Spotlight on Charter Schools Program’s National Dissemination Grants
Last summer, the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) awarded $4.2 million in new National Dissemination grant funds to support the charter school sector and increase the number of high-quality charter schools by disseminating best practices. Each grant is focused on one of three priorities: addressing the impact of COVID-19 on students, educators, and faculty; supporting a diverse educator workforce and professional growth to strengthen student learning; and strengthening cross-agency coordination and community engagement to advance systemic change. Let’s take a moment to learn more about these six projects now that grantees are one year into their grant work.
California Charter Authorizing Professionals
Project Title: The National Network for District Authorizing Collaboration Initiative
The National Network for District Authorizing (NN4DA) supports state-level initiatives that strengthen the charter school authorizing practices of school districts. NN4DA has three state association members in California, Colorado, and Florida, and plans to incorporate additional state-based partners soon. With its CSP National Dissemination grant, NN4DA seeks to create, evolve, and disseminate best practices for district-led charter school authorizing to address emerging national and state issues; to catalyze and support cross-agency collaboration to serve traditionally marginalized students, and to help more district authorizers in participating states to implement updated best practices in charter school authorizing. These objectives will be accomplished by developing model materials, tracking emerging national issues, developing a network of peers, fostering new allies, and supporting the development of state partners.
Green Dot Public Schools
Project Title: A Multi-Context Operational Guidebook to Catalyze Charter-District Partnerships Focused on Turning Around Low-Performing Schools
Green Dot Public Schools was founded in Los Angeles in 1999 and has grown to serve more than 12,500 students in 24 middle and high schools in California, Tennessee, and Texas. Green Dot purposely locates its schools in historically low-income communities lacking a high-quality public education option and serves students most at risk of not achieving their potential. The network is an experienced leader in school turnaround and now operates seven turnaround schools in three states. Green Dot's CSP National Dissemination grant will be used to help identify the criteria to build strong, collaborative district-CMO partnerships, define best operational practices to turn around low-performing schools, document and disseminate an Operational Guidebook, and engage districts and CMOs across the country to utilize the Guidebook to improve low-performing schools. It will include a partnership guide, new staff onboarding materials, and best practices for school operations in a partnership model.
National Charter Schools Institute
Project Title: A-GAME Measure What Matters: Expanding A-GAME to Schools, Boards, and Authorizers
The A-GAME is a partnership between the National Charter Schools Institute and Momentum Strategy & Research. Along with WestEd, who provides their Indicators of Distress research developed through the National Charter School Resource Center, 15 early adopters lead the way by creating and sharing NEXT practices, developing content for convenings, and facilitating discussions among other charter school authorizers, school leaders, and board members. The A-GAME is a framework and process for creating responsive goals to measure school quality. It has four domains: global access, academics, mission, and equity. In each domain, the ways these areas are measured are different, measuring what matters most to families and ensuring the results are easily quantifiable for the authorizer and state agency. The A-GAME already has many resources available for download by visiting their website, including short videos, tools, and documents. You can also join the A-GAME Community for free to further access resources, information, and upcoming events.
Massachusetts Charter Public School Association
Project Title: Educating for Excellence: Creating and Sustaining Diverse and Effective Charter School Leadership through the Dissemination of Programs & Supports
The Massachusetts Charter Public School Association's (MCPSA) mission is to create and protect the conditions that will enable the charter public school sector to thrive and advance the larger goal of ensuring all Massachusetts children and families have equitable access to high-quality schools. Through its National Dissemination grant, MCPSA seeks to improve the effectiveness and retention of new and diverse charter leaders; improve the quality of charter board governance; address the issue of many charter public schools not having leadership succession plans; and improve the quality of charter public school leadership and board governance nationally by disseminating best practices. These objectives will be accomplished through a New Charter Leaders Program, a Board Leadership Academy, a board effectiveness diagnostic tool, and succession planning supports.
Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School
Project Title: Disseminating Lessons from Instituto Mundo Verde’s Efforts to Build a Pipeline of Bilingual Charter School Educators
Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School operates two campuses in Washington, D.C. and is designed as a one-of-a-kind educational model focused on sustainability, as well as biliteracy in English and Spanish. Through its National Dissemination grant, it seeks to create equity-centered authentic and fully accessible professional development for all bilingual educators. Mundo Verde will work to increase the quality of instruction in bilingual education and reduce the achievement gap among English Learners (EL) and other at-risk students through webinars, workshops, self-paced trainings, and a fellowship program. These activities will help disseminate lessons and learnings on the tenants of bilingual education; increase the number of teachers in bilingual schools with heritage languages and cultural backgrounds of EL students; increase the numbers of paraprofessionals and teachers new to the field that understand how to support EL students; and increase the number of teachers of color.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Project Title: A Proposal to Create the Charter School Collaborative to Accelerate Student Learning in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) is a national nonprofit organization committed to leading public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter school movement. NAPCS’s National Dissemination grant is focused on exploring pandemic-era practices that have the potential to improve education outcomes, student learning, and school success in the coming years. It seeks to create a lasting set of resources and supports informed by an in-depth study of how innovative schools thrived through and beyond the pandemic. Their research includes focus groups, site visits, interviews, and surveys of charter leaders, teachers, school staff, parents, authorizers, and charter support organizations. The suite of resources will include policy briefs, case studies identifying best practices, and toolkits to help charter schools implement these best practices. They will be available on NAPCS’s website and presented at conferences, meetings, and webinars.