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Starting a Charter School in Colorado
Thinking about Starting a Charter School in Colorado?

The Colorado League of Charter Schools is your go-to partner for resources, best practices, thought partnership and services as you begin the process of creating a successful charter public school. 

 

With nearly 25 years of experience in supporting new school development, the League is a well-respected resource for new charters. Our technical assistance, thought partnership and vast library of resources are completely free and we provide up to $15,000 in planning grants to help you develop your school.

 

Beware of organizations who don't charge for their new school work until you open your doors - they eventually assess a hefty fee. Call the League first!

 

Contact our New School Development team so we can help you get started on the right path. Then, familiarize yourself with all the resources on this website and be sure to visit the StartaCharterColorado website to learn more about the process involved in starting a school. 

 

  • Lori Ventimiglia 
    Director of New School Development
    email | 303-989-5356, ext. 113
      
  • Kathy Zlomke
    New School Development Manager
    email | 303-989-5356, ext. 104

   
  

Six Quality Outcomes for New Schools

A new charter school, at the end of its first year, should be able to demonstrate these six quality outcomes. Each quality outcome carries equal importance. A healthy school will have a solid foundation in each of these areas
that are critical toward the overall health and long-term success of a school.



  • Qualified and Competent School Leadership: Has instilled confidence from teachers, parents, board and students and has effectively begun to implement many components of school proposal.
  • Sound Operational Practices: Foundations for strong fiscal management and effective business operations have been established and are being adhered to.
  • Efficient Governance: Board has obtained initial training, is committed to ongoing training, understands role and adheres to state statutes and board policies with fidelity.
  • Effective Academics & Instruction: Curriculum in place and effectively implemented by instructional staff to engage students for optimal learning using multiple approaches (MTSS).
  • Robust Performance Management Plan: Data from a Student Information System, Data Management System and Interim Assessments are being used effectively to guide instruction and school culture.
  • Clear, Mission-Driven School Culture: A strong, mission-driven culture has been established and evidence of the culture can be easily observed throughout most aspects of the school.

  

Stages of School Development 

 

Targeted Supports in the Planning Stage (Building your Steering Committee, Community Outreach, and Application Development):

  • Face to face/phone meetings with developer/team to discuss authorizer landscape, statutory requirements, application process, resources, etc.
  • Planning timeline documents, model and sample application sections, budget templates and other resources
  • Ongoing technical support as needed
  • Planning grants totaling up to $15,000 designed to significantly contribute to the actual charter application and overall school development
  • Extensive two-stage application review with verbal and written feedback
  • Mock interview with verbal and written feedback (by invitation only)
  • Fiscal sponsor services
  • Calendar of critical trainings and events
  • Monthly newsletter
  • Boot Camp for Charter Schools: A three day, Colorado Department of Education training, that guides school development teams through the complexities of writing the charter application (offered annually in April). Contact Lori Ventimiglia for more information.  

Targeted Supports in Startup Stage (Post Application Approval through Opening):

  • Readiness checklist, purchasing calendars, sample contract language, etc.
  • Access to the League’s online charter school job board
  • Listing your school on the League website
  • Calendar of critical trainings and events
  • Brokering connections and collaborations
  • Face to face meetings as needed
  • Onboarding Your Charter School - A training for newly (and nearly) approved schools that provides information and resources necessary to navigate next steps to open your school’s doors (occurs twice a year; in the summer and fall). Contact Lori Ventimiglia for more information.

Targeted Supports in the Implementation Stage (Opening Day Through the Early Years):

  • Touchpoint and ongoing technical assistance
  • Document reviews: board agendas and minutes, financial transparency posts, etc.
  • Sharing of model documents  
  • Calendar of critical trainings and events: governance, finance, MTSS, data teams, UIP, SPF, assessments, etc.
  • Critical connections: administrator, board and business manager cohorts, etc.
  • Readiness checklist review
  • Newsletters
  • Year-One Spring Visit - As you near the end of your first year of operation, we hope that you will invite the League's new schools team for a visit. It will include: a tour of your school, classroom observations, a meeting with school leadership and time given for a friendly review of critical documents. Verbal and written feedback will be provided following this visit. For recipients of the CSP grant, this visit could be used as a friendly audit to help prepare for the required CSSI visit the following year. This time together is intended to be supportive and unobtrusive and will be customized to your school’s needs.


 Click here for more information on New School Development Services.

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