Schools help shape us and define our early formative years. Given the significant role schools play in a student’s life, the choice of school, and in particular its programs, becomes critical. With the rise of charter schools over the past decade, and the intense scrutiny they have faced recently nationwide, it’s important to understand – what exactly do charter schools offer?

What are Charter Schools?

According to MAPSA, Michigan’s charter school association, charter schools are free, independently-operated public schools that hold the flexibility to tailor their approach to their students’ needs. They provide quality learning opportunities to all students, irrespective of race, zip code, educational needs or income level.

The Rationale Behind Charter Schools

The primary objective of charters is to offer accessible alternative school choices and foster creative and innovative educational environments. Born out of the need for more options in education, they have evolved over time with current laws and regulations, providing structure and direction to the charter model.

Key Differences Between Charters and Traditional Public Schools

Charter schools differ from traditional public schools primarily in their management style. Governed by a contract or “charter,” they have the mandate to develop and implement unique learning ideas that can provide an excellent education to students at each stage of their lives. These schools are held accountable for academic results and are required to demonstrate academic achievement, responsible financial management, and organizational stability.

Another critical differentiator for charters is their ability to explore innovative learning practices, making them an attractive option for parents seeking an alternative educational fit for their children. Many charter schools emphasize college preparation, STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), core knowledge, and virtual/online learning while incorporating basic skills such as building positive character traits and workplace skills. The direct accountability for stated goals and the unique programs offered by charters provide a sense of assurance to parents and caregivers.

Our Commitment as a Charter School

At Cornerstone, we recognize the privilege of being a charter school and appreciate the opportunity to incorporate character and career pathways into our academics. Our goal is to equip students with the tools to lead a fulfilling life long after they leave our halls. We are thankful for the chance to do that every day.