May 2018 Newsletter

NCSRC Releases Dashboards For U.S. Department of Education Charter Schools Program Grantees

The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) recently released a series of data dashboards prepared for the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP). These dashboards provide comprehensive data about CSP grantees that received awards through the State Education Agency (SEA) program from Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016. The dashboards allow users to explore the details of each state’s CSP program and better understand the scope and scale of local efforts to support charter schools with CSP funds.

SEA grantees use these funds to award subgrants to individual charter schools to help new schools meet costs associated with opening a new charter school or to support the replication and expansion of successful charter schools. 

These dashboards provide information on each state’s award, the subgrants awarded to individual schools, details on school enrollment and location, and other information on the state-operated CSP and the state charter context.

You can view the dashboards here.

Analyzing the Charter School Facility Landscape in New Hampshire

In the spring of 2017, the NCSRC, the Colorado League of Charter Schools (the League), the New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (the Alliance) collaborated to collect data and information about charter school facilities and facilities expenditures in the state of New Hampshire.

We identified 24 brick and mortar New Hampshire charter school facilities that were eligible to participate in this project. All 24 eligible charter school facilities completed the Charter School Facilities Survey. Some of the key findings include:

  • New Hampshire charter schools spend operating dollars on facilities, and this spending varies across different ownership status;
  • New Hampshire charter schools have limited access to state and local facilities funding;
  • The majority of New Hampshire charter schools are lacking the amenities and specialized instructional spaces required to best implement their educational programs;
  • New Hampshire charter schools have limited access to space in vacant or underutilized district facilities; and
  • Physical education and recreational options may be limited for New Hampshire charter school students.

You can view the full report here.

Colorado Charter Schools Struggle to Obtain and Access Funding for Facilities

In conjunction with the New Hampshire survey described above, the NCSRC and the League administered a similar survey in Colorado in the spring of 2017. The survey found that Colorado charter schools face challenges in securing and paying for adequate facilities.

We identified 223 brick and mortar Colorado charter school facilities that were eligible to participate in this project. Of these, 206 eligible charter school facilities completed the Charter School Facilities Survey (92 percent). The sample of brick and mortar charter schools is representative of the state in terms of region, school type/grade configuration, and management type.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Colorado charter schools spend operating dollars on facilities, and this spending varies across different ownership situation, with the 26 percent of charter schools in district facilities spending the least and those in buildings they purchased or leasing from non-profits spending the most;
  • Colorado’s charter sector is poised for continued growth, but state facility funding is not keeping pace with rising enrollment and real estate costs;
  • Facility costs for Colorado charter schools are increasing;
  • More districts in Colorado are sharing bond revenue with their authorized charter schools, but charter schools continue to receive less state grant funding than their scale indicates;
  • Many Colorado charter schools continue to lack the facility amenities, technology, and specialized instructional spaces they require to best implement their educational programs;
  • Physical education and recreational options may be limited for Colorado charter school students; and
  • Serving meals can be a challenge for many Colorado charter schools.

You can view the full report here.

NCSRC Resources

  • Virtual Charter School Accountability: What We Can Do Now: This paper gives SEAs and authorizers the tools and perspectives needed to provide better-informed and more effective oversight of virtual schools. Produced by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) in collaboration with the NCRSC, it offers practical guidance. Authorizers can establish clear communication with virtual charter schools about how their performance will be documented and measured before a charter is granted. Clarity regarding outcomes can improve the renewal process, and help authorizers better ensure these schools are living up to their promises to students and families.
  • Webinar: Tracking Outcomes Beyond School: This webinar explored data and measures—like college enrollment rates, college completion, and long-term earnings—that expand the meaning of student success after high school graduation. The discussion was based on Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) with exceptionally high rates of college success and discussed how these exemplars collect, analyze, and apply data, in combination with programs, to successfully support their students’ post-secondary progress. Network leaders shared their lessons, including how to stay focused on the student and family’s perspectives.
  • Intentionally Diverse Charter Schools: A Toolkit for Charter School Leaders: This toolkit is designed to help charter school leaders and their stakeholders design and implement intentionally diverse charter schools. It presents decisions and actions, along with specific examples from three diverse charter schools for school leaders’ consideration.
  • Personalized Learning at Cornville Regional Charter School Case Study: Personalized learning is a philosophy that uses student-centered practices and technology to integrate student interests and self-pacing into their curriculum. This case study provides an overview of personalized learning broadly, and specifically at Cornville Regional Charter School—a small school in rural Maine. It shows personalized learning in action, offers suggestions on how charter schools can implement personalized learning, and pinpoints the overall benefits of personalized learning.

NCSRC Partner Resources

  • Authorizer Voices: Serving Students with Unique Needs: This video is part of a series from NACSA, presenting authorizer voices. The video discusses ways that authorizers ensure access to charter schools for students with unique needs. Authorizers first give parents quality options. They leverage school autonomy. They expect schools to reflect their neighborhoods and cities. And they partner with schools to fix problems. 

  • Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter Public School Laws: The Alliance developed a model state law to help states create laws that support the growth of high-quality charter public schools. Each year it ranks states based on how well their charter school laws align to this model. The 2017 rankings also reflect the continued steps many states took in 2016 to strengthen their laws and foster a landscape of high-quality charter schools that have a positive impact on students.

​​Education News

  • Data Analysis Finds Charters More Inclusive for Students with Disabilities: A new report from the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) provides an overview of data on special education in charter schools taken from the Civil Rights Data Collection. The report finds that charter schools serve a higher percent of other students with disabilities in a more inclusive setting when compared to traditional public schools. NCSECS found that nearly 85 percent of students with disabilities attend class in general education classrooms for 80 percent or more of their day—compared to 68 percent of students with disabilities in traditional public schools.

  • Harvard Study Shows Public Support for Charter Schools Jumped 10 Points in Last Year: A nationally representative survey administered by the University of Southern California and analyzed by the Education Next team at Harvard, found that the share favoring charters jumped from 52 to 62 percent. This study provides a counter-point and update to surveys last year that demonstrated rapidly declining support for charter schools. 

Events