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What is a Charter School?

"The promise charter schools hold for public innovation and reform lies in an unprecedented combination of freedom and accountability. Underwritten with public funds, but run independently, charter schools are free from a range of state laws and district policies stipulating what and how they teach, where they can spend their money, and who they can hire and fire. In return, they are held strictly accountable for academic and financial performance."
--Innovations in Education,
United State Department of Education 2004

Chartering is a way to increase educational choices and innovation within the public school system. According to the US Department of Education, successful charter schools share five basic elements:
  1. A powerful mission, a shared philosophy that guides decision making at every level
  2. Freedom to experiment, to be creative in terms of organization, scheduling, curriculum, and instruction
  3. An alignment between the mission, curriculum, and pedagogy
  4. Flexible structures, schedules, and operations that foster teacher collaboration
  5. A supportive environment for students, parents, families, and staff
Again according to the US Department of Education, charter schools at their best are cultures of continuous improvement. Their success derives not only from their creative ideas, but even more from their focused energy, the culture they create, and their mission driven nature.

Charter School Links

More detailed information on charter schools can be found at the following websites:

Chippewa Valley Montessori (LINK)

Wisconsin Charter School Association
WI Department of Public Instruction - Charter Schools

US Department of Education Charter Schools (Broken Link)
National Charter School Alliance