Case Study: Charter Application Development
Child writing in notebook

As City Year turned 25, the national service organization partnered with Johns Hopkins University’s Center for the Social Organization of Schools (CSOS) and a local founding school board to support the launch of a new public charter school in Denver, Colorado.

The Challenge
  • Collaborate with City Year and the Johns Hopkins University CSOS to develop and write the initial charter application
SchoolWorks Approach
  • Support the school’s founding board and project design team in preparing the charter application, providing project management support, and drafting key components
  • Prepare members of the proposed school’s founding board for the capacity interview with the school’s authorizer by arranging a mock capacity interview with two former charter authorizers
The Results
  • City Year and Johns Hopkins CSOS’s charter application was approved by Denver Public Schools in June 2014
  • The resulting school, Compass Academy, currently serves 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and plans on expanding to eventually serve approximately 750 students in grades 6-12 at full capacity
Dates: 2013-2014


"Along with nationally recognized technical expertise, SchoolWorks brought a deep understanding of City Year’s core mission and goals to the charter application process. With our strategic plan focused on sustained student achievement and building capacity within schools, we appreciated collaborating with and learning from an organization that shares our shared values and priorities."
- Jim Balfanz, President, City Year

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