Types of Schools: a Primer

Gary FalconSchool Management

As someone thinking about opening a school, you’ve probably spent some time reading through rules and regulations and trying to determine the best first steps in your process. One thing that can be tricky is knowing all of the different types of schools and what distinguishes them from one another. Some of the differences are pretty nuanced!

We’ve created this guide to help you manage this new list of vocabulary. Of course, if you’d like to know more, you can always contact us for more information.

  • Private schools: The most all-encompassing of the terms, private school just refers to any school that isn’t operated as part of the public-school system. If you own the school and aren’t fully-funded by government funding, no matter what other focus you have or structure you’re setting up, you have yourself a private school
  • Charter schools: This is where it gets a little interesting. Charter schools are funded by the state or district like any other public school, but operate independently, somewhat like a private school. Students are not assigned to charter schools by where they live like a regular public school – they must apply to attend. However, there is no tuition because government funding is used to run the school. As an individual, you can open a charter school, but, as you can imagine, the approval process, restrictions, and oversight are much more intense than with a private school.
  • Independent schools: These are a type of private school, typically characterized by the fact that they do not have academic or financial ties to another group or organization. If you’re setting off to open your own unique school not based on any existing curriculum or tied to a religious organization, you’re probably starting an independent school
  • Parochial schools: Although this term is sometimes used interchangeably with religious school, there is typically a different level of involvement on the part of the religious organization. Parochial schools tend to be directly partnered with a church, get extensive funding from that partner, and sometimes even operate out of the same building.
  • Religious schools: Schools in this category have a religious affiliation and offer religion courses, but typically aren’t as closely tied to a specific church or governing body as parochial schools.
  • Theory-based schools: These are schools such as Waldorf schools, Montessori schools and similar that based their curriculum and day-to-day operation on a specific educational theory. Typically, these schools have accreditation/approval requirements schools must meet if they want to advertise themselves as offering the curriculum.

At Twine, we are excited about helping schools, passionate about transforming learning and focused on improving student achievement. We are proud to provide technology solutions that help schools achieve their goals. Want to know more about starting your own private school?

Check out our Starting a School guide.