Quick Links


FAQs Guide

  • Access to Various Systems
  • Climate & Culture
  • Data Reporting
  • Enrolling Students
  • Health & Safety
  • Inclement Weather
  • Other
  • Requesting Student Transcripts, End-Dating, and More
  • Transportation

Access to Various Systems

Schools, individual and network alike, are provided with an updated school-specific User Verification Form prior to the start of each new school.

For SY 2020-21, User Verification instructions and Forms were uploaded to Epicenter for submission completion. This phase of completion consisted of network administrators being assigned by the school, or network, and verifying user access to SDP systems.

Following the assigned June 12th deadline date in Epicenter, all User Verification changes/requests should be sent to charters@philasd.org with the subject headline ‘User Verification Updates’. Ensure to include in the email the linked User Verification Form. The CSO cross-checks this information with the school-specific User Verification Form to ensure requests match.

Following a received request and review of the school’s linked User Verification Form, the CSO forwards user requests, as necessary, to Information Technology (IT) for processing. IT subsequently contacts each user with login information and next steps for creating systems accounts, typically within 24-48 hours.

Please note, if a user encounters any technical issues with their login or systems, please contact IT at helpdesk@philasd.org. Ensure to also review the Charter School Manual for more information.

Charter school staff in need of Epicenter access should contact the Charter Schools Office (CSO) at charters@philasd.org and provide contact information for the CSO to enter.

Staff can also fill out our Charter School Personnel Updates Form to indicate that Epicenter access is needed for new staff.

Climate & Culture

For weapons-related offenses that result in an expulsion, charter schools should provide the following items to the Charter Schools Office (CSO):

  • Notification of Scheduled Expulsion Hearing to Parent
  • Suspension/Informal Hearing Notice
  • Prior Interventions/Guidance
  • Report Card/Grades
  • Student History/Profile
  • Enrollment/Attendance
  • Behavior/Discipline Records
  • Current 504 or Special Education Records/Individualized Education Plan (IEP) not set to expire within 30 days (if applicable)

Please note, the Director of the Office of Student Enrollment & Placement (OSEP) oversees the process of placing students following an expulsion of this magnitude and should be contacted directly, should a charter school have any questions or concerns.

The SDP does not have an attendance improvement program for students to attend. Instead, the Basic Education Circular (BEC) encourages schools to implement a School Attendance Improvement Conference (SAIC) within their attendance policy to support students who may be habitually truant.

Additionally, students who are enrolled in charter school but, who are at any time during the school term absent for 10 consecutive school days, shall be removed from the charter school’s membership roll unless the charter school has been provided with evidence that the absence may be legally excused or compulsory attendance prosecution has been or is being initiated.

For more information, please review Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) BEC policies pertaining to school attendance.

When considering an educational placement, the IEP team must decide what is the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) where the student can make progress towards the IEP goals. In making any placement decision, the team should consider the most inclusive setting first and progress to consider more restrictive environments as needed. It is important to remember that an educational placement can change over time.

Sometimes the appropriate educational placement for a student does not exist within the child’s home community. The child’s home district may not have the appropriate classroom or staff to meet the child’s needs. In this case, the IEP team may decide that a public school in a neighboring town or county is most appropriate. An out of district placement allows the child to attend a public school where children without disabilities attend, but which has the supports and staff the child needs.

Some specialized schools are known as “Approved Private Schools” or “APS.” An APS is a private school that is licensed by the state and which has been given special status by the state to educate children, who, by the nature of their disabilities, cannot be appropriately served in public school special education programs. An APS specializes in providing special education supports and services for students with severe disabilities in a highly structured and restrictive environment.  School IEP teams determine eligibility of a referral for a student to possibly attend an out of district school.

Data Reporting

Charter schools do not have to participate in the parent survey. All surveys are voluntary and confidential. That said, charters that participate in completing surveys will receive one (1) point towards their School Progress Report (SPR) rating.

To learn more information about District-Wide Surveys, visit the School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) website here, which includes answers to frequently asked questions, information about response rates, and multiple ways to view past results.

For further questions, please email schoolsurveys@philasd.org for more information.

All surveys are voluntary and confidential. If you would like more information about the District-Wide Surveys, the School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) website, linked here, includes answers to frequently asked questions, information about response rates, and multiple ways to view past results.

If you have further questions, please email schoolsurveys@philasd.org, or visit their website linked above for more information.

Enrolling Students

There should be no issue accepting a student under such circumstances. PA (Pennsylvania) Code § 11.15. Admission of beginners cites:

The board of school directors shall establish the district’s minimum entry age for beginners, which may not be less than a chronological age of 5 years and 7 months before September 1, nor more than 6 years, no months, before the first day of the school term of the district. The board of school directors shall permit a child of beginners’ age to attend the district’s first grade and may not require the child to attend kindergarten, prefirst grade, transitional class or other grade or class that is not regular first grade without parental consent.

Visit the Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin page here for more information.

Charter School Enrollment forms are a state document but not required by the Charter Schools Office (CSO) for review. It is a template for schools to use as an application for enrollment.

These forms should not be submitted to the CSO, as we do not store nor manage student records. Instead they should be kept in the student’s file.

Schools should follow their Board approved policies regarding attendance. That said, schools may work with individual families as it relates to extenuating circumstances to make accommodations as necessary. Additionally, schools should refer to their attendance policy or the Basic Education Curricular (BEC) for guidance pertaining to cases in which a student misses significant time without proper documentation.

Health & Safety

All Schools in Pennsylvania are required to adopt and publish Health and Safety Plans prior to re-starting in person instruction. The Charter Schools Office (CSO) is compiling links to each plan as well as high level information on school re-opening. Click here to learn more.

Schools are required to take attendance for each school throughout the 2020-21 School Year in alignment with guidance, linked here, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Please consult with your student’s school around their policy.

The Pennsylvania Departments of Education (PDE) and Health (DOH) have issued guidance surrounding how schools should proceed in the event of a suspected case of COVID-19. Click here for more information.

Inclement Weather

Yes. Charter schools will be notified by the Charter Schools Office (CSO) immediately following the District’s decision to delay or close charter schools for inclement weather.

School closings will be announced using KYWB at www.KYWschools.com. Charter schools may also contact 215-400-INFO or visit the District’s web site (www.philasd.org). In the event that schools are closed due to inclement weather, a decision will be made in each instance as to whether administrative offices, including Regional Offices, will be open or closed. Unless it is announced that administrative offices are closed, assume they will be open.

If School District of Philadelphia (SDP) Public Schools are closed, transportation to and from school will not be provided by the District or its vendors.

In the event of an early dismissal for the District, all buses will run on an early dismissal schedule for the safety of the students of Philadelphia. In the event of a 2-hour delay for District public schools, all buses for all schools will run on a 2-hour delay.

Please note, should a charter school decide to close early due to weather while the SDP remains open for a full day, the charter must email their respective vendor and transoperations@philasd.org, using INCLEMENT WEATHER UPDATE in the subject line before 7:00 pm on the day prior. The Transportation Services Department will make every effort to accommodate any scheduling alterations; however, any requests received after the deadline may not be accommodated due to late notice.

Other

The Office of Student Enrollment & Placement (OSEP) manages the School Selection Process. Important timeline dates, resources, and processes can be viewed on the Office’s page here. For questions, please contact the OSEP at 215-400-4290, or visit their page here.

No. ESY programs only apply to students who attend a charter school, District public school, or an Approved Private Schools (APS).

Please note, online programs such as cyber schools are run by the State. Please visit Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) website to learn more.

To better support schools and personnel related operations logistics, we have developed a Form, linked here, for schools to fill out. Completion of this Form will inform the CSO of key staff updates, and in turn help us guide schools with various operations, such as updating our public website, getting School District of Philadelphia (SDP) User Verification access and also started with Epicenter access.

In coordination with Information Systems (IS), the Charter Schools Office (CSO) will request schools to submit calendar information for all grades via a Google form survey prior to the start of each new school year. The survey is typically shared with schools in May, and will also be included in our monthly CSO newsletter as a reminder with all relevant links, leading up to the share-out date.

Pennsylvania (PA) law allows school officials to excuse students from regular class in order to attend religious instruction for up to 36 hours per year if they have permission from their parents. Schools would need to code religious holiday exemptions differently in the system, if such circumstance apply. For more information, click on the District’s Attendance Procedures guidance here.

Requesting Student Transcripts, End-Dating, and More

When end-dating a student, charter schools should first reach out to the student’s previous school and request that the school end-date the student via Infinite Campus (IS). If the school is not responsive, the charter school should then contact the Office of Student Enrollment & Placement (OSEP) at the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) with the following information:

  • Student ID
  • Student name (first, last)
  • Student DOB.

This information should be sent via email to studentenddate-request@philasd.org.

The Office of Records Management receives and has access to all student records from previously closed charter schools, as provided by the school at the time of closure.

To request student records, please attach and email recordsmanagement@philasd.org a formal request for the records. The request document will need to have the school’s letterhead, and will also need to include the students full name, date of birth and the name of the last school that the student attended.

Please note, the Office of Records Management does not have the ability to provide official documentation as they are not the Local Educational Agency (LEA). For more information, visit the Office’s website here.

Transportation

The Pennsylvania School Code requires that all schools, including District schools, charter schools, career technology centers, and intermediate units that use or contract school buses for transportation of schools conduct two emergency school evacuation drills during each school year.

Typically, the process consists of the Department of Transportation Services providing all bus operators with evacuation drill cards. The bus operator is to fill out the evacuation drill cards upon the completion of each fire and emergency evacuation drill. The school administrator at the location where the drill is performed must sign the evacuation drill card, verifying completion of the drill.

For additional information, charter schools should contact the assigned Transportation Analyst. Click here to view the list of analysts, per school.

Transportation calendars should be submitted to the Office of Transportation at routing@philasd.org. Transportation will provide charter schools with a document to enter required data. Charter schools should consult with the assigned Transportation Analyst to capture the timeline and expectations for this process.

If the ‘Transpass’ option is selected as part of a charter school’s eligibility and that school meets the mileage requirement (1.5 miles or more), then nothing more on behalf of the school needs to be done, as the Compass system will automatically assign students following updates made in Infinite Campus (IS).

Charter schools that have the “Bus” option set up for the school’s eligibility will need to submit a TAR (Transportation Action Request) in Compass for the Office of Transportation to review the request and assign a Transpass.

Please note, charter schools should refer to their Transpass lists to review and verify all eligible students. For more information, please contact your assigned Transportation Analyst.

Click here to view the list of analysts, per school, if you are unsure of who to contact.

Have questions for us that aren’t included on this page? Let us know! Send an email to charters@philasd.org with your question and we will do our best to get the answer and feature it on this page.

All other questions regarding this page can be directed to the email linked above.