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  1. Business and Development Specialists For California Charter Schools Charter Development 101: Pre-Approval Moving from charter idea to charter approval. Presented by the Charter Association in cooperation with

  2. Course Overview • Audience: New Charter Developers • Purpose: Help new charter developers understand the charter development process, and present key strategies and the primary elements needed to complete a charter school application successfully. However, the goal of this workshop is not only to prepare developers to write a charter application, but also to prepare them to successfully open and run a school. • Outline: • Hour 1: Timeline, Team, Mission & Vision • Hour 2: Education Plan, Assessments, & Special Education • Hour 3: Financial and Operational Plans • Hour 4: Legal Issues for Charter Developers © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  3. Hour 1: Timeline, Team, Mission Overview of Hour 1: • Charter development and approval timeline • Vision and Mission statements • Charter development team • Creating an efficient development process © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  4. Timeline • Although some charter development processes can take as little as four months, developers should plan on the process taking about a year (assuming the developers have a clear idea of the school they want to create). • Month 1: Pull together team, apply for grants, if applicable. • Month 2: Develop Vision and Mission • Month 3 & 4: Develop detailed outline of curriculum; begin to recruit community partners and support. • Month 5-6: Create first draft of charter. • Month 6-7: Edit and finalize charter; collect signatures; continue to recruit community partners and support. • Month 7-8: Submit charter; develop presentation for public hearing. • Month 8-9: Public hearing. • Month 9-10: Charter approval [or] appeal to the county. • Month 10-11: Hearing at the county • Month 11-12: Charter approval [or] appeal to the state; apply for charter school number (soft deadline May 21; hard deadline May 31) • Month 12 & 13: Hearing and approval at state board © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  5. Timeline: Curriculum • The curriculum outline is a critical component of the charter petition and, of course, the school itself. • Some developers spend over a year creating the curriculum; plan on the curriculum taking at least 2 months (assuming the developers are already well underway in understanding the type of school they want to create.) The curriculum will evolve as the school grows and matures. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  6. Timeline: Approval • The Law: The district has 30 days to hold a hearing on the charter petition once submitted, and another 30 days to make a final decision. Extensions may be granted by mutual consent up to a total of 90 days. • The Reality: It is not uncommon that a district will hold a hearing in 30 days after submittal, however, the decision period will likely be longer than 30 days. • Check with your sponsoring district to find out what their process is. Some districts will review drafts before formal submittal. Others, such as LAUSD, have a long process, and strongly encourage submitting a draft in the November timeframe to get a decision by March or April. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  7. Timeline: Approval (2) Be thoughtful about the timing of the submittal to the district. • If you think the school board members will be allies in the process, make sure the hearing date is not around major holidays. • Try to ensure that your supporters can attend the hearing date. Community support at the hearing can influence the publicly-elected school board. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  8. Timeline: Appeals Upwards of 90% of charter petitions are approved at the local level (district). Petitioners should focus their energy on gaining approval at the local level by: • Putting together a solid petition. • Dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s”: ensure everything is in order. • Work whatever political channels you might have including working cooperatively with district staff, building relationships with school board members, and bringing in influential community partners. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  9. Timeline: Appeals (2) However, if your charter is not passed at the local level, you can appeal to the county and then to the state. • The county appeal process is identical to the district process (30 days + 30 days). You must submit the same charter as you submitted to the county as well as the official “findings” from the district (reason the district denied petition). Counties seem to rarely approve petitions on appeal. • The state has 60 days to hold a hearing and then 30 days to make a decision. This seems in conflict with the charter law that says that the whole process may only take 180 days, but such is the reality. The state board has a standard by which it must evaluate charter petitions which is set in regulation. Make sure your charter petition addresses all the standards set forth in the regulations if you hope for charter approval on appeal to the state. §11967.5.1. Criteria for the Review and Approval of Charter School Petitions by the State Board of Education. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  10. Timeline: Key Dates Some dates that may impact when you want to submit your charter: • Prop 39: Charter applicants may submit a Prop 39 request for a facility from the sponsoring district, if the school submits its charter by November 14. The school must then submit a Prop 39 request by January 1, and must have its charter approved by March 1. • Startup/Implementation Grant: The next grant cycle for the Federal charter school grant program will likely be in the Winter. If you haven’t been approved you can apply for a start-up and implementation grant ($450,000 total) from the state. • Advance Apportionment: Approved charters can be pre-funded by the state based on projected ADA figures. In order to get the advance apportionment, the charter must submit its charter number application (after being approved) by the end of May to the Charter School’s office at the CDE. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  11. Vision and Mission • Develop articulate and precise Vision and Mission Statements! • The initial work should begin with a clear understanding and definition of your mission, vision and goals (outcomes). • Spend sufficient time developing your mission and vision. These are the heart and soul of your school and should be the driving force behind your school and all future decisions. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  12. Mission Statement • What is a Mission? • A mission is not a description of your program or your curriculum strategies. A school mission is a GOAL. • Missions should precisely describe what the school does and for whom. • School goals should be measurable. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  13. Mission Statement (2) • Align standards, assessment and curriculum with school vision and missions. • Use the school’s mission and vision in making decisions in all other areas. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  14. Mission Statement (3) Consider the following questions when writing a mission: • What are the ultimate goals for student achievement? • What is the vision for how the school will best prepare its students? • What is the vision for what the school will be in five years and in ten years? © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  15. Mission & Vision Statements (4) Sample Mission / Vision Statements: “High Tech High provides students with rigorous and relevant academic and workplace skills, preparing its graduates for rewarding lives in our increasingly technological society.” The primary goals of High Tech High are: To integrate technical and academic education in a school that prepares students for post-secondary education and for leadership in the high technology industry. To increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students in math and engineering who succeed in high school and post-secondary education and who become productive members and leaders in San Diego's high technology industry. To provide all HTH students with an extraordinary education, and to graduate students who will be thoughtful, engaged citizens prepared to take on the difficult leadership challenges of the 21st century. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  16. Mission & Vision Statements (5) Sample Mission / Vision Statements: The mission of the Lighthouse Community Charter School (LCCS) is to prepare a diverse, K-12 student population for higher education or the career of their choice by equipping each child with the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind to become a self-motivated, competent, lifelong learner. To be fully educated and prepared for the 21st century, we believe every child must maintain a natural curiosity about the world, relentlessly pursue their goals, construct and communicate knowledge, display personal and social responsibility, work collaboratively with others, and reflect consistently on their growth as a learner. For each child to reach his or her fullest potential, we believe: • Every child must be held to clearly articulated, high expectations for achievement, • The school, families, and community must collaborate to meet the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical needs of every child, and • Teachers must be engaged in a reflective and collaborative environment of ongoing professional development that is focused on student achievement. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  17. Mission Statement (6) • Make your description believable, understandable, motivating and achievable. • How will your school fit the needs of your students and parents, your staff and your community? © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  18. Required Skill Sets • What are the critical skill sets you need for a successful effort? • What are your key teams and committees? Disclaimer Please note that many of the items we will be discussing today are NOT required petition elements and not grounds for denial. Your teams or experts will play a continuing role in the development of your programs and your school and we have given you a broad overview of the skills sets you will need to acquire. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  19. Teams Development Key Teams: • Education/Curriculum & Assessments/Outcomes (Hour 2) • Business/Finance (Hour 3) • Fundraising • Facilities • Technology • Governance (Hour 4) • HR/Staffing • Community and Public Relations/ Outreach These are the primary areas of responsibility and these “teams” have roles which extend beyond the petition-only phase. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  20. Team: Business and Finance Business/Finance: (more in hour 3) • Development of a Business Plan • Create school budgets, including a cash flow budgets that reflect the academic focus of the school. • This team needs to understand the state funding mechanism and cash flow issues. Districts look very closely at the budgets for the school. Since charter schools tend to operate more efficiently than districts (by necessity given the funding levels), districts are often skeptical of the charter school’s budgets. Be sure to back up every line item with reasonable assumptions. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  21. Team: Education & Assessments Education & Assessments (more in Hour 2) • Curriculum: • Based on Research & State Standards. • Who is school educating? • What does it mean to be an educated person in the 21st C?, *How does learning best occur? • Students to be Served - identify school’s population, grade levels, numbers, etc. • Develop an academic accountability plan Developing a solid, research-based curriculum and assessment plan is naturally fundamental to getting a charter approved and a school open. This committee will have the largest amount of work and should be strongly committed to the school and its mission. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  22. Team: Facilities Facilities: • Conduct a needs assessment • Identify options • Evaluate and inspect potential sites • Review Codes, ordinances and regulations • Meet with City Planning Dept. • Prop 39 Request an option? Districts often challenge charter schools on their facilities options as part of the charter review process, so it is best to have realistic facilities possibilities that are accurately reflected in the school’s budget. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  23. Team: Technology Technology: • Technology Plan • Integral part of Curriculum • Curriculum drives the technology, not other way around. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  24. Team: Governance Governance: • Determine a governance structure • Recruit potential Board members • Develop Bylaws • Distinguish roles and responsibilities of the Board • Develop a Board manual and calendar • Identify legal status, tax exempt status • Review the Brown Act • Evaluation Plan for Board Districts look closely at the governance structure of a school, and will want to see that the governance plan in the charter is consistent with the school’s corporate bylaws. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  25. Team: HR HR/Staffing/Handbooks: • Create “draft” personnel policies and handbook • Create “draft” parent/student handbooks • Develop hiring policies and procedures (write job descriptions) • Develop staff evaluation process and policies • Design benefits packages, vacation policies, pension plans, workers compensation, unions representation • Establish parent contracts • Develop a school calendar Draft contracts, handbooks, etc. can go a long way toward convincing a district that the charter school is prepared to open in the Fall. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  26. Team: Community Outreach Community & Public Relations: • Develop an action plan • PR - positive image of school • Marketing & Enrollment • Parent and Community Venues • District Liaison (Trustees & Superintendent) © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  27. Business and Development Specialists For California Charter Schools Charter Development 101: Pre-Approval Moving from charter idea to charter approval Hour 2: Curriculum & Assessment Presented by the Charter Association in cooperation with

  28. Elements A-C • The charter petition requirements have three core education elements: • Curriculum and education program • Student outcomes • Assessments to measure student outcomes • Every major part of the curriculum (at least each core subject) should follow the pattern to the right. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  29. Elements A-C • After the pedagogical approach has been identified, it may help to organize elements A-C in a table to ensure the alignment of curriculum, outcomes, and assessments, e.g.: © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  30. Education Program: Element A • Education Philosophy, based on Research & Standards. • Whom is the school educating? • What does it mean to be an educated person in the 21st C? • How does learning best occur? • Students to be Served: • Identify school’s population • Grade levels • Numbers, etc. • Curriculum & Instructional Design: • Framework aligned with target population. • Basic learning environment • Teaching methods • Materials and technology © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  31. Education Program: Curriculum CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN Include a framework for instructional design How will the school meet the needs of the targeted student population? • Answer should include: • Curriculum • What is to be taught and why? • Methodology • How is it to be taught? • Resources/materials • What resources/ materials will be employed? • Learning Environment • Where does learning take place? © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  32. Education Program: Curriculum Explain methodology/ approach What instructional approach, learning styles, methodologies will be used to promote student achievement of desired goals? Sample: “There are many educational theories and practices that have proven to be effective in the classroom environment; XYZ schools will not subscribe to only one approach. We believe in allowing successful teachers to teach in an environment that supports their own successful practices and strategies.” -”It is the intention of Small Town Academy to model its instructional program after the ten characteristics of successful small schools outlined by the School Redesign Network at Stanford University. ….” “The following instructional strategies will be used in the classroom: Project based learning Cooperative learning” “Fundamental to our approach is service learning…” © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  33. Education Program: Curriculum What are the areas of study? Start with a purpose statement and/or a rationale. • “The curriculum is based on the belief that knowledge is information put to use and that to be informed is to be responsible…” • “The curriculum framework described herein is based upon the California Content Standards for grades five through eight, and is designed to prepare students for the best high schools, colleges, and universities in the country. Teachers will work with the School Leader to supplement this curriculum with their own innovations, research, and expertise.” Next describe the content to be covered Samples: Science: While it’s based on the California State Board of Education Science framework, the curriculum emphasizes exploration and discovery through hands on experimentation…. Mathematics: The math curriculum will provide students with the skills they need to excel in advanced math tracks at top high schools in the country… © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  34. Education Program: Curriculum Resources What resources will be drawn upon to deliver and strengthen the curriculum? Tools and resources can include: • Technology • Curricular materials such as state/district approved textbooks • Specialized curriculum such as reading recovery • Expertise unique to your community © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  35. Planning for all types of students • Authorizers will look for evidence that charter developers have thought about how to address the needs of many types of students, specifically: • Academic low achievers • Academic high achievers • English Learners • Special Education students © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  36. Academic Outcomes Academic outcomes Expectations for core content areas and necessary academic skills such as critical thinking skills, communication, etc… Exit outcomes What skills, attitudes, habits will students need to have to graduate? Core Academic Skills • Mathematics: Students will develop abilities to reason logically and to understand and apply mathematical processes and concepts, including those within arithmetic, algebra, and other mathematical subjects. • Critical Thinking : Students will think critically, creatively, and reflectively in making decisions, analyzing information, and solving problems. • Life long learning Skills: Work ethic; Study skills Promotional outcomes How will students matriculate through grades? • Students will advance and progress by demonstrating mastery of critical benchmarks of performance at designated times….. • Mastery of the objectives at each grade level will be the basis for promotion © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  37. Academic Outcomes • Explore a wide variety of student outcome possibilities: • Subject-matter competency • Academic achievement improvement • Leadership growth • Engagement in academic and non-academic activities • Placement into college or career • Re-designation to Fluent English Speaker • Set realistic goals for achievement growth. Bear in mind the benchmarks set by NCLB and the state (addressed in the following slides) to ensure that the school’s goals at least meet the state and federal goals. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  38. Assessment • Assessments & Outcomes: How do you know you are doing a good job? Describe the outcome you expect. • API & AYP How will you meet your API and AYP targets? • Methods of Assessment Variety of objective assessment methods, (STAR, CAHSEE, student portfolios, authentic assessments.) • Dissemination of Assessment How to use assessment for continuous improvement. Communications with major stakeholders. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  39. State Standardized Test Primer © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  40. State Standardized Test Primer • California has a variety of standardized tests to track student performance, the core of which is STAR: © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  41. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) • API is the centerpiece of California’s accountability model. The new AYP is state’s accountability model for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). • Whereas API is a growth accountability model, AYP is status model based on absolute benchmarks. • Failure to meet AYP (on the same indicator) in successive years has serious implications for schools that accept federal funds (Title I, II…) © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  42. Alternative Assessments • Many charter schools use alternative assessment measures to track their progress internally and report to the chartering agency (these assessments do not replace the state-mandated assessments discussed previously) • Digital Portfolios • Digital repository of essays, photos of projects, etc. • School should have clear rubric on how portfolios are assessed to ensure consistency. • Non-academic measures of progress • Surveys of student satisfaction • Attendance rates, parent participation, etc. • Technology skills measured by CTAP annual surveys © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  43. Formative Assessments • Some schools also use ongoing formative assessments to help shape the learning program during the course of the year. • Formative assessments help teachers and students understand where more work needs to be done while there is still time to address academic weaknesses. • Some vendors provide computer-based assessments that align with the state standards, including: • Renaissance Learning • EduSoft, PLATO, others © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  44. Assessments © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  45. Special Education • Plan for Special Education • Process to identify Special Education pupils • How will school provide services and programs • What are the legal responsibilities and how will school meet these obligations © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  46. SPED Responsibilities • What are the responsibilities of Charter Schools to Meet the Needs of Special Education Students? • Comply with a student’s IEP by providing: • a “free, appropriate public education” (FAPE) • with access to the “full continuum” of special education services • in the “least restrictive environment.” • Comply with: • Individuals With Disabilities Act • Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) • Section 504 of US Rehabilitation Code. • Adhere to SELPA Local Plan (Special Education Local Planning Area) • May not discriminate against an “otherwise qualified” student. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  47. SPED Qualifications • Who Qualifies for Special Education? • Learning Disabled Students: Students with a severe discrepancy between their ability and achievement in one or more of: oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation, mathematics reasoning. • Physically Disabled Students: Students with physical disability, such as: asthma, obesity, muscular dystrophy, growth issues, cancer, diabetes, hearing loss, impaired vision, ADD/ADHD, recovering students © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  48. SPED Options When drafting the language of your charter as it relates to special education consider the following questions: • Who will be responsible for serving students? • Who will be responsible for funding services? © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  49. Special Education Options (2) • Charter Schools have three basic options for receiving services: • As a school within the District (the default): You pay the“encroachment” and they provide service and take the risk • Become your own LEA and join a SELPA: You receive approx. $650 in state and federal funds / ADA, and handle all Sped (with the risk) • Create your own SELPA • By default a charter school is a public school of its granting agency for special education purposes. Most petitioners will restate their intention to remain a public school of the granting agency in the charter. • By law, the granting agency must ensure that students of the charter school are provided with services and funding for special education in the same manner as other students in the granting agency. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004

  50. Special Education Options (3) Becoming your own LEA Must provide verifiable written assurances in petition or otherwise that the charter school will participate as a local educational agency in a special education plan area (SELPA). An LEA is solely responsible for compliance with IDEA with regard to services and funding of services. LEA benefits/burdens: Benefits: participation in SELPA governance; no encroachment fee to granting agency; management of own special education services Burdens: unforeseeable, potentially catastrophic financial risk; risk of noncompliance Creating your own LEA Authorized by law, but difficult to understand how it could legally work. © California Charter Schools Association, EdTec Inc., SMY&M 2004