FAQ about Creative Minds

Where is Creative Minds located?

Creative Minds International Public Charter School is in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC. Our school sits on the campus of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, in the historic Sherman Building.

The entrance to the campus is at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW, at the intersection of Upshur Street NW. Ours is a secure campus—a government-issued ID or school pass is required for entry.

What grade levels are served by Creative Minds?

Creative Minds serves students in pre-K3 through 8th grade:

  • Lower School: Pre-K3 through 4th grade
  • Middle School: 5th through 8th grades

How many students attend Creative Minds?

In 2021–22, there are 548 students at Creative Minds.

How many new students will you be accepting for school year 2022–23?

For most grade levels, the number of new students we accept for 2022–23 will depend on the number of current students who return next year. We expect to offer about 60 seats for pre-K3.

In 2021–22, in kindergarten through 8th grade, we offered 2 to 15 spots to new students at each grade level; the exact number depended on the grade level.

How do I apply to Creative Minds?

You may apply to Creative Minds through the My School DC lottery. Find information at myschooldc.org. The lottery opens on December 13, 2021, and closes on March 1, 2022, for grades pre-K3 through 8.

Can you tell me about your inclusion program?

These are the components of our inclusion program:

  • Meetings with New Families: To understand a student’s needs; the IEP is tailored to meet the needs of the student.
  • Day in the Life: The student participates with others in learning activities, and teachers understand the student’s IEP and how it is implemented in the classroom setting.
  • Collaboration: Among related-service providers, general-education teachers, inclusion teachers, and paraprofessionals.
  • Related Services: Speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, social worker, physical therapist, audiologist, and any other providers.

Is there outdoor space for students on the Creative Minds campus?

Our campus offers plentiful outdoor space, including a playground that features a classroom, art studio, and school garden.

What are the hours of the school day?

Our Before School program begins at 7:30 a.m.

Drop-off and breakfast begin at 8:15 a.m. Classes start for all students at 8:45 a.m.

Students in lower school (pre-K3 through 4th grade) are dismissed at 3:30 p.m. Dismissal for students in middle school (5th through 8th grades) is at 4:00 p.m.

On Friday, students are dismissed early—at 12:30 p.m. for lower school and 12:45 p.m. for middle school—and teachers have an afternoon of professional development. We offer an enrichment program for all students on Friday, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

After-school programs begin at 3:30 p.m. for lower school and 4:00 p.m. for middle school and run until 6:00 p.m.

How many classes are there at Creative Minds?

In prekindergarten through 1st grade, there are 12 classes in total. Each prekindergarten class is made up of both pre-K3 and pre-K4 students.

In 2nd through 4th grades, there are a total of nine classes.

In 5th through 8th grades, there are a total of eight homeroom classes.

What is the student-teacher ratio?

Our maximum class size is 21 students, for a student-teacher ratio of about 10:1. In each classroom, there is a teacher and a teaching assistant.

What does a “holistic approach to education” mean?

Our holistic approach means that we focus on the whole child, promoting both academic learning and social-emotional development. This can be seen in the small-group work that happens in our classrooms and the project-based learning that builds on children’s curiosity.

At Creative Minds we don’t “teach to the test.” Instead of giving up months of instruction to prepare for standardized tests, we engage students in active, project-based learning all year long.

We believe that children’s progress in key social and cognitive developmental milestones is a prerequisite for personal and academic success. Our inclusive and child-centered approach to education respects the integrity of each student.

What do you mean by “international curricula”?

We implement the international curricula from Fieldwork Education:

  • International Early Years Curriculum: Pre-K3 and Pre-K4
  • International Primary Curriculum: Kindergarten–4th Grade
  • International Middle Years Curriculum: 5th–8th Grades

These curricula help children develop a sense of their own nationality and culture while also developing respect for the nationalities and cultures of others.

Thematic units combine several academic subjects in an engaging manner that makes learning relevant to real life.

Creative, interdisciplinary projects promote deep engagement and provide opportunities for students to integrate their own interests and experiences.

Hands-on tasks spark curiosity, encourage teamwork, and help students to make connections between academic subjects and real-world issues.

Does Creative Minds offer foreign-language instruction?

Yes, students in prekindergarten through 4th grade take one Spanish class and one Mandarin class each week. Students in 5th through 8th grades choose one of these languages to focus on, in order to work toward mastery, and participate in language class four times a week.

Note that Creative Minds is not an immersion school.

Do students have arts classes?

Arts integration taps into students’ visual, kinesthetic, and auditory strengths, engaging them more deeply in learning. Creative Minds students take classes in music and visual art, and the arts are integrated into our international curricula.

Do students have recess?

We believe that movement is an integral part of children’s development, and we provide movement opportunities through daily recess. Students in lower school have a 30-minute recess twice a day, and middle school students have one 30-minute recess.

Students also participate in physical-education classes.

Do you offer breakfast and lunch at school?

Creative Minds participates in the National School Lunch Program. We offer free breakfast to all students, starting at 8:15 a.m. Lunch is available for purchase, and a snack is served to students in our after-school programs.

Our food-service provider is Top Spanish, a local caterer. Visit our Nutrition & Wellness webpage to see breakfast, lunch, and snack menus.

What extracurricular programs does Creative Minds offer?

In 2021–22, because of COVID-19 restrictions, we’re offering only our After School program.

For next school year, we expect to return to our full program of Extended Creative Day, through which we offer Before School, After School, Creative Clubs, and music lessons.

Here is what we’ve offered in past years; the details of the programs may change:

  • Before School, for all students, starts at 7:30 a.m. and offers families the convenience of an early drop-off.
  • After School is for students in prekindergarten through 4th grade. Students participate in physical and creative activities, tutoring, and study hall.
  • In Creative Clubs students in 1st through 8th grades participate in targeted enrichment activities that complement the child-centered and academically rigorous instruction of our school day. Examples of popular clubs include Art, Theater, Soccer, and Co-ed Fitness.
  • Individual music lessons are taught by staff from a local organization.

There is a fee for Extended Creative Day activities. Discounts and scholarships are available on the basis of financial need.

Apart from Extended Creative Day, middle school students participate in Student Council. We have also hosted a debate team, a robotics team, and a basketball team and are looking to grow our program of extracurricular activities.

Are you offering in-person tours?

We are not offering in-person tours right now, but we invite you to watch a virtual tour on our YouTube channel.

How are you addressing COVID-19 at Creative Minds?

We have a layered mitigation strategy for addressing COVID-19 at school. Central to the process is a daily health screening, via an app, for all community members.

Each week we perform COVID-19 testing of our entire community, both staff and students, except for a small number of students who have been opted out.

HEPA/UVC air-filtration devices are in all classrooms and offices, and there is UVC filtration on all heating and cooling units.

Cleaning and disinfection is ongoing throughout the day and is supplemented by a weekly disinfection of the building, with electrostatic spraying.

We follow all required protocols, including masking and cohorting. Masking is required everywhere on campus—including outdoors—by our landlord, the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

This year, we’ve hosted two COVID-19 vaccination clinics for ages 5 to 11, and two for ages 12 and older. A vaccination requirement was issued for staff on August 9, 2021.

For students in quarantine, we offer the delivery of free breakfast and lunch.

Are you hosting open houses for prospective families?

Yes! Please join us for a virtual open house:

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Watch the Recording of the Introductory Session

Thursday, January 27, 2022
6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Watch the Recording

Saturday, February 12, 2022
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Watch the Recording

How can I learn more about Creative Minds?

Learn more about Creative Minds by exploring our website, creativemindspcs.org, and following us on social media; we are @CMIPCS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Watch our virtual tour to see inside our school and take a look at our campus.

You may also subscribe to our email list for prospective families.

Can I contact Creative Minds if I have questions?

We’d be glad to talk with you about our school! Please email frontdesk@cmipcs.org or call (202) 588-0370.

If you have questions about the lottery process, please contact My School DC: info.myschooldc@dc.gov or (202) 888-6336.