A Charter School
Charter schools are public schools because, while they operate independently of the school district, they are:
- Tuition-free and open to any scholar who wishes to enroll
- Non-sectarian, and do not discriminate on any basis
- Publicly funded by local, state and federal tax dollars based on enrollment, like other public schools
- Held accountable to state and federal academic standards
Charter schools are free to innovate in ways that target improved student achievement. Here are some ways that charter schools chose to do this:
Offer longer school days
Charter schools are designed to be free to set their own operating hours. If the school strives to boost student achievement by giving students more time in the classroom, the school can offer classes into the evening, on weekends and into the summer months.
Adjust curriculum to meet student needs
A charter school can breakup the day to provide students with more time on the core subjects they need most. Charter school teachers have a say in the curriculum they teach and frequently change materials mid-year if they need to in order to meet students’ needs.
Create a unique school culture
Charter schools build upon the core academic subjects by creating a culture or adopting a theme. For example, there are charter schools focused on STEM education, performing arts, project-based learning, college preparation, career readiness, language immersion, civic engagement, classical education, global awareness or meeting the needs of autistic students – just to highlight a few.
Charter schools, like all public schools in Indiana, are funded as their own separate Local Educational Agency. Per-pupil funding is administered by the IDOE and is based upon the same amount as per-pupil funding for the district in which the charter school is located.