Back in 1993 when the Colorado Charter Schools Act passed people ventured into the unknown to write a charter school application. Back then applications were sketchy and were rarely supported by research. The sophistication level has risen dramatically since that tenuous beginning.
There's a new website to help charter school founders to navigate the sometimes complex path to getting a new charter school approved by an authorizer. The website is startacoloradocharter.org. The first item to review should be the process flowchart. Many people ask what are the different roles of the CO Dept of Education, the CO League of Charter Schools and the CO Charter School Institute. This flowchart explains which entity is best suited for each step.
At almost every step, the charter school founders should re-examine if they should continue to move forward on the project. Many founders have been exhausted by the rigor of getting a charter school application written and the hearing process. But once the charter school gets approved, the work BEGINS!
Earlier this year, CDE, CLCS and CSI created a common application and review rubric. This document is also available on the startacolorado.org website. Both founders and charter school authorizers use this document to determine if a charter school application contains sufficient information to make a decision on whether it should be approved or not.
Additional secondary pages will be added over the next several weeks to the startacolorado.org website. But already the website offers a wealth of information never available to charter school founders before!