Ongoing Oversight and Evaluation

Navigating Special Education in Charter Schools Part I: Understanding Legal Roles and Responsibilities

Special education entails the provision of an array of specialized services and supports designed to help students with disabilities access the general education curriculum in a manner equivalent to their non-disabled peers. …

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Authorizer Toolkit: Annual Reports Made Easy

This toolkit provides a practical, step-by-step guide to help authorizers report annually on the academic, financial, and organizational performance for each charter school they oversee. This toolkit is useful for any authorizer, regardless …

Authorizer Spotlight: How Philadelphia Put Annual Reports into Practice

“Authorizer Spotlight: How Philadelphia Put Annual Reports into Practice” provides an in-depth look at the process the Charter School Office of the School District of Philadelphia went through to implement annual reporting …

The Nuts and Bolts of School Closure – PowerPoint Presentation

Managing the actual closure of a charter school requires planning, preparation, and attention to details that linger long after a school is closed. This session provides a roadmap through the basic elements of the closure process, including how to prepare the environment for closure, how to monitor the close out of student records, finances, education corporation documents, and other requirements that must be addressed when charters fail. Presenters will provide critical information to help guide authorizers through an effective closure process.

Mary Kay Shields, Gov. John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University; Kathryn Mullen Upton, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Ohio; Josephine Baker, Education Consultant

Viewpoint: Authorizing Online Learning

“During this decade, American education will shift from print to digital, from flat and sequential content to engaging and adaptive, and from batch processing to personalized learning. There will also be a slow enrollment shift from traditional district-operated schools to schools and programs operated by organizations authorized under contracts or charter.

As chief executive officer and chair of the International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL), we believe that one of the most important drivers of this historic shift is online learning. It is growing by more than 40 percent annually and creating new full- and part-time options for students and families. This paper refers specifically to online schools where instruction is delivered remotely by live teachers on a full- and part-time basis, also known as virtual or cyber learning.

The Authorizer and Charter School Closures: Exercising Adaptive Leadership to Protect the Public Interest

Part and parcel of a charter school authorizer’s oversight responsibility is the unenviable task of closing a school that fails to pass muster. As with most challenges that authorizers face, closing a …

Successfully Authorizing Blended Charter Schools

Blended charter schools (sometimes called “hybrid charter schools”) provide student instruction at least in part at supervised brick and- mortar locations, and at least in part through digital learning.1 In 2009–2010, 142 …

Steering the Course for Success: Authorizers and Effective Charter School Governance

Researcher Gary Gruber has stated, “No other singular variable is more important for the health and vitality of a school than the way that it is governed. Teacher competencies, student achievement, parental …

School Quality in the Cloud: Guidelines for Authorizing Virtual Charter Schools

One of the most interesting yet challenging developments in recent years for many charter authorizers across the country has been the rapid rise and expansion of virtual or online charter schools. These …

Navigating Special Education in Charter Schools Part I: Understanding Legal Roles and Responsibilities

Special education entails the provision of an array of specialized services and supports designed to help students with disabilities access the general education curriculum in a manner equivalent to their non-disabled peers. …

Navigating Special Education in Charter Schools Part II: The Authorizers’ Role in Ensuring Quality Special Education Programs

What ought authorizers do to ensure that the charter schools they approve provide a quality education to students with disabilities who enroll in their school? That is the question many authorizers wrestle …

New York State Special Education Enrollment Analysis

In this report, the Center on Reinventing Public Education provides some context to these policy responses to special education enrollment in charter schools by describing the distribution of students with disabilities in …

New Demands Shape a Field in Transition

Charter schools have moved from being widely viewed as a marginal force in public education reform to taking on a central role in our national, state, and local debates around improving education. …

NCLB Title I Accountability and Charter School Authorizer Obligations

Since the passage of NCLB, there has been much speculation in the charter school community generally, and among authorizers specifically, on how the provisions of this federal law will affect how authorizers …

Measuring Charter School Financial Health

As schools are in the business of educating students, academic performance should be the primary outcome by which a charter school is evaluated. But a charter school cannot provide students with a …

Accountability in Action: A Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure

This Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure is designed to assist the staff and board members of authorizing agencies as they address the wide array of challenges involved in any closure decision. It draws directly upon the successful experiences of other authorizers across the country and includes useful information on performance management, decision-making, and stakeholder communication, as well as practical tools to successfully manage a charter school closure.

Accountability in Action: A Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure

This Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure is designed to assist the staff and board members of authorizing agencies as they address the wide array of challenges involved in any closure decision. It draws directly upon the successful experiences of other authorizers across the country and includes useful information on performance management, decision-making, and stakeholder communication, as well as practical tools to successfully manage a charter school closure.

An (Updated) Primer on Virtual Charter Schools: Mapping the Electronic Frontier

This is the first in a series of briefs aimed at improving authorizer practices for virtual charter schools. This paper will define concepts in online learning, including full-time and blended learning, and …

Anecdotes Aren’t Enough: An Evidence-Based Approach to Accountability for Alternative Charter Schools

Authorizers are challenged to hold each alternative charter school accountable for its performance. NACSA convened a working group of authorizers, operators, and researchers to define the parameters of good practice when it comes to evaluating alternative charter schools. The group’s findings are presented in this new report from NACSA.

Anecdotes Aren’t Enough: An Evidence-Based Approach to Accountability for Alternative Charter Schools (Webinar Presentation)

Authorizers are challenged to hold each alternative charter school accountable for its performance. NACSA convened a working group of uthorizers, operators, and researchers to define the parameters of good practice when it comes to evaluating alternative charter schools. The group’s findings are presented in NACSA’s new report, Anecdotes Aren’t Enough: An Evidence-Based Approach to Accountability for Alternative Charter Schools.

This presentation is from a webinar panel discussion with working group members Ernie Silva, Director of External Affairs for SIATech (California); Naomi DeVeaux, Deputy Director of D.C. Public Charter School Board; and Nelson Smith, Senior Advisor for NACSA. The panelists discuss NACSA’s new report, Anecdotes Aren’t Enough: An Evidence-Based Approach to Accountability for Alternative Charter Schools and the implications of its findings for authorizers, schools, and policy-makers.

Want to learn more on this topic prior to the webinar? Read Anecdotes Aren’t Enough: An Evidence-Based Approach to Accountability for Alternative Charter Schools and share our summary of recommendations with your staff, colleagues, and board members.

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Built for Quality: The Capacity Needed to Oversee Charter Schools

The term “authorizer” conveys an imposing sense of size and authority, but in the world of charter schools, the authorizer is often a small-scale office or, more commonly, a single employee for …

Charter School Authorizers and Oversight: Where is the Line Between Effectively Holding Schools Accountable and Overregulation?

The basic charter school bargain—freedom in exchange for accountability—presents unique challenges to authorizers. Authorizers must walk a tightrope of sorts, respecting each charter school’s independence and distinct mission, while holding every school …

Charter Schools and English Language Learners What Authorizers Need to Know

Charter school authorizers are responsible for protecting student and public interests. This responsibility requires authorizers to hold schools accountable for fulfilling fundamental public education obligations to all students, including providing equal access and appropriate services to students whose native language is not English. English Language Learners (ELLs) have rights that are protected by federal and state laws. Authorizers are responsible for ensuring that charter schools uphold these rights.

Charter Schools and English Language Learners: What Authorizers Need to Know (Infographic)

Charter school authorizers are responsible for protecting student and public interests. This responsibility requires authorizers to hold schools accountable for fulfilling fundamental public education obligations to all students, including providing equal access and appropriate services to students whose native language is not English. English Language Learners (ELLs) have rights that are protected by federal and state laws. Authorizers are responsible for ensuring that charter schools uphold these rights.

Charter Schools and English Language Learners

The purpose of this Issue Brief is to provide charter authorizers and school leaders with information about the education of English Language Learners (ELLs), illuminating the legal requirements and sound education practices …

Quality Authorizing for Online and Blended-Learning Charter Schools

Online and blended learning have grown dramatically in K-12 education in the past dozen years, creating countless new opportunities for students and educators, and, in many cases, demonstrating improved student outcomes.

Resource Toolkit for Working with Education Service Providers

This document is a tool for authorizers who are working with education service providers. Topics covered include: roles, responsibilities and relationships; the charter application stage; reviewing school management contracts; and, sample documents.

Steadying the Three-Legged Stool: Authorizers, Charter Schools, and Education Service Providers

In carrying out their work, authorizers typically work to achieve steadiness in a two-party accountability relationship with a charter school. Introducing a third-party service provider adds complexity to the relationship, but need …

The Value of Quality On-Site School Reviews: Seeing Is Believing

The charter school concept is built on the premise that in return for freedom, charter schools are held accountable to promises made in their charter. It is the authorizer’s role to ensure that charter schools uphold their end of the agreement by providing appropriate oversight of each charter school.