Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the CORE™?

Basically, we are piano lessons for STEM.

the CORE™ is the only dedicated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) enrichment center in Rockwall, TX. We expose learners of all ages to information, technology, and problems in a non-threatening way. Our sessions are not a “sit and get,” but a time for fostering imagination. Even though there always has to be some presentation and learning of information, our goal is to teach kids just enough to give them a beginning set of tools before they go off to explore, create, and teach themselves, or maybe, just enough to get them in a little trouble!

Where are you located? What is your phone number?

(Intersection of Hwy 205 and FM 549)
5133 S. FM 549
Rockwall, TX 75032
469-402-0071

Can my child choose his/her own projects?

Grades K-4 have set monthly topics and curriculum. Grades 5-12 can choose their own projects based on personal interest or in coordination with other curriculum (i.e. homeschool). Come see our multitude of topics and projects when you schedule your free tour and age-appropriate session. We have monthly memberships for all grade levels, K-12, weekly classes for seniors, toddlers, and events for adults of all ages.

What will my child learn?

Each member will learn typically one topic at a time, based on curriculum. Beyond the topic in each project, our members also learn, exercise, and improve many “soft skills” such as: communication, goal-setting, creativity, negotiation, presentation, motivation, perseverance, self-direction, time management, collaboration, stress management, conflict management, file organization, etc.

So a member sits for the lesson, does an activity and leaves?

It’s so much more than just an activity. We encourage out-of-the-box thinking and creativity during hands-on activities with as little interaction from adults as possible, which cultivates soft skills even more. Our facilitators are not called teachers because they ‘facilitate’ learning instead and are often watching from afar. A facilitator may step in to help a learner speed up or slow down on a project, redirect their focus, or guide them in finding an answer. Our highly qualified facilitators may see that a member is about to make a mistake, but they will generally allow the mistake to happen in order to teach the member more than they would have learned otherwise.

What makes the CORE different?

Remember when we were kids and our parents said, “Look it up in the dictionary?” At the CORE, we do the same thing. No test-prep here, no spoon-feeding, no teacher-does-it-first and then you repeat. We encourage every member to explore, fail, and try again. As the famous Walt Disney said, “It is a mistake not to give people a chance to learn to depend on themselves while they are young.” The CORE is built on the fact that kids will learn if they have fun, are challenged, and can drive their own hands-on projects. There is such joy that lights up a kid or adult when they complete a task or overcome a challenge in their own way.

What is that Y.E.T. sign in the lab?

Every now and then, we channel our mothers when we say “keep practicing your piano lesson”. However, here you may hear the words, “you haven’t done it YET” when a kid gets frustrated and needs help pushing through. Our facilitators do a wonderful job helping our members get past a roadblock. After a few months, our members will begin encouraging their fellow learners in the same way.

Why is STEM enrichment important?

STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives. Science is everywhere in the world around us. Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives.

“In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.” (National Science Foundation)

The earlier a child becomes involved in STEM enrichment activities, the better their chances are of succeeding in tomorrow’s world.

A few quick facts:
•The U.S. Bureau of Statistics says; next 20 years, 80% of jobs will require technical skill
•Only 16% of high school graduates pursue degrees in STEM disciplines
•The average payout of STEM jobs is 70% more than the national average (ed.gov)
•More than half of teens (55%) would be more interested in STEM simply by having teachers who enjoy the subjects they teach (stemcareer.com)

What grades do you serve?

•Grades K-12: monthly memberships & camps
•Toddlers ages 3-4: STEM for beginners monthly sessions
•Adults and families: events throughout the year
•Senior citizens: weekly classes with a monthly theme

What about my child who learns differently?

the CORE™ provides for children with learning differences on a case-by-case basis. We have a PhD qualified special needs facilitator who has had great success working with all types of learners. Depending on your child’s needs, this could be a one-on-one situation or inclusion in a small group setting.

How does membership work?

The CORE™ operates like a club membership where you pay once a month and there is a yearly registration fee. You pick a time slot for the appropriate age group of your child and they come once a week to their session. Sessions for grades K-4 are one hour each. Sessions for grades 5-12 are 1.5 hours each.

Can my child attend more than one session a week?

Yes, we have several families who choose to attend a couple time slots each week. You will choose which sessions you want your child to attend weekly based on their grade level and your personal schedule. We will not require another registration fee, but each session time slot will be charged accordingly. Contact us for multiple session discounts.

If my child misses a session, can I schedule a makeup session?

the CORE™’s make-up policy states:
“Members must notify CORE™ personnel at least one day prior to a planned absence for a make-up session to be scheduled. In the case of illness/emergency, notice to CORE™ personnel prior to the member’s session on the same day is acceptable. Make up sessions can be scheduled during any of the set session times for that grade group.

Grades K-4 need to schedule a make-up within the same week they missed. Otherwise it will likely be a repeat project. Grades 5-12 will have 4 weeks from the date missed to make up an absence.”

Will my child need to bring any supplies to sessions?

No. All supplies and manipulatives will be provided.

Will my child need to complete additional work outside of sessions?

No. We are an enrichment center, not a school or tutoring center. No homework, no practicing, no tests. Occasionally we will send home ideas of how to challenge your child at home, but it’s just for fun and definitely not mandatory.

Enrollment and Withdrawals

How do I sign my child up for CORE™ membership?

CORE™ membership registration takes place online or at our lab located at 5133 S. FM 549, Rockwall, TX. There is a small registration packet to complete with submission of the first month’s payment. You print off the packet, fill it out, & email it in to be registered, or can use one of our packets in-house. To pay, go to the payment page on our website.

Do you have open enrollment?

Yes. Enrollment at the CORE™ is year-round.

If I enroll in the middle of the month, will my tuition be prorated?

Yes, you will only be charged for the weeks that you will attend for the remainder of the month. If you enroll the last week of the month, we will ask for the last week’s prorated amount as well as the following month’s tuition.

If I enroll more than one child, do I get a discount?

Yes. A $10 sibling discount will be applied for each additional child per month.

I see you are closed for certain holidays. Will my tuition be prorated?

No, the CORE™ offers an average of four sessions per month over a 12-month period. Most months have four sessions, while some months have five or three. Most children receive 46 sessions per year if they attend every week.

If my child misses a session, will the CORE™ refund that session?

No, but the CORE™ will make every effort to schedule a make-up session for your child (see make-up policy).

If I need to drop out for a month or more, can you hold my spot?

Unfortunately we cannot hold your spot. If you re-enroll within three months you will not be charged another registration fee, but you may need to complete a new registration packet. Your original session choice may or may not be available.

What is your withdrawal policy?

the CORE™ requires a 30-day notice of intent to withdraw.

How do I withdraw my child from the CORE™?

You may notify us through email or verbally of your drop request. The day we are notified will begin your 30 days. If we do not confirm within a couple days and you left a message or sent an email, then you should call to make sure we received your request. We will respond to every request, but we cannot honor any requests that we do not receive.

Billing/Financial

Does the CORE™ charge an enrollment fee?

Yes, there is a $50 per child (upon each enrollment) required for monthly class enrollment. Parties, Parents’ Night Outs and camps do not require a registration fee. If you withdraw your child from the CORE™ but re-enroll within three months, you will not be charged another registration fee.

When is tuition due?

Monthly tuition is due by the 1st of every month. If you are on autopay, you will be charged on the 1st day of each month. If you are paying in person, your tuition is due by the 5th of each month regardless of whether or not your child has had his/her session for that week. A $35 fee is charged on all returned checks.

Does the CORE™ ever charge late fees?

Tuition paid after the 5th of the month will incur a $5 late fee.

Do members on autopay using credit or debit cards incur late fees?

No. Members on autopay using credit or debit cards never pay late fees unless their payment is declined. Autopay customers with a declined payment could be subject to a late fee.

When will tuition be drafted out of my account?

Funds are automatically processed on a member’s credit or debit card on the 1st day of each month if you sign up for autopay.

What happens if I fail to pay tuition?

All members with an unpaid balance as of the 9th of the month will be removed from the membership roll, and another member may fill the spot in the session.

Community Involvement

Does the CORE give back to the community?

Yes! We provide scholarships to families who cannot afford a membership on a case-by-case basis. We also provide discounted memberships to currently certified foster families. Many times these scholarships go unfunded, so we are always accepting donations to fund these scholarships.

Can I volunteer or be an intern?

YES! Our volunteers and (unpaid) interns are a pivotal part of our family at the CORE and they have allowed us to keep our sanity. If you are 16 or older, come fill out an application to be a volunteer or (unpaid) intern. We can always use certified teachers to volunteer on a part-time basis to teach, experiment with new lessons, or edit our work.

Do you offer field trips?

Yes, please call us for topics and prices. We can come to your school or we can accommodate groups of 24 at a time at our facility.