July 2016 Newsletter: Discipline Resources

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Charter School Discipline Resources for Charter School Leaders

The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) released three new resources for school leaders who are considering changing or updating their discipline policies:

  • Charter School Discipline Toolkit: A Toolkit for Charter School Leaders: The toolkit includes surveys, templates, webinars, workbooks, and publications that are informed by individual interviews conducted with charter school leaders across the nation who have successfully established positive and supportive school environments. It presents five enabling factors that are key drivers in the planning and implementation of discipline reform.
  • Charter School Discipline Report: Examples of Policies and School Climate Efforts from the Field: This report highlights four charter schools that have implemented positive school discipline models (New Orleans College Prep, Rowe Elementary in Chicago, KIPP Bay Area, and Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego). These schools have implemented innovative and intentional approaches to school discipline and have sustained or improved academic performance while decreasing or having historically low suspension and expulsion rates.
  • Case Study: Student Discipline and School Climate in Charter Schools: Four video segments serve as companion pieces to the above-mentioned case study report. 
    • Video 1 – Introduction: The Urgency of Improving Discipline Policies and School Climate in Charter Schools
    • Video 2 – The Approach to Building a Positive School Climate: The ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of Shaping Fair and Effective Policies and Practices
    • Video 3 – Laying the Right Foundation: Getting Buy-in Around Discipline and School Climate Approaches
    • Video 4 – Conclusion: The Future of Student Discipline and School Climate

You can view the resources here.

Authorizer Evaluation Summary: An Analysis of Evaluations of Authorizer Quality

With 42 states and Washington, D.C., now authorizing nearly 6,700 public charter schools that enroll approximately three million children, ensuring charter school quality is a high priority for public education stakeholders.  Authorizers play a critical accountability role in the charter school landscape by creating and approving new charter school applications, providing oversight for the charter schools’ academic and operational performance, and making high-stakes decisions when a charter school is not meeting agreed-upon achievement standards. However, the correlation between high-quality authorization practices and charter school impact has largely been unexplored.

To that end, the NCSRC recently released a report on authorizer evaluations. The report uses quantitative analysis to examine six years of National Association of Charter School Authorizers evaluations and authorizer characteristics to explore authorizing policies and practices.

The analysis revealed clear authorizer best practices and areas for improvement and growth, as well as provided a national context on the relationship between authorizer characteristics, policies, and practices. Authorizers, policymakers, and key stakeholders in the charter school sector can use this report as a starting point for information about effective authorizing practices.

You can read the full report here.

Case Study on Indianapolis Mayor's Office

In 2001, the Indiana legislature approved a law making Indianapolis the first U.S. city where the mayor can authorize charter schools. Indianapolis has since received national recognition for its authorizing practices and school choice policies. Due to its strong authorizing policies and practices, the NCSRC conducted a case study on the Indianapolis Mayor's Office (IMO).

The IMO authorizes 73% of the charter schools in Indianapolis and almost 40% of the charter schools in Indiana. Two IMO-authorized charter schools serve students from the IndyEast Promise Zone. A Promise Zone is a high-poverty urban, rural, or tribal community where the federal government partners with local businesses and leaders to increase economic activity, create jobs and private investments, improve educational opportunities, and reduce violence.

Indianapolis has successfully merged friendly school choice policies while remaining strong in its oversight of public charter schools. This video provides a brief overview of the IMO's authorizing practices. The practices, including setting clear and high criteria for charter schools from the outset, clearly communicating expectations, and giving context for performance measures, provide examples for other authorizers across the country. 

You can view the case study here.

Case Study on AppleTree Institute in Washington, D.C.

Many children enter the education system without the social-emotional, language and other skills they need for success later in kindergarten. AppleTree, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, opened its first early learning public charter school in 2005 to address the achievement gap at the earliest school ages. It is currently serving 750 students in seven campuses in all four quadrants of the city. The NCSRC recently observed this successful and expanding network of charter schools for three- and four-year-olds and documented findings in a series of six videos.

With the assistance of an Investing in Innovation grant supplemented by a Charter School Program dissemination grant, AppleTree developed an instructional model called Every Child Ready (ECR). ECR includes a detailed curriculum, comprehensive training and professional development for teachers, family engagement, and data-driven tools to measure program quality, monitor children's progress, and individualize instruction. In addition to AppleTree's seven schools, nine other preschool programs in the District use ECR. Collectively, ECR reaches over 1,660 children. The case study’s focus on curriculum, professional development, and performance measurement provides examples of quality early childhood practices for all charter schools.

You can view the case study here.

News Clips

IDEA Public Schools Wins 2016 Broad Prize, Named Best Public Charter System in U.S.

Texas-based IDEA Public Schools is the winner of this year’s Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, an award that recognizes a high-performing public charter management organization that serves low-income students and students of color. IDEA, which was a finalist for last year’s Broad Prize as well, will receive a $250,000 award. The organization will use it to support its college-readiness efforts.

IDEA opened its doors 16 years ago and now serves more than 24,000 students in 44 schools throughout the Austin, Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio regions of Texas. IDEA serves a largely Hispanic population, and 90% of its students are low-income. However, the charter organization boasts impressive academic achievements, including a 99% on-time graduation rate for its Hispanic students. For the past ten consecutive years, 100% of IDEA graduates have been accepted to a four-year college or university. Additionally, IDEA alumni graduate college at five times the national average.

A seven-member review board of national education experts reviewed student outcomes, college readiness indicators, scalability, size, poverty, and demographics to determine the winner. IDEA beat out 29 other public charter management systems to win the award. Success Academy in New York City and YES Prep Public Schools in Houston were the other two finalists.

Watch a video that highlights the three finalists here.

New Orleans to Regain Local Control of All-Charter School System after 11 Years of State Control

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill in May that will to return control of all public schools in New Orleans to the locally elected school board for the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The return of control from the state to the local district has stirred national debate, although there appears to be more local stakeholders who consider the change the next step in the city’s version of profound reform. Orleans Parish leaders are currently working on the transition, which must take place by July 1, 2019. 

The state began taking over low-performing New Orleans schools in 2003. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the state  gained oversight of almost all public schools in the city, and many were converted to independent charter schools. The local district retained control over a handful of schools that had been magnet schools prior to the hurricane. Currently, New Orleans is essentially an all-charter school city, with the highest percentage of charter school enrollees than any other city in the country. The state superintendent, John White, spearheaded the effort to return control of Orleans Parish’s schools.

Read more here.

U.S. Department of Education Releases Toolkit to Support Immigrants and Refugees

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education released a Newcomer Toolkit designed to help schools support immigrants, refugees, and their families with a successful integration process.  This toolkit provides information, resources and examples of effective practices that educators can use to support newcomers in our schools and communities.

Read more here.


July 31 – August 2, 2016: 2016 North Carolina Charter Schools Conference
Asheville, NC

August 1 – August 2, 2016: 2016 VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference
Pittsburgh, PA