News Archive

Training for Charter School Board Members

Announcing Academic Oversight for Charter School Boards, a free workshop for charter school board members on March 8, in New York City

Update: the workshop has reached capacity and the RSVP list is now closed. If you would like to receive updates about future workshops, please sign up for our monthly email updates.

We organized this workshop to address a common challenge many charter school boards face today: proper oversight of a school’s academic program. Board members without an academic background consider this task to be daunting, especially in an environment with continuously changing assessments and moving targets. Our March workshop will help board members sharpen their oversight skills to…
  • Provide detailed academic analysis during authorizer renewal visit interviews
  • Engage in meaningful discussion about academics with a school’s leadership team
  • Improve renewal candidacy through oversight of academic programming


Charter Schools Renewal Webinar

As charter school consultants, we have worked on over 50 renewal applications. We receive many requests for a simple yet effective plan to prepare charter schools for renewal. In response, we have put together this 3 minute webinar to assist in today’s renewal environment.  Over time, we have developed a five step method that is structured to help schools improve their candidacy for renewal. This webinar will help charter school boards and leadership teams in the planning and execution of a high quality renewal application.

New York State Education Department Board of Regents: Spring 2015 Summary of 28 Renewal Actions

Spring 2015 brought another batch of schools up for renewal before the New York State Education Department Board of Regents. Between February and June 2015, 28 schools were renewed. Within this group, 14 received short-term renewals and 14 received full-term renewals. Check the NYSED summary of Regents Action Taken for the full breakdown of these decisions.



NYSED Invites 15 Applicant Groups to Submit Full Applications

The Charter School Office released its list of applicant groups that have advanced to the full application stage to establish new charter schools. The office received 38 letters of intent and invited 15 of these groups to submit a full application.

More Short-Term Renewals in Winter 2015

On Monday, the New York Board of Regents voted to approve renewals for 10 charters. Of this group, four schools received short-term renewals ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 years. This batch, combined with previous renewals approved this winter, points to a new trend toward short-term renewals. Since December 2014, authorizers approved almost as many short-term renewals as full-term renewals. Even schools past their first renewal are now receiving subsequent short-term renewals. The table below breaks this data down:

December 2014 through February 2015: Recent Renewal Recommendations By Authorizer
Short-Term Renewals Full-Term Renewals
SUNY 1 8
Total 16 18

*Table updated February 11 to reflect reversal of 3 Board of Regents Authorized short-term NYSED renewal recommendations. These three became full-term renewals.



SED Round One Letter of Intent Due at 3 PM February 10

New applicants looking to open public charter schools for the 2016-17 school year must have their Letters of Intent submitted by 3 PM February 10.

February 9-10 NYS Board of Regents Meeting Includes Several Charter School Decisions

Please see link below for the February 9-10, 2015 Regents meeting. On the agenda are a number of charter revisions plus ten renewal recommendations. Six are from NYCDOE Authorized schools, and four are from Regents schools.

Importance of Outside Academic Audits


As part of proactive planning for renewal and in an effort to ensure the strongest possible academic program, an increasing number of schools benefit from an academic audit conducted by an impartial third party. An academic audit is a multi-day visit to your school by one or more evaluators focused on determining whether there are areas of weakness that will very likely surface at the time of renewal. Would you rather wait for your Authorizer to point them out in the renewal recommendation report, or hear about them years earlier, in time to do something about them?

Wide in scope, these comprehensive visits address the very same key academic program components that your Authorizer will review at your renewal such as: the level of instructional rigor evident in your classrooms; strength of the curriculum and assessments used by your school; effectiveness of the school’s systems and techniques to serve students who are at-risk of academic failure (i.e. students with disabilities, English language learners and generally struggling students); quality of instructional leadership practices; and, evidence of a sound school culture. Topics and areas of focus typically vary based on a school’s Authorizer, school preferences, and the length of the evaluation. Audits usually culminate in a discussion of findings with the school’s leadership and/or board of trustees, and a report identifying key academic program strengths, areas for growth, and recommendations for how to address key concerns.

Many of the firms that provide such services are former employees of Authorizers. They definitely know what to look for, and their impartiality is your ally. Their summary reports can be sobering, but extremely valuable if you act on their recommendations.

If you wish to discuss how to get started with one of these visits, let us know and we will try to point you in the right direction.

Renewal Landscape is Changing


When it comes to renewal, we’ve seen it all. After the next two approaching renewal cycles, Pasek Consulting will have supported charter schools through 50 renewal submissions. Over the years, requirements for renewal applications have changed, and it is now clear that authorizers know as much about your school’s data as you do, if not more. There are few surprises when it comes to the submission of your renewal application.

Renewal Mindset

Renewal is no longer just a simple submission of scores and a site visit. Rather, schools can significantly upgrade their renewal candidacy by reviewing performance against renewal benchmarks many years in advance. Time and again, many charter schools still consider renewal to be a burdensome exercise near the very end of their charter term. Too many don’t look at it until a year before it is due.

Advanced Planning to Fix Gaps

Forward-looking schools start studying what is required for renewal the minute their charter term begins. Yes, we can help when schools call us less than a year before their renewal is due, but there is little time to help identify and fix the gaps you have, if you have them. If you understand what a high quality renewal candidate will look like from the start, you and your consultant can help strengthen areas of weakness long before your renewal year.

Slow and Steady

A much less expensive and smarter alternative to thinking about renewal late in the game is a slow and steady approach to continuously track your renewal progress for your entire charter term. This way, there is enough time for the consultant to alert the school of significant academic, organizational, operational, fiscal or governance weaknesses that can be fixed before the school is up for renewal.

Feel free to visit our updated services page. Let us know if you would like to discuss your school’s renewal strategy.

SUNY Trustees Accept Ten Renewal Recommendations

On February 3, 2015, The SUNY Charter Schools Committee accepted the recommendations of 10 currently operating public charter schools. For a full report, click here.