In an effort to improve charter school quality through better accountability, Ohio state law requires The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to evaluate community school sponsors each year. Beginning in January 2015 and annually thereafter, sponsors (interchangeably referred to as authorizers) will be evaluated on three components: the overall academic performance of their community schools (charter schools); the completeness of their monitoring of schools’ compliance with laws and rules; and their adherence to quality. The ODE has contracted with SchoolWorks to complete the Quality Practices review component for School Years 2014- 2015 and 2015-2016.
In each Sponsor Quality Review, SchoolWorks team members assess the degree to which a sponsor uses practices consistent with national quality standards established by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). The review of sponsor quality practices is the most time-intensive of the three components and considers a sponsor’s: commitment/capacity, application processes, contracting, school oversight, renewal-making processes, and technical assistance to schools. For each quality review, SchoolWorks reviewers examine extensive documentation from the sponsor in each of these areas and engages in an interview with the sponsor’s key individuals. The evidence is considered against the quality standards adopted by the ODE to determine ratings of the sponsor’s practices. As a final step of SchoolWorks’ quality review, team members meet with the sponsor’s team again in an exit conference to review the ratings and findings.
The ODE uses the quality rating generated by SchoolWorks with the Academic Performance of schools and compliance ratings to compute a sponsor’s overall rating. By October, every sponsor in Ohio will have been reviewed and rated.
SchoolWorks has served many clients with their Accountability and Design services. This project with ODE benefits tremendously from recent work with state education agencies in Minnesota and Louisiana.