How to Apply
To learn more about the incubator, follow the steps below. If you have any questions, please email Aarti Sharma.
- Applicants must attend the CharterDevelopment 101 program. Please sign up HERE.
- Please read the FAQs.
Please email Aarti Sharma with additional questions. All questions will be added to this ongoing list for everyone’s benefit.
What are the incubator’s goals?
The incubator’s goal is to increase the number of high performing charter schools in Georgia by: 1. Recruiting top talent to start charter schools in Georgia; 2. Training and supporting applicants throughout the charter petition process; 3. Coaching and developing school leaders and their governing boards on charter school operations and governance in their first two years of operation.
Is there funding available to fellows?
For the past two years, candidates with a school leader identified, who have a strong interest in starting in Atlanta, and are successful in a second in person interview, have been awarded a $75,000 stipend. We are confident this funding will likely be available again this year.
What does the “training and support” entail?
GCSA will host 10 in-person training sessions between July and December that are directly tied to the school design and charter petition process. The calendar for the trainings are provided in the recorded webinar. All incubator members are expected to be present at every training. Food will be provided. Some of the trainings will be on Thursday evening via webinar. There are approximately 10 full-day trainings on Saturdays.
Petitions will be reviewed and returned according to the calendar. Lastly, there are monthly school visits and weekly coaching calls to ensure all participants are ready to apply for a charter on time. Overall, this is a total 100 hours of support over the course of the calendar.
Where can schools be located?
Anywhere in Georgia, but strong preference will be given to groups that are hoping to locate in low-income, high-need areas.
How much does this cost?
The incubator is free. However, to prevent attrition and ensure commitment, teams are required to pay GCSA $1,000. Upon completion of the petition process, including a petition to the SCSC if denied locally, the money will be returned. For teams that drop out or do not complete program requirements (trainings, drafts, etc.) the money will not be returned. In the past, we have worked to make this feasible for all admitted participants.
For the past two years, candidates with a school leader identified, who have a strong interest in starting in Atlanta, and are successful in a second in-person interview, have been awarded a $75,000 stipend.
How much time do I need to have for this?
On average, people will need to spend approximately 10 hours per week on writing and training for the incubator. There will be weeks where more or less time is required. The trainings are front-loaded, meaning that the calendar is more active in September through December.
Where are the training sessions located?
Training sessions will be located in the GCSA offices near Perimeter Mall.
Why are there so many training sessions?
Each training session has been strategically designed. In-person sessions are in person because of the importance of that material. In-person sessions are mandatory to ensure all members are prepared to meet external deadlines with high-quality petitions. Lastly, external experts will frequently be used to teach various sections of the petition process.
What are the prerequisites for the incubator program?
Applicants are expected to attend a charter 101 training before starting the incubator program. All individuals must complete the free training and can sign up here. Applicants must attend the Charter 101 program before the program starts. Please contact Aarti Sharma if you have concerns about meeting this requirement.
What does the ongoing relationship look like between GCSA and the new school?
Once approved, the school will be expected to be a member of the association. The school will have the opportunity to use a GCSA partner to handle the school’s back-office operations. This is because charter schools frequently struggle financially in their first few years of operation. Partnering with GCSA will ensure a strong financial foundation. The GCSA partner selected will also work with petitioners that are going through the incubator process with budget development support at no charge.
GCSA will also provide assistance with the grant writing process for the Charter Schools Program grant and the Walton Family Foundation.
What is the application process?
The application process for the incubator grants mostly follows the GCSA incubator selection process but there are three additional components required for incubator grant applicants. These include:
- During the application stage, there are additional questions for applicants.
- Applicants may be invited to an additional incubator grant final interview that will take place after the in-person GCSA incubator selection process.
What is the timeline?
Incubator Application opens on December 1.
Deadlines are on December 28, March 28, and May 28. Applicants to the early application deadlines will benefit from early acceptance.