What is a charter school?
Charter schools are independently-operated public schools. Parents can choose to send their children to a public charter school outside of their “zoned” public school. There is no charge or tuition to attend a public charter school. While charter schools have flexibility in choosing curriculum and developing innovative teaching practices, charter schools must test students and report results, just like the government-operated public schools, as required by federal and state laws.
What sets Imagine Schools apart from other schools?
Imagine’s schools create choice for parents and students within the public school system. Our schools:
- Emphasize academic excellence and character development as the essential elements of life-long success
- Encourage innovative teaching practices that individualize learning according to the needs of each student
- Provide a system of accountability for results in public education (i.e., Imagine’s Measures of Excellence)
- Support principals, teachers, and school staff as the front-line leaders and decision-makers, who best know the needs, challenges, and opportunities of each school community
Each Imagine campus is uniquely designed to meet the needs of students in the neighborhoods it serves. Imagine’s schools offer a variety of curricula and approaches. As charter schools, we have flexibility to find solutions to problems and continually improve.
How much does it cost to attend an Imagine school?
Imagine’s schools are publicly-funded charter schools. There is no tuition charged to attend a charter school. Charter schools are funded based on the per student allocation provide by each state or district. Most charter schools receive NO monies for facilities. Therefore, we must use the per student allocation received at each school to pay for everything: textbooks, teachers, administration, and buildings.
Economic sustainability is one of Imagine’s Measures of Excellence. Budget decisions for each school are made locally by the governing board, usually with recommendations from the school’s principal and teachers.
Are parents satisfied with Imagine Schools?
Our average enrollment on our 71 campuses is over 90%, and many schools have waiting lists. For example, over 3,800 students are on waiting lists for ten Imagine schools in Florida. We believe that parents are the best judges of a school because they evaluate on a daily basis whether or not the school is meeting their child’s academic, character, social, and behavioral needs. Parents know quality.
According to the Imagine Schools 2012 Family Survey,
85.6% reported that they are satisfied with the quality of education that their children are receiving.
87.4% reported that teachers and staff know their children and focus on them as individuals
90.8% reported that their children feel safe at school.
89.4% reported that the schools offer them opportunities to get involved in their children’s education.
89% reported that teachers and staff model and teach positive character attributes.
We envision great education much like a three-legged stool: engaged parents, purposeful students, and committed Imagine educators. We teach one child at a time in partnership with parents.
What can you tell me about the schools’ curriculum?
From classical education to direct instruction, Imagine’s schools offer a variety of curricula and approaches – freedom with a framework of strong programs and accountability. Each local governing board will often select an approach based on the needs of each school community it serves and seek charter approval based on that educational approach. As for particular curriculum selections, school leaders and their staffs have the freedom and flexibility to make decisions about a curriculum that best meets the students’ learning needs. Click here to learn more about the educational approaches offered at Imagine campuses.
How are Imagine students doing on standardized tests?
Imagine evaluates academic achievement primarily through same student learning gains, similar to the approach used by KIPP and New York City Public Schools and advocated by the Obama Administration. Learning gains is a much fairer way to judge performance of an individual school, especially one that serves students who enter school one or more grade levels behind. Learning gains measure a school based on how effectively it helps students learn and grow.
Every Imagine school tracks academic gains through fall and spring Stanford 10 testing:
- In the 2010-2011 school year, 93% of Imagine’s schools exceeded average nationwide public school math and reading learning gains.
- In the 2010-2011 school year, nearly two-thirds of Imagine students demonstrated average reading and math learning gains of one year or more.
- Based on fall testing, about 70% of newly enrolled Imagine students are below grade level, indicating that their previous learning gains averaged much less than a full grade per year in other schools.
How are Imagine schools governed?
Imagine Schools is a full-service charter school operator that contracts with each independent local charter school governing board. Imagine schools are governed by a board of directors typically made up of members of the local community and others with a demonstrated interest in offering families a choice in the education. The charter governing boards that oversee Imagine-operated schools take great care in discharging their responsibility to care for the finances and legal requirements of the charter school and to set overall policy based on the charter’s vision. The board oversees Imagine, which has responsibility for day-to-day school operations. Each board is locally formed and operates independently and transparently. Board responsibilities are set forth in the charter. We work in close partnership with local boards to successfully start and operate each school in accordance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations regarding charter school operation and governance.
How do I enroll my child in an Imagine school?
To begin the enrollment process, visit the Imagine school’s website to submit a pre-enrollment form. After your pre-enrollment form has been received, the school will contact you to confirm receipt, and formal enrollment documents will be made available to you as soon as possible.
Are Imagine Schools’ teachers certified?
Every Imagine Schools’ teacher meets or exceeds state and federal teaching requirements. All of our teachers hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and must demonstrate competence in the areas they teach. Most importantly, we recruit and hire teachers who are committed to upholding Imagine’s Shared Values and Six Measures of Excellence for every student in the school. Our teachers are screened thoroughly and interviewed by the school’s principal and staff.
Do Imagine’s schools have lunch programs?
Yes, most of our schools provide a hot, catered lunch for students in compliance with the National School Lunch Program. Our schools provide free and reduced price meals for those students who qualify.
Do students wear uniforms at Imagine Schools?
Yes, Imagine students wear uniforms or follow a dress code. We find that simple, comfortable uniforms or a dress code mark learning as a serious endeavor and minimize student competition and distraction regarding dress. Please contact the local campus for details about their uniform or dress code policy.
Do you have special education programs?
Yes. Our schools provide services to any child with special needs with the goal of having the student become successful in regular classroom settings. Each child is evaluated to determine the most effective educational program we can provide, consistent with federal law.
What is the school calendar?
Most Imagine campuses follow the school calendar of their local school district. Some of our schools operate an extended day or extended year calendar. Please contact the local campus for more information about the calendar.
Is Imagine Schools a for-profit company?
Imagine spends 100% of the money it received on the students and schools it operates. Economic sustainability is one of our measures of excellence.
Imagine Schools currently operates through two affiliated organizations: Imagine Schools, Inc. and Imagine Schools Non-Profit, Inc. Both Imagine Schools, Inc. and Imagine Schools Non-Profit, Inc. serve the exclusive purpose of educating children in grades PreK-12. The Imagine Schools Non-Profit application for federal tax-exempt status is currently under review by the IRS. Subject to favorable rulings from the Internal Revenue Service, the organizations plan for Imagine Schools Non-Profit, Inc. to acquire ownership of Imagine Schools, Inc., after which Imagine Schools, Inc. would convert to nonprofit status. Once this transition is complete, the entire Imagine Schools system will operate through nonprofit corporations exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.