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Charter School Association Helps School Boards Authorize Charters with free “Toolkit”

Local School Boards in Louisiana’s 64 parishes are receiving more and more charter applications while parents across the state express greater desire for choice in education. As part of it’s mission to support and promote quality charter schools, the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) is offering a free, comprehensive resource just for Louisiana school boards and district staff, titled: Charter Schools: A Toolkit for Parish School Boards.

“Our goal is to support districts in the work of authorizing quality public charter schools,” said LAPCS Executive Director Caroline Roemer Shirley. “So far, the districts that have authorized charter schools are relatively few, but they’re doing an excellent job.  This toolkit makes that possible for all districts. Quality authorizing is one of the main reasons Louisiana has the second strongest charter movement in the nation.”

The toolkit is available online by visiting www.lacharterschools.org. The LAPCS will also provide a free workshop on charter school authorization at the organization’s 7th Annual Conference – 7th Inning Stretch: Charters. Choice. Change. The workshop, “Quality Authorizing Practices: Holding Schools Accountable,” is free for school board members and school district staff and will be held on October 21, 9 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge, 4728 Constitution Ave, Baton Rouge.

The toolkit is a complement to the National Alliance of Charter School Authorizers’ (NACSA) “Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing,” which local authorizers are required to abide by in accordance with Louisiana charter law. The LAPCS toolkit takes many of the nationally-recognized and statutorily required guidelines, and presents them through the lens of Louisiana law, specifically referencing the appropriate provisions, relevant portions of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (BESE) policy, and even Louisiana charter contracts to serve as examples.

“The LAPCS is committed to promoting and sustaining quality public charter schools,” said LAPCS Policy Director Veronica Brooks. “A key component to a strong charter school is a well-informed and discerning authorizer. Knowing how and when to authorize a school, how to evaluate charters and determine renewal, and when to close a school for non-performance are all critical decisions that most school boards now have to face. We recognize that this is new territory for school boards and that unknown can be scary, so this toolkit can helps districts better understand their role.

“Charter schools can be a valuable resource for school boards to improve academic outcomes for the children they’ve been elected to serve. Hopefully, this toolkit will encourage them as well as empower them with the wherewithal to give due consideration to authorizing a charter school,” said Ms. Brooks.

For more information on the free toolkit and workshop, contact Veronica Brooks, (504) 274-3652 or vbrooks@lacharterschools.org.