You’ve probably heard the many reasons that charter schools benefit certain children more than a traditional education. But if you’re sold on opting for a charter, when do you have to apply in order to grab one of the very limited spaces available? But luckily for parents, this selection process is done through open enrollment.
An open window enrollment means there’s no formal admissions test your child needs to pass in order to get into a charter school. Children are accepted to a school on a first-come, first-served basis. According to the 2017-2018 Charter Schools Office guidelines, “Charter schools located within Philadelphia must give students living in Philadelphia first preference. The law provides protections to ensure that charter enrollment processes are equitable and non-discriminatory. Charter schools must admit students without consideration of the student’s intellectual ability, athletic ability, test or placement scores, special education status, or ability to speak English.” So if you live in Philly and pay attention to the application deadlines, chances are your kid will get into your preferred charter.
If you apply to your school of choice late, the worst that can happen is that your child will be placed on a waiting list. If this happens, all’s not lost. Keep faith and know that it’s called a “waiting list” for a reason — the school may not be the right fit for another student and your child could take their spot during the school year.
So when should you be turning in your applications? Each charter school has a specific timeline for when applications need to be in for the following school year. But according to the Philadelphia Charter Schools Office, most schools set their deadlines for January, February or March. We know that simply getting your kids ready for school each day can be a full-time job, but if you want them to attend a charter next year, mark the specific dates on your calendar now so you don’t miss out.