Where active learners embrace challenge ....

Frequently Asked Questions

home > about > faq

FAQs about Heritage School

How did you choose the name, “Heritage School,” which more often brings to mind a fairly conservative connotation?

Actually, our founder, Parviz Samiee, suggested this name, inspired by Persian culture, which places immense value in one’s heritage. He wanted to provide a lasting educational heritage for children, and a school that fosters an abiding love for learning seemed a fitting match for the name, “Heritage School.”  Conservative would not be a fitting description of this school, which offers a more innovative curriculum. We do not, of course, reject the time-honored, traditional values that anchor our society. We  find that a more progressive educational approach allows us to incorporate teaching strategies that open doors to a vibrant, flexible learning environment.

Is Heritage a school for gifted children?

A public school TAG coordinator once visited Heritage and noted that this is the model for what TAG education aspires to achieve. However, we believe all children are “gifted” and that most children can thrive in a program that allows them to explore their interests, participating in hands on learning, supported by a solid academic framework. Every child deserves enriching educational experiences, not just those labeled “TAG.” And certainly bright students capable of soaring should not be held back by the confines of a lock step curriculum.

Do you require testing before you accept students?

No. We do not require academic testing before we accept students at Heritage School. However, we do ask that parents observe the school in action, during the school day, and we then ask that those interested in pursuing enrollment bring their children to spend time as guest students on a separate visit. This allows us to get to know prospective students in the context of a day at Heritage, and it allows the children to experience  learning in this kind of environment. After students are accepted (which is usually in the spring), we do some diagnostic testing just before school starts in September so we can know where to begin.


Does Heritage exist as a reaction against public schools?

No. Heritage School is not at all an adversary to public education. Many fine teachers strive to provide exemplary educational experiences for children in public schools. In fact, over the years we have almost always had students in any given year whose parents are public school teachers (we have had several public school principals’ children as our students at Heritage School, too). We hold public school teachers in high esteem. They are charged with multiple, challenging tasks. They truly deserve commendation for their achievements in a climate that increasingly limits their opportunities to go beyond a “teaching to the test” mindset brought about by the well-intentioned but restrictive “No Child Left Behind Act.” 

We used to teach classes for teachers through Lewis and Clark College, and we came to know and respect public school teachers. We marvel that they can accomplish so much with the many pressures they encounter. Glen used to be a public school teacher, himself, so he knows well the daunting tasks teachers face each day. We just find ourselves drawn to teaching in an environment that allows us to construct a curriculum that can more easily be tailored to individual children’s needs. We support public education; our own sons attended public high schools. Public education serves a vital need and deserves better funding in order to accomplish its important mission.

Aren’t most private schools a refuge for children of the wealthy? Is this a school where “status” matters?

We can’t speak for other private schools, but Heritage School includes students of diverse backgrounds. While tuition is not cheap, we strive to keep it as affordable as possible.  Heritage parents come to us looking for a safe, wholesome, nurturing educational environment where their children can develop to their full potential academically. They are not here for “status.” They seek challenge but don’t want a “pressure cooker” approach. This is not a “prep school.” Heritage parents love to see our younger students enjoy fully their lives as children, inspired to work wholeheartedly at school but unencumbered by busy work masquerading as “homework.” Heritage parents love to see the older students undertake sophisticated studies, like Shakespeare, but they are delighted to see those same children enjoy their childhoods free of peer pressure to dress provocatively or to engage in risky behaviors. Children can be children at Heritage.

Social status plays no part in the decision to send one’s child to school here; the parent community is supportive, friendly, and down to earth. Many make genuine sacrifices to send their children to Heritage, and there is a warm camaraderie among Heritage parents. We especially love to see the lasting friendships that grow among parents, not just among students.

What kinds of fundraising activities happen at Heritage School?

None.  Parents are NOT asked to undertake fundraising activities.  Tuition is the only source of income at Heritage School.  Some parents offer to donate money or items for specific projects, like books, computers, or scholarship funds, which we accept with gratitude. On a few occasions, parents have offered to spearhead a limited fundraising effort for specific projects, but we do not plan to initiate annual fundraisers. We believe that children and parents should not be bombarded with time-consuming, financially draining candy sales, auctions, etc.  Tuition payments should provide enough “fundraising.” When we undertake special field trips, parents simply pay the cost for their own children.


Is Heritage School a religious school?

Heritage School does not promote any specific religion, yet we want to foster spiritual values, so we are nondenominational. We describe our school as having a Christian perspective but without regimented expectations. We personally find our spiritual direction within Christianity. The values of cooperation, self-discipline, compassion, and reverence for life are basic foundations of Christian faith.  We recognize that Christianity is by no means the only great religion espousing these values.

In accord with our intention to foster moral development, we want our students to respect people of diverse beliefs as well as those who are not affiliated with any religion. Our school community welcomes and includes people of many faiths, as well as people who follow no particular religious tradition. Our nondenominational approach recognizes God's love and His call to love.  Our intent is not to advocate a particular dogma or doctrine, nor to replace the home, church, mosque, or temple as primary sources for religious education. We do not try to promote our personal religious views at Heritage School.  Instead, we believe children's moral development will be enhanced in an atmosphere that includes opportunities for informal discussions of faith if relevant to the subject. For example, studies of Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, or Janusz Korczak  include discussions of how their religious beliefs influenced their lives.

The spiritual values that anchor our school are not manifested in Bible lessons, daily prayer, or overt religious instruction, which we know parents will find elsewhere if they so choose. Instead, we strive to promote reverence for life and the development of ethical values in an inclusive, nurturing environment, modeling these principles in our daily relationships with one another. 



We welcome you to contact us with any questions that you have.

About: Menu

The Basics:

* Heritage School includes about thirty-five students in grades one through eight.

* A strong and vital sense of community develops as students of mixed ages grow and learn alongside one another.

* Small group instruction forms the core of our program. Students progress at a pace that fits their abilities and needs.

* We have been in operation as a private school in Salem, registered with the Oregon State Department of Education, since our founding in 1984.