We believe all students deserve an excellent educational opportunity regardless of their background.
Why We Exist
The Georgia Charter Schools Association believes all students deserve an excellent educational opportunity regardless of their background. For that reason, GCSA developed its charter schools incubator program. GCSA’s charter school incubator will work to address Georgia’s educational needs by:
- Recruiting top talent to start charter schools in Georgia;
- Training and supporting applicants throughout the charter petition process;
- Coaching and developing school leaders and their governing boards on charter school operations and governance in their first two years of operation.
The most recent KidsCount data shows a child’s opportunities for success should not be determined by his or her zip code. With a great education, students from low-income communities can attend great universities. Students from any background can learn when given the right tools.
Atlanta students deserve better.
- Less than one in four students in Atlanta is statistically expected to graduate from college.
- In fact, 44 of Atlanta’s 73 public schools were considered for state takeover just last year.2
Seventy percent of students in Atlanta Public Schools graduate from high school, but only fourteen percent of students in Atlanta Public Schools will ever earn a college degree.3
How We Work
The incubator will collaborate with candidates over a two year time period to adequately prepare boards for charter petition approval. Year 2 candidates will have participated in the incubator for a year. All candidates will be supported through weekly meetings. These weekly meetings will be either in person or via phone and consist of direct reviews and feedback on the petition and crucial next steps needed to gain approval through the petition process.
Candidates will be required to attend monthly in-person meetings focusing on various aspects of the petition process. There will also be weekly webinars on different portions of the petition, consultations with experts, and group debriefs. All candidates will receive budget support and feedback from a GCSA partner selected to handle back office services. Candidates will receive a calendar of all mandatory meetings during the phone interview process.
Post-charter approval, GCSA will continue to support incubator schools through ongoing leadership support and board training. This support will take the form of conducting an operational assessment, attending board meetings, twice a month leadership team coaching, and providing back office financial support to schools.
GCSA will also assist incubator participants in applying for the Charter Schools Program grant. Schools located in the Atlanta Public Schools will gain assistance in applying for Walton Family Foundation funds at no-charge.
Incubator participants are required to use GCSA for governance and school leader support. They also have the opportunity to use back office support provided by a GCSA partner through year two. These services will be incorporated in the charter petition’s budget.
The Application Process
Incubator candidates are expected to have a strong commitment to low-income communities and communities of color. The GCSA Incubator targets applicants who demonstrate grit, perseverance, strong achievement, strong research and writing skills, and core values that are aligned with the incubator. Applicants will go through a multi-level application process. The initial application will ask for basic information and resumes of all team members as well as a short project description summarizing the school’s idea. Applications will be evaluated and scored by a panel of experts using a formalized rubric. After GCSA receives written applications, a number of candidates will be selected for a phone interview to better evaluate the team in the five competencies listed above. Based on phone interviews and written applications, teams will be invited to a panel interview and performance task. All applicants will be required to submit a writing sample by the team’s leader. Lastly, all applicants are required to attend GCSA’s CharterDevelopment 101 training by September 16 or the State Charter Schools Commission’s Bootcamp.
All applications are due by August 31, 2017.
For more information, please email Aarti Sharma, GCSA Vice President of New School Development.
1National Center for Children in Poverty
2Eric Stirgus, Georgia Schools that Could Fall Under State Control, Atl. Jnl. And Const., Feb. 12, 2015