Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is Holy Spirit School accredited?
A: Holy Spirit School is fully accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) since 1988.
Q: Are Holy Spirit School's teachers credentialed?
A: Per Diocesan policy, all our teachers are credentialed or are pursuing credentials.
Q: Do students have to wear a uniform?
A: Holy Spirit School students are required to wear uniforms which are purchased from Merry Mart in San Jose. The uniform for boys is: navy blue pants or shorts, navy blue or gray or white polo, school logo sweatshirt or jacket. Girls wear a blue plaid skirt (jumper for grades K-3),or navy pants or shorts, navy blue or gray or white polo, school logo sweatshirt or jacket. Students in the preschool do not wear a uniform.
Q: How do Holy Spirit School's test scores compare with other schools?
A: There are no scores published by schools in the Diocese of Oakland. Catholic schools do not use the same type of test, nor are the results used in the same way as public schools. The high schools that our graduates attend have told us that our students score well on their entrance tests, and many qualify for honors programs.
Q: What high school do most of your students attend?
A: Our students have a 100% acceptance to Bay Area Catholic High Schools.
In the past a majority of our students have been accepted to and attended:
Moreau Catholic in Hayward, and Bellarmine and Notre Dame in San Jose.
Q: What type of involvement do you have with the Catholic High Schools?
A: We offer High School information visits at our campus each fall. In addition, our teachers are in constant communication regarding placement exams, requirements and prepping our students on how to get through the application process.
School Programs: In the Classroom and Beyond
Q: Do you have instructional assistants and if so, in what grades?
A: We have instructional assistants in K through 5th grade.
Q: What is the student/teacher ratio?
A: Class sizes can go up to 36 students. Many core classes are split to lower the ratio to 18:1.
Q: What does the curriculum include?
A: Holy Spirit School follows the Diocese of Oakland guidelines and California state standards with additional enhancements.
Q: Does Holy Spirit School offer other enrichment or instructional programs?
A: We offer a variety of programs. P.E., Art, Music, and Technology are a core part of our academic program and we offer a variety of after school programs such as a Filipino culture class. Participation in parish activities such as the Children’s Choir and CYO sports program is encouraged.
Q: What kind of technology does Holy Spirit School provide?
A: We currently have MacBook laptops available to students, with wireless access to the Internet around the school campus. Our recent purchase of iPads shows our commitment in providing the latest technology to enrich student learning. Smartboards are available and teachers are provided equipment to enhance their presentation systems.
Q: Do you offer after school care for students?
A: We do offer extended care before school from 6:30-7:45am and after school from 3-6pm.
Q: Do students of Holy Spirit School receive their sacramental preparation at school?
A: Sacramental preparation is part of our curriculum at Holy Spirit School. Second graders receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion after preparation during religion classes at school, parent meetings, and retreats.
Q: Do you offer after school sports programs or activities?
A: Our parish has the CYO sports programs. Cross Country and Track and Field are offered for grades K-8. Basketball has teams in grades 3-8 and Volleyball has teams for grades 5-8. There are girls teams and boys teams for each of these sports. Softball for girls begins in 5th grade. The parish gym is utilized for P.E. classes during the day and for afterschool CYO practices. Check http://holyspiritcyo.com for more CYO info.
Q: Does Holy Spirit School have an emergency plan?
A: Holy Spirit School has an Emergency Preparedness Plan which is the model for the whole diocese.
Q: Are volunteer hours required of parents or students?
A: We do require 39 volunteers hours per school year per family. There are many opportunities to volunteer to suit any schedule. Students in grades 3-8 do have a nominal number of community service hours they need to complete. There are also opportunities for child and parent to complete hours together.
Applying to our School: Process & General Community Info
Q: What does the entrance test cover? Does my student need to be tested to apply to Holy Spirit School?
A: Kindergarten applicants are screened for readiness. Kindergarten screening includes letter and number recognition, fine and gross motor skills and social and emotional readiness. An entrance exam is administered to entering 1st-8th graders. Entrance exams include math, reading comprehension and language arts.
Q: Are there any spaces open at Holy Spirit School and what are my chances of getting in?
A: Space availability depends on current class size, the number of returning students and number of applicants. Enrollment is offered per the acceptance policy. Priority is given to siblings and then to children of active parishioners.
Q: When do you accept applications for the following school year?
A: Applications are available and are accepted in January and are due by mid February.
Applications will be accepted after that date if space is available.
Q: Does Holy Spirit School accept students mid year?
A: Applications are taken year round and enrollment may be offered if space is available.
Q: I have a student I would like to transfer to Holy Spirit School, what process should I follow?
A: Students wishing to transfer to Holy Spirit School should follow the general application process.
Q: When am I notified if my child has been accepted to Holy Spirit School?
A: Kindergarten screening is done in March and acceptance letters are mailed
within 10 days. Students entering grades 1-7 are tested if there is space available. Applicants are notified as soon as possible.
Q: What is the minimum age to enroll in Kindergarten or First Grade?
A: Kindergarteners must be 5 years old by September 1st of entrance year. First graders must be 6 years old by September 1st of entrance year.
Q: Why does Holy Spirit School use a September 1 cutoff entry birthdate for Kindergarten and First Grade when other local schools do not?
A: Other Catholic schools are beginning to use this same cutoff date, and all California public schools will do the same by 2014. Schools are making this change primarily for developmental and student readiness purposes, to have a positive impact in the classroom experience in the short and longer term. Many other states already use a July or August cutoff date. Holy Spirit School is one of the first schools in our area to implement this policy and we feel that our students are benefiting positively.
Q: Are there any geographic boundaries to attend Holy Spirit School?
Q: Do you have a new student orientation program?
A: The New Family Buddy Program is targeted to new students and their families. Each new family is partnered up with a buddy family to help them get settled into Holy Spirit School.
Q: Does Holy Spirit School offer tuition assistance?
A: We are able to offer tuition assistance to current families in need. BASIC or F.A.C.E. applications must be completed and on file to receive Holy Spirit Financial Aid. Decisions will be made to help as many families as possible. (BASIC is only available to new families or current families with new siblings.)
Joining our Community
Q: If we belong to another parish do we have to register at Holy Spirit?
A: You do not have to be a Holy Spirit Parish member to attend Holy Spirit School.
Q: Do we have to be Catholic to apply to Holy Spirit School?
A: You do not have to be Catholic to be accepted at Holy Spirit School.
Q: Do you have a Scrip program? Is participation mandatory?
A: Participation in our Scrip program is required as it is a major fundraiser for the school. Each family is required to spend $1500 per school year as a minimum participation in the program. Families may opt out of the Scrip requirement with a yearly $90 fee instead of the $1500 Scrip purchase.
Q: Do you have a hot lunch program?
A: Yes. Students may order ahead of time online from Choice Lunch. Choice Lunch offers locally sourced organic fruits and vegetables our kids deserve.
Q: Is your school a nut-free campus?
A: Yes. Holy Spirit School is a nut-free zone. Students may not bring to school food items containing any kinds of nuts or traces of nuts. Please check the food labels. For more information about food allergies, go to Food Allergies and Anaphylactic Network (FAAN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing about a clearer understanding of the issues surrounding food allergies and providing helpful resources.