Princeton Charter School
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Admission Policy and Criteria

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Admission Policy and Criteria

Princeton Charter School is a taxpayer-funded school serving students residing in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. In 1997-98, it will offer grades 4-6, and expand yearly to reach a K-8 configuration. It is open to all eligible students on a space available basis and does not discriminate in its admissions policies or practices on the basis of intellectual or athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, status as a handicapped person, or proficiency in English.

Admissions Policy

As required by law, admissions preference is granted students who are residents of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. Younger siblings of students already enrolled in the school are also granted preference provided the parents choose Princeton Charter School for that sibling. Enrolled students are guaranteed admission the following year provided the appropriate grade is available. As part of the application process Princeton Charter School requests that parents/guardians of new students participate in a half-hour information session with the Head of School or designated delegate to discuss the educational goals of the family and the school. The purpose of the session is to help parents make an informed choice for their child. Transportation, a translator, or other services will be provided to parents who make such requests in order to participate in an information session. Attendance at an information session is recommended, but is not mandatory. Admissions will seek to enroll, to the greatest degree possible, a cross-section of the local school-age population by promoting the school heavily in the entire community.

To be eligible for admission, the student must provide 1) proof of residence in Princeton Borough or Township; 2) proof of eligible non-resident status elsewhere for space available consideration; 3) proof of minimum age of five years as of the date established by law or by regulation for Kindergartners; 4) completed application form. Application forms request: student's name; date of birth; grade level; address; names, addresses, and telephone numbers of parents/guardians; names of siblings also applying; and a signature verifying that the information is correct and that the parents/guardians are choosing education at Princeton Charter School for their child. Application forms must be submitted to the school by the annual deadline determined by the Board of Trustees. An Admissions Committee, initially consisting of the PCSF, will make all decisions concerning the status of student eligibility.

Selection Process

If the number of applicants exceeds the school's enrollment cap, a random lottery process will be instituted for applicant selection: 1) the pool of applicants will be sorted according to admissions preferences provided for by statute and listed above (younger sibling, district resident) and by grade level; 2) within each grade level, applications will be sorted according to these categories, arranged in order of admissions preference: a) returning resident student; b) returning non-resident student; c) sibling of returning resident student; d) new resident applicant; e) sibling of returning non-resident student; f) new non-resident applicant for space-available admission; 3) the Admissions Committee will reserve spaces for students in categories a) and b). Any remaining spaces will be allocated by holding a drawing of names by category in admissions preference order starting with category c) in the oldest grade level and working down; 4) after all grade levels have been completed, names that remain will be placed by preference category, in drawing order, on the school's waiting list. Names are drawn one by one; as each student is drawn, that student and applicant siblings are immediately placed in their respective grade levels. In the first year of Princeton Charter School's operation, categories 2 a), b), c) and d) do not apply and the eligibility pool will consist solely of categories e) and f).

To avoid splitting up families in this initial year, the oldest child will be entered in the lottery, and if that child is selected for admission, any younger siblings who may also be applying will be automatically admitted to their respective grade levels on a first priority basis. If the oldest child is not selected, the next younger sibling may still be entered in the lottery for his/her grade level. If that second sibling is selected, he/she and all subsequent younger siblings are accepted to the school on a priority basis. If the second child is not selected, each subsequent younger child may still enter the lottery independently. When the lottery process is completed, wait-listed sibling applicants of admitted students will be placed in category 2 c) on the waiting list. Twins and members of other multiple births applying together will be entered separately in the lottery. If one twin or multiple-birth sibling is admitted, the other sibling(s) will also be admitted provided there is still space available. If no space is available, they will be placed in category 2 c) on the waiting list. Should attrition reduce the number of enrolled students after completion of the admissions process, Princeton Charter School will fill openings from the waiting list, in order by category, or if no names remain on the list, it will hold a secondary admissions process to fill available spaces after a suitable period of full public notice.

Selection Process (cont.)

To avoid splitting up families in this initial year, the oldest child will be entered in the lottery, and if that child is selected for admission, any younger siblings who may also be applying will be automatically admitted to their respective grade levels on a first priority basis. If the oldest child is not selected, the next younger sibling may still be entered in the lottery for his/her grade level. If that second sibling is selected, he/she and all subsequent younger siblings are accepted to the school on a priority basis. If the second child is not selected, each subsequent younger child may still enter the lottery independently. When the lottery process is completed, wait-listed sibling applicants of admitted students will be placed in category 2 c) on the waiting list. Twins and members of other multiple births applying together will be entered separately in the lottery. If one twin or multiple-birth sibling is admitted, the other sibling(s) will also be admitted provided there is still space available. If no space is available, they will be placed in category 2 c) on the waiting list. Should attrition reduce the number of enrolled students after completion of the admissions process, Princeton Charter School will fill openings from the waiting list, in order by category, or if no names remain on the list, it will hold a secondary admissions process to fill available spaces after a suitable period of full public notice.

Admission decisions will be made by the process described above on the date set by the Board of Trustees. Parents/guardians will be notified by mail of each child's admission status, and will have fourteen calendar days after the postmarked date on the notification to return a signed enrollment registration card for each child offered enrollment, or signed waiting-list applicant card for wait-listed children. If no form is returned within ten days, PCS will make three attempts to contact the family before the fourteen day deadline. If no form has been returned by the two-week deadline, the child's admission space or waiting-list order will be given to the next eligible candidate. Parents who will not be available at the home address listed on the application form during the notification period should contact PCS to make alternate arrangements.

Criteria for Prospective Students

Princeton Charter School practices open admissions. Criteria for prospective students include those provided for by statute, i.e., continuing students, siblings, and Princeton Township and Borough residents. Beyond that, by submitting an application form, parents/guardians indicate their philosophical support of the academic goals of the school.

Nonresident Student Enrollment

Students from other localities may apply to the school as non-residents on a space available basis. Non-resident tuition will be determined as prescribed by statute and regulation. Non-resident students are subject to the same admissions criteria as resident students.

Enrollment of a Cross-Section of the Community

As provided in the Charter School Law, all parents who choose to enroll their children in Princeton Charter School may do so, subject to admissions priorities established in statute and spaces available. To inform these parents' decision-making process, the Princeton Charter School Founders intend to publicize widely the nature and mission of the school, a process which has already begun through early reports about the charter application which have appeared in the local press. The PCSF have also established a special telephone line, 609-924-3597, whose number is on all PCS literature, to receive incoming calls which will be returned by a member of the PCSF. This information campaign will include frequent press releases as developments warrant; paid advertisements; and depositing copies of the charter application at the reference desk of the public library for public access. To promote a diverse applicant pool, PCS posts notices on church and neighborhood bulletin boards, and arranges informational meetings through church and community leaders. The publicity efforts include Spanish-language literature, and meetings when they can be arranged, explaining the nature and purpose of the school, and the admissions process. This application period will last four weeks (January 20-February 14, 1997) and Founders as well as other involved individuals will be available during this time period for personal consultations and to answer any questions which parents of potential applicants may have. The PCSF will clearly define the school, its mission, and its programs - but it is ultimately up to the parents to decide whether this school will be the best choice for their child.

Policies to Focus Admissions

Subject to the procedures described above, admissions are open to all grade levels to be offered at PCS.




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