Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Charter schools offer families an additional choice in where their children will attend school and what types of special programs may be best suited for their children. For instance, many charters provide longer hours and additional schools days to help students achieve academic growth faster. They may offer tougher curriculum and graduation standards and thereby better prepare a student for acceptance to college.
As an independently operated public school, Amandla Charter School’s mission is to prepare Chicago students for college and beyond. We do this by providing data driven instruction, rigorous academics and a school culture that provides structure and focus for our students.
No. Charter schools are not like magnet or private schools and do not require students to take any admissions tests. Any student in Chicago who would like to attend a charter school may do so. However, just like other public schools, some charter schools do have enrollment boundaries and some accept only a small number of students per year. If a charter school has more students apply than it has space, it will create a waiting list and hold a lottery before school starts to admit students.
In the 2012-2013 school year, Amandla served over 275 students in grades 5 through 9. Amandla will add a grade each year until it serves students in grades 5 through 12 in the 2015-2016 school year. Read about our students’ personal stories and get to know your future classmates!
Any student residing in the city of Chicago can attend Amandla. Amandla’s students are primarily from Chicago’s Englewood and West Englewood neighborhoods and the student body reflects the demographics of those communities.
In addition to its regular curriculum, Amandla provides special education services to about 15% of its student body.
Amandla graduated its first class of eighth graders in June 2012. On national test scores these students entered Amandla averaging about two years behind their grade level in reading and math. In eighth grade, they tested on average two years ahead of their grade levels in these subjects. Now attending high school, these students are on-track for college success.
In its February 2013 evaluation of Amandla, the Chicago Board of Education found that Amandla students consistently outperformed comparison schools on Illinois Standard Achievement Tests.
No. Charter schools are free.
As a free public charter school in the City of Chicago, Amandla receives public funding to provide a rigorous, data driven education to our students from local, state, and federal tax dollars based on enrollment. However, in the Chicago Public School system, Amandla, like other charter schools, does not receive equal per pupil funding to educate our students. In fact, Amandla only receives 80 cents for every dollar that a traditional CPS school receives to educate students.
Because of this reduced funding, Amandla has a gap between the funding that is received and what it actually costs to provide our program to students. Despite this, Amandla students are performing approximately 10% higher on the ISAT than students who attend the public schools in our community.
Amandla is looking to corporate partners, private foundation and individual to help us close this funding gap and provide additional opportunities and resources for our students including enriched academic programs, greater access to social services, and a wider range of afterschool and athletic options.
Research has shown that fifth grade is a critical year for impacting academic achievement. Children are at a developmental crossroads at this age. They are beginning to separate from their families and choose their peer group. They are cognitively ready to choose to focus on education.
Fifth graders have enough time, before beginning high school, to make up for earlier educational deficits. This allows students to make the most of high school.