Charter Schools

  • Charter schools operate as independent and autonomous public schools.
  • These schools are awarded a "charter" and are operated according to an approved plan that outlines how they will function pedagogically, administratively, and fiscally.
  • Charter schools receive some funding from federal, state and public local funds, and are required to raise additional funds from individuals, foundations, and the private sector.
  • A school's charter and their autonomy is dependent upon their meeting educational performance standards, and maintaining sound fiscal and management practices.
  • Charter schools are subject to oversight by the NYC Chancellor and must comply with all laws regulating public schools. An FAQs about charter schools is available.
  • As of Fall 2013, there were more than 183 charter schools in New York City, including 99 elementary schools, 24 middle schools, 19 high schools, 13 K-12 schools, 17 K-8 schools, and 11 secondary schools (6-12). Additional schools open each Fall.  Up-to-date numbers are available from the New York City Sharter School Center.
  • In New York City, many of the charter schools share space with traditional public schools.
  • Charter schools are open to all NYC students and any student that is eligible to attend a NYC public school is also qualified for admission to a charter school. Preference for admission is typically given to children residing in the community school district in which the school is located.
  • If there are more interested students than available slots, children are chosen through a lottery process. Siblings of students who are already enrolled are given preference.

The NYC Department of Education provides an on-line Directory of Charter Schools and announces new schools on-line.

Additional information about the charter schools in general as well as individual charter schools is available from the New York City Charter School Center.

Application Process

Each charter school has their own unique admissions application process. Therefore, if you are interested in applying for admission to one or more charter schools, you must contact the school directly to inquire about its application, enrollment timeline and process. Once you've identified the school(s) to which you wish to apply, be sure to complete and submit a separate application for each.

The most up-to-date information on charter schools is available on the NYC Department of Education's website. Here you will find the Directory of NYC Charter Schools which includes individual school profiles and general information about the application process. Be sure to contact each school you are interested in for additional information about the admissions process and to schedule a tour.

Additional information, including an Enrollment FAQ is available from the New York City Charter School Center.

Timeline for Applying to Charter Schools

Remember: You are only guaranteed a seat in your zoned public school so it is important to visit the school to understand its strengths and challenges, learn how parents are engaged in the school, *and* apply during the stated time period.


  • Identify charter school(s) in your area.
  • Review the individual school websites and identify those where you want to pursue admission.
  • Learn their admission process and attend the open houses/tours of each to learn more.
  • If available, place your name on the list of interested families so that the school can communicate with you during the admission process.


  • Secure the application for each school according to their individual procedure: by phone, in person, or from their web site.
  • Complete and submit the application according to the specified timeline.


  • Watch for notices of admissions lotteries, letters, etc.

Go to the school with your child to register. Be sure that your child comes with you and bring the following documentation:

  • Your child's original birth certificate, passport, or baptismal certificate
  • Your child's immunization record (PDF)
  • Your child's most recent transcript or report card, or IEP, if applicable
  • Two proofs of address: an original Electric Bill (Con Edison), a deed to your home or a letter from your employer verifying your home address. If the cost of electricity is included in your rent, you must secure a letter from the real estate management company