We believe all students deserve an excellent educational opportunity regardless of their background.
The GCSA Incubator
Successful charter schools always have one thing in common – extraordinary people. Charter schools have the potential to make a profound impact on their students and communities by providing innovative and flexible instruction, and charter schools led by energetic and knowledgeable educators have the most long-lasting and transformational impact. The GCSA Incubator leverages its expertise in charter school authorization to invest in talented and dynamic school leaders to build the knowledge, experience, and fortitude to operate charter schools successfully.
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.
The GCSA Incubator supports visionary educators in fulfilling their missions.
GCSA Incubator programs include workshops, trainings, and guided-study designed to help charter petitioners articulate their mission and visions through a charter petition that is submitted and approved by a charter school authorizer. Mentorships, peer groups, and networking opportunities allow Incubator Fellows to build meaningful connections through a wide system of resources and support. Throughout their participation in the program, Fellows are offered twice-monthly coaching with individualized resources that are responsive to the Fellow’s immediate needs. All petition components, budgets, and appendices are reviewed by GCSA Incubator staff for individual guidance and feedback. Fellows are supported throughout the authorization process, planning year, and through opening for students.
As a GCSA Incubator Fellow:
- You will have access to academic, financial, and school operational experts who will offer individualized support and guidance to help you develop your plans.
- You will navigate the complex and tedious authorization process with the support of GCSA staff to overcome all procedural barriers to starting a charter school.
- You will actively participate in workshops and trainings that will assist you in refining and articulating your model.
- You will learn the requirements of operating a charter school in Georgia with training opportunities designed to provide detailed, Georgia-specific tools and resources.
- Your mentor, cohort peers, and networking opportunities provide real-world solutions to common hurdles for schools and leaders.
- You will develop a facility plan and strategy, and upon authorization, a dedicated consultant will provide support through facility procurement, development, and facility approval.
- You connect with investors, charter development organizations, and grant opportunities for additional prospective funding and resource development.
The GCSA Incubator has supported:
- 16 Charter Petitions through authorization
- 9 Charter Schools currently serving students
- More than 2,000 students currently in Incubator schools; and
- Over 6,500 seats authorized in charter schools across Georgia.
Are you a candidate to start a charter school with GCSA Incubator Support? [Link to Candidate Profile]
GCSA Incubator Programs
Our Authorization Program guides Incubator Fellows articulating charter school design through the drafting of a charter petition and submission for charter approval. The GCSA Authorization Program provides Incubator Fellows with the training, resources, and mentorship to guide petitioners through authorization and opening. Most participants will complete a One-Year Cohort beginning July 2024 with the goal to submit a charter petition for authorization in Spring 2025 to open for students in Fall 2026. A Two-Year Cohort is available for those who wish to implement Community Co-Design to guide the petition drafting process. The Authorization Program’s Two-Year Cohort begins July 2024 with the goal to submit a charter petition for authorization in Spring 2026 to open for students in Fall 2027. [Link to Authorization Program Outline]
A Replication Program is available for petitioning groups that are replicating or expanding existing schools. Rather than supporting the creation of a charter petition, participants in this cohort are supported in the replication/expansion process of the current school’s authorizer with a specific focus to help scale the school’s success. The Replication Program accepts applicants on a rolling basis. [Link to Replication Program Outline]
Our Year Zero Program Provides hands-on assistance to support authorized schools from approval to opening. The school leaders and governing boards receive additional trainings and resources aimed to ensure the school meets all pre-opening milestones required by the authorizer. [Link to Year Zero Program Outline]
Coming Soon…our Charter Development Program provides a broad overview of charter school design and planning with a focus on strategic planning for further charter development. The program is intended to assist prospective charter petitioners with the initial knowledge and strategies to begin designing a charter school program under Georgia law.