General

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

To volunteer with us, please fill out a volunteer application.

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.

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.

At Environmental Charter Schools, our compensation philosophy is rooted in student-centered decision-making, fairness, and sustainability. We strive to attract and retain talented educators and staff members through competitive salaries, recognizing the value of experience and education, providing opportunities for growth and leadership development, and fostering an equitable and supportive work environment. ECS’s employee compensation program is detailed in the Approved Salary Schedules and Benefits document.  Decisions about compensation are not arbitrary, but rather they are driven by the Human Resources and Finance leaders who conduct compensation analyses, taking into account anticipated funding and maintaining equity and consistency across all positions. 

Enrollment

All Environmental Charter Schools are FREE public schools.  They are not private schools.

All California students are eligible to attend charter schools pursuant to state and federal law. There are no admission requirements. To indicate your interest,  submit a lottery application form available here.

If Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) receives more lottery applications during the application period 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 enroll more students as spots become available.

ECMS-Inglewood: February 28, 2024

ECMS-Gardena: February 28, 2024

ECHS-Gardena: March 15, 2024

ECHS-Lawndale: March 15, 2024

To be eligible to participate in the enrollment lottery, you must complete the lottery application by the deadline. Join us for an informational meeting to learn about our schools.

The lottery dates are as follows:

ECMS-Inglewood: March 5, 2024

ECMS-Gardena: March 5, 2024

ECHS-Lawndale: March 18, 2024

ECHS-Gardena: March 18, 2024

No, Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) does not have an attendance boundary. We are open to all students residing in the State of California, in accordance with California Education Code Section 47605(d)(2)(A).

Please note that while ECS does not have an attendance boundary, enrollment may be subject to capacity limitations. In cases where we receive more applications than available spots, a public random lottery will be held, as stipulated by California Education Code Section 47605(d).

Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) does not charge an application fee or tuition.

Yes. To apply to both middle schools or high schools, simply turn in two applications.

Some students receive a preference/priority in admissions. Based on our charters and state and federal laws, applications for the lottery are collected , sorted by preference order and placed in the appropriate lottery.

Middle School: Lottery preferences at both our middle schools are for siblings who are currently attending the middle school and for ECS employees.  

ECHS-Lawndale: Lottery preferences for ECHS Lawndale are as follows: 

  • Pupils who reside in LESD attendance area not to exceed 50%  
  • Siblings of students admitted to or attending ECHS not to exceed 20% 
  • Children of current employees of ECS not to exceed 10% 
  • Students matriculating from ECMS-Gardena and ECMS-Inglewood
  • All other students  

ECHS-Gardena Preferences: Enrollment preferences for ECHS Gardena are applied in the following order:

  • Residents of the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Siblings of students admitted to or attending ECHS not to exceed 20% 
  • Children of current employees of ECS not to exceed 10% 
  • Students matriculating from ECMS-Gardena and ECMS-Inglewood
  • All other students

Preferences are applied in the order listed.

No, your student’s enrollment at one of ECS’ middle schools does not guarantee their spot at either ECHS high school.  Your student will have to apply for the high school lottery. Your student will have a preference in the ECHS lottery as described under preferences above. The preference, we hope, will make it a little easier for your student to gain admission.  

All families who submitted an application to the lottery will be notified of the lottery results by email/text (or by postal mail if no email/phone number is on file)  within one week of the lottery. The notification will indicate whether your student was admitted or waitlisted, and, if waitlisted, the number the child is on the waiting list.

Please call us at the following numbers if you have questions regarding your student’s application status:

Environmental Charter High School-Lawndale (ECHS-L) — 310-214-3400

Environmental Charter High School-Gardena (ECHS-G) — apply@ecsonline.org

Environmental Charter Middle School-Gardena — 310-425-1605

Environmental Charter Middle School-Inglewood — 310-793-0157

When students are offered enrollment to an ECS School, the offer will include the steps the family must take and a timeline to complete the online registration packet.  If there is no response to the notification within 5 business days, ECS will follow up with a phone call. If the offer is not accepted, or there is no response by the date indicated on the offer notification, the student(s) will forfeit enrollment for that school year and your spot will be given to another student. 

Applicants not admitted through the lotteries have their names placed on a waiting list in the order drawn during the lotteries and according to their priorities. ECS notifies wait-listed applicants immediately as space becomes available. Families do not need to be present on lottery night.

Siblings of currently attending students receive an enrollment preference only for the ECS school that the sibling attends. Your student will not receive a preference for a different ECS school.

Current high school students applying for 10th through 12th grades are “transfer” students who desire to transfer to our schools. The application process is the same as that for other students. Please submit an application to the lottery for the appropriate grade.  Also, please note that since ECHS grading policies and graduation requirements may not be the same as your student’s current high school, we encourage you to contact Miguel Gamez at Miguel_Gamez@ecsonline.org to review your student’s transcript and ensure your student is applying to the correct grade.

Current middle school students applying for 7th or 8th grade are “transfer” students who desire to transfer to our schools. The application process is the same as that for other students. Please submit an application to the lottery for the appropriate grade.  

Students with IEPs and students with disabilities are enrolled using the same lottery process.  Moreover, ECS will never ask for any identifying information about your students until you have been accepted and have begun the enrollment process.  

Yes. All students must be immunized. On June 30, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law, SB 277, California’s new immunization law requiring that school children be vaccinated and eliminating the personal beliefs exemption.

Instruction will begin in mid-August 2024. Please check back in the spring for the exact date.

No. All California students are eligible to attend charter schools. They do not need permits or releases to attend a charter school. However, there may be some paperwork required by your district to complete the enrollment process and obtain student records.

When there are spaces available, students may periodically be enrolled during the fall semester and through the beginning of the second semester in late January. In order to be considered for mid-year enrollment, you must have a Lottery Application on file with us.

If we are filling a space and your name is next on the list, we will call you at the phone number and/or email you with the contact information you provided on your application. Please provide working contact information and contact us if it changes. You will have 3-5 working days to respond before we move on to the next name on the list.

No. For each new school year, you must reapply. There is no priority list for former waiting list families.

Once accepted, your student will have a space at the school they are attending for the duration of their time at that school. Families will be asked to complete a re-enrollment form in the spring of each year in order to confirm their wish to have their student continue at their current school.