What is the difference between a charter school and a public school?
First, a charter school IS a public school. A charter school is a public school committed to meeting a specific educational objective that might not be being met by the public schools in an area. In the case of Pepin Academies, they have the specific educational objective of meeting the needs of students with disabilities in a unique therapeutic educational environment.
Charter schools are also schools of choice because they offer another option for parents in choosing the best education for their children.
Florida enacted charter law in 1996. Since that time, the number of charter schools in Florida has grown to 687, serving over 342,000 students statewide, which is still only 12.2% of the total student-aged population.
What is the accountability of a Charter school compared to the public school system?
Charter schools are publicly accountable and have a written contract with the school districts where they are located. Charter schools operate under their own school board, which allows them to have more flexibility in operations and management than traditional public schools. Pepin Academies located in Hillsborough County operate under a Hillsborough County-based board and Pepin Academies in Pasco County operated under a Pasco County-based board. The website has the names and contact information of all our board members.
What are Charter School Standards?
Charter schools must meet the same standards and graduation requirements as all Florida schools and are required to administer all the same state assessments as traditional public schools. Just like all teachers teaching in Florida public schools, charter school teachers must hold a valid Florida teacher’s certificate in their subject area. At Pepin Academies, teachers are additionally certified or committed to obtaining certification in Exceptional Student Education.
What makes Pepin Academies Charter Schools Different?
Pepin Academies are independently run, not-for-profit, charter schools meaning they do not have a large, for-profit, Charter Management Organization (CMO) or Education Management Organization (EMO) managing our organization.
Pepin Academies are what used to be colloquially called a “Mom and Pop” charter which makes the comparison of the local corner grocery run by a family to a large, multistore grocery chain run by a corporation.
Independent charter schools tend to have deep roots in their community as well as strong partnerships with local leaders and organizations.
Independent charter schools are not without their challenges. Without the backing of a large for-profit organization, independent charters have limited capital and rely heavily on foundational support and grant funding.
Pepin Academies, which offers a costly therapeutic model of instruction, welcomes outside support to help supplement our programming.
Being a charter school allows Pepin Academies to tailor their focus solely on meeting the needs of students with disabilities and offer a unique learning opportunity unavailable in the traditional public school setting.