RD57 - Public Charter Schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Executive Summary:
Since the initial state legislation for charter schools was passed in 1998, eight charter schools in eight school divisions have been approved and opened for students. They continue to operate and provide programs designed to increase educational opportunities for at-risk students. Information collected from school division superintendents in August 2003 revealed that no new charter school applications were approved during 2002-2003. Four charter school applications were denied in four school divisions.

The eight charter schools continue to focus on increasing educational opportunities and providing alternative educational programs for students at risk of academic failure. Many of the students, particularly older students enrolled in high school programs, were in danger of dropping out of school. Poor attendance, past academic failure, and other risk factors create many challenges for the schools in raising the academic achievement level of the students. In spite of the challenges, some progress has been reported in improving academic achievement, average daily attendance, parental and community involvement, and decreasing the number of dropouts.