Charter schools have been around for a long time, but they are not very common. A charter school is a public school that operates, for the most part, independant of the public school system. There are two major aspects that distinguish a charter school from a school within the regular public education system.
The first is that they will operate as autonomous public schools, being granted waivers from many of the procedural requirements of district public schools. These waivers do not mean a school is exempt from the same educational standards set by the State or district. Autonomy can be critically important for creating a school culture that maximizes student motivation by emphasizing high expectations, academic rigor, discipline, and relationships with caring adults.
The second is that charter schools are much more accountable for student achievement, both to parents and to the entity that oversees charter schools within its respective state. The rules and structure of charter schools depend on state authorizing legislation and differ from state to state. Upon being granted a charter that statutorily defines the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success, the school is then authorized to being educating students. The length of time for which charters are granted varies, but most are granted for 3–5 years.
Also charter schools are:
• Publicly funded schools of choice
The Estancia Valley Classical Academy is funded on a per-pupil basis, using a state standard funding formula. The student population is counted in October.
• Usually established by groups of founders
The Estancia Valley Classical Academy was founded by parents and concern community members who desired their children, and the children of their community, be given the opportunity to receive a rigorous, content-rich education based on the Classical Liberal Arts education.
• Authorized in the State of New Mexico by the State Government
Estancia Valley Classical Academy is a State Chartered school (pending) under the Public Education Department (PED). EVCA is managed on-site. Governance can vary from charter to charter, however, many charter schools are overseen by a governing body. The Estancia Valley Classical Academy is governed by a Founding Council of six members.
• Highly Accountable to their students and parents
Our Accountability Committee (pending) reviews our Charter and other founding documents to ensure our compliance. It advises the Governing Council on said compliance, and reviews student test data and acts as a check- and-balance system to the school to aid in the maintenance of credibility. Focused on one specific philosophy.
• Every charter school has its own mission and philosophy
The Estancia Valley Classical Academy’s mission and philosophy are detailed on the EVCA Mission page.
• Created for defined purposes
EVCA desires to provide a rigorous liberal arts education to all students who enter our school, expecting nothing less than the best from each individual.