August 2017 Newsletter
Case Study on Valor Collegiate Academies
The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) produced a case study on Valor Collegiate Academies, an intentionally diverse charter management organization (CMO) that operates two high-performing charter schools in Nashville, Tennessee. Valor opened its first school in 2014-15, and serves 740 students ranging from grades 5-8.
Valor is part of a small but growing number of charter schools that have been founded with the explicit purpose and intentional design to serve a wide variety of backgrounds, including, but not limited to, a racially, culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse student body (hereafter referred to as “intentionally diverse” schools). Research finds that all students in diverse settings benefit from cross-racial and cross-cultural understanding, breaking down stereotypes, and decreasing bias and prejudice.
This case study consists of four videos highlighting key decisions and metrics that Valor leadership and school staff use to design and maintain schools that enable all students to thrive and learn from each other’s diverse backgrounds. It provides an overview of the diverse school community at Valor; discusses student recruitment and parent engagement, how to support the diversity of student, staff, and family needs and experiences; and provides advice for other charter school leaders interested in starting an intentionally diverse school or improving student and staff diversity.
To read more and view the videos, click here.
Recent NCSRC Resources
- Webinar: Recruitment for Governing Boards: This webinar is designed to help charter school leaders understand the skills, experiences, perspectives, and networks among board members that are essential for a charter school to achieve its goals.
- Students with Disabilities Resources: This compilation is designed to provide the charter school community with access to useful information (such as research, case studies, and toolkits) in support of their work to effectively serve students with disabilities.
- Charter School Discipline Toolkit: A Toolkit for Charter School Leaders: The NCSRC presents a toolkit on ways that school leaders can rethink student discipline and school climate. The five enabling factors in the planning and implementation of discipline reform include: 1) defining the scope of change, 2) creating a vision, 3) driving commitment to change, 4) revising policies and procedures, and 5) sustaining change.
- Webinar: The Role of States and Charter School Authorizers in Overseeing Student Discipline in Charter Schools: This webinar presented recent research on disciplinary practices in charter schools and gave concrete suggestions from current and former authorizers on how other states and authorizers can improve their own oversight work in this area. The NCSRC has developed a suite of resources related to school climate and discipline. These include a toolkit for school leaders, a case study report that highlights successful practices and accompanying videos, and a compendium of resources related to school climate and discipline.
- A User’s Guide to Fiscal Oversight for Charter School Governing Boards and Authorizers: These two toolkits foster proper fiscal oversight of charter schools. One toolkit is targeted to charter school governing boards, while the other is for charter school authorizers. Governing boards and authorizers are key stakeholders in ensuring a charter school is financially viable and able to pursue its primary educational goals. Each toolkit compiles successful practices and recommendations on how to prevent, identify, and manage the common financial issues that charter schools face.
Recent NCSRC Partner Resources
- Assessing and Improving Special Education: A Program Review Tool for Schools and Districts Engaged in Rapid School Improvement: Anecdotal reports from those who have worked extensively in efforts to turn around persistently low-performing schools, and at least one state study of such schools, suggest that our lowest-performing schools tend to have above-average enrollment of students with disabilities. For schools in which this is the case, successful turnaround will depend on a focused and data-driven effort to ensure that those students are provided with a high-quality special education program.
- Los Angeles Charter Groups Give Students Two Months’ More Math Learning Than Other LA Public Schools, Analysis of New CREDO Data Finds: An average of 40 additional days of learning in math and 24 days of learning in reading are being gained in Los Angeles' 14 larger charter school networks, according to an analysis of a new Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) report. The new report on charter management organizations analyzed the academic progress of students in one academic year, studying 240 CMOs in 26 states (data was from 3.7 million students).
- October 9-11, 2017: Pacific Rim Conference on Disability and Diversity
- October 11-13, 2017: Texas Charter School Conference
- October 16-18, 2017: NACSA Leadership Conference