9 Things You Need to Know About Charter Schools

By May 9, 2018 Blog

This week Compass Charter Schools (CCS) is celebrating National Charter Schools Week! CCS is proud to be a public charter school serving scholars throughout California. Charter schools have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and they continue to play an important role in revolutionizing and improving the educational experience for scholars across the country.

In honor of this special week, we thought it best to share some important facts about charter schools that you need to know:

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are governed by an independent contract or “charter” with an authorizing agency. The authorizing agency is often a nonprofit organization, government agency, or university. Charter schools have the flexibility to pursue specific educational objectives regarding curriculum, staff, and school budget. They are held accountable to the same (often higher) academic performance standards as district public schools.

Do charter schools have admissions requirements?

No. Charter schools do not have specific admissions requirements or entrance exams. However, charter schools have become increasingly popular and in high demand. Some charter schools are in such high demand that they may host a random lottery to determine which scholars will be able to attend the school based on the number of spaces available.

How many scholars are currently enrolled at charter schools across the United States?

A 2016 national study by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that there are currently over three million children enrolled in charter schools across the country.

How many charter schools operate in the United States?

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that almost 7,000 charter schools are open and serving scholars across the country.

How do I enroll my child in a charter school?

Most charter schools have a specific enrollment period when parents can submit their child’s application to the school. CCS offers open enrollment for families throughout California. This means that parents can enroll their children in CCS’ flexible, quality academic programs throughout most of the school year.

What types of educational opportunities and experiences can charter schools offer a child?

Charter schools have the flexibility to offer tailored curriculum options to meet scholars’ needs. Some charter schools offer scholars the opportunity to study curriculum that focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math); others offer a curriculum that focuses on such things as arts and sciences. Charter schools also have the ability to create personalized learning experiences for children. For example, CCS offers an online program and an options (or homeschooling) program for scholars who prefer an educational experience outside of traditional classroom walls.

Do charter schools have to meet specific academic performance standards?

Yes. Charter schools are required to meet the same (or often higher) state and federal academic performance standards as district public schools. Charter school scholars are required to participate in state testing and demonstrate competency in core academic subjects.

Are charter schools nonprofit?

Yes, the vast majority of charter schools are nonprofit organizations. A few states do allow for-profit organizations to start and manage charter schools, but that is not the majority.  

What are some important questions to ask when looking for the right charter school for my children?

Here is a brief list of questions that we encourage parents and guardians to ask when searching for the right charter school for their children:

  • What are this charter school’s mission and core values?
  • Does this charter school focus on specific subject areas?
  • What types of academic programs does this charter school offer?
  • How long does the enrollment and registration process take?
  • Does this charter school offer any enrichment opportunities outside of the classroom for scholars?
  • What type of extracurricular activities does this charter school provide for scholars?
  • Is this charter school accredited?
  • How does this charter school support and guide parents?
  • How does the overall academic performance of this charter school compare to other schools in the area?


Compass Charter Schools (CCS) is a WASC-accredited virtual charter school that serves families throughout California. Interested in learning more about CCS’ flexible academic programs? Visit our website, or contact our enrollment team at enrollment@compasscharters.org or (877) 506-8631.

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