Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Charter School?
A: A Charter School is a public school of choice that is state-funded but privately operated. Charter Schools have the autonomy and choice to set many of their own policies related to such things as curriculum delivery, parent involvement, discipline, and special programs; however charter schools, as public educational institutions, must maintain accountability academically, financially, and in all areas of legal and safety compliance.
Q: What is the difference between the many different charter schools that exist?
A: Each charter school is different. They are run by independent governing boards and each charter school corporation has its own philosophy, vision, and focus that determine the type of experience you will have if your child attends that particular charter school. For example, some charter schools focus on dual-language or performing arts programs, while others may maintain single-gender classrooms.
Q: What is the focus of Ben Gamla?
A: Ben Gamla is a Hebrew Language charter school. All students will have one period each day of Hebrew language and culture. The focus of the class will be literacy and conversational skills presented through a cultural perspective. Students will participate in activities that expose them to Israeli art, music, and dance.
Q: Do I have to pay to attend a charter school?
A: No. Since charter schools are publicly funded, K-12 students attend tuition-FREE.
Q: What grades does Ben Gamla at Kendall serve?
A: Ben Gamla at Kendall is a K-8 campus.
Q: Can you give me some general background information about Ben Gamla?
A: Ben Gamla was the first Hebrew-English Charter School in the United States. The first Ben Gamla opened in Hollywood in 2007. There are now schools in Plantation and Miami Beach and two new schools, in Boynton Beach and Kendal are opening for the 2011-2012 school year. The Vision of Ben Gamla is to be a community of learners that honors individual student needs, varied modalities of instruction, and nurtures character traits that help to develop good citizenship. The Mission of Ben Gamla Charter School is to provide a safe environment for innovative instructional practices that continuously light the path toward maximum student achievement and personal growth. As the first English-Hebrew Charter School in the United States, Ben Gamla Charter integrates Hebrew instruction giving our students a useful tool in our global society.
Q: Are Ben Gamla teachers certified?
A: Yes. Our teachers and administrators are certified and highly qualified in their subject
areas and meet the Florida state requirements for certification, the same as any traditional
public school educator.
Q: Does Ben Gamla require uniforms?
A: Yes. Students are required to wear uniforms. Uniform requirements are explicated in the Registration Packet and posted on the website.
Q: Do you provide transportation?
A: No. Parents may participate in carpools to get their child(ren) to school. Students may also walk or ride their bikes to school.
Q: Do you offer food services?
A: Yes. Breakfast and lunch will be available for all students for a fee. Free and reduced meal applications are also available for families experiencing financial hardship. While the school lunch will be kosher, there are no dietary restrictions on the lunch students bring from home.
Q: Does your school receive a grade?
A: Yes. All charter schools are graded the same as a traditional public schools.
Q: What are the school hours?
A: 8:00 AM to 2:45 PM
Q: Do you provide an after school care program?
A: Yes. Aftercare is available. For options check under After School on this web site.
Q: Do you follow the same calendar as Dade County public schools?
Q: How can parents get involved at Ben Gamla?
A: Parents are required to complete a minimum of 30 volunteer hours per year per family. Parents can get involved in many ways such as: joining our School Advisory Council (SAC), being a part of the school PTO, or by volunteering as a room mom or dad. Parents can also help day to day by helping with anything from carpool arrival/dismissal duty to field trips and special events. Parents can volunteer school-wide and in individual classrooms. They can help with fundraising, book fairs, Parent Workshops, and more. The opportunities are endless. Each time you volunteer, you will also earn credit toward completing your volunteer hour obligation as part of our re-enrollment requirement.
Q: Do you have a gifted program?
A: Not per se. However, because teachers differentiate their instruction they meet the needs of gifted students in different ways depending on the population of gifted students and their respective Individual Educational Plans (IEP). The GEM program is not offered at Ben Gamla.
Q: My child has an IEP. Do you offer ESE services?
A: Yes. Our ESE Department meets the needs of ESE students as specified by the student IEP.
Q: My child speaks English as a second language. Do you offer academic support
A: Yes. All Ben Gamla teachers are required to be ESOL certified. Ben Gamla utilizes various strategies to meet the needs of students who have Limited English Proficiency to help them succeed in language development and in our academic program.
Q: What extracurricular programs are offered?
A: COMING SOON
Q: Do Ben Gamla students have to take FCAT tests?
A: Yes. As a public school, we are accountable to the state and must administer the FCAT test to our students. We prepare our students daily implementing the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, and not teaching to the test.As a Miami-Dade County public charter school, we are also required to abide by the Pupil Progression Plan (SB Policy 6000.1) as it pertains to student promotion requirements. However, varied assessment methods are used to determine student promotion aside from the FCAT.
Q: When and where can I register?
A: Please see the Registration packets found at www.bengamlakendall.com