Charter schools are tuition-free public schools. They are operated by parents, organizations, or community groups to fill the educational needs of young people that are not currently filled by traditional district schools. New Jersey’s 80 operating charter schools employ a wide variety of instructional approaches and operational designs, to direct their resources where their students need them most.
Charter schools cannot pick and choose their students; they must admit all students who apply. If there are more students who sign up than there are seats available, the school must conduct a lottery to determine who will be enrolled.
New Jersey’s charter schools are required to hire credentialed teachers, just like district schools, for core subjects, and to abide by state education regulations.
New Jersey’s charter schools offer a variety of learning environments to meet your family’s needs. No two charter schools are alike; some offer thematic or specialized curriculum—such as a focus on the arts, world languages, or pre-vocational training. Others focus on the basics or on preparation for college. What charters do have in common, though, is that they are places where parental involvement is encouraged and valued.
When choosing a school for your child, consider your child’s educational needs and your family’s priorities. Research schools by reading school information and participating in a school visit. (Click on Find a Charter School to find a charter school in your area of the state.) While on campus, talk to teachers, visit their classes, and make sure you feel like the school is a good fit before making this very important decision. When visiting the school be sure to visit classrooms and observe the teachers in action with students.