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
IN-DISTRICT CHARTER FAQs
Create staff and community ownership. Participating in a strategic school design process through the Annual Call encourages school leaders to deeply engage with their campus staff, parents, and community. This type of engagement will create greater collaboration with your school community and lead to more long-term support for your campus.
Drive school autonomy. All approved in-district charters receive exemptions from specific district policies and procedures that will drive greater decision-making authority to the campus. This autonomy will allow schools to tailor their school to the unique needs of their students, staff, and families.
Attract and retain students. San Antonio families have a wide array of school options, both inside and outside SAISD. Creating an in-district charter school gives a campus the opportunity to differentiate itself from other schools, better meet families’ needs, and engage families who haven’t chosen that school in the past.
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 redesigning existing schools, developing new school models, and 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 will 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.