NACSA

Transformative Charter Schools Are Not Created in a Lab: Here’s Why

This blog post was written by Susie Miller Carello, Executive Director, SUNY Charter Schools Institute.

At the State University of New York Charter Schools Institute (SUNY), we believe that all students, regardless of where they live, deserve access to a high-quality public education.

We also understand that, just like every child is unique, so is every neighborhood. It’s important that this diversity is reflected across all dimensions in our schools, from the leadership and staff to the instructional models, practices, and services.

That’s why for the more than two decades since the passage of the Charter Schools Act, the SUNY Trustee’s Renewal Policies and the Institute’s practices and approach to authorizing–from initial application for a new charter through renewal–have been firmly rooted in the idea of community-centered schools.

As part of our new application process, for example, the Institute closely analyzes an applicant’s efforts to engage with and collect feedback from the community regarding its prospective school. This includes demonstrable evidence of both local support and prospective family demand. In preparation for school visits, the Institute team researches and reviews neighborhood demographics and available community assets. Once on the ground, staff often walk the surrounding area to get a sense of the community.

Learn more about SUNY’s approach to transformative charter schools on the NACSA blog.