FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

Our FAQs contain an assembled set of questions and corresponding answers addressing topics of common interest to the Turning Point community.If you have questions that should be added please feel free to use our contact us form to submit them.

TPA Program, Procedures & Policies FAQs

Where can I find information on TPA's focus on character?

There are several places on this site where information on TPA’s philosophy and focus can be found:

What are opportunities for technology education?

At Turning Point Academy, we offer an academically rigorous program for all students. We offer a computer class taught by our Technology Liaison, Breanna McKenley. Every classroom has access to computers, LCD projectors, visualizers, and other equipment, so technology is infused into our academic program, even outside of the computer class.

Is there a parent guide or handbook to inform parents?

Yes, TPA has published a   parent handbook which can be access online from our document library. To view or download it click here.

Does TPA have a Special Education program?

For those children that require extra services, we have Special Educators on staff:  Justin John-Langba, Sharon Marshall, and Betty Moore.  Additionally, we have a Speech/Language Pathologist, William Spleidt, and a School Psychologist.

For more information regarding the Special Education program at Turning Point Academy, please contact Justin John-Langba.

What is the Hyde Principle/Process?

Behind the "Hyde Process" is the Hyde School. The Hyde School began in 1966 when math teacher Joseph Gauld believed that the existing educational system was overly focused on student achievement rather than character. To find out more about the Hyde School and approach, go to their website: http://www.hyde.edu/about-hyde-school/history/.

Why Hyde?

The Hyde Model, is based on character over ability. Turning Point Academy strives to help each child develop strong character that will help that child achieve the individual's unique potential. One of the main principles behind Hyde is also believe that success is due more to an adherence to a belief system, rather than a set curriculum and success is a lifelong journey of personal and family growth.

TAG & Charter School Program FAQs

As a Charter School, is TPA a part of the PG Public School system?

Yes. According to the PGCPS website , "Charter schools may implement instructional programs and curriculum standards that may be different than other traditional public schools. These schools are operated by community leaders or educational management organizations- but all are held accountable for performance standards and student achievement by the Prince George's County Board of Education."

What is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school usually created or organized by a group of teachers, parents and community leaders, or a community-based organization. It is usually sponsored by an existing local public school board or county board of education. Specific goals and operating procedures for the charter school are detailed in an agreement (or “charter”).

What is the difference between a charter school and regular public school?

According to the Maryland Dept of Education site, "Charter schools are often started by people in a community who want an alternative to traditional schools. They want schools that are community oriented and focused on the special interest of the community, parents and students." The charter schools administrators have more flexibility in designing an educational program, hiring faculty and staff and the programs. The schools' curriculum standards may be different than other traditional public schools. Still, they are held accountable for performance standards and student achievement by the Prince George's County Board of Education.

For more information and local programs, check out the following:

Do Charter School have attendance boundaries like the Specialty Programs Schools?

Public Charter Schools do not have attendance boundaries. There are no attendance boundaries assigned to charter schools. Students may apply to attend any charter school of choice.

Background Check FAQs

Why and how long have background checks been a requirement ?

The short and obvious answer is security for the students and school community. For details on requirements and justification please go to the county school system site and search for  PGCPS Administrative Procedure 4215 or try here.

Do parent volunteers have to go through background checks?

Specific questions, concerns and inquiries should be directed to the Fingerprint Office at 301.952.6775. In general all  all volunteers, and chaperones need to complete either a commercial background check or a fingerprint background check. Fingerprinting is not always required and an inexpensive commercial background check may be sufficient.

  For further information about the specific type of background check, forms and fees please click here.http://www1.pgcps.org/security/index.aspx?id=44362.  See the PGCPS website page " Commercial Background - Fingerprinting Background"  and for answers to questions on whether a commercial check is appropriate or a full fingerprinting check is required.

 

What is the procedure for getting a background check?

Anyone who volunteers in a classroom or volunteer for a field trip must recieve background checks. Both commercial background checking and fingerprinting are available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 11:45 am and  12:30 pm to 3:45 pm at the Sasscer Administration Building:  14201 School Lane in Upper Marlboro, 20772.

For questions, contact the Human Resources Employee Services Center at 301.780.2191. Or, to receive this service, visit 14201 School Lane, Upper Marlboro MD 20772 Room 124 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

 

See the PGCPS website page " Commercial Background - Fingerprinting Background" for details.

When are background checks required?

In general, according to the PGCPS website, volunteers, chaperones, and mentors require some level of background check: "

  1. Volunteers and mentors working in a capacity where uncontrolled access is anticipated, such as those working with students in an unsupervised capacity on school grounds, off of school property, or after school are required to be fingerprinted and complete a full fingerprint background check and form.
  2. Volunteers working in a capacity where no uncontrolled access is anticipated on a one time basis only, or on a sporadic basis,[still need to be checked but] do not need to be fingerprinted, i.e. parents volunteering for career day, book fairs, school dances, or other one time events.
  3. Parents and volunteers who volunteer in a classroom on a regular basis in a supervised setting must obtain a commercial background check through PGCPS on an annual basis.
  4. Chaperones who will participate in a day field trip or an overnight school trip are considered to be volunteers and must undergo a commercial background check initiated by PGCPS through the Fingerprinting Office before performing duties."

Please direct all questions, concerns and inquiries to the Fingerprint Office at 301.952.6775.  Also, refer to Admin. Procedure 4215 and  the PGCPS website page, " Commercial Background - Fingerprinting Background" for the current requirements and details.

When is fingerprinting required?

According to the PGCPS website,

"Volunteers, mentors, tutors, independent contractors/subcontractors and chaperones working in a capacity where unsupervised contact with children is likely or who are assigned duties in or around a school where unsupervised contact with children is likely, such as those working with students in an unsupervised capacity on school grounds, off of school property, overnight field trips or after school, MUST complete a full fingerprint background check fourteen (14) working days prior to performing duties. If you do the fingerprinting your receipt is good forever in PGCPS as long as you volunteer once a year (i.e. party, field trip, etc..). If you are going on an overnight trip you must have fingerprinting done."

See the PGCPS website page " Commercial Background - Fingerprinting Background" for the most current requirements.

How long does it take for the checks to be completed?

There are two types of checks, the commercial background and the fingerprint check.The fingerprint check is the more involved.

For details, please direct all questions, concerns and inquiries to the Fingerprint Office at 301.952.6775. 


Enrollment & Back to School FAQs

Who is eligible to attend Turning Point Academy?

You must be a resident of Prince George’s County to be eligible to apply for enrollment at TPA. Proof of residence is a prerequisite of admission. For additional information, call the Department of Pupil Accounting and School Boundaries at 301-952-6302.

Where can I find free lunch application?

Free and reduced lunch application found at Free and Reduced-Price Meals section of of the Prince Georges County School System website.

How do you apply to Turning Point Academy?

TPA accepts enrollment applications for vacant seats through PGCPS’ Charter School Office, during the open lottery application period from November 3 – January 30 annually. The deadline for public charter school student lottery applications for the upcoming or following school year will be annually on January 30. Lottery applications can be made by visiting PGCPS Charters and Contract Schools web page (http://www1.pgcps.org/charters/).

Will we have to participate in the enrollment lottery every year?

Once your child is accepted at TPA you will not be required to participate in any future enrollment lottery.

Where do I find information on dates, expectations, etc for preparing for back to school?

This information can be found in the back to school section of the Prince Georges County School System website


Busing & Transportation FAQs

Does TPA provide busing or transportation?

TPA does have a bus, but the space is limited. During enrollment, students receive a packet with an application for a seat on the bus. Since seating is limited no seat is guaranteed. Because, students enrolled in Charter Schools do not qualify for busing through the Prince George's Public School System, the parents are ultimately responsible for transportation.

Where can I find School Bus/Bus Schedules?

This can be found out once the application is filled and accepted. For more information contact the office at (301)552-0164.

For parents who drive, is there information on school traffic flow patterns?

Yes, there is a document, Traffic Flow Patterns, which can be downloaded from the TPA documents library.


Health & Immunization Requirement FAQs

Where can I find health forms?

This information should be on the PGCPS Health page on it's website, www1.pgcps.org/schoolhealth. Check the link for Health Forms for Parents and Prescribers.

Where can I obtain information on vaccinations and immunizations?

This information should be on the PGCPS Health page on it's website, www1.pgcps.org/schoolhealth. Check the link for Health Forms for Parents and Prescribers.


Uniform FAQs

Does TPA require uniforms?

Yes. TPA requires uniforms for all grade levels. To learn more about our uniform policy, click here.

Where do I get information on TPA’s uniform policy?

The uniform policy can be downloaded from the TPA document library, here

Where can I purchase uniforms?

TPA uniforms can be purchased from the following retailers:

All American Wear, Inc.
5001-B Forbes Blvd.
Lanham, MD 20706.
Phone: 301-459-5000
Website: http://www.allamericanwear.com/

Flynn & O’Hara School Uniforms
Lanham Crossing Shopping Center
8807 Annapolis Road
Lanham, MD 20706
Website:https://www.flynnohara.com/


SchoolMax FAQs

What is SchoolMax?

SchoolMAX is an electronic student information system used by Prince George's County Public schools to record attendance, grades, assignments, report cards, discipline incidents, and other information about your child.

Where is there information on parents using SchoolMax?

There is a User’s Guide, Family Portal for Parents & Guardians. It tells how to register, login, and use the portal

What is the Family Portal?

Prince George's County Public Schools provides a Family Access Portal that allows authorized caretakers to log into SchoolMAX from any computer with an Internet connection and view the child's student information, including current attendance records and assignment scores.


My School Bucks FAQs

What is MySchoolBucks?

My School Bucks is an option to pay for school related payments (school meals, after-school programs, bus passes, athletic fees, etc. ) in one convenient place. With MySchoolBucks, you can add money to your child's account, view account balances and recent purchases, and set up notifications for upcoming payments - from the convenience of your home, office, or on-the-go with our mobile app.

Where is the login for MySchoolBucks?

The login page can be found at the site login page.


FERPA FAQs

What is FERPA?

 

Ferpa, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a Federal law that controls  the release of and access to educational records. The law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. Go to Family Policy Compliance Office page, FERPA for Parents and Eligible Students,  to learn more.

Does FERPA apply to everyone?

FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to educational records. The law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. Go to www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco to learn more.

What are a student's rights under FERPA?

FERPA gives parents access to their child's education records, an opportunity to seek to have the records amended, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records. With several exceptions, schools must have a student's consent prior to the disclosure of education records after that student is 18 years old. The law applies only to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Testing & Assessment FAQs

Where can I find the standardized testing schedule.

The current PGCPS and MSDE testing calendar, 2017-2018 Standardized Testing Schedule, is in our document library. Click here to view it.

What is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT)?

The computer adaptive is a form of computer-based testing that has  software that monitors the response to every question and “adapts” to the student’s ability. That is,if the student misses a question the next question is slightly easier or if the student answers correctly the next question will be slightly harder.

Why Computer Adaptive Tests?

Computer Adaptive Tests (CAT) are dynamically customized for each student and are able to match the knowledge and ability of a test taker. The tests adjust the difficulty of questions based on the student’s response. If a student answers a question correctly, the next question can be made harder; if a student answers incorrectly, the next question can be made easier. The advantage of this is that the tests:

  • provide more reliable information about what students know—especially those at the very low and high ends of the spectrum.
  • give teachers the opportunity to adjust their instruction more quickly based on the results and provide information on what instruction is needed.
  • provide comprehensive assessment, which educators use to determine what students have learned at the end of a unit, term, or year.
  • can be used to identify students who may need specialized academic support in a specific skill or subject area, such reading, writing, or math.

What is the ACCESS for ELLs Primary test?

ACCESS for ELLs is a system of English language proficiency assessments given annually to students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs).

Why ACCESS for ELLs?

ACCESS for Ells test scores are used to monitor student progress in acquiring English for the academic environment, to plan support for continuing English language development, and to satisfy legal requirements for assessment and accountability.

What is DRA?

The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is a standardized reading test used to determine a student's instructional level in reading. The DRA is administered individually to students by teachers and/or reading specialists.

Why DRA?

The DRA is intended to be used as a diagnostic tool to assess reading levels throughout the school year.

When and to whom are DRA’s administrated?

The DRA is administered to all students in Grades 1-3 during a testing window in September and again in May.

What is PARCC?

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states that brought teachers, administrators and experts together to develop tests to measure how well students understand and are able to apply the skills and knowledge required by the new standards. For information on PARCC goto the PGCPS website page "Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC)  ".

Why PARCC?

The tests are designed to provide educators with a deeper understanding of how students learn. PARCC helps teachers and parents determine if younger students are acquiring skills and knowledge needed to advance to the next grade level, while older students can see if they are on track to graduate, ready for college and careers.

Who takes the PARCC test?

Students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are given the new assessments. These tests, aligned to the new standards,mark a major step forward for education in Maryland.

How are the PARCC tests administered?

The PARCC tests are structured to be taken online for a more interactive test experience, but can also be taken with pencil and paper. See PARCC online or download the document Top Things Parents Need to Know about Testing in Maryland .

What is MSA?

Maryland State Assessment (MSA)- The Maryland School Assessment (MSA) is a test administered to students in third through eighth grade. The test covers reading, math and eventually science for the higher grades.

Why MSA?

This test allows parents, teachers, administrators, other educators and the public to see how well students and schools in the state of Maryland are performing. Details about MSA can be found here.

What are SLO Pre/Post tests?

SLOs are content-specific, grade level learning objectives that are measure able, focused on growth in student learning, and aligned to curriculum standards. As a measure of teachers’ impact on student learning, SLOs give educators, school systems, and state leaders an additional means by which to understand, value, and recognize success in the classroom.

Why SLO?

The primary purpose of SLOs is to improve student learning at the classroom level and to provide evidence of each teacher’s instructional impact on student learning.

What is SMI?

The Scholastic Math Inventory, SMI, is a tool for assessing math skill and progress.

Why SMI?

The results of the test can be used to measure how well students understand, and are likely to be successful with, various grade-appropriate mathematical skills and topics.

What is SRI?

The SRI or Scholastic Reading Inventory is a “computer adaptive” reading comprehension test designed to measure how well students read literature and expository texts of varying difficulties.

Why SRI?

These assessments provide a measure of student achievement and growth and allow the school to compare student, class and grade level performance with other students’ performance from around the country.

Turning Point Academy
7800 Good Luck Road
Lanham, Maryland 20706
301-552-0164