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Meeting Community Aspirations in MN: Community-Centered Charter Schooling in Action

This blog post was written by David Greenberg, Director of Leadership Development at NACSA. These are David’s reflections after participating in the new school application process with Osprey Wilds ELC, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Osprey Wilds ELC, other reviewers participating in the process, or the school proposal teams.

Participating in a new school application review process is one of the most exciting aspects of charter school authorizing.

This is the point where you can really see the vision, dreams, creativity, experience, and skills of school developers. (Or sometimes, not.) It is also a time in which you can learn about the vision, dreams, creativity, experience, and skills of a community. (Or sometimes, not.)

Early in 2021, I had the opportunity to experience all of the above as a member of the new school application review team for Osprey Wilds ELC (OW), the largest authorizer in Minnesota. I had worked at OW (formerly known as the Audubon Center of the North Woods) as the Director of Charter School Authorizing for seven years. Now I was back in an external capacity, as a member of the team that would review the eight applications received by OW from across the state–Minneapolis, the suburbs, the exurbs, and Up North (as we say around here).

While I can’t say I entered this process thinking concretely about community-centered authorizing, the concept was certainly on my mind. We have been talking about it a lot here at NACSA these last months — both how NACSA and authorizers around the country could make our work more community-centered. And there it was in the evaluation rubric, which asked me both directly and indirectly to think about how the proposed charter school planned to center community.

Read the complete #WithCommunities blog post and learn more about community-centered charter schooling on the NACSA website.

We’re NACSA and we believe that we can create the best education systems for our students by collaborating #WithCommunities. Join us: http://withcommunities.org