Epic Charter Schools review
Combines self-paced, independent study and in-person learning sessions with a certified teacher.
Epic Charter Schools offers over 15 different curricula for Oklahoma and California students to choose from, along with free 24-hour homework support and virtual counseling services. But it’s been in the news recently for less-than-stellar business practices. And you’re on your own when it comes to organizing social activities for your kids.
Is Epic Charter Schools available in my state?
Epic Charter Schools is available for Oklahoma residents and specific counties in Southern California.
How does Epic Charter Schools work?
Epic is a free, online public school that is accredited by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission. It partners with the Oklahoma State Board of Virtual Education and the Orange County Board of Education in California to provide virtual instruction for pre-K through 12th grade.
The Epic One-on-One program connects students with a state-certified teacher to develop an individualized learning plan based on their curriculum choice and learning style. They’ll schedule face-to-face, one-on-one learning sessions with their teacher in your home at least once every three weeks, which generally last one hour. Although students complete most activities and assignments independently, their teacher should touch base with them every day.
If you enroll in the One-on-One program before October 1st, your child will receive a Learning Fund allowance worth $1,000. This can be used to purchase the curriculum and additional educational services and products, such as extracurricular activities, computers or tablets. All items purchased using your Learning Fund are property of Epic and must be returned upon graduation or withdrawal from the school.
Epic Blended Learning Centers (BLCs) are another program that are only available in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties. BLCs are offered in partnership with Rose State College and allow students to access Epic’s online curriculum and meet with teachers in a physical location supervised by Epic staff.
Is it self-paced or on a daily schedule?
Children create their own schedule and pace themselves as they complete their lessons. In some cases, students can compact their learning time into a few hours a day to participate in extracurricular activities.
How are student progress and attendance monitored?
In Oklahoma, students must complete at least 40 assignments every nine weeks to receive a 100% attendance rating. If students complete fewer than 31 assignments, they’re considered truant and are auto-withdrawn from the school. Parent-teacher conferences are held every quarter, and parents are encouraged to sit in on their child’s learning sessions.
In California, the school office administration monitors attendance through consistent communication with your child’s teacher.
What are the perks of Epic Charter Schools?
Epic Charter Schools students get a few extra perks:
- Free 24-hour homework help. Every student has access to a live one-on-one tutor to help your child with assignments, homework or study for an upcoming test.
- Speech, occupational and physical therapy. Epic provides specialized services to students who qualify based on their individualized education plan (IEP).
- Virtual counseling. Students can request personalized academic counseling to ensure they’re on track for graduation, as well as free virtual counseling services for their overall well-being.
What to watch out for
Epic Charter Schools has made headlines recently:
- Allegations of illegally profiting from state funding. Epic Charter Schools is under investigation for illegally profiting from state funding by inflating enrollment numbers. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation alleges that Epic enrolled “ghost students” — private and homeschool students who received little to no education from Epic — for the sole purpose of receiving state funding.
- Investigation into its special education program. A parent complained to the Oklahoma State Department of Education in 2019 that their child didn’t receive a proper education for the 2018–19 school year. As a result of the investigation, the state gave Epic six directives to rework its special education program to comply with federal law by 2020.
- Limited enrollment. California law limits charter school funding to the previous year’s attendance numbers. As a result, despite the anticipated surge in enrollment due to COVID-19, enrollment for Epic Charter Schools in California has already filled up for the 2020–21 school year.
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What is my role as a parent?
Parents are greatly encouraged to make sure their child stays on track and completes assignments. Compared to other online public schools, parental involvement is recommended, but not required. But it might be a good idea to regularly check in with your child since assignments count as attendance in Oklahoma.
Am I responsible for providing the technology and textbooks for lessons?
Teachers work with students and parents to order curricula and devices needed for lessons. A computer with Internet access is required. But you can use your child’s Learning Fund to purchase the core curriculum, supplemental learning materials and lease a laptop.
How much computer time is involved?
Students can expect an average of three to four hours of computer time every day.
How will my child be able to socialize with other kids?
Epic doesn’t organize any in-person outings or virtual meetups. Instead, the responsibility falls on the parent.
Epic encourages students to use their Learning Funds to join a sport or other extracurricular activity from its vendor list. Parents can also try to coordinate an outing with other Epic students on its Epic Meetups page, though its calendar is empty as of August 13, 2020.
Types of courses and programs offered
Pick a curriculum that best fits your child’s needs. Oklahoma has 19 curricula to choose from, and California has a choice of 23 programs ranging from pre-K through 12th grade.
Some of the curricula options available include:
- ABC Mouse. Geared toward pre-K and kindergarten students, this program offers a mix of fundamental math and reading lessons to help your child build a solid foundation for future academic success.
- MobyMax. This adaptive curriculum for grades K through 8 is geared toward students at both ends of the learning spectrum — providing gifted students with challenging lessons while simultaneously giving remedial students the extra support they need.
- FuelEd. Approved by the NAACP, this program offers credit recovery courses designed for middle and high school students at risk of falling behind in their academics.
- StrongMind. Middle and high school students get access to honors courses, interactive assignments and customizable lessons to help all types of learners succeed.
Is there a curriculum for children with special needs?
Yes, contact Epic’s Special Education Services Department to find out about its special education program.
Are students required to complete state testing?
Yes, Epic Charter Schools requires students to participate in yearly state-mandated testing. Students in California may choose to opt out.
Epic Charter Schools reviews and complaints
Online reviews of Epic Charter Schools are mostly positive. Many parents and students praise the teachers and the ease of enrollment. But a common complaint was that parents felt students spent a long time completing assignments and sometimes struggled to keep up.
How do I enroll my child in Epic Charter Schools?
You can enroll your child in Epic Charter Schools by submitting one online form.
Follow these steps if you live in Oklahoma:
- Go to the Epic Charter Schools website and click Enroll in the menu tab.
- Scroll down and click Enroll Now.
- Enter the requested information, including student details and previous school info.
- Choose whether you want to enroll in the One-on-One program or the Blended Learning Center, if applicable.
- Follow the prompts to submit your application.
If you live in California, follow these steps:
- Go to California’s Epic Charter Schools website and click Admissions in the menu tab.
- Select Intent to Enroll.
- Fill out the requested information, including student details and previous school info.
- Follow the prompts to submit your application to the waitlist.
When do I need to enroll my child?
Epic Charter Schools does not have an enrollment deadline — you can choose to enroll your child at any time during the year.
Does Epic Charter Schools offer summer and holiday breaks?
Like in-person public schools, Epic Charter Schools also observes holidays and gives students a summer break. Parents can reference the academic calendar to see when semesters start and end, as well as days off.
Epic Charter Schools has seen an immense uptick in enrollment amid the coronavirus pandemic and is slated to be one of the largest school districts in Oklahoma. But if you’re in Southern California, you probably won’t be able to enroll your child in the 2020-21 school year.
And despite some recent bad press and investigations, parents are generally happy with the curriculum and teachers — even if the assignments take a little longer. But you’ll be responsible for your child’s socialization.
Not sure about Epic? Weigh your other options with our guide to K–12 online education.