(credit: Shelby Barone)

Charter Schools are public schools that provide voluntary, educational choices to children who seek to be educated in an alternative learning environment. Orange County has a growing number of charter schools opening every year. We have a comprehensive guide to all the charter school options available in Orange County.

(credit: santaana.ptscharter.org)

Pacific Technology Charter School is open to all children who apply through a traditional lottery system. The students at this school won the JPL Invention Challenge Preliminaries at Orange Coast College for the 2nd year in a row. The school is holding an informational parent meeting on March 8th at 6pm for interested parents.

(credit: communityrootsacademy.org)

Community Roots works along with parents and teachers using a project-based curriculum for their students. The school will expand in the 2012-2013 school year. It will begin offering education to grades K-3 and 6th, with a future of becoming a K-8 school. The school is currently taking applications for interested parents until March 16th.

(credit: soc.opacharterschools.com)

Oxford Preparatory Academy offers children an alternative education that is based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. The school offers children foreign language, music, arts, mind institute, world travel and Independent Study. The school accepts children into the school through a traditional lottery system. The school will be accepting applications for the 2012-2013 lottery in April.

(credit: ocarts.net)

Orange County High School of the Arts (OCHSA) has been offering children in grades 7-12 from more than 100 cities in Southern California an education rich in the profession of the arts. The school has had an API of 901 making it one of the top 4 public high schools in Orange County. Online admissions will open on February 24th.

(credit: nova-academy.org)

Students attending Nova Academy have the option of earning college credits while attending High School. The charter school was awarded the US News 2010 bronze medal award for one of the best High Schools in Southern California. The school will be hosting an open house for interested parents on March 21st.

(credit: journeyschool.net)

The philosophy at Journey School is that education is a journey and not a race. The school inspires a love for education using the Waldorf educational model, merged with using California Standards to create an academic foundation with artistic expression inspiring a life-long love for learning. The school will be accepting applications for the March 2012 lottery until February 29th at 3pm.

(credit: elsolacademy.net)

El Sol is a dual-immersion program creating leaders for the 21st Century. The school started in 2001 with just 110 students. It has grown to 680 students in preschool through 8th grade. The school had an API of 880 and has been ranked as one of the 2 top performing schools in Santa Ana.

(credit: OCEAA)

This school is focused on creating creative students through the use of arts, technology, language and culture. The school offers English and 2-way language immersion education (English/Spanish) for approximately 500 K-8 students. Parents must return between March 1-15, to get a new lottery number for 2012-2013 school year.

(credit: orangeusd.k12.ca.us)

Santiago Middle School is a public school with a private school approach. The school was awarded the 2011 California Distinguished School award. The school offers children art, music, foreign language and musical theatre. The school works closely with parents to help the children attending to succeed academically and socially.

(credit: elranchocharterschool.org)

El Rancho Charter School was opened in 2002. The school has a comprehensive curriculum that includes music, foreign language, film and dance. The school is also active in many academic competitions.

(credit: svusd.k12.ca.us)

Gates elementary has a two-way language immersion curriculum, helping to teach children to become fluent in two languages while developing fundamental core curriculum standards. The school’s parent participation is an integral in the success of the school. The school has a strong focus on developing leadership qualities in its students empowering children to become successful in life.

(credit: ebcacademy.com)

The Edward B. Cole Academy is preparing children to pursue a higher level of education by creating an exciting and meaningful learning experience. The school has a strong engagement with parents to help prepare these students for their future with a commitment to their education.

Shelby is the proud parent of one child in the Oxford Preparatory Academy Charter school, and second in the schools independent study program. As a retired teacher, she is passionate about choices in education for young children. Shelby lives with her family in South Orange County. She is a freelance writer for various news publications and writes daily at Glitterful Felt Stories.