What is a charter school?A charter school is an independently-operated public school. In Washington DC, they are open to all DC residents, regardless of their neighborhood, socioeconomic status, or previous academic achievement. Parents can choose among a variety of schools to meet the needs of their child. There are schools that specialize on specific interests such as math, science and technology; the arts; public policy; language immersion; etc. There are no admission tests or tuition fees.
How are DC charter schools funded?DC Charter schools receive public funds based upon the number of students enrolled. They receive an allocation based on a per pupil formula developed by the Mayor and the DC City Council. They also receive a per pupil facilities allotment, based on the per pupil DCPS capital budget.
How are charter schools held accountable for meeting academic standards?Charter schools must establish measurable goals as part of an accountability plan that is approved by the D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB). If a school fails to meet its expected outcomes within its five-year charter agreement, its charter may be revoked. Public charter schools must comply with the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act by hiring qualified teachers and teaching students so that they perform well on standardized tests. In exchange for an unusually high level of accountability, charter schools are granted greater autonomy than traditional public schools. They have control over all aspects of the educational program, staff, faculty, and 100% of their budget.
How many charter schools are there in DC?As of 2012, there are 53 charter schools with 98 campuses.
See a list of DC charter schools
How do I enroll my child in a charter school?Choose a charter school, contact the school directly, arrange a visit and fill out an application. Enrollment is on a first-come-first-served basis. If a school receives more enrollment applications than there are available spaces, a lottery is held, and a waiting list is created.
How can I find more information on DC charter schools?Each year, the D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB) produces School Performance Reports that provide a comprehensive view of how each school performed during the previous school year. The report includes information on the student populations, accomplishments, standardized test scores, results of PCSB oversight reviews, honors and awards.
DC Public Charter School Board
Phone: (202) 328-2660