By: James Vaznis, Boston Globe, October 31, 2016
Charter schools in Boston are planning to launch an online common application, making it easier for families to apply. This common application will replace the various individual applications that the schools previously used, and will greatly decrease the time that families spend on the application process. The common application will also automatically provide certain information to parents, such as what grade levels a particular school is serving, to prevent confusion over where there are seats across the charter sector and to eliminate some of the research process that parents have to go through. Paper versions of this application will be made available to those without internet access.
Despite setbacks concerning legislation that would allow charter schools to adopt the Boston school system’s student assignment policy, charter schools have decided to go ahead with adopting the common application. Application numbers for charter schools have climbed in cities that have started to use the common application; there has been a 21% increase in New York City charter school applications from 2015 to 2016.
After going through the difficult process of applying to charter schools using paper applications in Oakland, CA, CEO Jinal Jhaveri co-founded SchoolMint, the online application platform now being used by many cities and school districts. The SchoolMint platform includes other features that allow school administrators to see what sections of a city most applications are coming from and where they might need to strengthen their recruiting efforts.