OFF THE SHELF: Charter School Board Oversight – July 2017

by Neil Ranu, LAPCS Governance Director

All of our work at charter schools drives toward our ultimate purpose: to improve academic outcomes for students. This includes the work of boards. All of your oversight should support this ultimate goal.

We tend to place oversight into three general categories: fiscal, operational, and academic. And among these categories, there is a hierarchy.

By themselves, sound fiscal management and efficient operations are fine qualities that all organizations strive for. But, at charter schools, they serve a higher end. They are the foundation to realizing our highest purpose: academic excellence.

This is the time of year to evaluate our performance in academics. After all, this is the point of charter schools (see pyramid).

A common complaint I’ve heard about academic oversight is that the state does not release school report cards until late fall. While this is true, data is available for you to review now.

Your academic committee should begin familiarizing itself with your LEAP scores (grades K-8), high school graduation rates, and any data that you’ve collected at the school level.

The Louisiana Department of Education also offers a calculator that estimates SPS scores before they’re officially released. This calculator is available here (the bottom left corner). Your staff may be using this calculator, and you will want to know if they are.

The information is out there. Academic committees can start evaluating their academic programs and preparing reports now. No need to wait for October, November, or December. Remember, boards, are the ones responsible for the performance of their schools. At the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, we offer The Top Shelf program to help and provide resources. Please contact us for resources or assistance.

Neil Ranu

LAPCS Governance Director

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (504) 291-8478