Charter School FAQ | San Antonio Charter MomsAre you a parent who wants to choose a better school for your child? Or are you a community member who wants to help the next generation escape poverty and prepare for the global workforce?

There are so many exciting developments in the world of charter schools, especially in San Antonio. The mission of this blog is to share that news. But first, let’s talk about the basics of charter schools.

What is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school. It’s authorized directly by the state, not by a local school district. Students can cross district boundaries to attend the charter school of their choice. Charter schools have the freedom to innovate and create new learning models to help students succeed.

Charter schools are tuition-free; they are supported by state tax money. They are also subject to state and federal accountability standards, so charter school students have to take the same standardized tests as other public school students.

All students are welcome, including special needs students and English language learners. There are no entrance exams. They are non-sectarian and non-discriminatory.

Learn more:

How do I choose a charter school for my child? 

When you are looking for a charter school for your child, here are some questions you need to ask:

  • Does the school serve my child’s grade level?
  • Is the school located close enough to our house? Can we walk, or do they offer bus service, or will we need to carpool?
  • What is the school’s learning model, and will it be a good fit for my child?
  • What is the school culture like?
  • Does the school have data to prove student success: test scores, student growth, college readiness?
  • What foreign languages are offered?
  • What physical education and sports programs are available?
  • Does the school offer open houses, information sessions, and tours for prospective parents and students to visit and learn more?

Sometimes, more students apply to a charter school than there are seats available. Then, the school will hold a lottery to choose which students to admit. For the 2014-15 school year, most schools will be accepting applications and holding their lotteries in Spring 2014. After the lottery, most schools maintain a waiting list, adding names on a first-come, first-served basis.

What new charter schools are opening in San Antonio?

Expect more charter school growth in 2014 and beyond. The new organization Choose to Succeed is guiding its partner charter school networks as they grow in San Antonio. More new schools are applying for charters this year, including out-of-state charter management organizations and Texas-grown schools like Montessori For All (applying for grades PK3-3 to open in Fall 2016). Also, a new state law is taking effect that will raise the cap on the number of charters.

6 Responses to FAQ

  1. Kelly X says:

    Very informational. Probably the most concise information that I’ve been able to find in my searches.

  2. Ana says:

    Have you seen the latest Rivard Report that includes information on Brooks Academy, one of the only STEM accredited schools in our city?

  3. BJ says:

    I am from another state and I had an amazing charter school education growing up (my standardized test scores ranged in the top ten percent across the board). I would love to give my children this advantage, but I can’t seem to find a school in this area with a similar model.

    A huge part of the schools’ success was in giving students, as young as elementary school, intellectual independence. There were so many ways to learn every concept and students were in control of how they chose to do so. The teachers would do “fun checks” throughout the day- they believed that children retain memories of enjoyable experiences. They took pride in competing among one another to see who could devise the “student choice awards” winning lesson plan. Science was my favorite- class was held at the zoo twice a week one semester!

    In the first half of the day, we’d focus on a single subject matter(math, science, etc.). The daily focus would remain on this single subject every morning for about four weeks. We’d learn the lessons inside and out and then “rotate” to the next subject and so on. Afternoons were split into two non-academic electives of the student’s choosing. We had the opportunity to stick with the same electives or choose new ones every “rotation”. We could choose from the arts, athletics, hobbies, career prep, college prep, the list was endless. If you wanted to try something that wasn’t offered, the students were encouraged to petition the administration to approve the elective and within the next semester it would usually be added. The “house” system was also used to create a sense of collegiality.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and I’ve come here wondering if you all know of any school in San Antonio similar to what I’ve described?

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