Massachusetts Charter Schools

Accountability

Each school is assigned a liaison who is able to respond to inquiries regarding any aspect of charter school accountability.

For general questions and concerns about charter schools please contact charterschools@doe.mass.edu or call 781-338-3227 for assistance.


Charter School Renewal Guidance and Materials

Considerations for Charter School Renewal

This memorandum documents key considerations related to accountability decisions for charter schools, including decisions to not renew or to revoke schools' charters. These considerations are not new; they have been developed and employed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) for the past several years.

Application for Renewal of a Public School Charter

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) is obligated by statute (G.L. c. 71, § 89(dd)) and regulation (603 CMR 1.11) to conduct ongoing performance reviews of each charter school and, no later than the fifth year of the school's charter term, decide whether or not to renew the school's charter. The charter renewal decision is based upon the school's performance over the term of the charter in three areas:

  1. The school's faithfulness to the terms of its charter,
  2. The success of the school's academic program, and
  3. The viability of the school as an organization.

The Charter School Performance Criteria provide the analytical framework used to hold a charter school accountable for performance in these three areas and to determine whether or not a charter should be renewed.

The application is an opportunity for the school to present evidence of the school's performance during the current charter term. The application process allows the school to examine its practices and decisions over the current charter term, offer explanations for any performance or operational issues, identify actions taken to correct past problems, and provide information regarding the school's plans for improvement in the future. By presenting full and accurate information along with a context for the information, the school has the opportunity to make its best case for charter renewal.

According to the regulations (603 CMR 1.00), a charter school shall submit its application for renewal of its charter no earlier than March 1 of the third school year of the charter term and no later than August 1 after the end of the fourth school year of the charter term.

Renewal Inspection Protocol

This protocol provides information about the Massachusetts public charter school renewal site visit process to a wide range of stakeholders in public charter schools. Individuals who participate as team members on the renewal site visits and public charter schools going through renewal can draw practical knowledge on how to prepare for and successfully implement renewal site visits. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education depends upon this protocol to describe the process used by evaluators to gather and analyze school performance data that will be considered when determining renewal or non-renewal of a public charter school. Parents and the general public may turn to this protocol for an explanation of one component of the greater accountability system that monitors public charter school performance over the five-year life of every charter.

Summary of Review Template

The Summary of Review (SOR) summarizes the school's performance over the five-year charter term, reflecting evidence compiled throughout the charter term from sources such as annual reports, site visit reports, and state assessment results. The SOR incorporates descriptions of evidence gathered during the renewal inspection. The renewal inspection team prepares these descriptions, and they are included in the gray shaded boxes in the body of the report. The SOR highlights evidence for six Criteria aligned with the statutory requirements for charter renewal outlined by M.G.L. c. 71, § 89(dd): Criterion 1: Mission and Key Design Elements; Criterion 2: Access and Equity; Criterion 3: Compliance; Criterion 4: Dissemination; Criterion 5: Student Performance; and Criterion 9: Governance. The SOR also includes evidence related to other Criteria assessed during the renewal inspection.

Last Updated: July 1, 2022

 
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