All charter schools undergo a rigorous renewal process led by the Portfolio Management Team during the Fall of their final year of their charter term. Renewal recommendations are made based upon a body of evidence of the school’s academic and organizational performance, with academic performance being the primary consideration.
The body of evidence that informs a renewal decision includes:
- a renewal application;
- a renewal site visit that includes classroom observations, teacher and leader interviews and student and parent focus groups;
- an examination of school governance and financial sustainability, including a board meeting visit, board leader interviews and a financial analysis; and
- a comprehensive analysis of student academic outcomes as well as parent and student satisfaction through the SPF
The most important criterion in renewal decisions is student academic growth and proficiency.
The charter renewal process gives charter schools an opportunity to present clear and compelling evidence regarding how well they are serving their students. It also provides the school an occasion to examine progress towards meeting its mission, assess its strengths and needs, and plan a strategy for continuous improvement.
Criteria: School Quality Framework
The School Quality Framework (SQF) is a matrix of research-based indicators outlining the factors that typically contribute to successful autonomous school. It was developed to ensure a common understanding of quality and help guide the Portfolio Management Team’s renewal, quality assurance, and new school oversight. The rubric associated with the framework outlines the criteria for both reviewers and school participants in these processes. The rubric evaluates the following domains: Teaching, Leadership, Educational Program, School Culture, and Governance.
The SQF is designed to be model neutral, allowing it to be used to evaluate a range of school models while honoring charter autonomy. The SQF rubric is publicly available so that schools are clear on criteria being used.
While all schools must go through renewal, there are a few ways in which the process is differentiated:
- For schools operating with a CMO/EMO, the renewal process will also include an assessment of the CMO/EMO organizational capacity as it applies to the school(s) up for renewal
- Consistently high-performing schools can expect a shorter site visit and a streamlined renewal application.
Continuum of Renewal Recommendations
Note: Organizational Health, particularly financial viability, is also a key factor in determining renewal recommendations