August 2018 Newsletter

NCSRC Toolkits Connect Charter Boards on Enrollment and Board Governance Resources

Charter school boards make key decisions that ultimately lead to the success or failure of a school. The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) developed two new toolkits to support board members by connecting them with effective strategies for student enrollment and building strong boards. Each toolkit was produced in partnership with Charter Board Partners, a national nonprofit that works to ensure that the boards governing public charter schools are focused on quality, equity, and accountability.

Charter School Enrollment: A Toolkit for Board Members focuses on the role charter school boards have in student recruitment and enrollment strategy, a major determinant of the school’s total revenue. This toolkit explains how strong boards raise and use resources wisely. Good boards understand how a school's decisions in recruitment, outreach, and program design potentially affect the enrollment, which, in turn, shapes the school's fiscal viability. Strong financial stewardship involves knowledge of aspects that influence enrollment. You can read the full toolkit here.

The second toolkit, Charter School Governing Board Composition: A Toolkit for Board Members, is aimed at connecting charter school board members with information on governing board composition. The toolkit is designed to support boards in building the best membership with people who bring the skills, perspectives, experiences, and networks the board needs to have a substantial and ongoing impact on their school and community. You can read the full toolkit here.

NCSRC Resources

  • New School Development: A Toolkit for Charter Support Organizations and Charter School Founders
    The NCSRC released a new toolkit to help Charter Support Organizations (CSOs) and charter school founders find key resources on opening a new charter school. The number of new charter schools opening each year is down in many states. Founding groups report a variety of challenges that make it more difficult to open new schools, including securing affordable and appropriate facilities and estimating enrollment or recruiting students, among many others. In response to these challenges, the NCSRC has designed a navigational toolkit that provides a wide array of publicly available New School Design (NSD) resources across the country.
  • Virtual Charter School Accountability: What We Can Do Now
    The NCSRC, in collaboration with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), has developed a tool for authorizers and states to provide more effective oversight of virtual charter schools. This paper provides concrete examples of what to look for when reviewing applications for new virtual schools as well as questions to ask when conducting due-diligence and ideas to consider when establishing strong oversight mechanisms. The NCSRC and NACSA produced this paper in consultation with a working group of state education agency officials and charter authorizers with extensive experience in the virtual sector. The resources include a full paper and a shorter primer that highlights key findings from the research.
  • Webinar: Tracking Outcomes Beyond School
    This webinar explores the data and measures that are expanding the meaning of charter school success to emphasize the things that students do in life after they leave a charter school. Presenters from Democracy Prep Public Schools and Noble Network of Charter Schools shared what their schools are doing to gather and apply data related to post-high school success. Education author Richard Whitmire discussed his work assembling and creating a series of stories on highly-successful networks that use data as part of their strategy to support students in completing college at much higher rates than is traditionally the case. Presenters also discussed how data is collected, analyzed, and disseminated to provide attendees with insight into how a charter school can track alumni progress and engagement in college life and community, develop programs to support student success and share best practices, and scale the model to multiple schools.
  • Case Study: Deep Community Engagement at the Native American Community Academy (NACA) 
    This case study featuring NACA in Albuquerque explores how students demonstrate academic achievement, proficiency, retention, graduation, and college attendance rates that far outpace their Native American peers at the district, state, and national levels. NACA grew into the NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN), an Indigenous Education Network, to expand its culturally-responsive, community-led model. Watch the case study to learn more about the community engagement and cultural identity work of NACA and the NISN Fellowship.

NCSRC Partner Resources

  • Leadership, Commitment, Judgment: Elements of Successful Charters School Authorizing
    This paper by NACSA looks at the best practices that great authorizers implement. NACSA found that effective authorizers share unmistakable characteristics, including leadership, commitment, and judgment. Based on observations of exemplary authorizers, NACSA presents steps that authorizers can take to build these key characteristics.

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