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Jan 25, 2024 | Nancy Chen

Charter School NYC Application: Deadlines and More

New York City charter schools are free public schools open to all New York students.

New York City charter schools are free public schools established by not-for-profit Board of Trustees, which are open to all New York students. Charter schools usually perform better academically than other district public schools.

What are charter schools?

Charter schools are independent of the New York City Department of Education, allowing them to experiment with new approaches and respond to community needs. For example, they may have longer school days or school years or themed programs. 

There are 274 charter schools in NYC, with 142,500 students estimated to be enrolled in the program, according to data from the New York City Charter School Center. This comprises around 15% of NYC public school students. 

You can use the tool by NYC Charter School Center to find charter schools near you. It allows you to filter by neighborhood, city school district, borough and grade level.

New York City Charter School Center data shows that NYC charter schools generally achieve higher proficiency rates than NYC district public schools in math (46% vs 38% proficient) and English Language Arts (55% vs 49% proficient). Economically disadvantaged students in NYC charter schools also do better than their district peers in the city on average.

Charter schools also promote diversity and inclusivity. Students with disabilities in charter schools also perform better academically than those in district schools. Nearly one-fifth of the students enrolled have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

However, charter schools have faced criticisms over their financial transparency and harsh discipline. Some charter schools also accused of focusing too much on academics at the expense of students with disabilities

Who can start classes at a charter school

Charter schools are open to all students regardless of their immigration status and cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of disability, race, creed, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, intellectual ability, measures of achievement or aptitude and athletic ability. Charter schools prefer returning students, siblings of enrolled students and those residing in the local Community School District.

Also Read: Homeless Students Are Guaranteed Access to Education Under the McKinney-Vento Act

Charter schools can offer classes from Grade One to Twelve, depending on individual schools. If approved by local districts, they can also offer Pre-K for 4-year-olds, Charter School Parent Guide by New York State Education Department says.

How to enroll in charter schools

The first option is registering an account using the Common Online Charter School Application

You need to provide the parent/guardian and student information. This includes the parent’s name, address, and contact information, as well as the student’s name and date of birth. 

Then, you will be directed to select the school year and grade level you wish to apply for on behalf of your child. 

You are also able to choose multiple preferred schools during this step. 

The charter school application for the 2024-25 school year is now open, with admissions on a rolling basis. The application deadline is April 1 each year. Some schools may extend their deadline, so you should contact each school of interest.

If the number of applicants to each school exceeds the number of available seats, a random enrollment lottery will fill them. These lotteries are usually held in April and May. If your children don’t get in, they will be put on a waiting list and may be contacted if seats become available. 

You can also visit each school’s website and follow the instructions to apply online. The third option is to go to the schools in person or call the school to mail you the form so that you can fill out the application. 

No tests, interviews, essays or auditions are required when applying for charter schools.

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