What is a Charter School?
Tuition-Free Public Education
A charter school is a publicly funded, tuition-free, school of choice that is open to all students. A charter school is founded and operated independently from the local public school system under a charter agreement with the State of Texas and The Texas Education Agency. It is guided by its own unique mission statement and vision.
A charter school is heavily vetted before opening. It must have an approved Education Program and Fiscally Responsible Plan pass through the TEA and External Review Committee, followed by the Texas Commissioner of Education and finally the State Board of Education. Budgeting and financial statements must be available to be publicly reviewed.
Charter schools are given greater flexibility to serve the individual needs of students, and with that flexibility comes greater oversight than traditional public schools. Charter schools are held accountable to high financial, academic, and managerial standards by oversight boards made up of parents, teachers, and community members.
Charter schools are also subjected to rigorous academic accountability testing, which reviews curriculum, faculty, and environment to ensure that the school is meeting state and federal education standards.
Benefits of a Charter School
Since charter schools are public schools supported with state tax revenue, they are tuition-free and open to all students.
By serving a wide range of students and having various missions and visions, public charter schools can go beyond the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to education. They are able to put the needs of the students first by giving them the time and personalized attention they need to really learn.
There are more than 700 public charter school campuses in Texas serving nearly 320,000 students. Charter school currently educate approximately 6% of Texas public school students, but make up more than 60% of the A-rated districts in the state.
As a diverse system of schools, you can freely choose a public charter school specifically aimed towards your child’s individual needs. From Pre-K or elementary students, to preparing students for a college degree, to working closely with students who may be at risk of dropping out, you can choose the personalized education your child needs, at absolutely no cost to you!
Purpose of Charter Schools
The purpose of charter schools in Texas are to:
- Improve student learning;
- Increase the choice of learning opportunities within the public school system;
- Create professional opportunities that will attract teachers to the public school system;
- Establish a new form of accountability for public schools; and
- Encourage different and innovative learning methods.
To learn more about the driving purpose and vision behind charter schools in Texas, you can read more in Texas Education Code § 12.001.
To hold ourselves to the highest possible standard, charter schools use the Quality Framework, which is a research-based tool for improvement that assesses not just quality but provides the needed opportunity to improve effectiveness on an academic, financial, and operational level. The ultimate goal is to allow charter schools such as us to never settle for our current level of success, but to instead grow and improve as much as possible. The ten key systems focused on in the self-evaluation process are: Student Success, Mission & Vision, Leadership, Stakeholder, Staff, Learning, Data Driven, Safety and Support, Accountability, and Fiscal Management.
Using the Quality Framework Self-Assessment and Data Pack, we are able to receive quantitative and qualitative data to improve, plan strategically, meet and exceed local, state, and federal requirements, and much more. Please contact us to learn more about how we use the Quality Framework to provide the best possible education for our students.
A Unique Learning Philosophy
As a Dallas metro charter school, our team at the Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy is able to promote a particular philosophy of learning. Though we are given the freedom to promote our project-based learning environment and to orient our teaching around a STEM culture, we are also accountable to learning standards that are regularly, rigorously tested.
Our charter school provides opportunities that may not be available at public schools, including:
- An emphasis on the founding of college and career preparatory skills.
- Promotion of a student-led learning environment.
- Specific catering to each individual student’s learning needs through individualized learning techniques.