One of the many events that charter school staff, leaders, and boards look forward to is the Colorado League of Charter Schools Annual Conference. For those unfamiliar with the Colorado League of Charter Schools, it is a statewide membership organization dedicated to supporting charter schools through both professional development and political advocacy.

The League’s annual conference is where charter school staff and board members from across the state come together to network and learn about timely issues. Four CSI staff members will be presenting sessions at the conference this year in addition to numerous sessions led by CSI school leaders and staff. These sessions run the gamut from Year 0 processes for new charter schools that are getting ready to open their doors to strategies for addressing access and equity for existing schools. These sessions represent some key initiatives we have been engaged in over the past year or two. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect:

I will be part of a panel on Opportunities for Colorado Collaboration: CDE CSP Grant & the “Tri-State Alliance to Strengthen District-Led Authorizing” Project. In this panel, CDE and CSI will discuss their recently awarded federal grants: one five-year $55 million grant for CDE for charter school start up and expansion and one three-year $2.7 million grant for CSI to advance district-led authorizing efforts across the state and in Florida and California. Those interested in the key initiatives planned for each grant and to learn about opportunities for collaboration across the sector should plan on attending! 

Another authorizer-focused session will include Clare Vickland, our Director of Student Services. In Year Zero: Charters and Authorizers in the Time between Approval and School Opening, Clare and others will address a series of challenges schools face as they get up and running, including formalizing their legal and governance structure; recruiting, selecting, and training leaders and staff; recruiting and enrolling students; securing and preparing a facility; designing curriculum; and much more.

Clare Vickland will also serve on a panel: Collaborating to Improve Access and Services for All Students. As our schools know, CSI is focused on service to and performance of underserved populations, and takes an active approach to evaluating and improving upon serving all students well. CSI developed its Student Services Screener and Tiers of Support to both assess and support schools in providing equal access and quality programs to students who qualify for specialized supports.

In a related session, Calculate Your School’s Access and Equity Report, Aislinn Walsh, CSI’s Performance and Accountability Analyst, will be leading a working session for schools to calculate a report card that assesses the quality of access, instructional supports, and outcomes for special populations.

Finally, one of our newest team members, Greg Nusz, Assessment and Program Evaluation Specialist, will lead a session on MTSS in Charter Schools: Program Evaluation and Improvement Planning. Aligned with our ongoing focuses on improvement planning, this session will offer a summary of unique challenges that charter schools face in developing their MTSS systems, with discussions centering on tools and recommendations developed through a CO-MTSS Implementation grant specifically geared towards MTSS program evaluation and improvement planning.

We are excited to see our CSI school staff and boards and hope you will attend these sessions as well as the CSI Reception on the evening of February 28th!

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