CASA is an exciting educational experience where premier arts education meets high-quality, standards-based academics. Capital Area School for the Arts was created in 2001 through a unique partnership between Open Stage of Harrisburg and the Capital Area Intermediate Unit. In 2013, the school received charter status and is now an intensive, all-day academic and arts high school. Located in the heart of downtown Harrisburg, the school is an integral part of the economic, cultural, and artistic renaissance that has swept through the city in recent years. The students enrolled in CASA have an extraordinary opportunity to participate in a truly original and collaborative environment where they are encouraged to create, learn, and excel.
Q: What is a charter school?
A: A charter school is an independent public school, custom-designed by local citizens. It is typically endorsed or “chartered” by a public agency and has more freedom and flexibility than it would through magnet status or waivers. A charter school may not charge tuition and it may not discriminate. Charter schools typically focus on a special curriculum approach, a new school organization approach or some other feature that sets them apart from regular public school offerings.
Q: What are the entrance requirements for CASA Charter School?
A: Acceptance to the school is based upon an audition in the field of interest—creative writing, dance, film and video, music, theatre, or visual arts. These auditions are conducted by the instructors in that department.
Q: May I audition for more than one area?
A: We encourage students with multiple interests and talents to audition for up to two art majors.
Q: How will I know if I have been accepted into CASA Charter School?
A: Decision letters are mailed mid to late April. Auditions will continue throughout the year and are scheduled independently by the teacher. Notification of acceptance and space available to attend will follow the audition.
Q: When are auditions scheduled?
A: Auditions will be scheduled throughout late winter and spring for the next school year. The schedule will be posted on our website, www.casa-arts.org. Students are able to audition throughout the school year and may begin attending immediately if there are open seats.
Q: What is the cost to attend?
A: CASA does not charge students tuition. CASA is a public high school of choice and funded through the sending school districts. CASA Charter School receives 75% of the funding provided to the sending school district through state, federal, and property taxes. We rely on private fundraising to make up any operating deficit and to fund the cost of enhanced programming. We welcome the participation of students and their families in these efforts.
Q: Will I be prepared for college when I graduate?
A: Absolutely. CASA Charter School graduates are accepted into the most prestigious college programs in the nation. In fact over 94% of our students attend a college, university, or conservatory after graduation. Many of our students are awarded scholarships, grants, and financial aid each year.
Q: Where is the school located?
A: The school is located at 150 Strawberry Square in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at Third and Walnut Streets in state of the art classroom facilities. Academic classes are held in CASA's new academic suite on the third floor of Strawberry Square while most art classes are held on the first floor of the facility.
Q: Do I have to live in Harrisburg School District?
A: No. However, students who reside in the district are given first preference for spaces available.
Q: What grades does the school serve?
A: Capital Area School for the Arts Charter School serves grades 9 through 12.
Q: What make the curriculum unique?
A: CASA Charter School is a model of innovative and vibrant curricula that will engage students in learning and enhance their creative talents to determine a career path and future role in society. CASA Charter School will use the city of Harrisburg and the capital area as a “classroom” for architectural, governmental, and community resources to imaginative students to create great art. CASA Charter School will inspire an academic and artistic atmosphere of collaboration where the region’s most talented students can thrive. Students will graduate from CASA Charter School having mastered defined skills that will enable them to be productive, self-directed, lifelong learners, who appreciate and respect diversity.
Q: Is transportation provided?
A: If a student resides in the district, the Charter Act requires the district to provide the same type of transportation that would be provided to other district students. Nonresident students shall be provided transportation under section 1361 of Public School Code. The school district of student residence must provide transportation to a charter school up to ten miles from its border. Any child living outside the busing districts must provide their own transportation to CASA Charter School.
Q: Are siblings given preference for admission?
A: Yes. The Charter Act states that enrollment preference may be given to siblings of students presently enrolled in the charter school.
Q: Who grants the charter for a school?
A: In Pennsylvania, the local school board grants the charter. The Harrisburg School District has granted the Charter to CASA Charter School.
Q: How long does a charter last?
A: A charter school may be approved for no less than three and not more than five years. CASA Charter School was originally approved in May 2013 for five years and was re-approved in 2018 for five additional years.
Q: What happens if there are more applicants than space available in the charter school?
A: Students will be selected by lottery.
Q: Can I withdraw my child from a charter school?
A: Yes. If you are not satisfied with the match between the charter school and your child’s educational needs, your child may return to his or her assigned school within your district of residence.
Q: Are the teachers in a charter school certified?
A: In Pennsylvania, 75% of the charter school’s teaching staff must be state-certified. Teachers at CASA Charter School hold teaching certificates. CASA also has two resident Guest Artists.