Charter Schools

Discover the unique approach of charter schools. Tailored education that meets your child’s specific needs.

Understanding Charter Schools

As you consider charter schools for your child, think about their learning preferences, interests, and educational needs. This guide is intended to help you understand what charter schools offer and decide if they might be the right choice for your child's education.

Charter schools are publicly funded, independently operated schools established by teachers, parents, or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority. They are designed to offer more educational choices to families and are exempt from some of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools in order to foster innovative teaching practices. Here's an in-depth look at charter schools, including types, enrollment processes, costs, and common examples:

Types of Charter Schools
  • Conversion Charter Schools: These are existing public schools converted into charter schools, usually to implement new educational models.
  • Start-up Charter Schools: Schools started from scratch by founders, including educators, parents, or community groups.
  • Virtual Charter Schools: Offer online courses and are an option for homeschooling, targeting students who need flexible schedules.
  • Hybrid Charter Schools: Combine traditional teaching with online methods to provide a blended learning environment.
Enrollment Process
  • Application: Parents usually need to fill out an application form which can be found on the school's website or by contacting the school directly.
  • Lottery System: Because they often have more applicants than available seats, many charter schools use a lottery system to admit students. This process is random and designed to give all applicants an equal chance of getting in.
  • Open Enrollment Periods: Most charter schools have specific open enrollment periods during which parents can apply for their children's admission.
  • Tuition-Free: Charter schools are tuition-free as they are public schools funded by state and federal educational grants. However, parents might still need to pay for specific programs, extracurricular activities, or school uniforms.
  • Possible Additional Costs: Some charter schools may ask for donations or have fundraising events to help cover the extra costs not funded by the state.
School Lottery

A school lottery is a system used to select students for enrollment in charter schools when there are more applications than available slots. It ensures a fair process by randomly selecting students regardless of their academic abilities, background, or residential location.

Common Charter School Models
  • KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program): A nationwide network of college-preparatory schools with a focus on underserved communities.
  • Harmony Public Schools: Specializes in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, often integrated with project-based learning.
  • Success Academy Charter Schools: Known for their rigorous curriculum, high standards, and strong emphasis on math, science, and literacy.
  • BASIS Charter Schools: Known for their rigorous, STEM-focused curriculum designed to prepare students for competitive higher education and future careers through a globally benchmarked academic program.
Additional Resources for Parents

By understanding the specifics of charter schools, including the types, enrollment processes, and costs, parents can make informed decisions about whether a charter school is the right choice for their child's education.