Q: What is a charter school?
A: Charter schools are public schools that are operated independently by a group of community members. With the exception of some federal laws, charter schools are free from the rules and bureaucracy of a large school district, and thus, the administration of a charter school can implement the policies and practices that it thinks are best for students.
Q: Is a high school diploma from a charter school the same as one earned in a traditional school?
A: Yes, a student graduating from Freire is indeed a high school graduate. All over the United States, thousands of students have graduated from charter schools since they became popular educational alternatives in the 1990s. In fact, to earn a diploma from Freire, a student has to take more classes than he or she would in many high schools.
Q: Does Freire charge tuition?
A: No, Freire is a public school, and thus, tuition-free.
Q: Do students have to wear uniforms?
A: Yes and No. Freire students in Grades 10-12 do not have to wear uniforms. It is against the values of our school philosophy to require students to compromise their individuality. Students do have to dress appropriately, as defined in Freire’s Code of Conduct. That said, students in Grade 9 must wear a green polo shirt with the Freire logo on it each day as the wearing of one’s own clothes is a privilege and not a right. At various points in the year, ninth grade students will have a chance to earn their way out of their green shirts based on positive academic behaviors.
All middle school students will also wear this uniform.
Q: How do I know if the Freire Charter School is right for me?
A: Well, reading all of the information on this website is a good first step! Next, a tour of our school is always a wise decision. But overall, questions you should ask yourself would be as follows:
(1) Do I want to attend a small school? (Freire has 500 students across grades 9-12 and another 500 in grades 5-8)
(2) Do I want to attend school downtown? (Freire’s high school is in Rittenhouse Square and its middle school is in Market East, two bustling commercial and residential sections of Center City)
(3) Do I value individuality while at the same time see myself as part of a community?
(This mentality is key to success at Freire)
(4) Do I intend to go to college? (Freire expects every graduate to attend a 4-year college and ideally to continue his or her education beyond that)
(5) Do I plan on doing lots of hard work? (Freire requires an array of rigorous college preparatory classes to graduate and top marks are expected in these classes)
If you answered “yes” to all five questions, then Freire could be the right match for you!
Q: Would attending the Freire Charter School hurt my child’s ability to get into the college of his or her choice?
A: No, in fact, attending Freire could actually help your child get into the college of his or her choice. Admission officers at top colleges are always looking for students from high schools that are not a part of their usual “feeder” high schools because it creates more diversity on campus. An admissions office at a top college or university is usually very reluctant to accept more than a handful of students from the same high school because it does not want a class full of students who all come with the same high school experiences. Thus, by attending a high school unlike other college-prep schools in Philadelphia, your child is more likely to catch an admission officer’s attention here at Freire. Take a look at the “College Counseling” section of our website for more information about college placement.
Q: Can I submit an application for any grade?
A: Yes. Freire accepts applications for all grade levels. Please note, however, that our main entry point for the Middle School is Grade 5 and the main entry point for the High School is Grade 9. We will not know if space exists in other grade levels until the summer before the school year begins.
Q: How soon will I hear if my son or daughter has been accepted to Freire?
A: The Admissions Office will send you a postcard acknowledging that it has received your application. After that, all you have to do is wait for the lottery to be held. If selected, you will be required to complete additional steps in order to secure your spot at Freire. If placed on our Waiting List, please check the website regularly for updates to the Waiting List.
Q: Oops, I missed the January 30th deadline. Can I still submit an application?
A: Yes, you may still submit an application. However, all of the people who submitted the application by the deadline will have priority.