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Much like the autonomy that private schools have, charter schools are able to set a curriculum in their charter that provides a certain amount of freedom. Even though they are a public school entity, this flexibility is far from the structure of traditional public schools. One type of charter school that can have a different focus is an academy charter school.
The Academy Style
Sometimes a charter school will adopt “academy” in their name because to the perceived value of an education that students historically received in an academy. Often modeled on a college preparatory private school, many academy charter schools emphasize a college-prep curriculum.
An Alternative School Model
Another type of academy charter school closely resembles an alternative school model. When it was identified that some students aren’t able to learn in a standard public school setting, they were often enrolled in private alternative schools. These schools were staffed by educators and staff who have experience working with children with behavioral or learning issues.
Designing a Curriculum
If the founders of an academy charter school want to focus their curriculum on a specific student population, they have that ability. They must still meet publicly-funded schools requirements for core classes, but can include their special needs. This focus can be particularly attractive to concerned parents who feel their children will get more attention in this setting.