Application Process and Decision Making

Good to Govern: Evaluating the Capacity of Charter School Founding Boards

Much of the ultimate success of a charter school hinges on the board’s ability to govern effectively. In fact, it can be argued that no other single factor is more important to …

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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.

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Webinar: Three Signs A Proposed Charter School is at Risk of Failing

This webinar discusses findings from an April 2017 Fordham Institute report, “Three Signs that a Proposed Charter School is at Risk of Failing” and its implications for authorizers. In addition, one authorizer provides …

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Webinar: CMO/EMO Due Diligence

From the initial charter school application, authorizers must be cognizant of how CMO and EMO-operated schools differ from traditional charter schools and how they differ from each other. Lead by Elisa Westapher, …

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Viewpoint: Differentiated Charter Authorizing Strategies for Innovation, Scale, and Quality

A maturing charter sector still operates on first-generation laws designed to launch a few experimental schools. However, the charter sector has moved beyond this initial launch stage of its development. The new focus on scaling quality and the growth of managed networks has placed particular demands on old policies, practices, and authorizing capabilities. Growth in online and blended learning, interest in high-level STEM, and conversions and turnaround are additional new pressures on the one-size-fits-some process. States should update authorizing laws to incorporate multiple pathways and new capacities that reflect the realities of the charter landscape, and take advantage of emerging opportunities to add quality educational options.

When It Really Matters: Charter Renewal Decisions at the State University of New York

The charter renewal decision is one of the most significant high stakes decision in public education. It determines the continuing existence or termination of a school. It has the potential to be a celebration of the accomplishments and success of a school—and its students—that was built from the ground up a few years earlier. On the other hand, it may be the public declaration that a school did not live up to its promises to the public or to the parents and students that chose to attend.

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 Terms of the Deal: A Quality Charter School Contract Defined

A contract is about commitment and responsibility. It is about the commitment that two or more parties make and the responsibility to deliver on those commitments. When school developers and authorizers turn …

The Charter School Application Process

Over the last decade, the charter school sector has learned a great deal about what it takes to establish and operate a quality charter school. Clearly a strong educational program is 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 …

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 …

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.

Multiple Charter Authorizing Options

“Multiple authorizers” refers to situations where more than one entity is able to authorize charter schools in any given community. The presence of multiple authorizers can strengthen a state’s charter school sector …

Key Questions for Reviewing Virtual Charter School Proposals

This publication includes some key questions that authorizers should examine when evaluating virtual charter school proposals. These questions address major functional areas as well essential questions that authorizers should ask of applicants …

Charter School Replication

“Replication” is the practice of a single charter school board or management organization opening several more schools that are each based on the same school model. The most rapid strategy to increase …

Charter School Contract Renewal

Renewal is the defining moment in charter schooling. Charter schools are built around the promise of greater autonomy in exchange for greater accountability, and the renewal decision is where a charter school …

Charter School Appeals

An assurance of due process and the right to appeal critical authorizer decisions are important checks and balances in the charter school sector. They provide fundamental fairness for applicants and schools and …

Charter School Contracts

The charter school concept was first introduced in 1991 when the Minnesota Legislature passed the nation’s first charter school law. As of this writing in 2009, 40 states and the District of …

Accountability 2.0: Next Generation Performance, Delivery, and Design

Richard Wenning, former associate commissioner at the Colorado Department of Education and a creator of the Colorado Growth Model, which has become a model for many states, conducted a webinar for authorizers …

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Charter School Performance Accountability

Charter schools are public schools that operate under performance contracts with an authorizing agency. These schools receive operating autonomy in exchange for meeting clear, objective, and measurable performance outcomes. Schools that fail …

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. …

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.

Good to Govern: Evaluating the Capacity of Charter School Founding Boards

Much of the ultimate success of a charter school hinges on the board’s ability to govern effectively. In fact, it can be argued that no other single factor is more important to …

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 …

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 …

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.

The State of Charter School Authorizing: A Report on NACSA’s Authorizer Survey – 2012 Edition

NACSA seeks to document and analyze the progression of charter school authorizing practices through its annual authorizer survey. Each year, the organization documents its findings in The State of Charter School Authorizing. Now in its fifth edition, the report highlights trends in authorizing and the use of NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing to affect the education of thousands of charter school students. This annual report provides an overview of the policies, practices, and characteristics of the nation’s largest charter school authorizers, as well as a sampling of smaller authorizing entities. It also builds upon the data presented in previous reports on NACSA’s authorizer survey.

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 …

NACSA Charter School Replication Guide: The Spectrum of Replication Options

One of the most important and high-profile issues in public education reform today is the replication of successful public charter school programs. With more than 5,000 failing public schools in the United States, there is a tremendous need for strong alternatives for parents and students.

The State of Charter School Authorizing: A Report on NACSA’s Authorizer Survey – 2011 Edition

NACSA seeks to document and analyze the progression of charter school authorizing practices through its annual authorizer survey. Each year, the organization documents its findings in The State of Charter School Authorizing. Now in its fourth edition, the report highlights trends in authorizing and the use of NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing to affect the education of thousands of charter school students. This annual report provides an overview of the policies, practices, and characteristics of the nation’s largest charter school authorizers, as well as a sampling of smaller authorizing entities. It also builds upon the data presented in previous reports on NACSA’s authorizer survey.

The State of Charter School Authorizing: A Report on NACSA’s Authorizer Survey – 2013 Edition

NACSA seeks to document and analyze the progression of charter school authorizing practices through its annual authorizer survey. Each year, the organization documents its findings in The State of Charter School Authorizing. Now in its sixth edition, the report highlights trends in authorizing and the use of NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing to affect the education of thousands of charter school students. This annual report provides an overview of the policies, practices, and characteristics of the nation’s largest charter school authorizers, as well as a sampling of smaller authorizing entities. It also builds upon the data presented in previous reports on NACSA’s authorizer survey.

Core Performance Framework and Guidance – March 2013

The Core Performance Framework and Guidance, which offers academic, financial and organizational performance frameworks—each with indicators, measures, targets and ratings; detailed explanation of each framework; guidance on customization of the frameworks; and …