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.
What does the “training and support” entail?
GCSA will host weekly training sessions that are either webinars or in-person sessions that are directly tied to the charter petition process. The calendar for the trainings will be provided after the first round of phone interviews. All incubator members are expected to be present at every training. There will be accommodations if necessary, such as child care on-site. Food will be provided. The majority of trainings will be on Thursday evening via webinar. Additionally, there are approximately 6 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 101 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 for $1,000. This money will be placed in an escrow account. 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.
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 to 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 on July 22, August 26, or September 16th.
Is there a timeline and process for acceptance into the program?
Applicants can learn more about the application through the webinars that are offered on August 9th and August 23rd. Attendees will then be asked to fill out a short application and attach their resumes. For teams applying as groups, please fill out one application and attach all individuals’ resumes. All applications must be received by August 31, 2017. Applications will be reviewed by September 13th. Phone interviews and in-person interviews will be conducted from 9.14-9.21. Individuals and teams will be notified on September 23rd. The first training is on September 30th. Applicants will be expected to submit a writing sample and complete a written exercise during the interview process.
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.
All applications are due by August 31, 2017.