Every five years, a public charter school’s board of trustees and school leadership goes through either a review or renewal of its charter.
We often hear questions such as:
How do I know my school is under review? Or renewal?
What exactly IS the review process and how do I know where my school stands?
How do we know what our charter school goals are and how do we know whether we are meeting them?
Is it too late to start a turnaround effort and what is a turnaround?
Our review is happening this year and we are not meeting all of our goals--but we are doing great things for kids! The PCSB won’t really close us, will they?
These questions lead us to partner with FOCUS to provide school boards’ and leadership with guidance on these questions and more in a new toolkit, Preparing for DC Charter School Review and Renewal.
While every school is unique, there are fundamentals school leaders need to know in order to prepare for and be successful in these reviews that creep up every five years. Schools need to know the policies in which they operate--like when the DC PCSB board has discretion according to the law and when they do not; and the role charter goals play in whether a school remains closed or open. Schools also need concrete, practical advice outside of policy, which FOCUS provides throughout the toolkit. Finally, a schools board and leadership need to know their options if they are not on track to meet goals and may be closed by the DC PCSB. Most importantly, they need to be paying attention to progress toward goals every year, not just in review years.
The Toolkit includes decision trees, sample documents, data from past years, and policy language all in one document. The toolkit also provides concrete questions boards and school leaders should be talking through to ensure they are delivering for students and families.