Fall is in the air. For CSI schools, that means the coming of Thanksgiving break, and potentially a change in quarter or trimester. It also means the release of our CARS Reports!
For those unfamiliar, CARS stands for the CSI Annual Review of Schools. It is the annual evaluation CSI staff conduct on each of our charter schools.
CSI’s approach to authorizing charter schools balances autonomy and accountability:
We offer our schools the flexibility to choose the educational models and methods that best meet the unique needs of their students and communities and hold them accountable to clear expectations for academic, financial, and organizational performance.
The evaluation of their academic, financial, and operational performance is included in the CARS Report.
Excitingly, the academic portion of our CARS Report was released to CSI schools in draft form back in August. This was a month earlier than last year’s report, and two months earlier than the previous year’s report! (Way to go to our Evaluation and Assessment Team!) This earlier release of academic data allows CSI schools to review and analyze their data earlier in the year, which also allows them to make any adjustments to address gaps in outcomes.
When I was a school leader at a CSI school, I remember gathering our leadership team and diving into the academic portion of the CARS report. We had a genuine curiosity about the analysis.
What did the data tell us? How are different groups of students performing? Where are we shining in our instruction? Where are we weak? And, most importantly, what are our priorities?
One of the gifts of charter schools is that we can adapt and adjust quickly. So while we all complain that educators do not receive the results early enough to revise programs and instruction, by getting this data to schools in August, our school leaders and teachers can make changes that will impact students right away.
This month, we have released the full CARS Report. The full report includes financial and operational performance from the 2018-2019 school year. It also includes the school’s accreditation rating, which will be formally adopted by the CSI Board of Directors in December.
New this year is the CARS Dashboard! We are excited to introduce this new tool that allows interactive access to all school academic data. Also, it includes tools to filter, highlight, and compare schools to their geographic district.
If you haven’t made use of these already, I highly recommend these four resources to better understand school accountability and our CARS Reports:
Yes, we love ‘one-pagers’ at CSI. We have several that provide a high-level overview of CSI school accountability, our performance frameworks, and tiered supports.
For those ready to dive into their CARS Report but feel a bit overwhelmed with the data, use this handy annotated report to help understand the common charts and graphs.
Our Evaluation and Assessment Team is ready and willing to provide online and in-person training on CSI’s accountability system. They are also happy to help school leadership and boards in understanding and interpreting data from the school’s CARS Report.