education options

education options2018-02-24T21:27:09-06:00

In Maryland, you have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five on or before September 1.  see more >

Required Documentation

Maryland school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly here.

Some legal documents are required for Maryland students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
  • Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
  • Click here to view the immunization requirements 
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Maryland, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Maryland Charter Schools

A list of the active charter schools can be found at the Maryland Department of Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at the Maryland State Education Association.  


Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Virtual Public Schools

In Maryland, children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers.  Virtual programs are open to in-district students only, while others have enrollment open to students across the state.  

Maryland Virtual Academy

phone: (866) 968-7512

grades: K-8

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 500 private schools across the state.

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.


Maryland’s Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program was enacted in 2016, launched in 2016, and began providing vouchers in 2016–17. This school choice program, the state’s first, provides vouchers to low-income students to attend private schools. Learn more about the program’s funding here.

For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in Indiana visit EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

Home Education

Your options

In Maryland, parents have the option to educate their children at home, an option known as homeschooling or home education. Parents in Tennessee may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K – 12. Parents desiring to homeschool their own children may do so by choosing one of the following three options – Independent Home School, Church-related Home School or Homeschooling under the state-approved school umbrella option. All three options are discussed below. learn more >

With a independent home school:

You will need to follow these guidelines.

  1. File a Notice of Consent form with your superintendent
  2. Teach the required subjects
  3. Provide the required instruction
  4. Maintain a portfolio
  5. Respond to your superintendent’s request to review your profile
  6. Be aware that the school cannot impose additional requirements

With a church-related umbrella school

To homeschool under the church umbrella option, you’ll need to find a church umbrella. This is a school or institution that offers an educational program operated by a bona fide church organization.

Some homeschooled students have encountered significant problems when applying for law enforcement jobs in Maryland with a diploma issued by a church umbrella. The Department of Education takes the position that an umbrella program cannot issue a valid diploma because it is not a school.

  1. Select and join a church umbrella
  2. File a Notice of Consent form with your superintendent
  3. Have a church umbrella supervise your instruction
  4. Regularly verify your involvement in the umbrella program

With the state-approved school umbrella option:

To homeschool under the state-approved school umbrella option, your local school must assign a school-based teacher to assist the home teacher and to issue progress reports, mark papers, and grade tests.

  1. File a Notice of Consent form with your superintendent
  2. Regularly verify your involvement in the umbrella program
Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

Maryland has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support groups here.

Dual Enrollment

College Credit

Dual enrollment courses are college credit courses. High school students enroll in college courses and earn postsecondary credit upon successful completion of the course. High school credit can also be awarded based on local school policy. Dual enrollment courses can be taught on the college campus, at the student’s high school, or online. The location of the course does not affect its status as a dual enrollment course. Home school students are also eligible for dual enrollment.

Course Fees

Course fee infromation can be found at the Maryland Department of Education.

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