What is a charter school?

Charter schools are independently-operated public schools that have the freedom to design classrooms that meet their students’ needs. All charter schools operate under a contract with a charter school authorizer – usually a nonprofit organization, government agency, or university – that holds them accountable to the high standards outlined in their “charter.” It is common to see charter schools led by former teachers who wanted to take the lessons they learned in the classroom and apply those lessons to an entire school.

Charter schools within the Concept Schools network are authorized by

Chicago Public Schools Illinois State Board of Education Office of Education Innovation Grand Valley State University
Pillsbury United Communities Missouri Charter Public School Commission Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West Buckeye Community Hope Foundation
Each of the more than 7,000 charter schools across the country is unique – both inside and out. Some focus on college prep, some follow a STEM curriculum, and others integrate the arts into each subject. Most charter schools are located in cities, but there are charter schools in suburban and rural areas as well. Some charter schools require uniforms, others have longer school days, and some teach their entire curriculum in two languages. The possibilities are endless, but charter schools aim to provide a range of options so that parents can choose the public school that best fits their child.

There are more than 30 charter schools within the Concept Schools network. Each focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and College-Preparation. Schools are located in historically underserved communities and enroll students ranging in age from early childhood through 12th-grade.

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The reasons that parents choose charter schools for their children are just as unique as the students themselves. They choose charter schools because of the strong, dedicated teachers, because the school's focus matches their child’s needs, or simply because their child was struggling in their assigned public school and needed to try something new. Charter schools provide families with options in public education, allowing parents to take a more active role in their child’s education.


One of several types of school choice, charter schools are public schools that do not select students and do not charge any tuition. They are truly schools of choice, and the families that choose to enroll their students in a Concept School have Chosen Wisely.

Concept Schools LogoLearn more about charter schools from the National Alliance for Charter Public Schools. https://www.publiccharters.org/