High Level Timeline

Application Process

Deadlines and Deliverables

Before Applying

Before a campus considers applying to become an in-district charter school or revise its charter, the school should learn more about what it means to be an in-district charter by contacting the Office of Innovation and talking to existing in-district charter campuses. Schools should also confer with the school staff to gauge interest. Upon request, Office of Innovation staff can present to campus staff on in-district charters or conduct brainstorming sessions to generate ideas for the charter. Principals should begin discussing with their campus staff at least one year before applying.

Request for Proposals

Each summer, the Office of Innovation will communicate to the public that the district is seeking proposals to design new schools or redesign existing schools through the Annual Call for Quality Schools. The process may be open to all schools, a select group of schools, or it may request proposals that include specific school models or be intended for specific geographic areas of service. The Annual Call will align with the district’s strategic plan and serve as a mechanism to ensure the availability of best-fit schools in every neighborhood across the district.
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Application Development

Applicants will have approximately 6 months to write their in-district charter application. There will be a final application deadline, as well as interim draft deadlines. The purpose of the interim deadlines will be to allow the Office of Innovation to review application drafts and provide written feedback to help campuses improve their application prior to the final deadline. The Office of Innovation will also host workshops designed to assist applicants in developing their applications. See Resources for the workshop calendar and materials.

Classroom Teachers and Parent Petitions

Neighborhood schools that are applying to become an in-district charter and any existing in-district charter schools whose applications were initiated by the community must obtain the support of at least 2/3 of classroom teachers and parents to move forward in the process. Prior to asking their staff and parents to vote on the in-district charter, applicants will do an in-depth stakeholder map and conduct extensive staff and parents engagement during the summer and fall.

Application Evaluation and Recommendation

The Office of Innovation will convene an evaluation committee to assess submitted applications. Committee members will include campus principals, district leadership from relevant departments as well as external education professionals. The evaluation process is comprised of two parts, the first of which is a review of the written proposal using a rubric. The second part is an interview in which committee members will have the opportunity to assess the applicant’s ability to articulate the proposed plan, provide responses to clarifying questions, and otherwise defend their application. Applications that “meet standard” on the evaluation rubric will be recommended to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees for approval.

School Performance Contracts

Along with the in-district charter application, the Board of Trustees will also review and approve rigorous performance contracts for all in-district charter schools. These contracts are developed by the Office of Innovation, in collaboration with the schools. The contracts will include metrics on STAAR achievement and growth, fidelity to the charter, teacher and parent satisfaction, student attendance and attrition, and financial health. On an annual basis, the Board will monitor and publish school results at a public board meeting. Then, on a 3 to 5 year cycle, the Board will review performance contracts to determine whether an in-district charter should be renewed, revoked or placed on probation.

SAISD Board of Trustees Review and Approval

The SAISD Board of Trustees serves as the authorizer for all in-district charter schools. The Office of Innovation will submit all recommended applications to the Board for consideration in a public board meeting. Applicant teams are also encouraged to attend the board meeting.

Federal Startup Grant

New in-district charter applicants may be eligible for the federal Charter School Program (CSP) grant, which is a one-time grant to support school planning and start up expenses like professional development and technology. (This is not a permanent infusion of school funding.) If a school has received a CSP grant in the past, it will not be eligible for another grant. This is a competitive grant, so the award is not guaranteed. Awards are typically in the range of $800,000 per school over two years. Applications will be submitted by the District Grants Department, not the campus.

In-District Charter Implementation

After a school is approved by the Board as a new or revised in-district charter, the school will be expected to implement the programs and strategies described in the in-district charter application. Part of the application includes an implementation plan, which will be helpful as the school conducts professional development, selects a unique curriculum, restructures the school calendar, or employs whatever new strategies are included in the school’s plan. The Office of Innovation will work with the school and relevant SAISD departments to execute any approved school autonomies over time, talent, and resources.


(210) 554-2662 | InnovateSAISD@saisd.net