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Opening a Charter School

Chad Sansing Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

How can the group help you anticipate and plan for your first years in a newly opened charter school? How can ther group help you respond to the unanticipated issues that come along with the messy, necessary work of dveloping new systems and a new school culture? This discussion is for group members to ask and answer questions about opening a Charter School.

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Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

An on-target tweet and link

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RT @CharterInsights Charter schools and the organizational lifecycle - The pains of Growth: When the school first opens, people ope... http://bit.ly/dXpSX

Charter school consultant

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It sometimes takes a few years, but when charter schools find that they are not in competition with each other, they can work together on issues such as sharing best practices and resources like school lunch options, visiting nurses and technology support. Collaboration can be very rewarding, especially to administrators.

Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

Charter school collaboration

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Well said, Julie. In Virginia, there are so few charter schools (especially start-ups) that sharing reources is difficult across distances. I work in a school divison with two charters (50% of the charters in Virginia!); one is twenty years old and existed before being awarded charter status; the other is my school which is in its second year. There's a lot of communication and sharing between the schools, but we're in completely different places in the life-cycles of our schools. It would be great to work through challenges with new charters, as well. I wonder if RTTI will impact the charter scene here.

Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

How to get started?

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I have written a business plan and have an idea for charter school, I have attempted to gather supporters to meet and write grants for start up costs. When it came to meeting no one showed up. How do I find people interested?

Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

Getting started

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LPS -that's a great question. With different laws in different states, it's also a tough one to answer. Let me get advice from Bobbi Snow, our school's co-founder and co-moderator of this group.

Mark Hazleton, whom you can find in the Introductions discussion, works for an organization called Charter Starters Inc. Perhaps he could be of help, as well?

More soon -
C

Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

Help for LPS

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Hi, LPS -

Here's our advice:

1. In this climate, don't have your first meetings be about money. Have your meetings be about the need for your school. Concentrate on the vision, mission, and clientele.

2. In our experience the people that you attract first are not people inclined to think of business plans. It's great that you have one and bring business expertise to the table. To get partners at the beginning of the process, stick to the vision and try to recruit people in the following ways:

-Advertise your focus by putting up fliers in local coffee shops and libraries, Advertise on the radio. Find a community space that's centrally located for your first meeting to find public support. A good place to generate interest is in front of a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon, introducing yourself and giving out fliers. Starting a charter school is a public job. Think of yourself as if you're running for mayor.

-Go to places of worship and share your vision with their congregations.

-Spread your vision wherever you can, which might not be what you have word for word in the business plan. Give a flier to anyone who might be interested, including your colleagues and allies in your school division.

As you recruit people interested in the school's promise, you'll discover your next steps according to the strengths and needs of your support network.

Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

Check out these links

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LPS, here is a post on marketing charter schools:

http://financeconsulting.co.cc/2010/03/i-need-marketing-ideas-for-a-char...

Here is a link for the Charter Starter organization that Mark Hazleton shared with us:

http://www.charter-starters.com/index.html

Let us know how your works progresses!

All the best,
C

World Humanities teacher from Humble, TX

What an AMAZING thread!

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I am new to Edutopia...and cannot believe how the universe has conspired to help me! I am in the process of saving an old high school in my area to open a charter school. This beautiful building has been condemned and the district is taking bids to tear it down. I want to save the building and start a program...but it's hard to know what "step one" is. I feel like the clock is ticking to save the building, but I also want to develop a strong mission/vision.

Any guidance would be SO appreciated!

Principal of Fair Haven Union High School

There are two good sites to

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There are two good sites to start with in order to learn about the process and meet others who are involved in Texas charter schools. The first is: http://www.txcharterschools.org/ and an upcoming conference: http://www.texascharterconference.com/

Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners

Charter school infrastructure

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If the building is in good enough shape to be refitted and re-purposed , I think you have a good shot, gdiaz. Thanks, also, Brett, for those Texas charter links!

From what I've seen and heard, it's much easier to get federal grant money for the one-time infrastructure costs associated with opening a new charter school than it is to secure recurring funds for staffing.

Here are a few links that point towards grant opportunities:

National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Government Federal Catalog Search Page:
http://www.charterresource.org/index.cfm?page=5

Info on Public Charter Schools Program:
http://www.charterresource.org/fedfund_view.cfm?id=308&keyword=charter&a...

Info on State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grant Program:
http://www.charterresource.org/fedfund_view.cfm?id=140&keyword=charter&a...

National Institute of Building Sciences Federal School Facilities Funding Info:
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/federal_funding.cfm

I hope these help you find the money to secure space for your charter school, gdiaz!

All the best,
C

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