The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 allowed for the creation of Commonwealth and Horace Mann charter schools: new kinds of public schools, operating under five-year charters granted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and directly overseen by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (the Department). In part, charter schools were established to "stimulate the development of innovative programs within public education" and to provide "models for replication in other public schools."
Recognizing that all types of schools have best practices, by law, a charter school must provide models for replication and best practices to the Commissioner and to other public schools in the district where the charter school is located in order to earn a renewal of its charter. Indeed, as stated in the charter school statute, "a commonwealth charter shall not be renewed unless the board of trustees of the charter school has documented in a manner approved by the board (BESE) that said commonwealth charter school has provided models for replication and best practices to the commissioner and to other public schools in the district where the charter school is located" MGL c.71 S. 89 (dd).
The Charter School Performance Criteria provide a more expansive definition of dissemination of best practices:
Criterion 4: Dissemination: The school provides innovative models for replication and best practices to other public schools in the district where the charter school is located.
The Department will also consider efforts made by the charter school to disseminate innovative models for replication and best practices to other schools, districts, and organizations beyond the district where the charter school is located. There are multiple forums and activities through which a charter school may disseminate, including but not limited to:
The Department has compiled the resources below from a variety of sources, including: the research done by the UMass Donahue Institute in its 2012 paper "Charter School Dissemination Grants in Massachusetts, Successes, Challenges and Recommendations," discussion with current charter school leaders who have made strong dissemination efforts, discussion with district and non-profit leaders in the sector, and best practices from other states. The following links provide guidance on creating the conditions for dissemination, sharing resources and information, and sustaining partnerships.
1 For the purposes of this site, the term "best practice" refers to a strong or promising practice that has demonstrated potential to be effective. The Department recognizes that both the term "best practice" and the term "dissemination" can be charged and potentially create barriers to sharing. These terms are being used here because of the wording of the law.
Last Updated: July 19, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.