Case Study: Charter Renewal Application Support

In 2019, SchoolWorks was contracted by the school leadership team of KIPP: Tech Valley Charter School to support the preparation of a comprehensive charter renewal application to be submitted to the State University of New York Charter Schools Institute (SUNY CSI).

The SUNY Trustees had approved the original charter for KIPP: Tech Valley in January of 2004, and the school opened its doors to its first class of 90 5th graders in the Fall of 2005. In 2019, KIPP: Tech Valley was serving students in grades K-3 and 5-8 at two neighboring sites. The school’s original founding team had transitioned out, and many new staff members had come onboard.

The Challenge

SchoolWorks was contracted to partner with the KIPP: Tech Valley leadership team to draft, refine, finalize, and submit a comprehensive renewal application that articulated the school’s best case for renewal.

SchoolWorks Approach
  • To begin the process, SchoolWorks assigned a Project Manager and an Application Development Specialist to the project, who designed a project plan that would frame the completion of the application in advance of the submission deadline.
  • The specialist scheduled a visit to the KIPP: Tech Valley to tour the school and conduct a series of in-person focus groups and interviews with the school’s leadership, instructional, and operations team members. The purpose of this visit was to gather initial input and discuss key documents and data sets that would inform the application narrative.
  • Using collected input and data, SchoolWorks’ specialist developed each section of the application, and provided detailed drafts to KIPP: Tech Valley stakeholders for feedback, confirmation, corrections, and comments. A SchoolWorks financial specialist provided feedback and support on developing financial reports. SchoolWorks hosted regular calls with the school team to facilitate ongoing communication.
  • The developing draft was regularly scrutinized by a SchoolWorks Quality Editor for overall consistency. After two initial rounds, a final draft was circulated to the school leadership team members and Board for final edits and approval, and then sent to a copy editor for formatting and grammatical corrections. Simultaneously, SchoolWorks’ specialist helped the school team prepare required attachments—reviewing some and offering feedback and refinements to others.
  • To further prepare the school team for the authorizer’s visit, SchoolWorks hosted a Mock Renewal Site Visit at KIPP: Tech Valley in the Fall of 2019. Utilizing a protocol reflective of the renewal evaluation criteria, SchoolWorks reviewers mimicked the SUNY process, while providing formative feedback to the school team.
  • SchoolWorks’ specialist then supported the school leadership team in preparing the accountability plan progress report, a supplementary submission required by SUNY CSI.
The Results
  • In March 2020, SUNY CSI recommended that the SUNY Trustees approve the Application for Charter Renewal of KIPP: Tech Valley Charter School for a full-term renewal (5 years) to continue serving students in grades K-8.
"We are grateful to the SchoolWorks team for their support though this process. While our staff focused on the day-to-day operations of the school, it was a relief to have reliable and experienced help in preparing the application. The mock site visit helped our team know what to expect during the renewal visit."
- Stephanie Valle, Executive Director, KIPP: Tech Valley Charter School
    Dates: 2019-2020

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