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« School Choice in Beaverton: Middle and High School Learning Options | Main | The Lake Oswego Mothers Club 12th Annual Preschool Forum »
Wednesday
Oct262016

School Choice in Beaverton: Charter Schools

Beaverton School District (BSD), like other Portland suburban school districts takes a different approach to school choice than Portland Public Schools (PPS).  While PPS has abundant focus option schools, alternative programs, and charter schools with multiple lotteries to navigate, Beaverton offers comparatively few choices at each level with a more straightforward lottery process.  Today’s post will give an overview of the charter school options in Beaverton; future posts will look at the district’s other options beyond neighborhood schools.

BSD has two charter schools, Arco Iris Spanish Immersion School and Hope Chinese Charter School.   As public charter schools, these schools are free to enrolled families.  Charter schools receive less funding per student than other public schools, however, and both schools hold fundraising events.  They ask that families participate and give to the extent that they are able.  Hope Chinese Charter School also asks for a commitment of 30 volunteer hours per school year from its families.

Both schools follow similar application procedures – families submit an application during the open enrollment window.  If there are more applicants than spaces available, the schools accept students based on a combination of the priority categories (described in detail on each school’s website) and a lottery.  Both schools also accept applications from students living outside BSD, however enrollment priority goes to students living in the district.

While standardized tests are the subject of much controversy, their results can provide useful information for parents looking at school choice options.  Students at both Beaverton charter schools generally outperform both the state average and students at similar schools by significant margins.  Those interested in a more detailed breakdown of testing data can find it via the report cards issued by the Oregon Department of Education for each school and district in the state.

Parents should note that the district does not provide transportation for students attending charter schools, though the schools may provide resources to help parents coordinate carpools. 

 

Arco Iris Spanish Immersion School

Arco Iris offers a Spanish immersion program for students in first through eighth grades.   The school also touts its rigorous math curriculum as central to its mission.  In first through fifth grade, approximately 75% of the instruction occurs in Spanish, with the remaining 25% including English/Language Arts and more complex math instruction occurring in English.  In middle school (sixth through eighth grade) approximately 50% of the instruction is in English and 50% in Spanish.

The school is full for the 2016-2017 school year and applicants will be placed into a wait pool.  The school will accept applications for 2017-2018 during open enrollment from January 9 – February 12, followed by the enrollment lottery on March 10.  Applicants will be notified whether they are accepted or placed in the wait pool after March 10.

 

Hope Chinese Charter School

Hope Chinese Charter School currently offers a Chinese immersion program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, with plans to add a grade each year to become a kindergarten through eighth grade school.  The school also offers a fee-based Chinese immersion preschool.  Enrollment in the preschool does not guarantee admission to the school in kindergarten or provide any priority in the lottery.

The school offers tours and information sessions throughout the school year to interested families (find the full schedule here).  Parents who are interested in enrollment for 2016-2017 should contact the school to inquire about immediate availability.  Applications for the 2017-2018 school year will be available Tuesday, January 3, 2017 and are due Tuesday, February 28, 2017.  The lottery will be held Friday, March 3, 2017, with results announced Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

 

Do you have a child in one of these schools?  If so, please share your experience in the comments!

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