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Is A Charter School Right For My Student?

By: Amy Dajczak on July 14th, 2023

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Is A Charter School Right For My Student?

Did You Know?  |  Cyber High School

Parent student 4

Every morning is a constant struggle to get your student to school. While they moan and groan, the incomplete assignments pile up. Emails and phone calls from school trickle in as a constant reminder that this challenge exists each day.  You’ve discussed your concerns with the local school district, but it isn’t the solution you need.  Your child is bright and you simply want to see them become successful.  What more can you do? Are there any other options out there for your student? Do you have control over your child’s education?


Yes.  As a concerned and involved caregiver, you are entitled to other educational opportunities.


What is a Charter School?


A charter school is a free, public educational institution.  It is a school of choice that is publicly accountable with flexibility in its management and operations. A charter school’s boundaries are typically fluid, serving as an academic option for anyone in the vicinity.  They are generally restricted by the state or city boundaries.  The “charter” pertains to the authorizing agency which can be a government agency, non-profit organization or university.


Contrary to popular belief, Charter Schools accept all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses.  They do not require specific entrance or admission exams.  In some areas, Charter Schools are in a high demand which exceed the available seats in the school. As a result, they  may hold a lottery when accepting new students.


Charter schools can be unique with their own vision and focus.  These niches allow the schools to strive for higher educational standards than the public school. Some schools focus on integrating the arts in core subjects, while others provide college prep or bilingual education.  Charter schools are available in rural, urban and suburban areas.  Their flexibility in curriculum allows them to differentiate themselves from the local public school in order to provide a necessary opportunity for a range of students.


Why do we have Charter Schools?


students-taking-testEvery student is different. Their learning styles vary greatly, as do their experiences.  Charter Schools welcome these differences with open arms.  They provide students, and families, with the opportunity to instill a love of learning while providing high quality instruction in a safe environment. Charter schools have high standards for every student.  It is their goal to implement unique and research based methods to meet those high standards in a manner that best fits the students.


Families deserve options.  They are the ones that truly know their students' needs and experiences.  Charter schools put families in charge of choosing the best educational opportunities by providing free, unique options.  These unique options may be in a brick and mortar school, or virtual.  Opportunities such as PA Virtual Charter school, allow families to be literally involved in their student’s learning and success.


Are Charter Schools Effective?


Charter schools have become extremely popular.  At this time there are over 7,800 charter schools over 45 states that are serving 3.7 million students. It is estimated that approximately 5 million more students would attend a charter school if the opportunity was available.


As charter schools become more established we are capable of tracking student success and long term outcomes.  The following data is based on research by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in 2019.


Newsletter_GraduationSpeakerCallout_11822Students that attend charter schools are:

  • More likely to graduate from high school (7-10% higher)
  • More likely to attend and persist in college (10%-11% and 6-13%)
  • More likely to obtain higher future earnings (12% higher)
  • Less likely to become pregnant in their teens
  • Less likely to be incarcerated
  • Less likely to be absent

Charter Schools are Getting Results. (2019, May 10). National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2019/05/10/charter-schools-are-getting-results 


Based on this data, yes, charter schools are effective.  As a school of choice you must take the time to research and identify the correct opportunity for your student.  The success of these schools depends on the correct alignment of your student’s interests and the school’s overall vision.  It should also accurately reflect your partnership with the program and those involved.


Will this benefit my student?


Families choose to explore the charter school option for a variety of reasons. Perhaps one of the reasons below will resonate with  your current situation.

Reduced Class Size

Perhaps you feel that your student would benefit from more attention that can be obtained from a smaller group of students. 

Specialized Schools 

Your student may be more motivated if the arts or foreign languages are embedded into the curriculum.  Perhaps they are advanced and seek a college prep environment.

Virtual Opportunities 

Many students flock to the ability to complete school in a virtual setting.  They may show an interest in technology, or prefer to focus on learning rather than the social complexities of school. Perhaps your family situation requires they be out of the school environment for personal or extracurricular reasons.

School Accountability & Independence

While they are to maintain a particular set of standards, charter schools do have freedom in curricular and managerial areas. This allows them to focus on  resources for high academic standards.  They must be held accountable to keep their charter, leading to a focus on efficiency and success.

What questions should I ask a Charter School?


Try to find out if your local charter schools are in their enrollment period.  If they are, you can simply call or complete an application.  You will most likely compile a list of questions as the process moves forward.  The following inquiries can help you determine if the charter school is the best fit. 


  • What are your missions, values and goals for the students?
  • Which curriculums do you use and why?
  • How do you support families?
  • What educational services can you provide my student?
  • How do you support diversity and inclusion? 


   Contact our enrollment team if you have any questions here: PA Virtual Charter School Enrollment

Ultimately, charter schools offer an alternative for families seeking better educational opportunities for their children. These schools provide a flexible and accountable education, tailored to meet students' unique needs and interests. Research shows that charter schools are effective, with higher graduation rates, college attendance, and future earnings. By choosing a charter school, families can take control over their child's education and find a school that aligns with their goals. Whether it's through reduced class sizes, specialized programs, virtual learning, or school accountability, charter schools provide options that benefit students and families. Asking important questions about a charter school's mission, curriculum, family support, and educational services can help families make informed decisions. Charter schools empower families to prioritize their child's success and ensure a high-quality education in a supportive environment. Please reach out to us with any information you may need to make the best decisions possible for your children.