My ds was just "slotted" in our local charter school. I had wanted him to go there since he was 2 years old and the school opened. I know that each charter school is different, and I am happy to have a wonderful one right around the corner (we actually bought our house in this particular district so we had a better chance of getting in). I don't think they have any formal philosophy. The best way to explain it is project based and individualized. The class size is 16-18 kids, w/ a teacher and an aide, as opposed to the local public school which is 1:26-28. The kids are encouraged to be independant and there is a strong emphasis on behaving socially responsible. They do not receive report cards, thus won't be labled (A student, F student), instead we will be monitoring their progress w/ a checklist, more or less and the focus will be on their own personal learning cirriculum. (Because they are emphasising the child as an individual, there are no uniforms.) They are generally not assigned homework. There are ELA's (extended learning activities), however. Any work they did not complete in the time alotted during the school day can be brought home to finish, as well as some reading or interactive activities w/ parents. They also keep a portfolio, much like one a homeschooling family would have in PA. Plus, there is an open door policy, parents can come and go as they please. And are encouraged to do so! One big plus for me is they stress healthy eating. The children have access to a fridge and a microwave, so that really opens up some possibilities for lunch! The actual building is maintained by student, parent and staff volunteers and donations. I love the community feel the school has made! I know it will be a comfort to me when my children are in higher grades and they are spending more time with their friends; I will have a relationship w/ not only the child but their parents as well since there is a monthly work day for each home base where the child and parents come to the school to do any maintenance or improvements on the building, as well as monthly meetings. This is truly the only school I felt comfortable having my children attend. If they didn't get in, I was going to homeschool.