About the Office of Charter Schools

The Office of Charter Schools (OCS) provides New Jersey families with quality schools. OCS authorizes charter schools consistent with national best practice in charter school authorizing*, offering school operators autonomy and opportunities for innovation in exchange for accountability for student outcomes.

*NACSA's Principles and Standards

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is the State Education Agency (SEA) and sole charter school authorizer in New Jersey. NJDOE is responsible for ensuring that charter schools are providing New Jersey students with a high-quality public education.

OCS Core Values:

  • Focus on student outcomes: We use the OCS Performance Framework to focus everyone's attention on student achievement; all other considerations are secondary.    
  • High expectations: We are committed to ensuring that New Jersey families have access to charter schools that will "raise the bar" and "close the gap."  We are also committed to conducting our authorizing work consistent with NACSA principles and standards.
  • Safeguard public interests: We base our decisions on applicable laws and regulations with a focus on whether or not schools are spending public funds responsibly, practicing sound governance and adhering to relevant laws and charter requirements.
  • Transparency: Using rigorous and transparent processes, and the best data available, we provide stakeholders with clear, relevant and timely information about charter schools, charter school authorizing and charter school performance.
  • Continuous improvement: We expect to learn from our authorizing work and get better at it over time.  We encourage input from stakeholders and reflect on our practice to identify opportunities for improvement.