October 24, 2011 The Sacramento City Unified became the second district in California--and the 12th nationwide--to approve a charter-district Compact agreement, in which school districts and charters work together and collaborate toward one common goal--eliminating their differences to better educate students.
The High Performing-Schools Compact was signed by Superintendent Jonathan Raymond and several of the district's top charters last month, and CCSA applauds all parties for their leadership and vision in recognizing this incredible potential.
The Compacts are part of a nationwide effort spearheaded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to encourage collaboration between school districts and charter schools, so that obstacles and animosities are eliminated.
In Sacramento City Unified, the prevailing district-charter dynamic has historically been characterized by mistrust and missed opportunities. But things have changed with the reform-minded Raymond, who has been at the helm since 2009.
Earlier this spring, CCSA President and CEO Jed Wallace approached Superintendent Raymond to discuss the Compact collaboration as a tool to help address longstanding issues that have hampered district-charter relations. Throughout the summer, the Superintendent and leaders of eight local charters, along with CCSA, met to discuss the details of the High Performing Schools Compact.
Specifically, the Compact creates a framework for both parties to explore promising systemic innovations, as well as a new culture of trust, mutual respect and the willingness to work together. In addition, it addresses major steps forward in several of CCSA's top priorities. On accountability, for instance, renewals would be streamlined for high-performing charters, while those on the low-performing end will be given an early warning system. Solutions for long-term facilities and funding inequities, as well as collaboration and sharing of local bond and parcel tax revenues, are also addressed.
Best practices will also be more openly shared.
Other initiatives in the Compact include:
- Increase the number of students in high-performing schools
- Establish Sacramento Pathways for College and Careers
- Collaborate with charter schools on professional development, common core planning
- Improve transparency around enrollment and disenrollment of students in charter schools
- Commitment to provide high quality supports for English-language learners, students with special needs, and students that are below grade level
- Development of a consistent, transparent framework for charter school accountability
- Joint development of a blended technology school
- Coordinate public communication and stakeholder engagement
The High Performing Schools Compact will be implemented in three phases, beginning next month and through November 2014. A joint Oversight Committee, made up of community members, district, and charter school representatives, will monitor the implementation process and report on progress. The first phase will include considerable stakeholder engagement.
This is a great opportunity for charters and the District to work together, and a visionary step forward in ensuring all children have access to quality schools.
For details of the priorities, processes, and key outcomes identified for each phase, read the High Performing-Schools Compact or contact Laura Kerr, CCSA's regional director for Northeastern California.