What is a charter school and how is it different from other public schools?

A charter school is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. The “charter” establishing each school is a performance contract with the state detailing the school’s mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment. Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning that families choose them for their children. They operate with freedom from some of the regulations that are imposed upon district schools. Charter schools are accountable for academic results and for upholding the promises made in their charters. They must demonstrate performance in the areas of academic achievement, financial management, and organizational stability. Every five years, charter schools undergo a charter renewal process. If a charter school does not meet performance goals, it may be closed. Charters serve all students, including those with special needs and English language learners.

Who can apply?

Prospective charter school students must be residents of Massachusetts to apply for admission and to attend a charter school in Massachusetts. Residents of Boston have preference for admission to charter schools located in Boston.

How to apply?

Families can apply through the Boston Charter Public School Online Application System

What grade levels do you offer?

DLA offers 6th, 7th and 8th grade.

What documents do I need to prove residency? What if my family is homeless?

Proof of residency must be presented to the charter school at the time an offer of admission is made. If a school receives false residency information, the application may be deemed invalid. For more information, please refer to the specific enrollment policies of the schools to which you are applying. The following documents may be used to prove residency: a utility bill (not water or cell phone) dated within the past 60 days; a deed, mortgage payment dated within the past 60 days, or property tax bill dated within the last year; a current Lease, Section 8 Agreement, or landlord affidavit; a W2 form dated within the year or a payroll stub dated within the past 60 days; a bank or credit card statement dated within the past 60 days; or a letter from an Approved Government Agency dated within the past 60 days, which includes the Departments of Revenue (DOR), Children and Family Services (DCF), Transitional Assistance (DTA), Youth Services (DYS), Social Security, and any communications on Commonwealth of Massachusetts Letterhead. The McKinney-Vento Act prohibits students who meet the definition of homeless from being barred from enrollment due to lack of required documentation. Homeless students, however, must still provide reasonable proof of residency to receive an admission preference based on where they are temporarily living. What is reasonable proof of the city or town in which a homeless student’s is temporarily living depends upon the circumstances. In some situations, if other reasonable documentation is not available, an affidavit may be sufficient. Homeless students should receive a residency preference based on the location of their temporary residence; if their temporary residence is located within the charter school’s sending region, they are entitled to a residency preference. The location of a student’s prior permanent residence does not provide a residency preference for admission. All students considered to be homeless are able to apply to charter schools in Massachusetts. For the purposes of receiving residential preference for admission, schools should consider all applications from homeless students on a case-by-case basis to determine where they live. While an address is required to complete the online Boston Charter School Application, students who are homeless are able to enter either a temporary address or, if one is not available, may enter 215 Sydney Street, Dorchester, MA 02125. The address that is used has no implication on a student’s application.

What supports will my child receive at DLA?

Students with diverse learning needs (who may have disabilities, require special education services, or are English language learners) have the right to attend DLA and to receive appropriate accommodations and support services. Information regarding the availability of services for students is available here

Does DLA have sibling preference?

Yes, siblings of a student currently enrolled in DLA have preference for admission. The word “sibling” refers to persons who have a common parent, either biological or legally through adoption.

Can students with special needs and English language learners attend DLA?

DLA serves all students, including those with special needs and English language learners.

General Information

Does DLA have an extended school year?

The DLA academic calendar begins the last week in August and ends June 30th.

Can my child stay after school for extra help?

Each grade level teacher is required to stay after school at least once a week to provide homework help Monday through Thursday.

Does DLA provide transportation?

The Academy is committed to assist families in safely transporting students to and from school. All 6th grade students and 7th grade students with BPS voucher approval who live outside a 1.5-mile radius of the school will be serviced by the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Transportation Department. Transportation will not be provided for students who live within a 1.5-mile radius of 23 Leonard Street. The BPS Transportation Department determines which homes are located outside of the 1.5-mile radius and therefore eligible for transportation services. Parents/guardians requesting transportation need to complete a Request for Transportation form and return it to the Academy before the first day of school. If a student is eligible, a notice with the bus stop location, time of pick-up and drop-off, and bus number will be sent to the parents/guardians. All 7th and 8th grade Boston students eligible for transportation will be assigned a T pass. If you have concerns about your child riding the T, please let us know by filling out the MBTA 7th and 8 grade waiver request form. The Academy is not responsible for lost or stolen MBTA passes. As noted above, there is no late bus transportation available.

What are the school hours?

School hours begin at 8:20 a.m., Monday through Friday. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, school is in session until 4:20 p.m. On Fridays, students are dismissed at 12:20 p.m. During times of inclement weather the building will open at 7:45 a.m. as long as the appropriate personnel is in the building per number of students. Temperatures must be below 32 degrees, rain, snow, etc.

Are DLA students required to wear uniforms?

Yes, DLA believes school uniforms create an environment conducive to learning. Students must wear Khaki pants, and an official DLA Oxford blue button-down shirt, all black shoes and an all black belt.

On days in which students have physical activity, students must wear black-on-black sneakers and DLA designated t-shirts and sweatpants.