IN-DISTRICT CHARTER SCHOOLS
In-district charter schools are SAISD schools that are given increased autonomy in return for greater accountability for student achievement. The SAISD Board of Trustees grants in-district charters to educators in order to create new schools or redesign existing schools. By empowering educators with the autonomy to design and run high-quality schools, SAISD will increase the number of best-fit school options that students can access, regardless of their academic abilities or geographic constraints. The Board authorizes in-district charters through the Annual Call for Quality Schools.
IN-DISTRICT CHARTER BENEFITS
Increased autonomy for campus leaders and teachers over time, talent, and resources, in exchange for greater accountability for performance.
Design best fit, innovative schools that meet the needs of students, families and staff.
Become a “choice school” that attracts new students outside of your attendance boundary and guarantees admission to neighborhood students.
Startup grant opportunities are available for all new in-district charter applicants. These competitive federal grants have awarded schools up to $800,000 over two years to support planning and start-up expenses related to the schools’ redesign.
IN-DISTRICT CHARTER FAQs
Schools are also encouraged to fundraise on their own. It is possible, but not guaranteed, that the creation of a new school model through the in-district charter application process will open up additional opportunities to pursue grants and philanthropy.
All in-district charter schools will be accountable to the district’s unified enrollment policy and administrative procedures. Schools that currently have attendance zones will maintain those attendance zones, while also being able to offer seats to students living outside the boundary.
Other schools without attendance boundaries will be open to students living within and outside of SAISD while ensuring equitable access to historically disadvantaged students. Please see Administrative Procedure F51 and www.saisdchoice.com for more information on student enrollment.
HOW TO BECOME AN IN-DISTRICT CHARTER SCHOOL
Through the Annual Call for Quality Schools, the Office of Innovation seeks proposals from SAISD educators interested in revising existing in-district charters. School leaders will engage their campus staff and families in developing a comprehensive school plan that addresses the unique needs of the school and its community. This school plan will take the form of a charter application that will be submitted to the Office of Innovation for evaluation against a rubric. Applications that meet standard may be recommended to the SAISD Board of Trustees for approval.
ACCOUNTABILITY: SCHOOL PERFORMANCE REVIEW & PLANNING
In-district charter schools must meet state and federal accountability requirements in the same manner as all other SAISD schools. Additionally, the SAISD Board will approve a rigorous performance contract for each in-district charter school. These performance contracts will include goals on student achievement, fidelity to the school’s charter application, staff and parent engagement, and financial sustainability.
The district will annually monitor and publish school results for all in-district charter schools at a public board meeting in the fall during each school year. The public will also have access to the performance data for all in-district charter schools. On a 3- to 5-year performance contract cycle, the board will review performance contracts at a public board meeting to determine whether the school’s charter will be renewed, placed on probation, or revoked. Additionally, the board may place a charter on probation or revoke the charter if it finds that the campus (i) violates applicable state or federal law; (ii) violates the student achievement provisions of the charter; (iii) after two years, the school is rated as “Improvement Required” or is in the bottom 5% in comparison to all district campuses based on academic performance; or (iv) the campus charter fails to meet generally accepted accounting standards. This district’s annual school performance review and planning cycle will ensure that all in-district charter schools utilize their autonomy in a way that leads to improved student achievement.