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What is a Charter School?
Many parents ask us the question, “What is is a charter school?” or “What is the difference between a public school and a public charter school?” The short answer we tend to give is that charter schools give students an education similar to private schools, but for free. The longer explanation to these questions is below.
Why a Charter school?
Charter schools are public, tuition-free schools that are open to all students. They are independently-operated which means they have the freedom to design classrooms to meet the needs of their students.
All charter schools operate under a contract with a charter school authorizer. An authorizer is an agency that holds charter schools accountable to the high standards outlined in their charter contract. For some, that authorizer might be a non-profit organization, government agency, or university. New Summit is authorized by Academy District 20.
All charter schools are unique – both inside and out. Each charter school has a different focus. Some focus on STEM, college prep, the arts, or another subject they feel is important. New Summit’s focus is a Literacy-First approach which means we believe literacy and reading is the basis of all learning.
Some charter schools require uniforms (New Summit does), others have longer school days, and some teach their entire curriculum in two languages. The possibilities are endless, but charter schools try to provide a wide range of options so that parents can choose the school that best fits their child, their family, and their world-view.
Parents choose charter schools over traditional schools for a variety of reasons. Some include the strong, dedicated teachers, the focus of the school, or because their child was struggling in their assigned public school and needed to try something new. Charter schools give families more options in public education, which allows them to be more actively involved in their child’s education.
For more information on charter schools, see the National Alliance for Public Charter School’s Charter School FAQs.