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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page. Here you will find general information about Agia Sophia Academy and our Montessori program.

If you have a question that is not listed, please Contact Us for additional information. Thank you!

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General Questions

We offer a full-day academic program for First through Fifth grade. Our Lower Elementary classroom includes grades 1-2 & our Upper Elementary classroom includes grades 3-5.

We also offer a Montessori Primary program for ages 3-6 (preschool & kindergarten).

One day, we hope to eventually add on a middle school program to take our students through 8th grade.

The current hours of operation are 8:10 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday, with a 2:00 PM early release on Wednesdays.

Our Montessori classes run from 8:10 AM to 12:15 PM (half-day program) or 3:00 PM (full-day program), with a 2:00 PM early release on Wednesdays.

Agia Sophia’s policy is to have a low student to teacher ratio allowing teachers to offer significant personal attention to the students.  Currently our student to teacher ratio is 9:1 with an average class size of 15 students.

We believe in setting standards that will stretch students of all abilities to reach their fullest potential-mind, body, and soul. At Agia Sophia Academy we strive to “set the bar high ” in a way that is both accessible to the average student and challenging to the academically gifted student. Furthermore, Agia Sophia Academy does not advance students from grade to grade simply based upon age. Students must meet the academic objectives set for each grade level, at the discernment of the teaching and administrative staff, in order to go on to the next level.

Yes, ASA is full-accredited by AdvancED | Northwest Accreditation Commission (formerly known as NAAS). ASA also has membership status with the Oregon Montessori Association and affiliations with Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development as well as the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.

Yes, our students are regularly tested in aptitude, basic skills, concepts, and reading comprehension using nationally recognized standardized tests such as the Stanford Achievements Test and DRA reading assessments.

Yes. Music and P.E. are taught three days per week by a qualified specialist. Students are taught Music History and Theory, as well as voice and instrumentation instruction. Our Physical Education program uses the Brain Dance Method and the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge. Art is taught in once a week, also by a qualified specialist. Student learn about Art in a multi-media, technique-based format in concert with Art History.

We strive to integrate Art, Music, and P.E. into our core curriculum study (history, math, and literature) as often as possible.

All of the classroom teachers at ASA possess current state licensure and degrees in education. In addition, we generally require each of our teachers to possess a bachelors degree, to be an active and faithful Christian, to have a true love for teaching children, and to have a love of learning and a passion for their subjects.

Agia Sophia Academy uses a variety of curriculum resources and approaches for its academic programs. We strive for materials that are academically challenging and facilitative of our goal of providing a quality Orthodox Christian education. We teach all of the basic subjects (Faith History, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Math, Science, History, Greek, Latin, Art, Music, Physical Education, etc.). Our curriculum is distinctive in that our students are taught how to learn, to grow in the gift of discernment, and to be critical thinkers.

The 2016-2017 school year was our 13th year of operation. A Steering Committee worked for over a year to put ASA together prior to our official opening in September of 2004. Over the past years, ASA has developed respected Montessori and Multi-Age Elementary programs and continued outreach to the Pan-Orthodox community and beyond.

This is a legitimate concern for many parents who are considering enrollment of their children. Our experience tells us that some students will adjust readily to the new approach and some may encounter challenges. The teaching staff carefully assesses each student in each subject area and find the most appropriate level for them to begin working. Our small class sizes allow teachers the ability to give specialized attention to new students in order to get them acclimated smoothly to our school culture.

Agia Sophia Academy is a distinctively Orthodox Christian institution that is committed to educating according to the Tradition of the Orthodox Christian Faith. The school is associated with the Orthodox Christian Church reflected locally, nationally, and internationally.

No. While Agia Sophia Academy is an Orthodox Christian School, it does admit students from all faith backgrounds. However, all students, regardless of background, are expected to participate in church services as well as in faith class. All who enroll at Agia Sophia Academy agree to participate in all activities and classes during the school day. The student body at ASA currently consists of about 20% non-Orthodox students and 80% Orthodox students from varying churches and backgrounds.

Immunizations are required for attendance at all preschools, elementary, middle and high schools in Oregon, whether public, private, charter or alternative schools. However, if your child is not vaccinated, the law does allow for exemptions with proper documentation. Learn more at www.oregon.gov.

Additionally, Oregon State Law (Senate Bill 895) requires schools to share their immunization and exemption rates for each vaccine required for attendance. New rates are release each spring. Click here to view ASA’s rates.

We strive to keep homework at a reasonable level. Our approach is to work hard on academics during the seven hours each day we have the children with the goal of minimal homework after school. We believe it is important that children have family time.

Students will be expected to read every night and practice memorizing their bible verse for the week.  In addition, any unfinished work from the school day will be sent home as homework. For more information, see our Homework Philosophy and Guidelines in the Student/Parent Handbook.

We see each student as one who bears the image of God, and one who therefore is a unique individual with unique personal, social, and educational needs. As a result, every disciplinary situation is unique in nature. Our school staff dedicates itself to following a set of core beliefs that provide a guide for dealing with student discipline. These core beliefs stem from a philosophy called Love and Logic (c), developed by Jim Fay and Foster Cline, M.D. ASA teachers are trained in this approach and the school provides resources for parent education as well. More information can be found in the Parent Handbook and the ASA website.

ASA’s core philosophy is that we are an extension of the primary parental responsibility for the education of children. Our role is to reinforce the values parents are trying to impart at home. Therefore, we strongly encourage parental involvement in our school. We desire our parents to be active in the classrooms if possible, to volunteer for school projects, and to meet with the teachers regularly and frequently. In addition, to be most effective in educating our students, parental support is expected in the event that any academic or behavior issues arise.

Additionally, parents must provide the school with 20-40 hours of volunteer work. For more information, see our Parent Involvement section of the Parent Handbook.

* due to COVID guidelines/restrictions, parents must be COVID vaccinated to volunteer with the students.

Agia Sophia requires its students to wear prescribed uniforms: Burgundy polo shirts with Navy Slacks (boys) and Navy Jumpers/Skirts (girls). Detailed information about our dress code policy is available in our handbook.  We also have a uniform exchange cabinet with gently used uniform items.

Students bring their own lunches in character-free lunch boxes. Once or twice a year the school hosts a special hot lunch day, usually in conjunction with another special event.

Agia Sophia strives to offer generous need-based tuition assistance to families. For more information, see our Tuition Policy and Tuition Assistance Policy.

The first step is to become familiar with our school and its unique philosophy by scheduling a school tour, speaking with our Principal or Secretary and reviewing this website. Further information on the application process can be found on our Enrollment page.

Montessori FAQs

The Montessori curriculum is organized into seven main areas: practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language, science, history/geography and art. The materials are available to children on low shelves with each subject area found in a different part of the room. Each work is designed to be used by hand and absorbed by the mind, providing a strong kinesthetic approach to learning from which all children benefit. Children are usually presented “lessons” individually or in small groups to maximize their learning potential and teach to each child’s readiness. An additional benefit is that this affords an opportunity for the teacher and child to cultivate a strong relationship.

As is mentioned in the previous question, the focus in Montessori is on process, not product. It has been proven that children learn through movement and paper products do not afford children the focused movement that generates true learning. At the 3-6 year age range, children are focusing on developing coordination, concentration, order and independence and the Montessori materials are scientifically designed to support these learning goals. As your child works in the environment over time, you will see some work coming home, often art work. We will send this work home in paper bags about once a month. After the Back to School Night, please feel free to schedule a time after school to find out more about the curriculum and specific classroom materials.

Yes! Although each child will learn at their own pace, the majority of children will enter 1st grade with advanced language and social skills, as well as an exceptional academic experience. Three to six year olds are at a crucial time for developing language skills and numerical awareness and this is capitalized on in the Montessori environment. The children are exposed to amazing amounts of knowledge and will absorb far more than often expected, allowing them to expand their learning to geography, history, math calculations, botany, biology, as well as language. The foundation they will receive in these areas will more then prepare them for 1st grade. While appreciating the value of academic preparedness, children in the Montessori classroom will also benefit in even more important ways. They will be encouraged to develop their sense of order, coordination, concentration, and independence, love of learning, respect and self-discipline. These skills, in and of themselves, will prepare students to be successful learners in any school setting.

The balance between independence and structure in the environment is finely orchestrated by the classroom teacher. Children are encouraged to make responsible decisions and choose their own work. Research shows that when children (or adults) are allowed to choose to work on something, the quality, as well as length of time they spend on it is positively affected. All of the material available to the children has a specific developmental purpose, so no work being used properly is a waste of time. However, the use of the materials in the Montessori room is carefully monitored. Children are allowed to use work purposefully and safely, but if that ground rule is violated, the child will be redirected to another work or activity.

The Montessori classroom fosters respect for others and respect for the environment. Through this respect there is a great deal of structure that emerges as students relate to each other with the appropriate language and consideration.

Of course not! However, much of what your child does is process versus product oriented and may not show up at home in paper form. We want to encourage use of the specially designed materials in the classroom, so constantly asking your child if he has anything from school to show you will be counterproductive and may cause your child to exclusively choose material that is in paper format. If you wish to hear from your child about what he did today, try starting the conversation by telling him about your day, what you were doing and how you were thinking about him during the day. That provides a nice segue into asking if he would like to tell you about his day. Try asking if he did any work from the sensorial shelf, or maybe from the practical life area.

These are a set of rules or code of conduct for the classroom that are based on respect and safety for all members of the environment. They are formulated to give children the best opportunity to succeed in the classroom. When a child breaks a ground rule, the teacher will respond immediately, with firm, but reasonable expectations and without condescension, so that child feels they are part of a collaborative environment but also experiences the necessary consequence to let them be successful in the future.

Parents are encouraged to enroll children for either five half-days or five full-days a week so that students have consistency in their environment. Older children are especially encouraged to attend full days so that they can receive additional one-on-one support in the afternoon as well as specialty classes in Greek and Music. However, it is not uncommon for a younger student starting at half-time to beg to be allowed to stay the whole day at some point in the year. Don’t be dismayed by this, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to be at home too! It is a sign that your child has settled into the environment and is craving the benefit they receive from the work.

Parents are welcome to visit the classroom after scheduling an observation time with the lead teacher. The first half hour of the school day is our designated time for getting settled in the environment, so all observations will be scheduled for after 9:00 am. Please be aware that your child will most likely perform a little differently with a parent in the classroom. In order to maintain the classroom environment, we ask that you stay seated in the observation chair, unless your child asks you to do a work with him, and also to refrain from engaging with other children. The morning class time is crucial to the development and concentration of the children, and in the beginning of the year especially, they may be easily distracted from their work.

In the beginning of the year the most important emphasis will be on the children becoming functionally independent within the classroom and able to concentrate and focus on their work. The practical life work that is on the shelves offers the best opportunity for students to learn how to use basic apparatus and develop their natural sense of order. Since the curriculum builds on itself, other materials will quickly be introduced into the environment as children move through the material already available and by the end of the year there won’t be room for all the work the children can do!

Young children love the functional independence and orderliness of the Montessori environment. Some simple ways to encourage these attributes at home are to purchase some basic household equipment and place them where your child can have easy access, (a small broom and dust-pan in the kitchen etc.) Within about a month or two of school, your child will become familiar with pouring different materials from alternating containers. You might consider investing in a small pitcher (with a handle) and glass so that your child can pour their own milk or juice. When shown in simple steps how to use the child-size materials you provide, children will be able to properly use the materials on their own.

Children from ages 3-6 are especially interested in order and small things. They notice little details that often pass right by an adult. Besides ensuring that your home is as pleasant and orderly as possible, your child will love any games or materials (home-made is great) that give them an opportunity to sort, arrange, design or otherwise be used in a methodical way. (Make sure that the games/materials belong in a specific, child-accessible place and can be put away neatly.) Children may take longer to clean up after themselves, but schedule in the time and let them have the pleasure of arranging their materials back in order!

There are a number of literature sources available for parents and teachers alike. In addition to the list below, please attend our New Parent Orientation in August, Back to School Night in September and read the Weekly Wisdom for additional information later in the year. You may also schedule a time to meet with the lead teacher by calling the school office at 503-641-4600.