February 8, 2021

What Is a Charter School?

what is charter school

A charter school is a public school that is under a specific agreement (also known as a charter) to meet state requirements as a public school but with further guidelines.

Some key points about charter schools are:

  • They are tuition-free and are not allowed to charge tuition.
  • They are considered a public school and are under the same laws and regulations as all public schools in Utah (except laws that list a charter school as an exception).
  • They are under certain guidelines under a board, like the Utah State Charter School Board.
  • They are required to be accredited under an accrediting body like Cognia.
  • They cannot have a religious affiliation.

How Do Charter Schools Work?

Charter schools operate outside of a school district and instead follow a board. According to Utah’s laws, charter schools are considered public schools and are required to follow the same curriculum as all public schools. However, they offer more flexibility in how they present the curriculum.

Something else unique about charter schools is that they have a set maximum number of students (scholars) enrolled. In the enrollment process, parents can choose to enter their child into a charter school’s lottery system, where names are pulled at random when the school year starts. This lottery creates a random chance and does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, or handicap.

How Do You Transfer Into a Charter School?

If you’re a parent looking to transfer your scholar in the middle of the school year, the transferring process is very similar to any other school. Parents can expect to reach out to both schools involved to get the appropriate paperwork to transfer records. From there, the registrar will take care of the rest to make sure everything goes smoothly.

What Are the Advantages of Choosing a Charter School?

One of the biggest benefits of choosing a charter school is that they have a lot more flexibility in how they provide the curriculum to their students. This means there may be more opportunities to learn in ways that your child works best!

At Paradigm schools, we set a huge focus on teaching our scholars how to think, not what to think. This is why we offer our unique Seminar Classes, where our scholars are part of a class that extends past more than one period.

During this class, our scholars participate in extensive discussions about the classical literature they are reading. They are guided by mentors, but the focus is on scholars driving the conversation and drawing their own conclusions.

Want to learn more about the advantages of enrolling in a charter school? Check out these seven benefits.

Are There Disadvantages To Choosing a Charter School?

When considering which school is best for your child, it’s important to weigh the disadvantages too. For example, some charter schools might not offer an athletics program, but they may have other options so your child can still participate in sports while still getting an extensive education at a charter school.

Something else to consider is that your child might not get the chance to enroll, depending on the demand of the charter school you’re considering. Charter schools are required to base their enrollment on a random lottery with a set maximum number of students. This may mean that even if you apply under the lottery, you might not get in.

There may be other advantages or disadvantages not discussed here, as each child is different. When looking for a school, you should always consider location, how the school helps their scholars and students learn, and resources available to your children. We believe in helping scholars find the perfect fit for them!

Is a Charter School the Right Choice?

If you’re looking for the right school for your child or teen, contact us to schedule a tour! We would be happy to answer any questions you have about enrolling into Paradigm Schools. You can enter our lottery, or if you want to transfer, call us at 801-676-1018 to get the process started.