If you're one of the 4,800 8th-graders who didn't get a high school placement last week (or if you didn't like the placement you got) you may want to consider a charter school.
Most charter schools start in the elementary or middle schools grades—and don't accept students in 9th grade—but a few begin with high school and some others have seats for new students in 9th grade. All admit students by lottery. The application deadline is April 1. (Because April 1 is a Saturday, some charters are accepting applications until April 3. Make sure to check their websites.)
New Visions for Public Schools, a respected school reform group, has seven charter high schools. The first two, in the John F. Kennedy Campus in the Bronx, opened in 2011; the others in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, opened more recently. All offer a week-long summer bridge program, an extra-long school day (8:30 am to 4:30 pm), and Advanced Placement classes. You can learn more on the New Visions website.
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is a well-rounded school for children in kindergarten through high schools with a challenging International Baccalaureate curriculum. While most children enroll in the lower grades, there are some seats available for high school. See our review here or the school's website here.
DREAM Charter School in East Harlem is a popular K to 8 school that's adding a 9th grade in September.
University Prep Charter High School in the South Bronx is a small, safe school with good attendance and a high graduation rate.
You have nothing to lose by applying: If you are admitted to one of these charters, you can still choose to attend a regular district high school. And if you are unhappy with all your options, you can appeal later in the spring.