How to choose the right charter school

How to choose the right charter school

Having the ability to send your child to a charter school provides parents with more free options that may suit them better than a traditional public school. But with so many to choose from in the Philadelphia area, how are you meant to know which one’s the right fit? Generally speaking, each charter school is created to focus on a specific area, so selecting the one that best aligns with your child’s interests and needs is incredibly important.

For instance, the Freire Charter School, blocks away from City Hall, has a mission statement of providing a “college-preparatory learning experience with a focus on individual freedom, critical thinking and problem-solving in an environment that emphasizes the values of community, teamwork, and nonviolence.” On the other hand, The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PACyber), located in Midland County, offers a curriculum that aims to inspire students through technology. Both schools offer programs designed to prepare your children for the future but are geared towards different learning styles.

So before filling out your application to a certain charter school, make sure you do your research to see which school is right for your child. Contact the charter you’re interested in to see if you can take a tour, and bring your kid along (their opinion counts, too!). If you can’t find time in your schedule to make a tour, many schools hold open houses and Q&As for prospective students and their families. While there you’ll have the added benefit of being able to engage with a tight community of interested parents (and compare notes). Freire Charter, for example, will be holding an open house on Thursday, November 9th, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.

Other schools, like PACyber and others, focused on tech-first, make it easy with free online information sessions that are designed by the same means as their lesson plans. Tour from home!  

If you’re thinking about having your child join a certain charter school but need a little more convincing, a great way to find out if a school is right for your child is to schedule a student shadow day. This allows your child to pair up with a student to see what a whole day of classes at the charter is like. Who knows — maybe your kid’s tour guide will become a future fast friend should you enroll.

Start your investigations now, as Fall is open house season for 2018.

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