A charter school is public school of choice. Charter schools operate under a contract with the local school district (in this case Denver Public Schools) to provide a different choice in education. Charter schools were founded on the belief that one size does not fit all. Charter schools have more autonomy (local control) in return for accountability. In other words, if a charter school fails to produce results or meet parents’ needs, the district can close it.
Charter schools are usually run by a parent-based governing board. As a result, parents are more involved in decision-making and spend more time volunteering at the school. Charter schools each have a unique focus. Highline Academy believes that all children are capable of meeting high standards given the right educational environment and support.
Charter schools in Colorado have been very successful and usually outperform public schools on standardized tests such as the TCAP. Charter schools have been popular with families as evidenced by the fact that most charters have substantial waiting lists. Most importantly, charter schools provide parents educational options within the public school system.
Other important characteristics of charter schools:
- They are always tuition free.
- They are non-religious.
- They are open to everyone, regardless of ability level.
- They have control over their own curriculum, staff, and budget.
- They must meet the state content standards.
- They must meet all special education laws.
- They must get accredited by the school district, just like your neighborhood school.