What does PACE stand for?
Parents Active in Cooperative Education

Do PACE students get to “work at their own pace?”
No – this is a common misconception.

Are the children in PACE taught the standard Northshore Curriculum?
PACE students are taught following State and District standards, but our teachers don’t always use only the “Standard Northshore Curriculum” – PACE, by design, uses a variety of enrichment sources in addition to those.

How is PACE different from the neighborhood classrooms?
First of all, the classes are equipped with regularly scheduled parent volunteers who are well organized and work cohesively with the teachers. Secondly, PACE teachers have greater latitude with respect to how they meet District Standards. Under the direction of the Principal, PACE teachers have the opportunity to use additional materials, innovative methods and different approaches. These serve as enrichment to the district standards.

What is the benefit of being in PACE versus the neighborhood classrooms?
There is a greater opportunity for parents to be involved in their children’s education, which builds a strong sense of community within PACE – teachers, parents and students all get to know one other well. The materials used and activities that the children engage in are stimulating and unique.

What is the working relationship between the parents, Room Reps, teachers and Board?
PACE is a teacher-directed program – the parent volunteers support the teacher’s curriculum and activities. Direct communication between parent and teacher is always encouraged, and should be related to their individual children, performance, etc. The PACE Room Rep is the center point for parent communication on possible activities or materials to consider in the class. The Room Rep will discuss those options with the teacher and, if necessary, the Board. This keeps teachers focused on the students and class as a whole, which is the main priority. The Room Reps are members of the PACE Board, which oversees all activities to ensure that they are consistent with the goals and mechanics of the PACE program. The Board leadership also meets regularly with the Principal to ensure that the program operates effectively within Northshore guidelines.

My child is an exceptionally bright kindergartner – is he or she going to be adequately challenged in PACE?
Although PACE should not be compared to gifted programs such as the Northshore Elementary Advanced Program (EAP), PACE is a good environment for students who respond to extra challenges and can work well independently. The teachers may or may not have the opportunity to challenge students to their fullest extent, depending on the classroom circumstances and ability levels of the students.

My spouse and I both work full time – are PACE parents required to work in the classroom or will we have the opportunity to fulfill our participation requirement after school hours?
There are a few opportunities for working parents to earn PACE hours during the evenings, as well as daytime opportunities that can be planned in advance such as field trips and enrichment activities. However, volunteering in the classroom is the central purpose of PACE and families are encouraged to help out in the classroom whenever possible. If a significant number of parents were not able to regularly volunteer in the classroom, the success of the classroom programs would be diminished. Parents benefit from working in the classroom as they have the opportunity to observe the dynamics of the class. When children see their parents volunteering in the classroom they get a clear message that school is important and should be taken seriously.

My 3rd grader reads at a junior high-school level – will he/she have the opportunity to do work at a higher grade level in PACE?
Yes – at times, although classroom circumstances, teacher decisions and the presence or absence of similarly-skilled readers may affect to what degree this is possible.

Since there are parent volunteers in the classroom, is PACE a good place for children with special needs?
It’s not a question of whether the child is right for PACE, but is instead a question of whether PACE is right for the child. The best thing you can do is talk to the teacher before entering the program to see if PACE will be the best possible environment for your child. Parent volunteers are not professional educators and are not trained to work with special needs children.

How do I know if PACE is right for my child and me?
Take the tour, visit the classrooms, and make an appointment to meet with the Room Rep or teacher to discuss your needs. Also, remember that you as a parent must be willing to commit time and energy to PACE!

Are we guaranteed to have this teacher next year?
No – teachers can make career change choices, as with any other profession.

If a teacher leaves, will the next teacher be similar / have the same teaching style?
When a teacher does leave the program, the Principal may invite the PACE Board to appoint representatives to be invluded in the Teacher Selection Committee. That body is involved in the interview process and makes a recommendation to the Principal. Ultimately the decision rests with the Principal. Every effort is made to hire a teacher that fits in with the PACE program and philosophy.

There seems to be a lot of activity in the classroom – is this typical?
At times there are many small work groups engaged at once, so there can be more activity than you may have experienced in other classes. Learning is a social process, and PACE teachers and students find this format to be successful.

How many children are in each PACE classroom?
PACE classroom sizes are set by the district average and can change from year to year. Typically the classrooms range from 22-27 children, but NSD budget changes and enrollment trends can result in an increase in classroom sizes in coming years.

How many spaces are available in each PACE classroom?
This varies greatly from class to class and year to year. As you might guess, the majority of the spaces available are in the first grade, although spots in other grades do become available.

Do the children have the opportunity to see their friends from the neighborhood classrooms at recess?
Most often yes (depending on classroom schedules), but not always.

How is the interaction with other school members?
PACE at Wellington students participate in most school-wide activities and events such as grade specific field trips, and school assemblies. All Wellington offerings that are scheduled and those that are choice driven are included in the PACE program. Examples would be, music & PE or PTA extracurricular classes and activities.

Is the 80 hour commitment per child or per family?
Per family. This is the minimum required level; additional time makes the experience even more beneficial to the students, parents and teachers.

What does “enrichment” mean?
Enrichment refers to activities that are organized by parent volunteers which enhance the student’s educational experience. Examples of enrichment include art & science docents.

Where does the flat fee and fundraising money go to?
Classroom supplies and learning materials, field trips, enrichment activities, and business-related expenses of the organization. Each year the PACE membership is given the opportunity to review, discuss and approve the budget for the coming year.

Are younger siblings allowed in the classroom while I volunteer?
This is up to the discretion of the teacher and also depends on the age and behavior of the sibling.

If I don’t end up liking PACE, what are my options?
You can waiver back in to your home school on a space available basis, but technically speaking you are not guaranteed a spot.

How does the waiver process work?
Only out-of-district students require a waiver.

Is bus transportation available, even though Wellington is not my home school?
Bus transportation is not currently offered by the District for students whose home school is a PACE at Wellington feeder school.

How do I register my child for PACE?
Contact the Enrollment Coordinator (Contact page) and schedule an appointment to tour the program. The appropriate registration forms and timeline will be provided at that time.

How does the enrollment lottery work?
The lottery is held in the Principal’s office in early to mid-February and notification is sent out the following week.

What are our chances of getting in?
That is a hard question to answer – it depends on a number of variables, including size of wait list per class, class size, and more.