Charter schools are gaining wider popularity in the United States because of the quality of education and zero tuition fee. This is a huge deal for parents who have several children and cannot afford to send their kids to a private school.
With excellent academic achievement of students and no fees involved in enrollment, it is not surprising that more parents prefer charter schools as a means of educating their children.
Here, you will learn more about the admission policies and enrollment procedures in charter schools, so you are better guided on what to expect when sending your children to this type of institution.
Brief Overview on Charter Schools
A charter school is managed by a private group, although the school has stemmed from the public school system. It gets its funds from public money, but the facilities are provided and managed by its operators.
Considering the source of funds of these schools, proper monitoring and evaluation are employed to make sure that these institutions are able to meet their objectives each year. Quality education is ensured, which means the academic performance of each student is monitored and attained to keep the school in constant operation.
Since charter schools are tuition-free, it is not surprising that applications submitted for each coming academic year are always on the rise. With only limited opening slots and tens and thousands of applications, the competition for getting in can be quite tough. Nevertheless, families still choose this school because of the affordable education they can provide their children.
If you are interested in applying to a charter school, it is important for you to understand certain processes involved. This way, you can get a chance to send your children to this school and minimize any hassles or issues along the way.
Charter School Enrollment Process
The following are the basic steps involved when applying and enrolling in a charter school:
1. Look for a charter school situated within your area.
The first thing to do when applying for admission to a charter school is selecting the best one nearby. This is important due to practical reasons for going on a daily commute to the school can be a hassle if you end up enrolling in a school that is far from your home. While the tuition is free, the cost of driving to and from the school tends to defeat the purpose.
2. Conduct research on the academic record and performance of the school.
Choose a school with a solid reputation in terms of its academic record and the performance level of its students. In this case, you may visit the National Charter School Directory for a complete list of charter schools in the country. You can check the different requirements of each school per state, as well as the academic performance.
3. Have an ocular visit to the school.
Before you decide to apply, you should set an appointment with the school for a visual idea of how the whole set up is like. Meet with the principal and observe the overall atmosphere and facilities in the school.
You may also inquire about the institution’s mission statement, curriculum, teaching strategies implemented, evaluation tools for students and the mode of disciplining. It is not enough that you check the website since you can learn more about the school by seeing it for yourself.
4. Obtain information about the institution.
After observing the school setup, you should dig deeper on relevant facts about the charter holder. Find out more about the charter holder’s information, when the school was established, method of selecting teachers, and credentials of teachers per grade level. If you are satisfied about the information obtained from the school, you can proceed to the next steps.
5. Send in your application.
Every charter school has its own policies for admission and enrollment. So, be sure to ask the school about these. There are schools that implement a lottery-based system, and some charter schools have waiting lists for interested applicants.
With the lottery system, this may only occur a few times per year. As for the waiting list, this is usually based on first-come first-served system, depending on the opening in the school.
Fill out the application form correctly, which includes details about the student – name, address, parent information, race, birthdate and other relevant items. Some charter schools that accept gifted students often request for a letter of recommendation or test application among other requirements.
The application procedure varies from one charter school to another. Make it a point to inquire straight from the school for additional requirements, although you can also follow these basic guidelines when sending your child to a charter school of your choice.