Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Student Admissions Policy


I. Introduction

Bear Creek Community Charter School’s Board of Trustees understands the importance of establishing fair and equitable criteria for student admission that complies with Pennsylvania’s charter school law, as well as all other applicable state and federal regulation.


Bear Creek Community Charter School is an equal opportunity educational institution, is a non-sectarian institution in all respects, and does not discriminate against any student, employee, or other person on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, or any other criteria prohibited by law. Admission criteria do not consider intellectual or athletic ability, aptitude, disability, race, creed, national origin, religion, or ancestry. This Student Admissions Policy will be made available to the public.


Parents of students who are interested in attending Bear Creek Community Charter School can learn more about the school by visiting the school's web site at www.bearcreekschool.com or contacting the school by calling (570) 820-4070.


It is the responsibility of each parent to familiarize themselves with the Student Admissions Policy and the enrollment process, including the expectation of parents and guardian to provide required information and documents, as well as meeting the required deadlines. All deadlines are final, and no exceptions will be made.


II. Existing Students

Students currently attending Bear Creek Community Charter School will be guaranteed an enrollment slot (seat) for the following year, unless they notify the school that they will not be returning.


III. Kindergarten

Children enrolling in kindergarten must be at least five (5) years old on or before August 15 of the school year in which they are seeking to enroll.


Parents and guardians of students enrolling in kindergarten must provide the school with documentation regarding immunizations and other health records in advance of starting school. Refer to section XI - Immunizations & Other Required Medical Documentation.


IV. Application for Admission

Parents of children interested in enrolling at Bear Creek Community Charter School will be given the opportunity to apply for admission. The date the application for admission process begins and ends will be determined by the school administration each year and will be posted in the school office as well as on the school's web site. Information may also be distributed via social media and through local media outlets.


Parents of children interested in applying for admission must complete and return an accurate Application for Admission Form to the school's main office by the deadline provided by the school. Only children who are residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are eligible to apply for admission – proof of residency may be required upon submission of an Application for Admission Form.


V. Preference in Enrollment

As permitted by the Pennsylvania’s charter school law, Bear Creek Community Charter School will give preference in admission to the following categories of students, as long as there is availability, in the following order:


  1. Existing Bear Creek Community Charter School students.
  2. Children of parents who actively participate in the development of the charter school, including children of permanent Bear Creek Community Charter School employees.
  3. Siblings of students currently enrolled in the school. For the purpose of this policy, a sibling is defined as a child who is related to an existing student by blood or adoption and who share a legal tie to at least one common parent;
  4. Holdover Students from the prior school year;
  5. Students residing in the Community in which the charter school is located. For the purposes of this policy, Community is defined as Bear Creek Township and Bear Creek Village Borough;
  6. Students residing in the school district in which the charter is located (Wilkes-Barre Area School District);
  7. Students residing outside the school district in which the charter school is located (all other school districts within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania).

VI. Random Lottery

In the event the number of applicants for any given grade or section exceeds the number of enrollment slots (seats) available, the school will admit students using a random selection process. The school will grant admission preference according to the criteria identified in Section V – Preference in Enrollment. A public lottery will be held, as necessary, to determine admission. The date, time and location of the public lottery will be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation at least one week prior to the lottery being held.


VII. Wait List

After all available enrollment slots (seats) are filled, wait lists will be created and maintained for each grade. The initial wait list will be created randomly as part of the public lottery. Following the lottery, additional students will be added to the end of each wait list on a first come/first served basis, through September 30 of the current year.


When an enrollment slot becomes available in a grade, a parent/guardian of the first student on the wait list will be contacted and given twenty-four hours to accept the slot. Acceptance is determined by a parent/guardian completing and hand delivering an accurate Student Enrollment Notification Form to the school office within twenty-four (24) hours of being notified by the school. If the enrollment slot is declined, if no response is received, or an accurate Student Enrollment Notification Form is not hand delivered to the school office within twenty-four hours of being notified, the enrollment slot will be forfeited and the next student on the wait list will be contacted. Once all vacant enrollment slots for each particular grade and section are filled, enrollment will be closed. The last day Bear Creek Community Charter School will enroll students each year is September 30.


VIII. New Student/Parent Workshop

Bear Creek Community Charter School will host at least one new student/parent workshop to provide information regarding the school to new parents/guardians as well as to finalize student enrollment. The student who is enrolling and at least one parent/guardian (both are recommended to participate) must attend the new student/parent workshop to complete the enrollment process. Students and their parents/guardians who fail to participate in the new student/parent workshop will not be guaranteed admission and will lose any preference in enrollment.


After a student is accepted as part of the Application for Admission process, Bear Creek Community Charter School reserves the right to complete academic testing to determine if it is in the student's best interest to enroll in the school in the grade and/or class to which he/she has been accepted. If the results of the testing cause the parent not to enroll the student, that student shall be classified as a Holdover Student from the prior year and shall have preference for admission based upon Section V - Preference in Enrollment, during the following year's Application for Admission process. Preference can only be given if a vacancy exists at that time.


IX. Proof of Age

Pennsylvania law requires public schools ascertain a child’s age at the time of admission. Documentation acceptable includes any one (1) of the following original documents:

  1. Birth certificate which includes date of birth;
  2. Baptismal certificate which includes date of birth;
  3. Valid United States passport which includes date of birth.

The child's name appearing on these documents will be used for the purpose of all school records. Any deviation from the legal name identified on the document must be verified by a bona fide court document authorizing the legal name change.


X. Proof of Residency (Two Forms Required)

Parents and legal guardians of prospective new students are required to provide proof of residency acceptable to the school prior to admission. Acceptable documentation proving residency includes a current and valid driver’s license with photograph or a current and valid Department of Transportation photo identification card AND one (1) of the following original documents:

  1. Current utility bill (electricity, public water, public sewer, natural gas, cable television, or land-line telephone), dated within the last 45 days;
  2. Current deed to primary residence;
  3. Current lease of primary residence;
  4. Property tax bill for the primary residence the most current tax cycle;
  5. Most recent real estate mortgage statement for primary residence;
  6. Homeowner’s insurance policy for primary residence for the current policy period;
  7. Copy of a state or federal program enrollment with address, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Children’s Health Insurance Program, etc.;
  8. Voter registration card.

All documentation proving residency must match. The name of the parent/guardian and the primary address of the student provided on the student admission paperwork must match the photo identification and secondary source document that is provided.


Students who live with someone other than a biological parent are required to provide documentation proving legal custody and physical residency, no later than the new student/parent workshop. A student residing with someone other than a parent may qualify for enrollment if the requirements of 24 PS 13-1302 are met, and the responsible adult provides a signed affidavit, proof of residency, and proof that they are supporting the child gratis. Students whose parents/guardians fail to provide proof of residency and legal custody acceptable to school administration at or prior to the new student/parent workshop will not be guaranteed admission and will lose any preference in enrollment.


Bear Creek Community Charter School reserves the right to require a student to withdraw from the school if it is later determined that a student has been enrolled at Bear Creek Community Charter School under false pretenses (fraudulent address to gain preference, fraudulent documentation to obtain sibling preference, etc.). By completing the enrollment process, parents certify the information and documentation they provide the school is true and accurate.


XI. Immunizations & Other Required Medical Documentation

The Public School Code requires public schools to ascertain that a child has been immunized in accordance with Pennsylvania law prior to admission to school. Whenever possible, this documentation should be provided to the school at the new student/parent workshop. Bear Creek Community Charter School requires that parents provide all required immunization records to the School Nurse no later than June 30th of the year of enrollment. Students whose parents/guardians fail to provide complete and accurate immunization records to the School Nurse no later than June 30th of the year of enrollment will not be guaranteed admission and will lose any preference in enrollment. Parents are urged to contact their child’s primary care physician as early as possible to ensure they receive all the necessary immunizations within the timeframe required.


The Pennsylvania Department of Health requires that all students receive following immunizations before they are permitted to enter school:

  1. Diptheria & Tetanus: Four (4) or more properly spaced doses of DTP, DtaP, Td or DT, or any combination of the three with one (1) dose administered on or after the child’s fourth birthday.
  2. Polio: Four (4) or more properly spaced doses of polio vaccine with the 4th dose administered on or after the child’s fourth birthday and six months from the last dose.
  3. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): Two (2) properly spaced doses of the MMR vaccine with the first does administered at 12 months or older.
  4. Hepatitis B: Three (3) properly spaced doses of the hepatitis B vaccine.
  5. Varicella (Chicken Pox): Two (2) doses of varicella administered at 12 months or older, laboratory evidence of the disease or a physician-signed immunity statement.

Children need not be immunized if a physician provides a written statement that immunization may be detrimental to the health of the child. Children need not be immunized if the parent or legal guardian objects in writing to the immunization on religious grounds or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief. In either situation, written documentation must be provided to the School Nurse no later than June 30th of the year of enrollment. Students whose parents/guardians fail to provide the appropriate exemption documentation to the School Nurse no later than June 30th of the year of enrollment will not be guaranteed admission and will lose any preference in enrollment.


XII. Other

A sworn statement attesting to the accuracy of the information and documentation provided to the school as part of the enrollment process. This sworn statement must be provided by the student’s parent or guardian at the new student/parent workshop to complete the enrollment process and for the student to be successfully enrolled. This document will be notarized, so the parent/guardian must present current and valid photo identification to the Notary at the workshop.


A sworn statement attesting to whether a student has been or is suspended or expelled for offenses involving drugs, alcohol, weapons, infliction of injury or violence on school property must be provided by the student’s parent or guardian at the new student/parent workshop to complete the enrollment process and for the student to be successfully enrolled. This document will be notarized, so the parent/guardian must present current and valid photo identification to the Notary at the workshop.


All students seeking first-time admission in a school shall be given a home language survey in accordance with the requirements of the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.


Any student who does not attend school on the first day of scheduled classes will be dropped from the rolls (lose spot) as an active student, unless the student’s parent or legal guardian provides the school advance notice of the excused absence.


Any student who has ten consecutive days of unexcused absence will be dropped from the rolls as an active student (lose spot).


Classes shall not exceed twenty-six (26) students in any class without advance approval by the Board of Trustees.


In compliance with federal and state guidelines under the McKinney/Vento Act, Bear Creek Community Charter School is committed to removing barriers to education that face students experiencing homelessness.


The Board of Trustees reserves the right to amend the Student Admission Policy at any time.


Board approved March 7, 2019. Effective January 1, 2019.