Admission FAQs

What is a Charter School?

A charter school is a public school, funded by tax dollars. The Environmental Charter School is authorized by the Pittsburgh Public School District. Charter schools are mandated to be "innovative" in their approach to teaching and learning while also being accountable to the local, state, and federal governments. We are held accountable to the Pittsburgh Public School District, the state of Pennsylvania, and the federal government.

When was ECS founded?

We opened our doors in the fall of 2008 as a K-3 school and are currently K-8.

What is the cost to attend ECS?

ECS is a tuition-free school.

What are the school hours?

Our Lower School (K-3) begins at 8:45am and ends at 3:45pm. Doors open at 8:15am.

Our Upper School (4-8) begins at 8:30am and ends at 3:30pm. Doors open at 8:00am.

Do students wear a uniform?

Yes, our students adhere to our uniform policy which includes wearing navy blue, light blue, white,  and/or khaki colors. Click here to view our Uniform Policy

Is transportation available to and from school?

Yes, transportation is available, free of cost, to all students who reside in a home school district that provides transportation. 

Will my child be eligible for the Pittsburgh Promise if he/she attends ECS?

The Pittsburgh Promise is available to all graduates of the Pittsburgh Public Schools and charters, regardless of financial need or income.

How old must my child be to attend the ECS Kindergarten program?

All ECS kindergarten students must turn 5 by September 1st.

Does ECS provide special education services?

Yes, we offer a full continuum of special education programs and services to all eligible students who attend the school. ECS is committed to meeting all state and federal special education regulations.  In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, all of our students receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). 

What does character education look like at ECS?

ECS has a school-wide positive behavior support system which encourages students to be safe, kind and responsible.  The school has also implemented the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  Each week classroom meetings are held to reinforce these initiatives.  Additionally, daily morning meetings provide an opportunity to address monthly character education traits and reinforce positive behaviors. 

Does ECS provide breakfast and lunch?

Yes, all students may purchase both breakfast and lunch for a small fee. Free or reduced priced meals are available through federal funding, for those that qualify. Our food service team is dedicated to providing tasty, nutritious hot meals that are made from scratch and include locally grown and purchased foods. We are exceptionally proud of the menus that our food service team has developed and our students and faculty love to eat here! Click here to learn more about our food program

Does ECS offer before school and/or after school programs?

We offer a tuition-based afterschool program where students can stay as late as 6pm, Monday through Friday. Click here to learn more about our thoughtful extended day program. At this time, ECS does not offer before school care. 


Enrollment FAQ’s 

We submitted a 2014-15 application for our child and he/she was placed on the waiting list. Do we need to submit a  2015-16 application if we are interested in ECS for next year or will my child automatically be put on the waiting list again?

You will need to submit a 2015-2016 application for the lottery for next year.  Our waiting list terminates, or “dissolves,” at the end of each school year, so you will need to reapply each year.  Your child will remain on our waiting list for the duration of the 2014-2015 school year. 

How does the lottery work?

ECS will conduct an enrollment lottery on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. The lottery will be held in the large meeting room at the East Liberty branch of the Carnegie Library (130 S. Whitfield Street Pittsburgh, PA 15206). The lottery will begin at 5:30pm. On the lottery date, one of the following scenarios will occur:


1. If student applications do not exceed the number of available seats in a grade, all applicants will be given a space in the grade, or

2. If student applications exceed the number of available seats in a grade, a lottery will be conducted for that grade. Any students not receiving a space will be placed on the waiting list in the order their names are drawn.

3. Families are invited to attend the lottery. All families, regardless of attendance at the lottery, will receive notification of their student’s lottery results within one week via US Mail. Families are also welcome to contact the school via phone to request their child’s lottery results. Attendance at the lottery is not required.


How many spots will be open in the grade I am interested in for next year?

  1. The number of spots available in each grade is subject to change each school year in response to our annual re-enrollment process for current students. The re-enrollment process occurs each year just prior to the lottery and informs the school of information such as families that are moving or students that are transferring to new schools. In kindergarten, the number of spots available each year is determined after the school applies a preference to siblings of existing students. The official number of spots that are available will be publicly posted at the annual enrollment lottery.
  2. What is “sibling preference?” 
  • ● If during the lottery your child is chosen and has an older sibling in a grade that has an open position, the sibling will also receive admittance.  Since our lottery begins with kindergarten and moves up, this only happens in one direction.  For example, if a kindergarten student gets in and has a sibling in fourth grade, if fourth grade has available spaces, the fourth grade sibling will also be admitted.  Sibling preference is not offered after the open spaces are filled, students do not enter the waiting list based on sibling preference.   
  • ● If no spots are available, the following year your other child(ren) will be eligible for sibling preference. You will notify us on the re-enrollment form in January that you would like to enroll your other child at ECS. The available spaces will go to siblings first and if the number of siblings exceeds available spaces, a sibling lottery will be held. 
  • Can I pick up an application at the school?
  • Yes, applications are available in the main office of both of our schools. You can also print one from our website,
  • Can I drop my application off at the school?
  • No. You must send your application and supporting documents to the PO address listed on the application.
  • Do I have to be at the lottery to find out if my child was chosen?
  • No. You do not have to be present at the lottery. You will be notified via a letter sent US Mail within one week of the lottery. You may also call the school the day after the lottery to receive your child’s results.
  • My child is on the waiting list. What does this mean?
  • This means that your child’s name will be kept on our list through the end of the upcoming school year. If a student who is offered a spot does not accept enrollment, we will offer the spot to the first person on the waiting list. If a student who is currently enrolled decides to move during the summer or during next school year, we will contact the next student on the waiting list.  ECS continues to fill spots throughout the school year.  
  • How do I learn more about the school?
  • We offer two options for families, a school tour and open houses.  School tours, which take place during the day, offer prospective families the opportunity to see our unique academic program in action. Families will meet students, faculty, and key administrators; hear about and observe our academic program; and see our warm and inviting school setting.  At our Upper School, we encourage students to join their parents on the tour so they have the opportunity to see our academic day in session.  At our Lower School, we have found that it is best if the tour is parents only. 
  • To schedule a tour, please call the main office of the school you would like to tour:
  • Upper School: (412) 247-7970 Lower School: (412) 242-1480
  • Open houses offer prospective families the opportunity to meet faculty and key administrators and have an opportunity to talk in depth with our faculty.  A guided tour of the building will be conducted during the open house. We welcome all students to join their parents at our open houses!  The Lower School will offer two open houses:
  • Dec. 2nd 5-6:16 pm
  • January 6th-5-6:15 pm
  • To RSVP to an open house, please e-mail
  • Both events are a wonderful resource for families as they make important decisions about their students' education and future.  It is not necessary to attend both events, and we encourage you to choose the option best for your schedule and family.  
  • My child wants to shadow at the school, is that possible?
  • A child can shadow at ECS if he/she is offered a spot in our school after the lottery.  Your child is welcome to come in for a ½ day visit in his/her current grade level classroom. 
  • Can I tour the school if my child gets in after the lottery? 
  • Yes, a parent can come visit the school and observe classrooms with an administrator.  After observing in the classroom, parents can go on a mini-tour and an administrator can answer any additional questions at this time.