FAQ

GENERAL
 

What are charter schools?
Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that are open to any student who wishes to attend. Charter schools allow parents, organizations, or community groups to restore, reinvent, and re-energize our public school system. Charter schools are designed, tailored, and governed by each local community, rather than by a central bureaucracy.

Are Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) public schools?
Yes. Environmental Charter Schools (ECS), like other charter schools, are tuition-free public schools. ECS schools were authorized by either the Lawndale Elementary School District or the Los Angeles County Office of Education to operate public charter schools. ECS is governed by a Board of Directors. ECS’ Board of Directors have a wide variety of skills including but not limited to business management, marketing, law, finance, development, facilities and education.

If Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) are independent from the district, how are they held accountable?
Environmental Charter Schools (ECS), like other charter schools, are actually more accountable to parents and students than conventional public schools. Specifically, ECS schools are under review every four to five years by its authorizers to ensure we have good academic results, and that we are operating in a fiscally and operationally responsible manner.

Are Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) right for my student?
Every public school is different. To make the best decision for your student, learn about each school option available and select the school that best meets your individual student’s learning needs.
 
At Environmental Charter Schools, our mission is to:
Equip all students with the knowledge and skills to graduate from college, to inspire them to discover their own sense of purpose, and to empower them to become quality stewards of their community and world.
 
Visit our web page at www.ECSonline.org to learn more about our schools, approach, best practices, focus on the environment and results. Last, we highly recommend that you come take a tour of our school campuses to find out if our unique, innovative and rigorous schools are right for your student.

How many schools are in the Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) network?
There are currently 3 schools in the Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) network:
 

Why aren’t Environmental Charter Schools’ (ECS) campuses located in traditional school buildings?
Under state law, public school districts are required to provide adequate and equivalent facilities to public charter schools, but districts vary in their ability to meet the obligations of the public charter school law. Like Environmental Charter Schools (ECS), many charter schools must secure their own facilities, using a combination of state financing and/or donations. In some cases, the charter school may build a full school campus from the ground up; in other areas, they may rent available space in churches, community centers, school district facilities and commercial buildings.

Do Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) participate in state tests?
Environmental Charter Schools (ECS), like all public schools, must participate in the California state testing system. In addition to state mandated tests, ECS has adopted both a norm referenced test to insure its ability to track student progress in comparison to schools nationally and more importantly to inform instruction throughout the school year and local (school site specific) performance based assessments to track student performance on both state learning objectives and school specific learning objectives.

Are Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) teachers credentialed?
Like all public schools, Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) teachers must be credentialed by the State of California Teacher Credentialing Commission and must be highly qualified as defined by the National No Child Left Behind Law.

Do Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) serve students with special needs?
Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) believe every student deserves to be in an environment where they have the best chances of success and charter schools are committed to serving all students. We understand our responsibility to serve all students, and are committed to serving students with exceptional needs.
 
ECS schools provide quality and compliant special education services that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each child. ECS representatives (the IEP team) work closely with our students and their parents to determine the best course of action for each individual student.

What does the environment have to do with Environmental Charter Schools (ECS)?
The environment is an integral part of what we do. Our inspiring and interactive living campuses bring learning to life while also serving as a model of sustainable living and ecological design for the entire community.

How can I get involved/volunteer with Environmental Charter Schools (ECS)?
To volunteer with us, please fill out a volunteer application.

What types of educational programs does Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) offer?
Classes at Environmental Charter High School are demanding and place an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. We offer an A-G college college preparatory sequence of classes. As well, we offer advanced placement classes, our Green Ambassadors Program, STEM programs, SAT test prep, after-school enrichment electives (like Solar Boat, Bike Shop, Dance, Drama, Art, Public Speaking and more), remedial programming (like tutoring, math and literacy labs and online line independent study high school classes). We also have an Athletics Programs that includes boys and girls soccer and basketball, cross country, softball and baseball. Last, we have an extensive college counseling program to support students social emotional well being and their academic program choices. Our goal is to ensure students’ success at high school, through the college admission process to graduation and beyond.
 
It is a requirement that all of our students graduate with the coursework necessary to be accepted into a four-year college. Our rigorous academics engage students in interdisciplinary and project-based learning that not only prepares them for college, but also for leadership.
 
More information can be found here. We also highly recommend that you attend one of our student-led campus tours.

What types of educational programs does Environmental Charter Middle School (ECMS) offer?
Environmental Charter Middle Schools’s (ECMS) rigorous academic program prepares students for a college-prep high school, places an emphasis on social responsibility, and incorporates field trips and interdisciplinary projects. We connect academics to real-world tasks and integrate social-emotional learning and the arts.
 
The ECMS approach creates strong relationships between students, teachers, and families. Two core teachers—one for Math & Science and another for English & History—follow students from 6th to 7th grade, affording an opportunity for teachers to deeply understand students’ strengths and challenges as they move through the transition between elementary and high school. In 8th grade, students transition to four single-subject teachers, preparing them for success in a traditional high school.
 
For more information on what this looks like, please attend one of our informational meetings, come take a tour of our campus or learn more here.

 
ENROLLMENT
 

How can my student apply to Environmental Charter Schools (ECS)? Are there admission requirements?
Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) are open to ALL students. ECS is committed to serving a student body that reflects our local communities. Research shows that charter school students are just as diverse (racially and economically) as traditional public school students. By law, we cannot have selective admissions. If more students apply to attend than there are seats available, we hold a lottery to determine who is admitted.
 
Our application forms are available here. Before applying, we highly recommend that you attend an informational meeting (dates available on our website) to ensure that we are a good fit for your student.
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What is the enrollment lottery?
If Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) receives more student applications than spots available at our school(s), we are required by law to hold a blind lottery to determine which students will have the opportunity to attend. After the lottery each year, we maintain a waiting list at each school and will admit more students as spots become available.
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Do Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) have an attendance boundary?
As schools of choice, Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) are open to any student who wants to apply, regardless of where he or she lives, space permitting.
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Is there an application fee or tuition?
Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) does not charge an application fee or tuition.
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Can a student apply for admission to more than one middle school?
Yes. To apply to both middle schools, simply turn in two applications, selecting ECMS-Gardena on one application and ECMS-Inglewood on the other application.
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If a student is accepted into an Environmental Charter Middle School (ECMS), do they automatically get into Environmental Charter High School (ECHS)?
Unfortunately, there is no preference for ECMS students in enrolling at ECHS. ECMS students must apply and participate in the lottery like all other applicants.
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When will my student know whether he or she has received admission or been placed on the waiting list?
We inform all students of their application status by mail in April/May. Please call us at the following numbers if you have questions regarding your student’s application status: