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Tips for Charter Schools


Everyone could use advice from time to time.  See below for a list of tips. 

Know your Authorizing Options

Whether your state has multiple authorizers or only one choice its important to know your options. 

State by State Listing of Authorizing Options

Meeting with your Potential Authorizer
Don't go in cold to a meeting with your potential authorizer.  Show them your are serious about your school.  Have an idea of your school's focus, grade levels, location and any aspect that will be unique and innovative about your school.  Click here to see a list of questsions you should ask your potential authorizer.  Some authorizer are better than other about posting information on their websites.  Do you research before attending the meeting.  Know as mch as you can but don't be afraid to ask questions.


Choosing a Charter Planning Committee

Some state charter school laws require specific members for the Charter Planning Committee while others have no requirements.  Make sure to check your charter school law before choosing all of your members.

Working with an EMO/CMO

An Education Management Organization (for profit) or a Charter Mangement Organization (nonprofit) are companies that either run the operations of the school or help manage the operations of the school.   Visit the National Charter Resource Center for a review of for profit and nonprofit management organizations.

Writing your Application

Writing your application is a process not an event.  Give yourself time to write, think, process, rewrite and start all over.  If more than one person is writing the application find some consistency.  Authorizers will wonder if your application "cut and pasted" if it feels choppy.

Choosing your Mission and Writing SMART Goals

Once you have chosen the focus of your school decide on your mission.  Your mission should be woven into every section of your application in one way or another. A school's mission and its GOALS must walk hand in hand.  Writing SMART goals is an essential element of any charter application.  SMART GOALS

Governance vs. Operations

Boards get into big trouble when they don't understand the distiction between governance and operations.  Boards should looking at the results of the schools not dictaing how the school will achieve them.

Always, Always, Always Use a Reviewer

Whether you use a professional reviewer like myself or just a noncommittee member, never submit your application to an authorizer without having it reviewed.  I suggest you use a professional given all the time and effort you have put into writing the application. 

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