The Charter Blog

Chartering Turnaround Case Study: Mastery Charter Schools

Since 2007, low-performing schools have received more than $5.8 billion in funds through the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. The National Alliance’s report Chartering Turnaround: Leveraging Public Charter School Autonomy to Address Failure examines how the autonomies related to staffing, curriculum, and general operations provided by state charter laws can be used to catalyze school turnaround efforts. Specifically, it explores the traditional public school (TPS) restart model through case studies of three charter management organizations (CMO), including Mastery Charter Schools.

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Posted in Successes, Research

Nathan Kalasho, KEYS GRACE ACADEMY Charter School

Not many school leaders in the country can say that their school was created to focus on and preserve the Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac cultures. Nathan Kalasho may be one of the few, if not the only one altogether. The child of two long-time public school educators who immigrated to the United States in the 70s, Nathan understood from a very early age the importance of education in diverse communities. This fall, he is applying his understanding of unique public education needs in Michigan by opening the KEYS GRACE Academy Charter School in Detroit.

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Posted in Back to School

The Aftermath Series: Lessons Learned from New Orleans

New Orleans’ fearless education reform sparked conversation—both positive and negative—about the future of American education. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, citizens seized an opportunity to rebuild a better school system. The changes experienced by New Orleans have received international attention and have become a model for turnaround districts across the country. 

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Posted in The Aftermath Series, Successes

Arlena Ford, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy

This fall, nearly 300 Bay Area students have started learning at the new tech-focused Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, a public charter school serving kindergarten through fifth grade. This new school, launched by founding Principal Arlena Ford as part of Aspire Public Schools, offers innovative and independent learning through cutting-edge technology. 

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Posted in Back to School

Mind the Gap? Study Finds No Difference in Special Education Services in Charter and Traditional Public Schools in Denver and New York City

A new study by Marcus Winters featured in the latest edition of Education Next had several significant findings for public charter schools: first, according to an analysis of enrollment data from the two cities, the biggest contributor to the “gap” in the number students receiving special education services in charter and traditional public schools appears to be the  lower rates of identification of specific learning disabilities (SLD)—defined as “an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations”—in charter school students after they start kindergarten. The study’s second finding is that students with disabilities that are enrolled in charter schools are almost twice as likely to remain enrolled in that school than special needs students attending traditional public schools.

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Posted in Research

Robyn Viloria Wiens, Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

Across the country, less than 20 percent of those who received computer science degree are women. The number of minority students with STEM degrees is even lower: eight and nine percent respectively for black and Hispanic students. Robyn Viloria Wiens, Ed.D, is all too aware of this gender and ethnic gap. That’s why this fall, armed with experience from her time a public school educator in Seattle and Boston, her recent stint as Director of Curriculum and Culture at Preclarus Mastery Academy in her hometown of St. Louis, MO, as well as a strong determination for giving minority girls a better future in the STEM fields, she’s leading Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls – the first-ever all-girls STEM school in St. Louis.

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Posted in Back to School

The Aftermath Series: Tulane University President Scott Cowen

Named as one of the nation’s Top 10 Best College Presidents, Scott Cowen has served as the president of Tulane University in addition to making it his mission to transform New Orleans through education. From a young age, Cowen has shown an interest in leading, eventually influencing him to head many education reform boards. When the city of New Orleans faced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Cowen saw it as an opportunity to be a pioneer in creating a recovered and renewed city.

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Posted in The Aftermath Series, Successes

Kathryn Rice, Baton Rouge College Preparatory Charter School

This August, Kathryn Rice will launch the new Baton Rouge College Preparatory Charter School for fifth and sixth grade students. Coming out of the Building Excellent Schools program, Ms. Rice will serve as School Director, bringing many years of experience as an educator to her new role. Working as a public school educator for over a decade in the greater Baton Rouge area, Ms. Rice has experience in traditional public schools as a teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal and principal. Ms. Rice has also worked for three years in turn around schools.

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Posted in Back to School

Homeowners in Metro Atlanta are Benefiting from Having High-quality Charter Schools Nearby

It’s common knowledge that high-quality schools can positively affect property values. Parents desire to move to neighborhoods with better schools pushes up home prices. In fact, in 2007, more than one-quarter of public school parents said that they moved to their neighborhood because of the quality of the school. However, low-income, high-minority schools can reduce property values and, worse still, empty school buildings can be a sign of a decaying neighborhood. So, what is the property value effect of high-quality, but low-income and high-minority charter schools? Prior research has demonstrated that high-quality charter schools have a positive impact on economic development, much the same as grocery stores, medical offices, or access to public transportation.

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Posted in Research

Maggie O’Sullivan, Rainier Prep Public Charter School

Maggie O’Sullivan is a long-time public school educator who has dedicated more than 18 years to improving educational opportunities for students in the state of Washington, including founding Rainier Prep Charter School. Her leadership potential was evident early on in her teaching career while at Foster High School, where she helped her school’s successful application for the Gates Achievers Scholarship. This scholarship provides 10 years of college funding for low-income students. During her eight years as principal in the Federal Way School District she also received the Martin Luther King Closing the Achievement Gap award. 

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Posted in Back to School

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