Frequently Asked Questions

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are organizations that have a contract or charter to provide the same educational services to students as district public schools. They are nonsectarian public schools that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.

The "charters" establishing such schools are performance contracts detailing the schools’ mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. The length of time for which charters are granted can vary from three to 15 years. At the end of the term, the entity granting the charter may renew the school's contract.

Charter schools are accountable to their sponsor, usually a state or local school board, to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy

in return for this accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor that grants them, the parents who choose them and the public that funds them.


What is River City Science Academy?

River City Science Academy (RCSA) is a locally-managed, not-for-profit 501(C)3 charter school organization. RCSA currently operates 5 locations and serves grades K – 12. The mission of RCSA is to ensure all students reach their maximum

potential in a diverse, structured, and nurturing environment and to prepare students for a future in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.


Do charter schools charge tuition?

No, charter schools are public schools that receive public funds. They cannot charge tuition for the regular school day. They may charge fees for before and/or after school care.


Are charter schools required to employ certified teachers?

Yes. Statutory provisions require teachers employed by or under contract with a charter school to be certified as required by current law.


Are charter schools required to perform background checks on their teachers?

Yes. All teachers employed by or under contract with a charter school must pass a background check that includes fingerprinting.


How are charter schools evaluated and assessed?

Every charter school must be evaluated on academic progress and the outcomes agreed upon in the school's binding contract. In addition, individual schools are evaluated and assigned a school grade using the same standards and criteria as traditional public schools.


Are charter schools graded?

Yes. Charter schools are evaluated and assigned a school grade by the Florida Department of Education using the same standards and criteria as district-run public schools.


How are charter school student enrollments funded?

Students enrolled in a charter school must be funded as if they are enrolled in a basic program or a special program at any other public school in the school district. Each charter school must report its student enrollment to the school district and the school district must include each charter school’s student enrollment in school district’s report of student enrollment that is submitted to the state.


What are the specific requirements for charter schools?

A charter school is required by the Florida statutes to:

◦ be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and operations

◦ admit students as provided in subsection (10)

◦ be accountable to its sponsor for its performance

◦ not charge tuition and fees

◦ comply with all applicable state and local health, safety, and civil rights requirements

◦ not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, handicap, or marital status

◦ subject itself to an annual financial audit

◦ maintain all financial records that constitute its accounting system in accordance with current law

◦ annually adopt and maintain an operating budget

◦ provide an annual financial report and program cost report information

◦ be governed by a body that exercises continuing oversight over charter school operations and reports its progress annually to the school’s sponsor

◦ not levy taxes or issue bonds secured by tax revenues

◦ provide instruction for at least the number of days required by law for other public schools, and may provide instruction for additional days


What is a high-performing charter school?

According to s. 1002.331, F.S., a high-performing charter school is a school that has met each of the following criteria:

◦ Received at least two school grades of "A" and no school grade below "B" for the last three years

◦ Received an unqualified opinion on each annual audit in the most recent three years for which such audits are available

◦ Did not receive a financial audit that revealed one or more of the financial emergency conditions set forth in s. 218.503, F.S., in the most three recent fiscal years for which audits are available. (Exception: Charter school-in-the-workplace

can meet this criteria if the audit determines that the school has the monetary resources available to cover any deficiency, or that the deficiency does not result in a deteriorating financial condition)


Who are the BOD of River City Science Academy?

The River City Science Academy Board of Directors are dedicated unpaid professionals who are required to go through required board trainings and who meet regularly to adopt policies and guide the direction of the River City Science Academy.

You can view details about the Board here.


Why should parents send their children to River City Science Academy?

Excellence is the River City Science Academy standard, and this is well demonstrated by RCSA students who are consistently exceeding state and district averages on Florida standardized tests.


What is STEM Education? Why does River City Science Academy focus on it so closely?

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

RCSA believes that STEM education is vital to our students’ success. The skills gained from STEM education extend beyond those needed to be successful in STEM fields, preparing children with varied interests who move into any industry to have valuable skill sets that allow them to be successful.


What is “Character-Based Education“ at River City Science Academy?

River City Science Academy's approach to learning does not stop with academics. Rather, beginning in elementary grades, River City Science Academy's goal is to grow its students, into principled and effective adult leaders possessing key

characteristics such as honesty, courage, persistence, integrity, and kindness through Character Education. River City Science Academy treats Character Education as it does its STEM courses, teaching these vital character traits the same way it teaches academic

subjects. RCSA Students practice and exemplify 4 core values every day.


Core Values:






*May a charter school be religious in nature? *

NO. As public schools, charter schools must be non-religious in their programs, admissions policies, governance, employment practices and all other operations, and the charter school’s curriculum must be completely secular. As with other

public schools, charter schools may not provide religious instruction, but they may teach about religion from a secular perspective. All activities of a charter school must be non-religious, as is the case for all public schools. Public funds may not be used

for religious purposes or to encourage religious activity. In addition, even if funded by non-public sources, religious activity may not be conducted, promoted, or encouraged during charter school activities by charter school employees or by other persons working with charter schools.


Who can apply?

Anyone who lives in Duval and neighboring counties can apply. Please refer to application page for the process. It is necessary for parents to submit an online application to be considered. This is the only way we know you are interested

in attending. There is not any criteria to apply, and ALL students would be accepted if the space is available.


Do students have to apply every year?

No. Once enrolled students can attend River City Science Academy through graduation. Students attending a K – 8 campus are automatically enrolled as they transition to the middle-school level.


RCSA Intracoastal Questions

Will programs offered at RCSA Intracoastal be similar to other RCSA schools?

Yes. RCSA Intracoastal will offer many of the same programs that have contributed to the success of other RCSA schools. These programs include but are not limited to STEM-Focused Curriculum, College Mentorship Program, Academic Competitions,

Free Clubs and Tutoring, Character-Based Education, and more.


Which grades will be served?

RCSA Intracoastal will serve students in grades Kindergarten – 8th grade.


Will there be after-school clubs?

Yes. RCSA Intracoastal will offer a variety of after-school clubs to meet the interests of our students.


Does River City Science Academy offer additional academic support, such as after-school and Saturday tutorials?

Yes. While each River City Science Academy campus offers these additional educational services at various times, all River City Science Academy campuses offer after-school and Saturday tutorials as needed where students can catch up or deepen their understanding and gain additional practice in challenging subjects at no cost.


Is there before /afterschool care available?

Yes! We provide on campus before and after hours care program for students with a reasonable fee.


How will the school affect traffic on San Pablo Rd.?

A traffic study was conducted for the school which was accepted by the city of Jacksonville. School hours will be staggered from nearby schools in order to ease the flow of traffic. Design of the school grounds has included a long, paved area for cars during pick-up and drop-off to avoid back-up onto San Pablo Rd. In addition, the city has a road widening plan that should finish in 2022.


Does River City Science Academy Offer Gifted and Talented Programs?

Yes. River City Science Academy is committed to providing a rigorous, high-quality education to all its students. To meet the needs of those who show advancement in certain areas, River City Science Academy provides Gifted and Talented Education, beginning with students as young as kindergarten. The program provides accelerated learning through additional enrichment activities, alternative scheduling, pull-out sessions, or extended hours.


How does RCSA handle bullying and student discipline?

Student safety and wellbeing are upmost priority of the school. The River City Science Academy Student Handbook addresses all potential bullying and other disciplinary issues. The School will have Dean of Students enforcing all policies.


Is there a School Uniform policy?

Yes. Information about dress code requirements are found in the River City Science Academy Parent/Student Handbook and on this website. Parents will be able to purchase uniform shirts from school site.


Will there be a Police Officer or Security Guard on campus?

Yes. There will be a security guardian or police officer every day during school hours.


How does transition from elementary to middle school work?

5th grade students at RCSA Intracoastal will automatically be able to transition to 6th grade at RCSA Intracoastal. 5th grade students that would like to apply for a different RCSA campus will have to submit a new application and enter the lottery.


How does transition from middle school to high school work?

Any 8th graders at RCSA Intracoastal that wish to enter high school at RCSA Middle-High will need to submit a new application and enter the lottery.


Who receives enrollment preference?

Enrollment preference may be given to the following student populations:

Siblings of current RCSA Intracoastal studentsChildren of governing board member or employeeChildren of an active-duty member of any branch of the US Armed Forces


Learn more about charter schools by visiting the following links: