Operating a Charter School

Summary

No matter what you're looking for--research, expertise, funding information, sample documents--if it's related to operating a charter school, CCSA provides it for members in this section.

Explore the sections below or browse all resources in the Charter School Resource Library

Admissions and Enrollment

Adopting clear and legally compliant admissions policies and procedures is essential for any charter school. This section includes information on these topics, including how to conduct admissions lotteries, and more. Learn More.

Assessment

Charter schools must conduct regular assessments to monitor their progress and perform optimally. This section includes resources on assessing board performance and board member expertise, risk management, school academic performance, and more.

Board and Governance

It is critical that all charter schools fully understand and commit to the responsibilities, transparency and stewardship required to operate public schools, to receive and administer public monies, and to prove themselves deserving of the public trust. This section is intended to help charter leaders understand their various legal roles and responsibilities when governing a charter school and to provide samples of sound board policies.

Charter Renewal and Closure

The charter school renewal process is similar to the initial charter school petition process, but there are substantial differences. Renewal applications must meet the same legal requirements and cover all the required elements of a charter petition, but in addition, they must include renewal criteria demonstrating school progress and success, including state API data. Additionally, there may be recently added requirements not addressed in the previous petition application which will need to be included in the renewal petition. The resources available on this page have been developed to assist schools through this process.

Communications & Community Outreach

Effective marketing and outreach efforts are important as schools seek to share their successes with potential students and their families, stakeholders that have an existing relationship with the school, and the public at large (including the media and elected officials). Access sample materials and toolkits here.

Curriculum and Special Programs

One key benefit of starting a charter school is the ability to develop curriculum that addresses state standards in a creative, yet effective, way. This can extend beyond the school day into after school time, and preschool programs. This section provides information on A-G requirements and the University of California course approval procedures, as well as tips for starting and funding an after school or preschool program.

Facilities

This section discusses the variety of facilities options available to charter schools and how to finance them.

Financial Management

It is absolutely critical that charter school leaders understand the principals of sound financial management and designate time and resources for the implementation and monitoring of their fiscal practices. These resources can help.

HR and Employment

All employers, including charter schools, should have policies and practices that will guide them throughout the employer/employee relationship. Find resources here to assist your charter school with the hiring process, workplace environment issues, personnel handbooks, and more.

Independent Study

Some charter schools offer instruction outside of a traditional classroom-based context otherwise known as “independent study” or “nonclassroom-based” instruction. This section provides sample forms and policies for use by charter schools operating such a program.

Special Education

In all schools, including charter schools, Special Education services are designed to offer the supports for students with exceptional needs as defined under State and Federal code. Special education services can include academic, social, emotional and behavioral training, as well as mental health, counseling and support for the students and their families. Access resources on special education in this section.

Student & Parent Policies

Well-written and consistent policies and forms, ranging from Student Handbooks to Parent Participation Agreements, set clear expectations for families and staff about the charter school.

Technology

Charter schools utilize technology in many different ways, from educating students, to collecting data on student attendance and performance. This section provides sample technology use policies, sample technology plans, information about E-Rate, and more.