Frequently Asked Questions

ELIGIBILITY
 
We live in another state but plan to relocate to the Pioneer Valley. Can we apply to PVPA before we move?
Per the amended Charter School Statute, M.G.L. c. 71, § 89, and the Charter School Regulations, 603 CMR 1.00, all applicants must be residents of Massachusetts at the time of lottery and in order to apply for admission to and to attend a charter school.
 
If our plans to move into PVPA’s priority area fall through, will our student’s enrollment status be affected?
Yes, if plans for a student to relocate to our priority area are canceled, a prior offer of enrollment will be withdrawn, and the student will be placed behind other students who reside in our priority area.
 
What should I do if I don’t know if my student will be promoted? What grade should we apply for?
Candidates for admission are required to apply for the grade immediately following their current grade and to successfully complete that grade to be admitted. If you are offered enrollment at PVPA but have not been promoted to the next grade, the offer of enrollment will be rescinded. Students in this situation would have to wait and apply at the next scheduled lottery.
 


APPLICATION
 
Can you explain the application process?
All new applicants must file an application by the deadline. Students who are not selected by the lottery are placed on a waiting list in the order in which they were drawn and are contacted if space becomes available. All applicants are given equal consideration within the following state-mandated guidelines: siblings of currently enrolled students are given first consideration; students who are reapplying from the previous year’s waiting list are given second consideration; new applicants who live in PVPA’s priority area (see below) are given third consideration; and all other Massachusetts residents are given fourth consideration. (Note that only biological and legal siblings are eligible for sibling status.)
 
How do I get an application?
Applications for the 2020-21 school year will be available beginning on November 1st, 2019. The application is available in both Spanish and English, and can be filled out online or hard-copy. If you do decide to mail in a paper application, we strongly suggest you send it certified, and/or call before the deadline to be sure it has arrived.
 
What is the deadline for applying?
The deadline for the 2020-21 school year will be January 31th, 2020. That is the date that applications must either be postmarked by, delivered to the school, or submitted online. Applications that are submitted after the deadline will not be included in the lottery, or added to a waiting list after the lottery. Sibling applications will be accepted up until, but not after, the date the lottery takes place. For more information about sibling applications, see “sibling status”.
 
I applied last year and am still on the waiting list. Do I have to reapply?
All students have to re-apply as there are no longer roll-over wait lists per changes to the charter school regulations in March of 2014.
 
My student is in elementary school. Can I get an application now?
Applications are available in November for students who are applying for the following school year. It is not possible to apply more than one year in advance.
 
Can I transfer my child into PVPA right away?
Only applicants who have gone through the application process may transfer into PVPA.
 
I mailed the application on time, but you didn’t receive it. What can I do?
We do not accept late applications.
 
Regarding paper applications, we always note the postmarked date on applications. We recommend parents either drop off applications at the PVPA office or send them by certified mail. If sent by regular mail, please call before the deadline to be sure we received it. PVPA is not responsible for applications lost in the mail, and no exceptions are made for such situations.
 
What is the tuition at PVPA?
PVPA is a public school. There is no tuition.
 
Can my student and I visit the school before applying?
Tours are offered prior to the lottery. Dates are posted under the Admissions page of the website. Please follow the link provided to sign up. Additionally, Information Sessions will be hosted in the months prior to the lottery; dates can be found under the Admissions page of the website. After a student has gone through the application process and the lottery, the parent may contact the Admissions Coordinator to schedule a shadow day for the spring semester.

 


LOTTERY


When does the lottery happen?
The lottery for the 2020-21 school year will be held on Friday, February 14th, 2020.
 
Do any communities have priority in the lottery?
Admissions priority is given to Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin Counties, as well as the towns of Petersham, Brookfield and Sturbridge. However, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education limits the number of students who may attend charter schools from individual districts. Although this has not happened in the past, it is possible that a student who has been accepted as the result of the lottery is not allowed to enroll in PVPA because the sending school district has reached its limit.
 

 

WAITING LIST


What does my waiting list number mean?
Each year there have been more applicants than openings. When the lottery takes place, applications are drawn to fill openings in Grade 7. There are 68 openings in the seventh grade because we accept an entire new class of seventh graders. For grades 8, 9, 10, and 11, applications are drawn and assigned waiting list numbers as there are not openings in these grades at the time of the lottery.
 
How long will I be on the waiting list before I get in?
Openings occur when a current student withdraws from PVPA. Once the spot is available, applicants on the waiting list are contacted. There is no way to predict exactly when an opening will occur, or how many will become available.
 
I applied last year and am still on the waiting list. Do I have to reapply?
All students have to re-apply as there are no longer roll-over wait lists per changes to the charter school regulations in March of 2014.
 


SIBLING STATUS

I already have a student at PVPA. How do I get my other child into the school?
Siblings of currently enrolled students who apply by the “sibling deadline” (February 14th, 2020 for the 2020-21 school year) are entered into the lottery. If they are not accepted in the lottery, they are given preference by being placed at the top of the waiting list. If there are more sibling applicants than openings, the original lottery numbers are used to prioritize students. Per Massachusetts General Laws, a sibling must share a common parent, either biologically or legally through adoption. Whether the children reside in the same household has no bearing on determining if the children are siblings for purposes of sibling preference.
 
I have two children who want to apply to PVPA at the same time. If one gets into the school by the lottery, does the other child also get in immediately?
Not necessarily. Sibling status only applies to siblings of currently enrolled students. Only after one student is actually in attendance at PVPA does the sibling of that student receive sibling consideration. Only biological and legal siblings are eligible for sibling status. Per Massachusetts General Laws, a sibling must share a common parent, either biologically or legally through adoption. Whether the children reside in the same household has no bearing on determining if the children are siblings for purposes of sibling preference.

 

ACADEMICS / GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS


If I enroll in PVPA after the ninth grade, do I still need to meet all PVPA’s graduation requirements?
All PVPA students must meet all academic requirements in order to graduate. Students are only required to meet performing arts, physical education and internship requirements for the years in attendance at PVPA. Credit earned at a prior school will count toward the PVPA graduation requirements.
 
Are PVPA students required to take the MCAS?
Yes. PVPA is a public school, and students must meet all state graduation requirements.
 

 

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
 
What should I do if I don’t know if my student will be promoted? What grade should we apply for?
Candidates for admission are required to apply for the grade immediately following their current grade and to successfully complete that grade to be admitted.
 
My child’s circumstances are unique, and PVPA could make all the difference. Can you make an exception in our situation?
We are sympathetic to individuals in unusual situations. However, we are legally required to honor the waiting list and all other state requirements.
 
My student is an extremely talented and experienced performer. How do I get them into your school?
Per Massachusetts law, all applicants, regardless of talent, training, and experience, are treated equally in the application process.
 
Does PVPA accept students who have special needs?
Yes. PVPA is a public school and follows all Massachusetts Laws for Special Education.
 
Can you give preference to students of color?
Per Massachusetts law, all applicants, regardless of race or ethnicity, are treated equally in the application process.
 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Will PVPA increase enrollment in the future?
The school is not expected to increase its size at any time in the near future. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must approve any increase.
 
I’m a junior. How do I go about transferring to PVPA for my senior year?
PVPA does not accept students applying for the senior class.
 
How do I get additional information?
You may email the Enrollment Coordinator, Charlotte Donovan, at cdonovan@pvpa.org, or call (413) 552-1580 ext. 515.