Frequently Asked Questions
Are you a new school or an old school?
We are the teachers, administrators and families who went to school on Jones Road in Walnut Creek. The owners of that school recently announced that the school was closing. Over two thousand people expressed a desire for our community to continue and our students wanted to stay with their amazing teachers. We are what happens when a program is so strong, the educators so outstanding, and the parents so supportive that we all just keep going. We have no legal relationship with our old school. We will continue to grow and thrive as Our New School. Most schools could not do what we are doing. Most schools have not created the community that we have.
We know your reputation, but we want to go to school in person this fall.
We all do. Private schools in particular are under tremendous pressure to tell you that they will offer in-person instruction in the Fall. We understand why they say that, but the truth is that no school knows what it will be allowed to do. The County and the State have not yet articulated how that will happen and anything that they do say now may be revised later. Several public school districts have already announced that they will either be online only or that they will have a rotating schedule. Many schools may plan for students to come to campus only to find that they have to make last minute adjustments later. We are committing to online learning so that we can provide certainty to parents and so that we can best use this summer to prepare.
Where are you located?
We are now vetting sites in Walnut Creek. This summer we will select a temporary ‘Supervised Study’ site(s) and a permanent site that we can build/renovate into a modern campus. This is not a long shot. We have identified several promising sites already and are working with the city on conditional use permits for Our New School.
When can you tell me the address of our permanent location?
We are currently looking at several sites in Walnut Creek. We fully expect to have a permanent home in Walnut Creek ready for use for the 2021/2022 school year, if not sooner. The City of Walnut Creek requires a conditional use permit to operate a school and so we are now working with the city to see which of our desired sites may qualify. We will announce the location as soon as we can but we have been advised that this process can take several months.
How do I tour or learn more?
We would be happy to tell you more about our program. Please call or email us and we will schedule a virtual tour for you. Alternatively, please use the ‘contact us’ form at the bottom to let us know which grades you are interested in and a question or a two and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
What is your teacher-student ratio?
Homeroom has 18-20 students and then we break into small groups for reading and math, about 8-12 per group. Our JK and Kindergarten classes have assistants to support the lead teacher. We expect our ratios to be even lower this year as we transition.
When will I know more about the Supervised Study space?
We are looking at several sites now. This type of space is available and are currently vetting several options. We understand that parents want to see/know the location as soon as possible. We want to select the best option possible and will make an announcement when we do.
How much will the Supervised Study space cost? How does the Facility Fee work?
We understand that online learning does not provide the same value as in-person instruction does. We lowered our tuition to reflect this. Our facility fee is capped at $1,700 for the academic year and is prorated based on use. We will only assess this fee when a child utilizes our ‘Supervised Study’ space or when we have in-person instruction later this year.
Will tuition go up when we move into our permanent location?
We will announce tuition for the 2021/2022 school year on or before March of 2021, giving parents plenty of time to plan ahead. You should expect next year’s tuition to be similar to this year’s tuition + facility fee. We understand that our parents select schools within a certain range and then count on tuition to only rise by modest amounts year to year. This continuity is important to us as well. Our reason for starting Our New School is premised on keeping our special community together.
Is there a chance we might have in-person instruction this Fall?
We will have optional, small group, extra-curricular activities this Fall if it is safe and we are allowed to do so. We want our teachers and parents to be able to plan ahead though and so we will not have our required core subjects meet in person this Fall. Many parents may choose to join us knowing that they can stay online in the fall if they so choose and so we will not change that by suddenly requiring people to meet in person.
We do hope to meet for in-person instruction in January 2021 if it is safe to do so.
What are the chances that we will have in-person instruction in the Winter or Spring?
You should question any school that gives you a definitive answer on this because no one knows for sure. We will monitor the health situation, all relevant laws and regulations as well as other schools’ experiences this Fall. We then plan on having in-person instruction in early 2021.
What will the schedule be when we have in-person instruction?
Our regular day is drop off starting at 8am and pickup before 4:00pm. We will also have an extended option from 7am to 6pm. Our class schedule goes from 8:30am until 2:30pm followed by supervised homework time and then supervised free play. New this year, we will also introduce optional electives in the afternoon.
Our Old School was a feeder into De La Salle, Carondelet and other competitive high schools. What relationships will Our New School have?
Members of Our New School continue to have relationships with the top high schools in this area. We will continue to strengthen and build on these relationships. We will help high schools to see that our staff, curriculum and reputation remain intact. To infer that our alumni were accepted into their top choice schools because of these relationships though would be unfair. Our students are bright, hard-working and are driven to achieve their goals. Emulating our former successful students in these regards will continue to be the most important factor in attending the high school of your choice.