The CSI team returned from our annual trek to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers NACSA Conference feeling energized. We feel privileged to work alongside so many professionals that are committed to high-quality authorizing and charter schools.
So what did we learn during the conference this year?
1. Successful School Turnaround
A common theme from sessions and conversations throughout the NACSA Conference was an emphasis on supporting schools in turnaround. When schools falter, governing boards, school leaders, and authorizers must make a decision. They must determine if a school should take the path of a turnaround process or closure. A unique blend of high leadership capacity, valuable resources, and school-authorizer partnerships are necessary for turnarounds to be successful.
Within the CSI portfolio, we have seen some of our struggling schools choosing to dive into the turnaround process and coming out successful. Clearly it can be done, but to say that it’s hard work is an understatement. The process is difficult for the school, community, and authorizer.
That said, it was motivating to hear how other authorizers see their roles in supporting this critical work across the nation.
2. Model-Specific Measures Matter
Another important takeaway was the positive reception from fellow authorizers about our ongoing work on model-specific measures. It was exciting to share our exploration of model-specific performance trends. Our Evaluation & Assessment Team continues to partner with our schools to craft and measure goals specific to their unique models. These models include everything from Alternative Education Campuses to Montessori-inspired models.
Also, our team presented on topics such as equity, special education, rural schools, and enrollment. One session focused on how to craft authentic narratives about our role as authorizers and the work we do on behalf of our schools and students.
Without a doubt, I left the NACSA Conference feeling very proud of the CSI staff and the work that we are doing. I’m even more convinced that we are meeting our mandate to be a model authorizer in Colorado.