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Separating Fact from Fiction in Charter School Applications

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

West Virginia Academy continues to push forward as an authorized public charter school in preparation for its Fall 2022 opening. Applications for student enrollments are open now and the deadline at the end of this month is fast approaching. Our organization has received a number of questions in relation to rumors about the charter application process. This post clarifies some common misconceptions related to the charter application process to aid families as they consider whether to apply.


Question: If I apply to West Virginia Academy, will my child be automatically unenrolled from their current public school prior to the end of this school year?


Answer: No.


If a student applies now and is enrolled at West Virginia Academy for the Fall 2022 semester, then that student's records will remain with their current public school until July when the charter school submits the official records request and those records transfer over in WVEIS. The school where a student is currently attending is obligated to continue to educate that student by law until the summer months when the records transfer is completed.


Question: If my child is enrolled, am I prevented from withdrawing and going back to traditional public schools?


Answer: No.


An admitted student at West Virginia Academy can withdraw and re-enroll in their traditional public school, private school, or homeschooling at any time, whether it be prior to the start of the school year or during the academic year. When a student withdraws from our school, that student's place is offered to the next student on the waiting list and so withdrawals will typically not impact the total enrollment within our school or the traditional public school system.


Question: Does West Virginia Academy accept all credits for classes and grades completed at traditional public schools and vice versa?


Answer: Yes.


By law, West Virginia charter schools must accept credits earned at traditional public schools for grades completed and traditional public schools must accept all credit earned at charter schools to ensure that no child's progress toward graduation is disturbed by a transfer or multiple transfers between the two types of public schools. (See W.Va. Code Sec. 18-5G-11(b); Policy 3300, 9.1.b).


Question: Are charter schools open to all students and are services available for students with exceptionalities including for gifted and talented students or students with disabilities or special needs?


Answer: This answer is unequivocally and enthusiastically yes.


Charter schools are publicly-funded schools that receive additional funding for students with exceptionalities from state and federal sources the same as all public schools. We do not discriminate in our enrollment practices on the basis of exceptionalities and exceptionalities are not factored into our acceptance processes in any way.


Question: Will my student's IEP transfer to the charter school?


Answer: Yes.


All student IEP's transfer. We will also evaluate all IEP's to ensure they meet the needs of the student prior to the start of the school year. Parents and educators will work together to ensure the needs of their child is met consistently throughout the school year.


Question: Is enrollment awarded on a "first-come, first-served" basis?


Answer: It depends.


All applicants that submit a complete application before March 31st, 2022 will have the same chance at being selected and enrolled at West Virginia Academy. Based on our market analysis and pre-registrant data, we believe we anticipate there being adequate capacity for all timely applicants. However, applications that are submitted after the deadline are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. We time stamp all applications and so the order applications are submitted will then determine the priority of students offered a space until capacity is reached. Once we hit capacity, student applicants are wait-listed in the order that their applications are received.


Question: If I pre-registered last fall, do I still need to complete the application for enrollment?


Answer: Yes. This is a requirement under the charter law.


A formal application must be submitted for each prospective student whether or not they were pre-registered last fall. The purpose of pre-registration is to help our organization identify community demand so that we can accommodate as many applicants as possible, but it does not replace the formal application process. If you want your student to be enrolled at our school for this upcoming Fall, you must complete and submit a formal application between February 15th and March 31st.


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