Start a Charter School

One element of DC PCSB’s mission is to provide quality public school options through a comprehensive application review process. Each year, DC PCSB accepts applications to open new schools from a variety of applicants, including groups of individuals; private, public, or quasi-public entities; institutions of higher education; and experienced operators of existing public charter schools outside DC.

If you are considering applying to open a new public charter school, we strongly encourage you to inform DC PCSB staff of your plans as soon as possible, by emailing applications@dcpcsb.org(link sends e-mail)We regularly meet with prospective applicants to discuss DC PCSB’s application process and expectations, and the applicant’s plans and questions.

Application Process

The 2017 Charter Application Guidelines outline the required steps applicants must complete to open a new public charter school or convert a traditional, parochial or private school to a public charter school. Applicants interested in opening a school should carefully read the 2017 Charter Application Guidelines and the School Reform Act.

Prospective applicants are also strongly encouraged to research DC’s educational landscape. To support that research, DC PCSB annually publishes its Background on Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC. This document provides information about the availability and quality of seats in traditional public schools and public charter schools in DC, as well as information about need and demand for existing and additional public school options.

 

DC PCSB evaluates each application based on four elements:

  1. A written application, based on the Charter Application Guidelines (available above);
  2. Site visits to the operator’s existing school(s), when applicable;
  3. Capacity interviews, which are question-and-answer-style discussions between DC PCSB staff and the applicant; and
  4. Public hearings, which are opportunities for the DC PCSB Board and the public to hear from the applicants.

Based on evidence gathered in each of these steps, DC PCSB reviews applicant groups based on five criteria:

  1. Demonstrated need for the school;
  2. Sufficient progress in developing the plan;
  3. Consistency of the mission and philosophy;
  4. Inclusiveness; and
  5. Founding group ability.

Each of these is defined in more detail in the Charter Application Guidelines.

Fall 2016 Charter Application Timeline

Date

Action Item

August 31, 2016, 2:00pm

Deadline to Submit Electronic Application for Confirmation of Completeness before Printing

September 2, 2016, 2:00pm

Deadline to Submit Paper Copies of Application

September 22-23, 2016

Capacity Interviews

September 26-28, 2016

Site Visits (if applicable)

October 17, 2016, evening

Public Hearing

November 21, 2016

Board Decision Announced

 

Spring 2017 Charter Application Timeline

Date

Action Item

March 8, 2017, 2:00pm

Deadline to Submit Electronic Application for Confirmation of Completeness before Printing

March 10, 2017, 2:00pm

Deadline to Submit Paper Copies of Application

March 29-30, 2017

Capacity Interviews

April 3-5, 2017

Site Visits (if applicable)

April 24, 2017, evening

Public Hearing

May 15, 2017

Board Decision Announced

All dates are subject to change. 

Still have questions? Submit a question, here(link is external), and look for the response, here(link is external). For more information about the application process, email applications@dcpcsb.org(link is external).

Charter Application Video

For previous years' charter application submissions, visit the Charter Applications Archive.