About Charter Schools

Charter schools began in Philadelphia in 1997 with the enactment of Act 22, Pennsylvania Charter School Law. Charter schools now educate over 60,000 students in Philadelphia with another 50,000 families on waiting lists hoping to earn a coveted seat for their child in a high-quality charter school. Charter schools were not meant to be compared with the traditional neighborhood school. Instead, our legislative leaders enacted Charter School Law with an expressed purpose: to foster innovation in our public school system and for charter schools to be given autonomy to operate independently from the school district structure.

Brief Memo, October 24, 2016

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Charter School Law

SECTION 1701-A. This article shall be known and may be cited as the Charter School Law

SECTION 1702-Aa. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the intent of the General Assembly, in enacting this article, to provide pupils and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure, as a method to accomplish all of the following:


2015 – School District of Philadelphia ranks GWCS 7th
highest K-8 school out of 140 K-8 public schools in Philly

2015 – GWCS earns a grade of “A” from
placing GWCS as a top school globally

2015 – Great Philly Schools designates Green
Woods as a top school with a score of 10 out of 10!

2014 Awarded a Model EIC School
National Designation

2013 School Performance
Awarded a School Performance Profile score of
89.5 from the Pennsylvania Department of
Education, placing Green Woods at the very top
tier of K-8 charter schools in Pennsylvania.

2012 Ranked #1 - Highest School Performance
Rating by the School District of Philadelphia

2011 Named "Top City School"
by Philadelphia Magazine

2009 Social Studies Program
of the Year Award

2008 Finalist
Philadelphia Sustainability Award

2007 Governor's Award
for Environmental Excellence

2006 PDE Exemplary School
for Environmental Education Award

Achieved AYP 10 Consecutive Years!
    (1) Improve pupil learning

    (2) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils

    (3) Encourage the use of different/innovative teaching methods

    (4) Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site

    (5) Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system.

    (6) Hold the schools established under this act accountable for meeting measurable academic standards and provide the school with a method to establish accountability systems.

Astonishing Results

Forty states and the District of Columbia now have charter school laws with over 5,000 charter schools serving 2.3 million students. High-quality charter schools, like Green Woods, are producing astonishing results with the most successful schools serving as models for new charter schools.

Educators from Harvard to Bermuda, from New York to Pittsburgh, PA have looked to Green Woods as a model for replication. Green Woods is proud to be among the many high quality charters realizing the intent of our legislative leaders.

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