- What is the difference between Sisters Academy and a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools. Sisters Academy is a private school and does not receive government funding. Charter schools typically hold a lottery to determine which applicants will be admitted, but Sisters Academy has a different selection process. Students apply, are recommended by their teachers, and complete a three-week summer program before being admitted. Like charter schools, Sisters Academy uses an innovative model for teaching that was designed to boost student achievement.
- Why does Sisters Academy begin with the 5th grade?
The 5th grade year provides time for new students to adjust to a longer school day and to the Academy’s academic and behavioral expectations. If girls are performing below grade level in reading or math, they can catch up before beginning the middle school curriculum. We may, by exception, accept new students into the 6th grade if space permits. We do not accept new students into the 7th or 8th grades.
- Does Sisters Academy charge tuition?
No. Instead, parents commit to paying a modest monthly fee (currently $30), attending all teacher conferences, and providing service to the school. Service activities include meeting students at the bus stop, helping in the library, assisting with mailings, speaking with parents of prospective students, and providing refreshments for school events.
- How is Sisters Academy funded without tuition?
Generous private donors who believe in our mission make it possible for Sisters Academy to operate. Each year, individuals, families, businesses, foundations, and community organizations as well as our four founding religious congregations make financial contributions. Scholarship “sponsors” pledge $6,000 per year for four years to support one student from 5th through 8th grade. Sisters Academy of Baltimore is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization.
- How does Sisters Academy decide which applicants to admit?
Applicants must first pass an initial review to determine their financial need (based on household income) and their motivation for learning. Those who pass are invited to participate in a three-week summer program held at the Academy. Summer staff and school administrators evaluate each participant who completes the program. They select up to 20 girls for admission each year.
- Where is the school located? What about transportation?
Sisters Academy is in Lansdowne, a residential neighborhood off Washington Boulevard that is a mile southwest of Baltimore City. Our school complex is on First Avenue, which intersects Hammonds Ferry Road. We offer affordable, daily bus service for our students from two drop-off/pick-up points in the city. The first is in southwest Baltimore at the intersection of Hollins and Poppleton Streets. The second is in Cherry Hill at St. Veronica Church on Cherry Hill Road. If these locations are not convenient, families can contact the school office for help in arranging a carpool.
- Are all of the girls at Sisters Academy Catholic?
No. In fact, the vast majority of our students are not Catholic. Approximately 60% indicate that they are Christian and the rest give no religious affiliation. Our program emphasizes moral and spiritual values and character building.
- Why is Sisters Academy an all-girls school?
For a young woman to achieve her full potential, she needs to develop a strong sense of self. Middle school is a critical time for her to begin establishing her own identity. In an environment where she learns exclusively with other girls, she is free to explore her interests and discover her talents without concern for gender stereotypes. She can be comfortable taking leadership roles.