Q and A: Neighborhood House Charter School
While the general deadline for most Boston public charter schools was at the end of February, a handful of schools are still accepting applications for next school year. If you’re still exploring your school options for next year, consider looking into Boston’s charter schools, which are public, free to attend and admit students through an open lottery.
We teamed up with one of the charter schools that is still accepting applications for next school year, Neighborhood House Charter School (NHCS), to learn more about NHCS and about Boston’s charter schools in general.
Boston School Finder (BSF): What is a Boston public charter school? What makes a charter school different?
Neighborhood House Charter School (NHCS): Boston’s public charter schools are free and serve all students, including those with special needs and English language learners. However, unlike district schools, charter schools operate with freedom from some regulations and they enroll via lottery. This freedom has allowed charter schools to experiment with ideas like a longer school day or year. A 2015 study from Stanford University found that Boston charter schools led the nation in academic progress over a six-year span in urban areas. Each charter school has its own mission and special programming, and families should feel free to call each school directly to visit and see their approach first hand.
BSF: Tell us about NHCS. What can families and students expect if they enroll in your school?
NHCS: Neighborhood House Charter School (NHCS) is an award-winning school and growing community that will serve all grades K1 through 12 by 2020. We have two campuses in Dorchester: a Lower and Middle School campus and a High School campus. New students at NHCS often remark on the positive school culture and feeling of support from fellow classmates and teachers. In addition to our focus on rich and structured learning experiences and social and emotional skill-building, NHCS provides a robust creative arts program and a college and career readiness curriculum for grades 6 and up. Our goal is that all of our students thrive at Neighborhood House, graduate from high school, and pursue post-secondary education on the path to achieve life success.
BSF: What makes NHCS unique, and what do you offer families for programming?
NHCS: NHCS has a unique emphasis on educating the whole child (academic, social, and emotional) and preparing students for life success, however they choose to define it. This means giving all students rigorous college-prep classwork, while also empowering them to explore a variety of careers and interests other than the traditional 4-year college path. We are developing an Extended Campus Learning Opportunities (ECLO) program at the high school that will include internships, externships, online classes, dual enrollment at area colleges, and other options that truly prepare them for the increasingly complex career and post-secondary paths in the 21st century.
BSF: The general deadline for the Boston public charter school joint application was February 28th. What should families do if they applied and received an assignment? What should they do if they applied and did not?
NHCS: NHCS staff and students are very eager to welcome our newest families! All families who applied before the February 28th deadline should have received their lottery result in early March. Several families received offers of enrollment due to a favorable lottery number, and these families are in the last steps of completing their online registration via SchoolMint - the online application system for most of Boston’s charter schools. While we wish we had space for all families, many families were placed on the waitlist in the order of their lottery number. Waitlisted families should visit the school and learn more so that if a spot opens up for them at some point during the next few months, they can accept the offer and complete registration as quickly as possible.
BSF: NHCS and a handful of other charter schools are still accepting applications for next school year. How can families apply to your school?
NHCS: Families of students who will be in grades 7 through 11 next year are still able to apply. These applicants will be entered into our supplemental lottery, which NHCS will hold if we exhaust the waitlist in a particular grade. The deadline to apply for this supplemental lottery is September 1, 2019 via www.thenhcs.org/enroll.
BSF: What else should families know about NHCS, Boston public charter schools, or school enrollment in general? What advice do you have?
NHCS: NHCS and all charter schools are working hard to make enrollment as smooth as possible. One challenge we face is when families to receive and accept offers at multiple schools. Doing so holds spots and keeps other families on waitlists unnecessarily. It makes the experience better for all families when applicants only accept one offer, and we highly recommend that families get to know the schools so that they can make the best decision as soon as possible.
BSF: Who can families contact at NHCS if they have questions about your school?
NHCS: Families may call the front office at 617-825-0703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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