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What is a Charter School? And what makes them different?

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Presentation on theme: "What is a Charter School? And what makes them different?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is a Charter School? And what makes them different?

2 Charter School 101 The NYS charter school law was passed for two primary reasons: First, to give parents another choice and secondly, to raise student achievement. Charter schools are public schools that have a five year “charter” or agreement with SED They have to follow the same health and safety regulations as other public schools Charters are free Charter schools are open to everyone

3 More Charter Info Charter schools offer food, special education and transportation services in the same ways as public schools Charter schools often look similar to other public schools but they have the flexibility to be very different if they want. Not every state has charter schools. States charter school laws vary. Some states are very liberal but others provide intense oversight. Charters in NYS are closely scrutinized. They go through reports, audits and site visits.

4 Differences Charter schools do not have a central office Charter schools are run by Boards but Board Members are selected not elected. SED does approve them. Charter schools often do not have teacher or administrator unions. The process for dismissal and promotion can be faster than in public schools. Charter schools can make up their own policies and rules internally. This means decisions often happen faster. Some of these do require SED approval. Charters get their funding the same way other public school do (PP) but they get much less. Almost all charters have a longer school day and/or a longer school year.

5 Misconceptions and Realities Very few Charter Schools are run by “private companies” who make a profit. Most are started and run by individuals who want to help kids. Most charters are not owned by millionaires or others running them for a profit. There are some charters that are run by Management Groups but these are not for profit. These are expanding. The same best practices that guide successful charters are the same ones you would see in other public school districts. (Great leadership, smart budgeting, quality staff, etc) Unions often oppose charter schools because most charters do not have unions but there are valid reasons for this. The salaries and benefits at charter schools are similar to those in other public schools.

6 Conclusion Not all charter schools are the same. There are many different kinds. Each one has its own way of teaching students to learn. Charter schools are much more like other public schools than they are different. Charter schools have less restrictions than other public schools There are 6 or 7 charter schools in Rochester. Most of them have higher test scores than the RCSD. Charter schools receive about 1/3 less funding than the RCSD.

7 What’s up with Urban Choice? It was started by a small group of people and the philosophy (mission) that guides the school has never changed.

8 UCCS Facts UCCS is a K-8 school with 400 students (2 classes/grade) Urban Choice puts great emphasis on the student-teacher relationship. The school was started by a teacher who believes kids learn better if they trust and respect the adults around them and kids should enjoy what they are learning. The Urban Choice charter was just renewed Urban Choice produces annual reports every year for both the public and SED Urban Choice has a very large staff Urban Choice has a much longer school day Urban Choice places great emphasis on the student- teacher relationship Urban Choice has a balanced approach to learning and doing things

9 Scores and More


11 Urban Choice Charter School Pillars for Success Classroom Daily Best Practices  Practice what you preach. Work hard, be honest, and hold yourself to high work standards.  Hold students accountable; they must do their best as often as is reasonable.  Be mobile; keep them guessing.  Develop a routine, but also be spontaneous; find balance.  Be firm, but do not yell or lose control.  Be consistent and follow through with warnings.  Keep parents informed.  Have fun. Invested, Focused Leadership Dedicated Staff Not Afraid of Being Held Accountable Consistent Revenues and Smart Budgeting Common Sense Coherent Operations

12 Additional facts 1.Lots of volunteers and support 40 or so volunteers and a coordinator, many partners, and a very large staff (85) staff for such a small school 2.Health component FT nurse, 3 counselors, 2 PE, kids outside everyday, better meals, real plates, snacks, nutritionist and more 3.Program variety Art, music, music lessons, library, PC and MAC labs, ipads, drama, smart boards and more 4. Extended day After school (Tutoring, cooking, Rec.) Saturday Camp, Summer school 5.Parent Participation Parents on the Board, Saturday Forums, School Based Planning, PTA. No central office so parents can get answers.

13 Future and Summary UCCS plans to add grades 9-12 within the next few years The students who graduate from grade 8 are accepted in good schools and many of them do well in their new schools Charters are not as different as other public schools but they have fewer restrictions Charters are different from each other The people who run or work in charters care about kids and work hard just like most other teachers and administrators do There are many misconceptions about charter schools. UCCS like other schools need to focus on student engagement

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