How to Apply to Boston Charter Public Schools
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- View our complete School Registration Toolkit for Families.
Click here to apply to the Boston Charter Lottery by February 28.
What are Commonwealth Charter Public Schools?
Also simply known as “charter schools,” there are 16 Commonwealth charter public schools in Boston. These schools are free and open to the public. Interested families can apply to any or all Boston charter schools at the same time with the Boston Charter Public School online application.
List of Commonwealth Charter Public Schools in Boston
Click here to view our School Profiles for Commonwealth Charter Public Schools with our School Finder Tool.
Charter Public School Application Timeline & Checklist
Charter public school lotteries for the next school year occur the spring before that school year starts. For students who wish to start at a charter public school in September, the charter school registration process takes place in January-March. Below is a list of the Commonwealth Charter School registration steps and when you need to complete these steps during the year for the following September:
- The Boston Online Application lottery opens for the school year beginning the following September.
Apply online to the Boston Commonwealth Charter Public School lottery by Feb. 28.
Boston’s charter public schools hold their lottery and notify students and families of their lottery results in early March. Exact notification dates vary by school; families can call the individual school or check SchoolMint for the status of their application.
- Families verify their residency once they accept their charter school seat. Offer dates and required residency documents vary by school; please check with the schools to which you applied and/or were offered enrollment.
- If you were placed on a waitlist, Boston Charter Public Schools will continue to make enrollment offers over the summer as seats become available.
Frequently Asked Questions about Charter Public Schools
Should I apply to charter public schools?
Boston School Finder recommends all families consider and apply to Boston’s Commonwealth charter public school lottery. It is free to apply and the application is simple. Remember: you can always turn down a charter public school seat if it is not the right fit for your family.
How do I apply?
You can apply to ALL Boston charter public schools at once via the Boston Charter Public School online application.
The online application requires an address. What if I am experiencing homelessness?
All students are able to apply to charter public schools in Massachusetts. While an address is required to complete the online Boston Charter School online application, students who are experiencing homelessness can enter a temporary address.
You may also use the following address for your application:
215 Sydney Street
Dorchester, MA 02125
How is a Commonwealth Charter Public School different from a Horace Mann Charter School?
In Boston, a Commonwealth charter school is public, open to all students, and free to attend. It also operates independently of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) district. There are two different types of charter public schools in Massachusetts:
Commonwealth: Commonwealth charter public schools run independently of any district and are granted charter by the state.
Horace Mann or In-District: Horace Mann charters are part of the Boston Public Schools district but have the freedom to make different choices about school budgets and how schools are run.
Charter school law differs by state across the United States. In Massachusetts, Commonwealth charter public schools are given their charter—in essence, a contract or agreement—to open and operate a school by the state’s education department (DESE).
Every five years, Commonwealth charter public schools are required to go through a charter renewal process. Commonwealth charters are held accountable for the performance of their school and their students. If a Commonwealth charter public school does not meet performance goals, it may be closed.
Charter public schools serve all students, including those who have special education needs or need English language learner support.
Are there other types of charter schools in Boston?
Yes. In Boston, there are six Horace Mann charter schools—also known as “In-District” charter schools. Similar to Commonwealth charter public schools, in-district charter schools have more independence to operate, but they are still part of the Boston Public School district.
You can find out more about Horace Mann Charters at the Boston Public Schools website.
Click here to view our School Profiles for all BPS Horace Mann Charter Schools with our School Finder Tool.
I have more questions. Where can I go for more information?
The FAQ for the online Boston Charter Public School online application can be found here.
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