needed. VAIS also evaluates students on Chinese language learning twice yearly through a formal Chinese language arts assessment, similar to assessments VAIS students take in math and English language arts.

Will my child be able to continue learning Chinese past 5th grade?

VAIS students have the opportunity to continue their Chinese learning with their Chinese immersion peers at the middle and high school levels during the school day. Our graduates can take the Chinese AP test in high school and get college credit for their continued Mandarin learning.

Can I enroll my child in VAIS if we already speak a second language (other than English) in our household?

Absolutely, VAIS currently has a number of students whose first language is not English or Mandarin. Research demonstrates that children who already speak a second language have no problem learning an additional language. Moreover, learning a third language at a young age boosts problem solving and critical thinking, while increasing creativity.

Can my child attend VAIS if an older sibling attends another district school?

Yes. Your kindergarten or 1st grade student can join VAIS even if older siblings attend a different school in the district. Some families choose to enroll all their children at VAIS and some choose multiple schools based on what offerings work best for them.

Can my child enroll in VAIS in 1st grade or 2nd-5th grades?

Students with no Chinese background can enroll in VAIS as an incoming 1st grader. Classroom support and focused language practice will help bring them up to speed in Chinese in a short amount of time. Students entering VAIS in second grade or higher must have proficiency in Chinese appropriate for those grade levels to join VAIS.

Where is VAIS located?

VAIS is co-located with New Century Charter School at 400 N Main Street, Verona, WI 53593. It is part of the Verona Area School District School (VASD).

Will my child be bussed to the school?

Yes. If you live more than 1.25 miles away, your child will be bused to school if you so choose.

Will my child have access to support services & special content that are available to children at other elementary schools?

Yes. Services such as hot lunch, reading intervention, social services, library media center, and after-school activities are available to children at VAIS along with art, music, and physical education.

How do I enroll my child at VAIS?

Enrollment is open to all incoming kindergarten students in the Verona Area School District (VASD) in accordance with the Board of Education’s enrollment policy for charter schools. Charter school application forms are available on the VASD website here or you can call the VASD office at 608-845-4306 to request a form. The deadline to submit these forms will also be posted on the website. Like other VASD charter schools, if requests for admission to VAIS exceed approved capacity, a lottery system will be used.

What are the chances my child will get a spot at VAIS?

Although we can never guarantee every family who chooses VAIS will secure a spot, over the past 10 years VAIS has historically been able to place interested applicants in their preferred class most of the time.