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How to Enroll in a Charter School

Charter school enrollment is a process that differs from traditional public school district enrollment. In most cases, parents or caregivers who meet the school’s requirements will apply to the school. Students will either receive admission to the charter school or enter a lottery for admission. At Success Academy’s NYC charter schools, enrollment is open for students entering Kindergarten through 6th grade. 

Important Details About Charter School Enrollment

Even though charter schools are publicly funded schools, there are still some significant details you should consider for your child. As a rule of thumb, the earlier you enroll your student, the better. Many charter schools have limited spots, and this is especially true for students enrolled in a charter as they age up.

Success Academy, for example, does not typically offer new student enrollment once a learner enters the 7th grade. Parents who wish for their child to attend a Success Academy school in middle or high school should enroll them during the elementary years.

group of 5 students smiling

A Guide to Enroll in a Charter School

If you plan on enrolling your child in a charter school in New York or any other state, stay on top of details. There’s no guarantee that your child will receive admission to the charter school of your choice. There are steps you can take to ensure your child attends the right school for them.


Finding the Right Charter School

Picking the right charter school for your child is a big decision. Choosing the best learning environment for your student can impact them for the rest of their life. Consider the following best practices for finding a charter school that meets their needs:

  • Identify your child’s needs. Every child is unique and has different educational requirements. Consider your student’s learning style, interests, strengths, and areas requiring additional support. Some charter schools might specialize in certain areas, like STEM, arts, or project-based learning.
  • Research schools. Make a list of potential charter schools in your area. Use resources like the New York City Charter School Center. Visit each school’s website to learn more about their curriculum, teaching methods, culture, and extracurricular activities. Create a shortlist that meets your preferences.
  • Visit schools. Arrange a visit to the schools on your shortlist. This lets you observe the environment and interact with teachers and administrators. Ask questions about class sizes, teacher qualifications, support services, and the school’s discipline and behavior management approach. If a physical visit isn’t possible, you may be able to schedule a virtual tour. Success Academy offers in-person tours and open houses in the spring for elementary and middle school. Virtual tours for kindergarten and elementary are also available online. 
  • Check performance records. Look at the school’s performance records and results, including test scores, graduate rates, and college acceptance rates. These can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of the school’s teaching methods. 
  • Consider logistics. How and when your students will get to and from school is as important as what they’ll learn there. Ensure the school fits your family’s routines and commitments. Practical considerations like location, transportation, and school hours are critical. The Success Academy school day hours are more extended than public New York City schools, providing ample time for community building, scholar talent, academics, and play. A select number of Success Academy elementary schools also offer an after school program. 
  • Talk to other parents and students. Speak with current students and parents to get insights into the school’s environment and quality. They can share their experiences and tell you what to expect. 


The Enrollment Process

For most schools, the enrollment process involves filling out an application. New York charter law stipulates that schools cannot make application deadlines earlier than April 1. Actual due dates for applications vary by school.

As part of its application process, Success Academy automatically adds the five closest schools to your home address to your application. You’ll also have an opportunity to select up to five additional schools. After choosing all the schools you want to apply to, you may rank them in order of preference.

Why is preference significant? If your child is accepted to multiple locations, we know which school you prefer and hold a seat there. If you choose not to rank the schools, we automatically do it based on proximity to your home address.

Depending on the number of students who apply, Success Academy typically holds our lottery in mid-April. The lottery has two outcomes: acceptance and placement on the waitlist. Your lottery results will inform you of your status at each school you apply for.

Note: There are no specific academic criteria for acceptance, but once students are accepted, schools will assess new scholars’ grade-level readiness. This assessment can affect grade placement for new scholars who applied for first grade or above.

teacher shaking student’s hand

Enrollment Preferences

While charter schools must admit students by a random lottery, some charter schools may grant enrollment preferences for some students. Common preferences at many charter schools can include the following:

  • Returning students
  • Siblings of students already enrolled in the charter school
  • Children of current charter school employees

The following groups of students may receive a preference if state law and the school’s organizer allow it:

  • English language learners
  • Students with disabilities
  • Students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch

Success Academy’s preferences include siblings, employees, applicants who reside in the community school district (CSD) of the Success Academy location they’ve applied to, and English language learners.

Preferences don’t guarantee seats. Once we consider all preferences in the lottery and the waitlist, the school may offer placement to more students.

What is Open Enrollment for Charter Schools? 

Like traditional school districts, charter schools must admit students from different backgrounds. This is the principle of open enrollment. Open enrollment is vital to the charter school process because it ensures diversity and equity among potential students.

As with traditional districts, public charter schools cannot exclude potential students based on the following qualities:

  • Race
  • Disability
  • Creed
  • Gender
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Athletic ability
  • Measure of achievement or aptitude
  • Intellectual ability
  • Ancestry


Open Enrollment Charter Schools Near Me

Success Academy’s New York City charter schools serve students throughout the area. We have over 50 free public charter elementary, middle, and high school campuses throughout New York. Our locations include schools in:

Because of the nature of charter school enrollment, we encourage you to apply for enrollment at Success Academy before the April 1 deadline. Enroll today.

student smiling with backpack on

Learn More About Success Academy

Success Academy provides a world-class education to New York City students that differs from the traditional public school environment. To learn more about our educational philosophy, methods, extracurricular activities, and different campuses, schedule your virtual or in-person tour or contact us for more information on enrollment today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility requirements for charter school enrollment?

To enroll in Success Academy’s charter school program, your child must be entering Kindergarten through 6th grade. To enter kindergarten, your child must be five years old before March 31, 2025. To attend any Success Academy school, you must be a resident of New York State.

When is the application deadline for charter schools?

The application deadline for most New York charter schools is April 1.

Is there a tuition cost for attending charter schools?

New York City charter schools, including Success Academy, do not charge tuition. Some schools may charge additional activity or uniform fees, but no student will ever receive a bill for tuition. Success Academy provides a uniform, laptop, school supplies, and field trips for all Scholars at no expense to families. 

Do charter schools have entrance exams or requirements?

Some charter schools have an entrance exam, but it does not impact admission. Instead, it will usually determine your child’s grade level upon entry. Success Academy does not require an entrance exam, but will assess new scholars’ grade-level readiness to determine grade placement. 

Can students transfer from their assigned public school to a charter school?

Students can transfer from their assigned public school district to a charter school. The process can vary depending on the specific charter school. Students who wish to transfer from their assigned school usually seek a charter school in the same general geographical area. These students must enter the same lottery as other potential learners. Students should apply to charter schools as early as possible to avoid missing the application deadline.

Written by Success Academy June 20, 2024


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