Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

Alpha Public Schools is a system of four tuition-free public charter schools founded by a group of East San José parents committed to providing an excellent education for the students of East San José in grades TK-12.

Charter schools are public schools: they are tuition-free, publicly funded, and open to all students regardless of zip code (no eligibility requirements). Charter schools operate independently from the local district and have increased autonomy over a range of decisions, including how to allocate budget, how to staff schools, and how to structure the school day. In exchange for increased autonomy, a charter school is accountable to deliver strong results for students. In general, charter schools are schools of choice: parents opt in to sending their students to a charter school. For families seeking an alternative to their neighborhood district school, charter schools represent an opportunity for a family to exercise choice in search of the best option for their children – a choice that, without charter schools, was once limited to families with the means to send their children to private school.

The Alpha Public Schools system includes three TK-8 schools and one high school.

Enrollment Questions

Alpha conducts an annual lottery in November (for high school) and January (for TK-8) to enroll students in each of our schools. Placement is based on this lottery; however, when completing enrollment forms, parents may request a specific Alpha school. If space is available the student will be placed in that school, according to lottery results.

Alpha Public Schools accepts students from any local school district, regardless of district of residence.

Alpha offers open houses and other events for new students throughout the spring. Families who have applied will receive invitations as those are scheduled. In addition, our outreach team offers individualized tours if requested.

First, submit an application here: Your child’s name will be entered into the public lottery which is held in November (for the high school) and January (for grades TK-8). If you are offered a spot, you will receive communication on how to register and submit the required documentation. If you are placed on the waitlist, you will be notified if a spot opens.

No, Alpha is open to anyone who applies, regardless of where they live or their previous educational history.

Yes. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of spots, we hold an open, public lottery. In accordance with Education Code Section 47605(d)(2), preference in the public random drawing shall be provided in the following order of descending priority:

  1. Siblings of students admitted to or attending the Charter School.
  2. Children of staff or board members, not to exceed 10 percent of total enrollment.
  3. Students residing within the School District and eligible for the Free and Reduced Meal Program (FRPM).
  4. Students residing within the School District and not eligible for FRPM*.
  5. Students residing outside the School District and eligible for FRPM*.
  6. All other applicants

*Note that FRPM preference currently applies to Cornerstone Academy and Cindy Avitia HS, and will apply to Blanca Alvarado & José Hernandez starting on July 1, 2025, pending authorizer approval.

**Note regarding priority #1, In order for siblings to receive preference, they must be applying for the same school (i.e. Jane’s sister currently attends Alpha: Blanca Alvarado School but is applying for Alpha: Cornerstone Academy Preparatory School. Jane will only receive preference as a sibling if she applies for Alpha: Blanca Alvarado School).

Once your student is enrolled in an Alpha Public School, you will not need to re-enroll them again.

In recent years, California law has changed so that Transitional Kindergarten (TK) eligibility is growing progressively more inclusive each year.

A child who turns the age of 5 years old from September 2, 2024 – June 2, 2025 is eligible for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) in the 2024-25 school year. A child who turns the age of 5 years old on or before September 1, 2024 is eligible for Kindergarten (K) in the 2024-25 school year.

Beginning in the 2025-26 school year, a child who turns the age of 4 years old on or before September 1, 2025 is eligible for Transitional Kindergarten (TK).

Yes, a student can enroll at any of the Alpha Public Schools for any grade if there is space available.

Spaces fill up quickly at Alpha Public Schools, so it is possible that your child may be waitlisted; however, every effort is made to accommodate each student and place them in one of our schools.

Alpha Public Schools are tuition-free charter schools. There is no cost to attend any of our four schools.

Academic Questions

Our overall adult-to-student ratio is between 10:1 to 16:1. Our class sizes range between 20 to 32. In our larger classes, we have additional academic support team members who ensure that all students have appropriate attention and support.

Alpha Public Schools teachers are required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to be appropriately licensed for their grade level and content area. All Alpha teachers experience extensive professional development and support. We launch the school year with 2-4 weeks of professional development (“PD”) focused on internalization, healthy & thriving environment, and classroom management. Wednesdays during the school year are early dismissal for students; teachers attend school site or Alpha-wide PD three Wednesdays per month. These sessions support teachers’ continuing development in data collection, analysis, and response; classroom management; and other key instructional skills.

In addition to academic support, we offer a comprehensive whole-child approach that includes emotional and social support services, such as counseling and peer mediation programs. All students participate in weekly advisory sessions designed to develop social and emotional skills. We also provide access to extracurricular activities and health and wellness programs to foster physical development and mental well-being. This holistic support helps nurture all aspects of our students’ growth, preparing them for success both in and out of the classroom.

We do not offer a dual language program; however, we provide robust support for English language learners through our comprehensive Designated and Integrated English Language Development program. This program includes tailored support for students who are new to the United States and continues through to their reclassification as proficient in English, in accordance with California state standards.

School Life Questions

Learning differences and disabilities do not have to be barriers to learning. At Alpha Public Schools we believe in education equity. Our Special Education services are structured around neurodiversity in a classroom setting. We make sure our students receive the appropriate support to be successful in their development. This includes one-on-one support, co-teaching, intervention groups, mental health services, and speech support.

School Hours of Operation

Alpha: Cornerstone Academy

Supervision begins at: 7:30am
Breakfast begins at: 7:30am
Dismissal begins at:

  • TK-K: 1:45pm
  • 1st-4th: 2:45pm
  • 5th-8th: 3:00pm

Supervision ends at: 3:15pm

Alpha: Blanca Alvarado School

Supervision begins at: 8:12am
Breakfast begins at: 8:15am
Dismissal begins at:

  • TK-K: 2:00pm
  • 1st-4th: 3:00pm
  • 5th-8th: 3:30pm

Supervision ends at: 3:45pm

Alpha: José Hernández School

Supervision begins at: 7:42am
Breakfast begins at: 7:42am
Dismissal begins at:

  • TK-K: 1:30pm
  • 1st-4th: 2:30pm
  • 5th-8th: 3:00pm

Supervision ends at: 3:15pm

Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School

Supervision begins at: 8:10am
Breakfast begins at: 8:10am
Dismissal begins at: 3:40pm
Supervision ends at: 4:00pm

Parents should call or email the front office in the morning to report all absences. This includes full or partial absences.

Alpha: Cornerstone Academy

Phone: (408) 361-3876

Alpha: Blanca Alvarado School

Phone: (408) 780-0831

Alpha: José Hernández School

Phone: (408) 780-1551

Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School

Phone: (408) 791-1558

Alpha Public Schools does not provide transportation. We encourage parents to carpool whenever possible. Students at Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School can take public transportation at a reduced student rate, if requested.

Each of the Alpha Public Schools offers a variety of co-curricular and athletic activities, including competitive sports, music, drama, and other options.

Yes, Alpha currently offers free breakfast and lunch for all students.

Yes, all Alpha Public Schools are college preparatory. Beginning in the youngest grades we encourage students to set a goal of college attendance. At Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School we work with students beginning in 9th grade to prepare for college, led by the six full-time members of Alpha: Cindy Avitia’s college success team. Additionally, we support our graduates through the Alpha: Alumni Success program.

Our Alpha Alumni are currently at over 50 colleges/institutions all throughout the nation. While many attend local colleges (e.g., San José State, UC Berkeley, Evergreen Valley College, San José City College, CSU East Bay), we also have students who are attending institutions out of state (e.g., University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame, Puebla, Oaxaca).

Alpha Public Schools is committed to supporting our graduates to and through their college journey. The Alpha: Alumni Success program maintains connections with the Alpha scholars currently enrolled in two- and four-year colleges. Our alumni advisors assist the students in finding the resources essential for their continued education because an Alpha education doesn’t end at graduation.

The Alpha Parent Learning Center offers several services for Alpha parents and other local community members including literacy classes, career placement workshops, enrichment activities like folklórico dance classes, and a monthly food bank that is open to all families in the community.

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