The Charter Connection - August 2021

Resource Selection
24 Aug, 2021

Back-to-School Supports for English Learners

English Learners (ELs) were tremendously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and require special consideration as schools prepare for a new year. From the fallout of the digital divide to overcoming trauma, our EL students need a system of processes and caring supports to help them thrive.

NCSRC’s new English Learners in Charter Schools learning experience offers videos, podcasts, and resources aimed at assisting schools in better serving their EL students during a new school year and beyond.

Modules in the ELs in Charter Schools series

Module #1 - Transitioning Back to In-Person Learning​: Summarizes lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and ideas to transition ELs back to in-person instruction.

Module #2 - Setting Up Processes and Systems to Serve ELs in Charter Schools​: Guides charter schools who are working to provide rigorous, supportive, and compliant learning environments for ELs.​

Module #3 - Family Engagement - From Recruitment to Ongoing Engagement​: Provides charter schools with practical tips for fostering EL family engagement within their schools.​

The podcast episodes feature the insights and experiences from leaders of EL programs at Uplift Education (TX) and Family Life Academy Charter Schools (NY).



Montage of children learning in three different classrooms

How Charter Schools Can Leverage Community Assets through Partnerships

Community partnerships enable charter schools to provide a wide variety of resources and opportunities that improve outcomes for students. How Charter Schools Can Leverage Community Assets through Partnerships is a guide for charter school operators in their design and implementation of community partnerships and can be used by operators in any phase of school development.


Summer Chats: July 20, July 27, and August 3

NCSRC also hosted a series of Summer Chats featuring interviews with staff members from the schools featured in this report. Go to our website to watch those conversations.


A map of the United States

High-Quality Charter Authorizing Policy Profiles

NCSRC recently expanded our database of High-Quality Charter Authorizing Policy Profiles (State Profiles). The current 27 State Profiles represent the CSP State Entity (SE) grantees for years 2017 to 2020 and offer summaries of states’ charter school authorization policy landscape. 

Researchers reviewed legislation and policy in each state against the Policy Framework for High-Quality Charter Authorizing Practices (Framework), identified whether the authorizing practices specified in the Framework were present in state law or policy, and then asked representatives from active SE grantees to review the final profiles for accuracy. The result is a detailed summary of each state’s policies for authorizing new high-quality charter schools. 


New Resources on the NCSRC Website

Doing What’s Best For Kids: Breakthrough’s Response to the Pandemic
Breakthrough Public Schools received a CSP dissemination grant to share best practices related to facilities. When schools closed due to COVID, Breakthrough shifted practices to meet student needs, re-purpose facilities, and build community partnerships to ensure students had food and technology to continue learning. This report provides an overview of Breakthrough’s response to the pandemic, including their approaches to technology, student meals, and teacher trainin on distanceg learning.

A Strategic City-Based Framework for Effectively and Efficiently Educating Students with Disabilities
The Center for Learner Equity has published an introduction to the critical components of a strategic, city-based framework for serving students with disabilities, along with details on how this can lead to better access and outcomes for those students. The Center advocates for more concerted collaboration between charter schools, regional governments, funders, and authorizers to better support students with disabilities. 


Identifying Indicators of Distress

Our recent toolkit Identifying Indicators of Distress in Charter Schools: Tools to Support Authorizer Data Collection can help authorizers build on their data collection processes to identify struggling schools prior to failure, and prior to not meeting renewal criteria. 

This toolkit includes tools to help authorizers identify indicators of distress, audit their current data collection methods for evaluating indicators of distress, and assess whether and to what extent the schools in their portfolio are showing indicators of distress.

Indicator card from the IOD report

This toolkit builds on NCSRC’s earlier report, Identifying Indicators of Distress in Charter Schools Part 1: The Role and Perspective of Charter School Authorizers, released in 2020. Both publications are the product of extensive qualitative research and formal interviews with authorizers across policy contexts from a variety of authorizing entities.



A cartoon schoolhouse

Credit Enhancement Transactions Dashboard

The CSP Credit Enhancement Transactions Dashboard is a new interactive tool to explore lending information for grantees of the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program (Credit Enhancement Program).

As of 2019, the Credit Enhancement Program, out of the U.S. Department of Education Charter School Programs, has helped leverage approximately $6.7 billion in financing for 766 charter school facilities.

The CSP Credit Enhancement Transactions Dashboard can help charter schools find information about charter school facility lending and connect with lenders to secure lower cost financing for facility projects. 


The Dashboard features:

  • A list of lending institutions that use Credit Enhancement Program funding to help charter schools
  • Information about these lending institutions and details on their past support provided to charter schools
  • A map of all charter schools’ locations that have been served by the Credit Enhancement Program


Questions or feedback? We’re here to help.


Watch recordings and download resources from every NCSRC webinar at our website.

And if you're new to The Charter Connection, you can find all previous issues in the NCSRC Newsletter Archive.