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Ball Charter School

2530 Ash Street
Springfield, IL 62703
2018 - 2019 School Report Card

Click Here for 2018-2019 School Report Card PDF


"In Springfield, there has been support from the citizens and the school district. You don't find that combination of circumstances very often. Here we have sort of a blessed moment." - Carl Ball, Springfield State Journal Register, 1998 Carl Ball, a horticulture business owner from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, established the Ball Foundation in 1975. Mr. Ball was extremely interested in helping schools be more productive. Mr. Ball approached the Springfield School District in 1993 about being a partner district for the School Design Collaborative. The framework for the SDC focused on student achievement using a systems approach, partnering, research and development and productivity models. Soon there were several elementary schools in Springfield partnering with the Ball Foundation. In 1998, District 186 and the foundation created one of the first Illinois charter schools. The Springfield Ball Charter School serves 396 Kindergarten -  8th grade students.

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are public schools that are created by school districts, colleges, nonprofit organizations, or other entities. Charter schools are allowed to determine many of their own policies and practices. Charter schools are always public schools and they are not allowed to charge tuition.  A charter school is held accountable for how well it educates its children through the Illinois State Board of Education, which also approves the charter school's program.

Who can attend Springfield Ball Charter School?

Any child who resides within the boundaries of District 186 may apply to enroll in Ball Charter School. Ball Charter School is a school of choice in the District.

Is there tuition charged at Ball Charter School?

No. Ball Charter School is a public school that charges no tuition for kindergarten through 8th grade.

How do you get into Ball Charter? Are there entry requirements or exams?

Enrollment is open to all children regardless of ability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, ancestry, or need for special services. Applications are accepted through the school year until the end of January and a lottery selection follows during the month of February. There is no selection criterion except that siblings of current students receive priority in the lottery in order to keep families together.

Lottery Procedures

Lottery applications are available throughout the month of January.  In February, a lottery is held for all applications accepted by January 31st.  Student siblings are given family priority and are selected and placed in order.  After siblings, all other applicants are selected and added to the wait list in order.  Kindergarten applicants that are accepted will be notified immediately, as well as any pre-determined openings based on families that have indicated they are not returning.  The wait list will be used fo any other openings that arise after the last day of school.

*Any applications received after January 31st will be placed at the bottom of the wait list for each grade.

How is Ball Charter School governed and financed?

Ball Charter School is a not-for-profit organization that has its own 7-member Board of Directors. Currently, the District Board of Education appoints two community members and one District staff representative. The Ball Charter School appoints one parent from the K-4 grade level and one from the 5-8 grade level, as well as one representative from the Springfield community. Ball Charter School receives a percentage of funds from District 186 (less than 100% of the per capita pupil expenditure for district students). District 186 provides transportation, cafeteria, and special education services to the school.

What is the purpose of the Ball Charter School's existence?

The mission of the Ball Charter School is to create a safe, nurturing environment that fosters learning through the development of high quality, research-based academic programs, attention to the learning needs of individual children, and the involvement of parents in their children's education. The school was created with the intention of being a laboratory-type school which was given the flexibility to try new instructional strategies, staff development models, and curriculum modifications that could be evaluated for effectiveness and possible duplication in other schools in the district.  Some of those unique offerings include flexibly-grouped or multi-age classrooms, student-choice elective content for students in grades 6-8, and K-8 Spanish, art, and technology.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools

Springfield Ball Charter School is a member of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.  The Illinois Network of Charter Schools is dedicated to the improvement of public education by establishing high-quality charter public schools that transform lives and communities.  As the voice of Illinois charter schools, INCS advocates for legislation on behalf of the charter sector, provides support to strengthen charter schools, and influences education policy for the benefit of all public school students. 

For charter school FAQs, click here

Four Focus Areas

Literacy (Reading/Language Arts): The literacy goal of the Ball Charter School is to provide research-based instruction and appropriate intervention, which will result in every student being able to read and write at or above grade level state standards. Teaching students to read and to communicate their thoughts in oral and written form is of primary concern. SBCS has adopted the American Reading Company's IRLA program school-wide. This comprehensive, K-8 reading curriculum is offered exclusively at Ball Charter School.  One other District 186 school offers the K-5 curriculum only.  In conjunction with the literacy goal, the Charter School provides foreign language instruction so that all students will have the opportunity to speak, read and write Spanish.

Numeracy (Arithmetic/Mathematics): The numeracy goal of the Ball Charter School is to develop students' ability to use mathematics to solve problems and understand information in mathematical terms. Instruction incorporates the use of hands-on activities using math manipulatives as tools for the development of students' understanding of mathematical concepts.

Flexible Grouping: Multiage grouping is a mixed-age group of children who will stay with the same teacher until the student progresses to the next program level. Ball Charter currently has four program levels (K/1st grades, 2nd/3rd grades, 4th/5th grades and 7th/8th grades) each level has four classrooms of students. Multiage education encourages children to grow as far as their minds and abilities can take them. • Students Are Individuals - Each child is unique. Every student has an individual pattern of academic, physical, and social development. Flexible grouping of children is based on academic needs and interest. • Multiyear placement with the teacher maximizes their learning time and builds stronger relationships between educators, students and families. • Balanced Classrooms - Maximum classroom size is 24 students and are balanced according to age, gender, race, academic and social maturity. • A Community of Learners - Students play a variety of roles, such as leaders, problem solvers and critical thinkers.

Professional Development for Teachers: To assist teachers in continually improving their instruction, professional development time is incorporated to provide continuing teacher support, opportunities for teacher collaboration and joint planning, and assessment of the impact of innovations on student achievement.


Springfield Ball Charter School teachers create their own curriculum. The curriculum at the school is standards-based, guided by the llinois Learning Standards.  The Illinois Learning Standards establish expectations for what all students should know and be able to do in each subject at each grade. The standards emphasize depth over breadth, building upon key concepts as students advance. The standards promote student-driven learning and the application of knowledge to real world situations to help students develop deep conceptual understanding. Intentionally rigorous, the Illinois Learning Standards prepare students for the challenges of college and career. Springfield Ball Charter School makes instructional and curricular decisions to best meet all students’ learning needs.  Textbooks do not drive what we teach, standards do.

The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) is the state assessment and accountability measure for Illinois students enrolled in a public school district. IAR assesses the Illinois Learning​ Standards Incorporating the Common Core and will be administered in English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3 - 8.

MAP® Growth™ measures what students know and informs what they’re ready to learn next. By dynamically adjusting to each student’s responses, MAP Growth creates a personalized assessment experience that accurately measures performance. Timely, easy-to-use reports help teachers teach, students learn, and administrators lead.  The assessment is given three times a year.

In compliance with federal testing requirements, Illinois will administer a science assessment to students enrolled in a public school district in grades 5, 8 and 11. The assessment will be administered in an online format and is aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards for Science incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which were adopted in 2014.

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