Welcome Prospective Parents
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Gettysburg Montessori Charter School. Each day at our school is an exciting new opportunity to enrich the minds of our students, and we hope your child will join us.
The Gettysburg Montessori Charter School is a free public charter school open to all residents of Pennsylvania. Your child must be age 5 or older on August 31st of the year he or she starts school. If enrollment requests exceed capacity, a lottery will be held to determine admission.
There are no specific academic entrance requirements; however, we base admission decisions on many factors, especially your child’s age and suitability for our program.
Please contact us regarding availability for your child and to schedule your personal tour of our school. We will be happy to answer your questions and provide additional information about our educational programs.
The process begins with your school tour to visit our school. Following your tour and meeting at our school we invite you to observe one of our classrooms to see how our instructors interact with our students. You will notice how well the children interact and self-direct their activities, sharing with others and learning at their own pace.
Parents are encouraged to tour the school and fill out a registration form to be considered for enrollment. Classes fill up quickly, so early registration is highly encouraged. Thank you for considering our school for your child’s future! Enrollment is ongoing based on availability.
8:00am – Doors Open
8:00-8:30am – Breakfast is served
8:30am – Class Begins
2:45pm – Dismissal Begins
+ Public School Enrollment Policy
Board of Trustees Policy
Public School Enrollment Policy
In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s direction, Gettysburg Montessori Board of Trustees recognizes as follows:
Every child of school age who is a resident of a Pennsylvania school district is entitled to a public school education. This entitlement and the requirements to secure enrollment discussed throughout this policy applies equally to resident students residing with their parent(s); to non-resident students living with a district resident who is supporting the child gratis and seeking enrollment under 24 P.S. §13-1302; to nonresident students living in a facility or institution; and to nonresident students living in a foster home. Provided that the required enrollment documentation described herein is provided, the school must enroll non-resident children and permit them to attend school. A child should be permitted to attend school on the next school day after the day on which the child is presented for enrollment, and in all cases within five (5) business days of the school district’s receipt of the required documentation. 22 Pa. Code §11.11(b).
Except when a child is homeless, whenever a child of school age is presented for enrollment by a parent(s), school district resident, or any other person having charge or care of the child, the school shall require that the following information be documented before enrolling the child and allowing the child to attend school:
1. Proof of the child’s age
Any one of the following constitutes acceptable documentation: birth certificate; notarized copy of birth certificate; baptismal certificate; copy of the record of baptism – notarized or duly certified and showing the date of birth; notarized statement from the parents or another relative indicating the date of birth; a valid passport; a prior school record indicating the date of birth.
2. Immunizations required by law
Acceptable documentation includes: either the child’s immunization record, a written statement from the former school district or from a medical office that the required immunizations have been administered, or that a required series is in progress, or verbal assurances from the former school district or a medical office that the required immunizations have been completed, with records to follow.
3. Proof of residency
Acceptable documentation includes: a deed, a lease, current utility bill, current credit card bill, property tax bill, vehicle registration, driver’s license, DOT identification card.
4. Home Language Survey
All students seeking first time enrollment in school shall be given a home language survey in accordance with requirements of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
The school may not inquire regarding the immigration status of a student as part of theadmissions process.
When a dispute arises regarding enrollment of a student, the person attempting to enroll may bring the dispute to the attention of the Department’s School Services Unit. A complaint may be filed by mail, email or by phone with written follow up. After receipt of a complaint, a Department representative will contact the school district, family or other involved parties to determine the facts, whether the child is entitled to enrollment in the district and to try to resolve the problem. These contacts, whenever possible, will occur within five (5) days of receipt of the complaint. If the complaint is not amicably resolved, a written determination will be made and sent to the school and the individual who filed the complaint.
If the school does not enroll the student within five (5) school days after receiving the written determination, the Department will issue a letter to the school requesting its position on the situation. The school will have five (5) school days to respond to the request. If the school refuses to enroll the student or does not respond, the matter will be forwarded to the Department’s Office of Chief Counsel (OCC). The OCC and the Deputy Secretary for Elementary/Secondary Education will determine if the school district’s response is valid to deny enrollment.
*See frequently asked questions about enrollment.
TO THE EXTENT THAT ANYTHING IN THIS POLICY COULD BE CONSTRUED TO CONFLICT WITH APPLICABLE STATE AND/OR FEDERAL LAWS, THE APPLICABLE STATE AND/OR FEDERAL LAWS CONTROL
FAQ’s About Enrollment
The following Questions and Answers are provided to assist parents, school districts and charter schools in the student enrollment process. This information is based on applicable school law and regulation and reflects procedures outlined in the recently revised Basic Education Circular (BEC) on Student Enrollment.
School law and regulation provide basic protections to ensure that students receive the education to which they are entitled, and that school districts and charter schools enroll those students who meet residency requirements and applicable requirements which apply to non-resident students. These Q and As provide basic answers to frequently asked questions in simple terms.
1. Q. Who can enroll a child in school?
A. A child may be enrolled by a parent, foster parent, caseworker, caregiver with whom the child resides, or any other person with “charge or control” of the child.
2. Q. What can a school district ask the person enrolling a child to prove in order to enroll a resident student?
A “resident student” is a student who lives with his or her parent(s) in the school district.
A. To enroll a student, the school district must request proof of the child’s age; proof that the child is immunized; and proof that the child is a resident. No other information can be required, as a condition of enrollment, (other than the information in #3 below) before a resident child is enrolled in school. The school district may ask for other information for administrative purposes or to assist with the education of the child, but the school district cannot delay or deny the student’s enrollment until that information is provided.
3. Q. Are there any other enrollment requirements for a resident student?
A. Yes. Prior to enrollment, the person enrolling the child must provide a sworn statement about serious discipline problems at prior schools. The school district must also administer the Home Language Survey at the time of enrollment. A school district may not delay or deny a child’s school enrollment due to a child‘s disciplinary record, but may provide alternative education for the length of the expulsion for a child who is currently expelled for a weapons offense. The Home Language Survey is a brief and important survey required by law. Access the required survey at: Home Language Survey.
4. Q. What kind of proof of age, residency and immunization status may a family be asked to provide?
A. School districts should be flexible in the documents required and should consider what information is reasonable in light of the family’s situation. For example, a school district can never demand only one kind of document, for example a birth certificate, to prove age.
Documents that can prove these factors include:
Proof of Age: Examples are a child’s birth certificate or passport, baptismal certificate, a legal statement by a parent or prior school records.
Proof of Immunization Status: Typically, a physician’s statement/record of immunizations is provided. A prior school district or physician can confirm by telephone that the child is immunized with records to follow. A district may not require a physical or dental examination or a health or mental health history as a condition of enrollment.
Proof of Residency: Acceptable documents to establish residency include a deed, a lease, utility bills, vehicle registration, driver’s license or Dept. of Transportation identification card. A district may require that more than one form of residency confirmation be provided. The district should be flexible and reasonable as to what is required.
5. Q. Must a school district enroll a child within a certain time period?
A. Yes. A school district must normally enroll a child the next business day, but no later than five business days after application. The school district has no obligation to enroll a child until the parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of the student making the application has supplied proof of the child’s age, residence, immunizations, the discipline statement, and completed the Home Language Survey as required by law. Enrollment cannot be delayed for any other reason, including a failure to provide prior school records or special education documents, or a school’s difficulty in determining a child’s placement.
6. Q. Are there any documents a school district may never require as a condition of enrollment?
A. Yes. As a condition of enrollment, the school district may never ask the family for the child or parent’s immigration documents, social security card or number; records from a child welfare agency (other than to establish residency); or information relating to why a child is residing in the district or living with a particular person.
7. Q. May a school district inquire into the immigration status of a child?
A. No. School districts may never ask the family for the child’s or parent’s immigration documents (during enrollment or at any other time). There may be an administrative rationale for requesting other documents. For example, the social security number may be requested when it is needed to access a federal benefit; however the Social Security number may never be requested or required as a condition for enrollment.
8. Q. Must a school district provide extra help when the person enrolling the child has limited English skills?
A. The school district must provide translation and interpretation services to the extent needed to help the family understand the enrollment process and enroll the student in school promptly.
9. Q. Are there different enrollment rules for students in foster care or a child living in a residential setting located in the school district?
A. No. A child who is in foster care or who is living in a children’s institution, like a halfway house or a group home, is entitled to enroll in the school district. The school district may not require these children to meet additional or different enrollment standards. The basic requirements of proof of age, immunization, residence, discipline statement and the Home Language Survey apply. A child in foster care or a child who lives in a children’s institution or group home which is not located in the school district where the parent lives is considered a “non-resident student” as this term is used in the PA Public School Code.
10. Q. What are the enrollment requirements for a child who is living with a district resident when the child’s parents do not live in the school district?
A. For a “non-resident” child living with a resident, one of the following must occur: 1) the resident must show that he or she has custody, or 2) the resident must be given the opportunity to file a sworn statement (and sometimes provide additional proof) of the following: a) the resident of the school district is supporting the child without “compensation or gain”; and b) the child is living there for the entire year and not only the school term; and c) that the resident will take responsibility for the child’s schooling. (Basic requirements of proof of age, immunization, residence, discipline statement and Home Language Survey apply.) This is based on Section 1302 of the School Code. The individual situation of the resident determines whether they will show that they have custody of the child or file a sworn statement as to the 3 items listed above; this is not a matter of choice for the school district. A resident’s receipt of payments, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), pre-adoptive or adoptive support, maintenance on public or private health insurance, support from the military or military personnel or payments for or on account of the child such as child support is not considered to be personal “compensation or gain”.
11. Q. May the school district require the person enrolling the child to prove that she has custody of the child?
A. Generally, “no”. Here are some exceptions:
When a resident (who is not the child’s parent) is trying to enroll a child and show that the resident is the legal guardian, the resident would provide information on custody.
The other exception is when parents are separated or divorced and the parent is relying on a court order or custody agreement as the basis for enrolling the child.
12. Q. May a youth ever enroll himself in school?
A. A youth may enroll himself if he is an “emancipated minor”, which includes a youth who is married or is living without the support of a parent or guardian.
13. Q. Are there other circumstances when a student may enroll herself in school?
A. Children who are homeless have the right to immediately enroll in a new school without providing enrollment documents. A child who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, and who qualifies as an “unaccompanied homeless youth” under the McKinney Vento Act may enroll herself without the documents usually required for enrollment. This includes youth who have run away from home, been thrown out of their home, been abandoned or separated from their parents or guardians for any other reason. The “unaccompanied homeless youth” has the right to immediately enroll in a school or school district even if she does not have the documents typically required for enrollment. She has the right to stay in the same school even if she now lives in another school district or attendance area and may enroll without the help of an adult.
14. Q. If a student is under age 21 and has a Graduation Equivalency Diploma (GED), may (s)he enroll in school and work towards their high school diploma?
15. Q. If a student is re-enrolling in a district following a delinquency placement, may the school district place the child in an alternative education program for disruptive youth?
A. The district may not automatically place a child in an alternative education program for disruptive youth simply because the child had been in an adjudicated delinquent placement.
Like any other student being transferred to an alternative education program, students returning from a delinquency placement are entitled to an informal hearing prior to being placed in an alternative education program. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the student is currently fit to return to the regular classroom, or meets the definition of a disruptive student. Factors a school should consider include: 1) whether the incident causing the adjudication occurred at school or at a school-sponsored event, 2) the youth’s behavior in placement, and 3) the recommendations of teachers and other adults, such as juvenile probation officers who have worked with the youth.
16. Q. May a child who is placed in the foster care system remain in the same school or school district even if her foster parent placement changes and she moves to a new school attendance area or new school district?
A. School districts are encouraged to develop policies or agreements to enable a student who is in foster care to remain in the educational program in the same school or school district even if that child moves to another school district or to another attendance area within the same district.
17. Q. What about children who are awaiting placement in foster care?
A. Children who are awaiting foster care placement are considered homeless students. That includes students who are placed in emergency, interim or respite foster care, kinship care, evaluation or diagnostic centers, or placements for the sole purpose of evaluation.
When necessary, local school officials should consult with their county children and youth services agencies to determine if a child meets the definition of “awaiting foster care placement”. This includes consideration on a case-by-case basis, whether a child who does not clearly fall into one of these categories is nevertheless a child “awaiting foster care placement”.
18. Q. What happens when a dispute arises regarding the enrollment of a student?
A. A family may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Dept of Education’s School Services Unit. After receiving the complaint, a Dept. staff member will contact the school district and the involved parties, whenever possible within five days, to determine whether the child is entitled to enroll in the school district. If the school district does not comply with an order by the Department to enroll the student, the Department requests its legal office for assistance in obtaining compliance. Based on the individual situation, the Deputy Secretary may order the school district to enroll the child.
+ Student / Parent Handbook
Click here to download Parent Handbook 2022-2023
What is a charter school?
The term ‘charter’ refers to a tuition free public school operated independently of the local school board, often with a curriculum and educational philosophy different from the other schools in the district. Charter schools are held to the same accountability standards of the state testing system as all public schools. Any child living in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may attend our charter school.
What does ‘Montessori’ Mean?
Montessori is simply a way of teaching that was originated by Maria Montessori in the early 1900’s. The Montessori method is hands-on, self-paced, and child centered. It has been proven so successful that countries all over the world use this method. It is not related to any religious group, but encourages the child to develop peaceful ways of living.
Who can enroll in the school?
Children in grades K-6 who are Pennsylvania residents.
Who has attended a Montessori School?
Here is a sampling of famous people who have attended a Montessori School:
- Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, former editor, former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Founders of Google, who contribute their success to Montessori School
- Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family
- George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor
- Anne Frank, famous diarist from World War II
- Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
- Will Wright, designer of The Sims
- Katherine Graham, former owner-editor of the Washington Post
- Julia Child, famous chef, star of many TV cooking shows and author of numerous cookbooks
- Helen Hunt, Academy Award-winning actress
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature
- Joshua Bell, Violinist, owner of Stradivarius violin
- Lea Salonga, multi-awarded singer and actress
- Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author
- Kami Cotler, actress (The Waltons)
- Melissa and Sarah Gilbert, actors
- Peter Drucker, Management Guru
- Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
- Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Austrian painter and Architect
Charter School Questions:
Gettysburg Montessori Charter School’s accountability includes monthly public Board of Trustees meetings. Board and committee meeting dates and times are posted in the newspaper, on the front door on the school, and on our website. Previous meeting minutes are also posted on the school website.
Selecting a school for your child can be a deeply personal choice and may be rooted in your family’s beliefs and values. Whether a school is private, public, or charter, what’s most important is that the school is a good fit for your child and your family. The reasons that parents choose charter schools for their children are just as unique as the students themselves. They choose charter schools because of the strong, dedicated teachers, because the school’s focus matches their child’s needs, or simply because their child was struggling in their assigned public school and needed to try something new. Charter schools provide families with options in public education, allowing parents to take a more active role in their child’s education. There are currently 3.2 million charter school students attending one of the 7000 charter schools nationwide.
Some of the most influential individuals support the Charter movement both within their home states and nationally, including current President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, the heirs of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, Don and Doris Fischer, the founders of The Gap, Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli and Edythe Broad, Netflix founder Reed Hastings, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Questions and Answers
Q: What is a charter school?
A: Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning that families choose them for their children. They are independently run public schools granted greater flexibility in their operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. Charter schools are accountable for academic results and for upholding the promises made in their charters. They must demonstrate performance in the areas of academic achievement, financial management, and organizational stability. Charter schools provide a high-quality education option to public school students, upholding high standards that meet and often exceed the district and state benchmarks.
Q: What is a “charter”?
A: Each school is set up under a “charter,” which is a contract that outlines the school’s mission, the educational program they will use, their goals, types of students to be served, assessment method, and how they expect to determine their rate of success. Charter schools have increased accountability over traditional public schools as the Charter is set up for a specified amount of time; at which point the school is reviewed by the entity that set it up to determine if their results warrant approval for renewal.
Q: What are the differences between charter and public schools?
A: Charter schools were founded to offer families more high-quality education options, to promote accountability and innovation, and to advance academic achievement. Each child has unique talents and learns in different ways. Charter schools enhance educational options for families and empower teachers to explore innovative programs, alternative curriculum, and creative approaches to education to ensure that they meet their students’ individual needs. Charter schools provide educators the flexibility to equip students with knowledge and skills that give them the opportunity to achieve their academic goals and pursue successful careers.
Q: Are charter schools required to accept all students?
A: Yes, as traditional public schools, charter schools are open to all children, do not have admission requirements, do not require entrance exams, cannot charge tuition, and must participate in state testing and federal accountability programs. Traditional school districts only have to take the children of families who can afford to live in their district while GMCS is open to any family currently residing in the state of Pennsylvania.
Q: Charter schools vs. public schools funding?
A: On average, charters receive 30 percent less per student, per year compared to traditional public schools. That gap is due in large part to the fact that charters do not have access to the same funding streams (like school construction bonds) that traditional school systems have to build schools. Like traditional public schools they are funded primarily through a combination of federal, state, and local tax dollars.
Q: How are charter schools funded?
A: Charter schools receive funding based on the number of students that enroll. They only receive funding if parents choose to send their children to the school. The level of funding is determined by the state charter law and the state finance system for public schools. As public schools, charter schools have access to most grant programs available to traditional public schools. Charter schools like school districts and private schools can also raise additional funds through private donations.
Q: Are charter schools free?
A: Yes, like traditional public schools, charter schools are part of the free public school system, and they can’t discriminate against students because of their race, gender, or disability.
Q: How much funding does the student’s residential school district provide charter schools?
A: The amount of money a school district receives for a single student will follow that student to their charter school. The school district is not taking money from traditional public school students to fund charter schools. Charters receive state and local money based on the number of students they enroll, as well as money from the federal government to provide special education services, just like traditional district schools. The federal government also gives grants to expand charter schools such as the Credit Enhancement For Charter School Facilities Program and the Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program–National Dissemination Grants.
Q: Does all the money get spent on the students?
A: As with traditional public schools, the funds are primarily spent on students along with building costs and upkeep to provide a safe, comfortable environment for learning. In addition, charters can choose to spend their money on new books or innovative programs instead of sport facilities and their associated costs.
Q: Is transportation provided to Gettysburg Montessori Charter School?
A: Yes, the student’s residential school district will provide transportation for the student, provided their home district’s boundaries are within 10 miles of GMCS. GMCS may also contract with local school bus companies to accommodate students living beyond the set number of miles; these accommodations are made by GMCS and are subject to change. Please contact GMCS with any questions about home district bus eligibility and other transportation availability.
Q: Can charter school students participate on local athletic teams?
A: Yes, any charter school student can fully participate on any residential school district athletic team.
Q: Do charter schools provide the same level of activities as public schools?
A: Charter schools were created in order to be granted more freedom in their teaching methodology and curriculum in return for a higher accountability for their student’s achievements. By empowering the educators with additional freedoms to adjust or adapt their curriculum and teaching methodologies in their educational approach for the benefit of their students they can achieve a much higher rate of student success. Gettysburg Montessori Charter School offers many activities as traditional public schools such as art club, physical education, yearbook club, music club, book club, Artists in Residence Program, music activities, and choral performances in every grade.
Have A Question?
We tried to think of everything, but if you have a question please let us know! We aim to respond to all inquiries quickly, with our office being open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.