Providing the Educational Opportunities that Change Lives


How does a charter school differ from a regular public school?

Charter schools are public schools.  Charter schools, by state law, are allowed to set their own programmatic vision and decide how they want to allocate their allotted budget under the oversight of a local governance structure (or board) as opposed to public schools within a school district whose program and some portion of their budget allocation is determined by the district. MWA’s charter authorizer is the Contra Costa County Office of Education. The authorizer provides monitoring and oversight to make sure there is adherence to specific guidelines and expectations laid out in the charter, allowing the school to use site-based management and governance while teaching to approved California State standards. Charters must seek renewal from their authorizer every five years.  Authorizers are more likely to renew charters that are proven to be effective in helping their students meet both the expectations described in the charter and the statewide standards for student achievement.  Like public schools, charters are measured by their academic performance on California state tests (which are published and open to the public on the California Department of Education website:, can be placed in Program Improvement for not meeting specific growth targets for all demographic subgroups, and must meet the federal guidelines for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation.

What makes MWA unique?

MWA aims to help students not only enter but graduate from college, with as little debt as possible, and provides financial resources, social emotional training, and coaching to help students achieve this outcome.

How are charter schools funded?

As a public school, charters receive a mix of state, local, and federal monies based on the number of students they have.  Like other public schools, charter schools receive funding based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA).  MWA, like many other charter schools, are also federally and state recognized not-for-profits, allowing people to contribute money and in-kind services while receiving a tax exemption for their gifts.  While a significant portion of MWA’s funding comes from public funding, another significant portion comes from charitable contributions, public and private grants, and fundraising.

Does MWA require all of its teachers to be credentialed?

Yes.  As a California public school, all teachers of core academic subjects at MWA must be properly credentialed and certificated.

Are there opportunities to play team sports at MWA?

Yes.  The Upper School offers an interscholastic athletic program.  MWA is part of the Bay Area Conference (BAC) and North Coast Section (NCS), which are both governed by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).  As members, students must be academically eligible to participate.  The sports we offer are: Boys’ Soccer, Girls’ Volleyball, Co-Ed Cross Country (Fall); Girls’ Basketball, Boys’ Basketball (Winter); Girls’ Soccer, Boys' Baseball, Girls' Softball, Co-Ed Track (Spring).

What other sorts of extracurriculars are offered at MWA?

Students can participate in student leadership, dance, art, Latin, and a variety of different clubs and activities in both the Middle School and Upper School.

What are the typical school hours for students?

Students can arrive as early as 7:30 am.  Breakfast is served at 7:45 am.  Instruction begins at 8:10 am.  Early Dismissal is between 4:00-4:15 pm. Second Dismissal runs until 6:00 pm for students who stay longer.

How do I enroll my child?

Students currently in the 4th grade must apply to the lottery for entry to MWA in the 5th grade.  Applications are announced and distributed in the spring.  Students chosen in the lottery are either accepted or put on a wait list in the order in which their lottery number was called.  Early rounds of the lottery give preference to siblings of current MWA or MWEP students and students attending Title I schools in Richmond.