What is a Charter School

Middle school boys pose in front of a mural

Excellence in Public Education

Charter schools are public schools that are given increased freedom to be innovative in exchange for a higher level of accountability for improved student achievement.

In 1998, seven San Francisco parents formed a nonprofit organization that is referred to as the charter operator: Gateway Public Schools. Gateway entered into a contract with the San Francisco Unified School District for the right to operate Gateway High School. Because of the contract — or “charter” — we are called a charter school.

Charter School Characteristics: 
  • Charter schools are public schools.
  • Charter schools allow teachers to innovate.
  • Charter schools give parents choices.
  • Charter schools introduce accountability.
  • Charter schools are closing the achievement gap.

At Gateway Public Schools, we work in partnership with the traditional public school system, not at odds with it.