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Applying to Charter Schools for 2015-16

03.05.2015 | Families wanting to apply to charter schools for the 2015-16 school year must submit their applications by April 1st. Here are 7 things you should know about the charter school admissions process.

  1. Families have to apply to any charter school that they want their children to attend. Schools must provide applications to parents upon request. Some schools post applications online. The New York City Charter School Center has a common application on its website that many schools use. You can find the application here.
  2. Charter schools must make the application available in languages predominately spoken in the community in which the charter school is located.
  3. After the deadline, charter schools must conduct a lottery to randomly select students for admission. Schools must publicize the date, time and location of the lottery, but parents are NOT required to be present at the lottery to win admission to the charter school. Families are not required to indicate that their child has an IEP or is an English Language Learner (ELL) on the application but may want to do so if the school gives an enrollment preference to students with disabilities and/or ELLs in the lottery. Schools must give an enrollment preference to students living in the community school district where the school is located and to siblings of current students at the school. However, these students are NOT guaranteed a seat at the charter school.

  4. If a student is selected in the lottery, the charter school will have a deadline by which the parent(s) must accept the seat. Therefore, families are encouraged to visit and research schools before April 1st, if possible.

  5. Families can research schools by reviewing school quality reports, visiting, and visiting the NYC Charter School Center’s data webpage. In addition, parents are encouraged to attend open houses, speak with school staff, and request a copy of the charter school’s family handbook.

  6. Charter schools cannot discriminate against students on the basis of intellectual ability, standardized test scores or grades, disability, race, gender (same-sex schools are allowed), national origin, or religion, among other things. Charter schools must accept students with disabilities and ELLs. Parents are encouraged to ask schools about services and programs for these students.

  7. More information about the charter school admissions process, including sample questions [PDF] to ask charter school staff, is available on the charter schools page of our website.