New School Development

New School Development

Resources for New Charter Operators

Starting a charter school in Arizona is a team effort that requires a great deal of forethought and hard work before doors open on day one. For individuals or groups interested in petitioning for a new charter school, navigating the requirements of new school development can be arduous. It is at minimum a two-year process which includes planning, writing the charter application, finding a facility, and completing all the tasks necessary to open the school.

The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools requires charter applicants to submit a completed charter application in June of each year. The application is reviewed and ultimately approved or denied in December with schools expected to open the following August – a short period in which to prepare a school for opening.  Given this, prospective charter operators must be willing to scrutinize their ability to commit the necessary time and energy toward the development of a charter school before embarking on the application process. Find out more about Arizona’s charter schools here.

Getting to Know Arizona’s Charter School Landscape
A first and critical step is for prospective operators is to become familiar with Arizona’s charter school landscape.To help you learn more about where schools are operating in Arizona and how they are performing the Arizona Charter Schools Association has collaborated with Expect More Arizona to collect and report school level data for all public schools in Arizona on our Education Evaluator, an easy to use, interactive mapping tool that provides critical information for parents and community stakeholders regarding commonly agreed measures of school quality.

Where to Get Help
In addition to our new school development membership kit, we strongly encourage prospective charter operators to participate in all technical assistance workshops offered by the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. For more information, please contact Rachel Hannah at Rachel.Hannah@asbcs.az.gov.

Understanding the Law
Applicants interested in submitting an application should be familiar with applicable charter school legislation. Click here to view applicable charter school law.


And, to stay abreast of issues affecting the charter school sector beyond Arizona, we encourage you to visit the National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) ,which is dedicated to helping all charter schools reach their aspirations and promoting awareness and understanding of the sector in general.

School Development Support

The Arizona Charter Schools Association and Center for Student Achievement are committed to supporting founding groups in their efforts to develop a high quality charter school. Charter school development is at minimum a two-year process which includes planning, writing the charter application, finding a facility, and completing all the tasks necessary to open the school. The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools requires charter applicants to submit a completed charter application in June of each year. The application is reviewed and ultimately approved or denied in December with schools expected to open the following August – a short period in which to prepare a school for opening.

Please take a few moments to let us know about your new school initiative here.

Start A Charter >

The Arizona Charter Schools Association and the Center for Student Achievement are committed to the development of high-performing public charter schools and collaborate to offer extensive support for teams interested in opening a new charter school or expanding an existing high performing school.

($500 – one-year access)
Our Charter Smarter Kit provides the basics of Arizona charter school start-up via online presentations, in depth materials and access to additional support services.

The kit includes:

  • Initial 30 minute informational meeting with Association staff
  • Three webinars covering important charter school start up including:
    • So You Want to Start a Charter School? – the basics of opening a charter school,
    • Charter School Governance 101 – a guide to your legal responsibilities around school board governance,
    • An Overview of the Quality Standards – a resource to ensure your school meets the state’s standards for quality.
  • Guidance for Founding Committees Handbook – This must-have resource is designed to help you self-assess and determine your readiness for submitting a charter school application.
  • Weekly Newsletter Updates – This members-only resource will keep you informed of critical policy, academic, and financial issues that impact all phases of your charter school journey.
  • Discounted Professional Development – The Charter Smarter Kit includes members-only pricing at Association events to help you stay current with best practices, network, and learn from proven leaders in Arizona’s robust charter school sector.

For more information, please contact Yvonne Watterson, yvonne@azcharters.org.

Custom Data Support and Analysis

Assistance in the gathering, synthesis, interpretation and reporting of relevant community, academic and financial data for the application process and on-going school operations.
$200/hour (4 hour minimum)

Customized Support

Customized consulting specific to developing a charter application is available for select teams on a fee for service basis. This support can include charter petition guidance, academic program design, business planning, and governing board development.
$155/hour (hours depend on need)

Application Review

Association will provide suggested revisions and feedback on the full application based on the scoring criteria. We review only a few examples of the required Instructional Analyses, since the same errors are often repeated across multiple samples.
$155/hour (20-30 hours per application)

Mock Interview Experience

Our Mock Interview Experience provides teams an opportunity to prepare, practice answering questions about their charter application in a similar setting as at the ASBCS, and receive feedback from our New School Development Team.
$750 for Members $1,000 for Non-Members

START SMART, STAY SMART WEBINARS

Starting a charter school in Arizona is no small task! It is a multi-phase project that that requires a great deal of forethought and old-fashioned hard work before doors open on Day One. Individuals or groups interested in petitioning for a new charter school should understand that this is a social entrepreneurial endeavor that typically takes up to two years from the initial exploration to the opening of the school.

We are here to help ensure that prospective and new operators don’t miss any critical steps in laying the foundation for the school’s success. To assist in successfully developing and implementing your charter school concept, the Arizona Charter Schools Association provides a number of professional development resources, including our Start Smart, Stay Smart webinar training series. Intentionally designed to guide you through the process of starting a high-quality charter school, this series helps you understand the basics of charter schools, busts some charter school myths, guides you through the charter school development process, and helps you build capacity from the moment you open your doors.

Whether you are a prospective charter school leader, governing board member, business manager or you are already working in a school and seeking a refresher, this six-part webinar series will help you kick-start your school.

Best Practices in Charter Schools
The fundamentals of how to start a high-quality charter school in Arizona. This session covers the basics of charter schools, debunks some of the myths, guides participants through the charter application and implementation process and offers guidance on how to build capacity from Day One.

Budget and Financial Management for Charter School Operators
This session provides an overview of the role and purposes of charter school budgets and financial plans, typical processes and strategies for developing them, as well as how to monitor them during the course of the fiscal year. Topics include procurement, contracted services, and ADE School Finance.

How to Write an Instructional Analysis (for prospective charter operators)
This is a deep dive into the Instructional Analysis section of the Charter Application. Participants will understand the purpose of the Instructional Analysis and how to meet the evaluation criteria for each component.

Next Level Procurement
As stewards of public funds, it’s important that charter schools spend money responsibly and without inadvertently breaking the law. Aligned to our Quality Standard for financial accountability, this session is designed to help you understand how to achieve and maintain compliance with Federal Procurement laws. Additionally, we provide proven negotiation techniques which can help school leaders maximize their purchasing power.

When the Price is Right- Maintenance and Operations 101
A “must” for those who face the task of planning and developing a charter school budge, this workshop explains how to align a school budget to its mission and academic goals.

Sources of Revenue- A Guide for New Charter Leaders
An overview of the main sources of funding for charter schools in Arizona and provides opportunities to practice using ADE budget forms.

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