October 20, 2011: To start a charter school in California, you need a vision, passion, and perseverance. You also need a rock-solid petition, a board of directors, authorizer approval, and a facility. It's not easy to turn the dream of opening a school into reality, especially in these tough economic times, but the growth of new high-quality charter schools is critical for families in communities with few good educational options. Great schools require great leaders. That's why the California Charter Schools Association has long provided support to school developers - and it's also why we're now offering that support for a lower flat rate.
"Our mission is to support the growth and expansion of high-quality, autonomous charter public schools," said Willow Harrington, CCSA's director, School Development. "Many school developers are long-time educators who know what students need and want the flexibility to design a program around that. We provide them the guidance, technical assistance and connect them to the information and resources they need to get from an idea to opening day of their new charter school. We want to see them succeed and open amazing charter schools in the communities that need them most."
Last year, 115 new charter schools opened their doors in California - 86% were start-ups and 14% were conversions of traditional schools. CCSA works with three types of developers: individuals who have never opened a school, organizations that currently operate one or more schools and want to open additional campuses and traditional schools that want to convert into charter schools.
CCSA previously offered a four-tiered developer memberships based on the level of individualized technical and advocacy support needed. We are now offering the highest level of individualized support to all school developer members at a flat rate of $1,000 annually.
CCSA provides individualized support to developers throughout every phase of the process, from writing the charter petition through authorizer approval. We offer technical assistance, workshops, web resources and templates and our regional team members also offer guidance and advocacy support specific to your geographic area. With CCSA's direct assistance, Developer Members get a leg up in developing a strong and fully-compliant petition with a higher likelihood of being approved by local authorizers.
Read one developer's story of his journey to open a charter school in East Los Angeles: The Trials and Tribulations (and Exhilaration) of Starting a Charter School.