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Support: Starting a Charter School in Colorado
Support Services for Starting a Charter School in Colorado

The League provides a variety of services to support the development, growth, expansion and replication of high- quality charter schools in Colorado. The League's new school development services are designed to support charter schools from inception through the early years of operation. For existing schools that seek to grow, expand, or replicate, the League offers assistance in strategic, business and multi-year financial and operations planning.

 

If you are interested in starting a charter school in Colorado, please start by contacting Lori Ventimiglia or Kathy Zlomke at the Colorado League of Charter Schools. Next, visit http://startachartercolorado.org/ for a detailed look at the steps ahead.
  

Planning Process

The League's new school team will meet with founding groups to help structure a planning process, identify planning team capacity needs, and arrange for ongoing support via subsequent follow-up meetings, and phone and email communications throughout your new school planning process. The League provides school planning and implementation templates, best practices, excerpts from successful charter school applications, planning facilitation, and standards for developing high-quality charter school applications.

 

Charter Application Reviews

The League strongly encourages new school developers to request reviews of, and feedback on, draft charter school applications prior to submitting them to an authorizer. A team of internal and external reviewers are available, through the League, to evaluate each section of a draft application and provide constructive feedback based on the League's Quality Standards for Developing Charter Schools. Developing groups should first submit a Stage 5 Planning Grant, with enough lead time for the grant application to be reviewed and approved, prior to the draft application deadline. In order to allow time for revisions after the League's review process, near final draft charter applications should be emailed to the League at least two months prior to an authorizer's submission deadline.  (more...)
 

Access to Grants and Funding

 

The League offers two grant opportunities for developing charter schools:

 

Planning Grants

Thanks to the generous contributions from the Anschutz Foundation and the Daniels Fund, the Colorado League of Charter Schools offers seven planning grants that are designed for groups that are in the process of developing high-quality charter school models and are writing a charter application. These grants are designed to assist groups who haven’t been able to access other planning funds to assist with development costs such as hiring consultants, outreach, etc. There are no deadlines associated with these planning grants; grant proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis. 

 

 

Walton Family Foundation (WFF) Grant Partners Program

The League works as a grant partner with the Walton Family Foundation (WFF), in order to help the WFF identify promising schools, and facilitates their grant process in Colorado. The Walton Family Foundation’s focus is on providing strong academic options for students from low-income backgrounds. Their grants are primarily available to developing groups planning a school that will open in Denver Public Schools (DPS), serving a student population where at least 50% qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) program. Because this grant program is by invitation only, all schools should contact the League for guidance before seeking grant support from the Walton Family Foundation. 

 

 

Fiscal Sponsor Services

The League is available to serve as a fiscal sponsor for developing charter school groups that do not yet have their tax-exempt status. There is a 5% administrative oversight fee for this service. To learn more about the Fiscal Sponsor service and to complete an application, please contact Lori Ventimiglia

 

Mentor Program
Are you a part of a charter public school founding team in Colorado? Would you like to have a personal mentor who has successfully navigated the process? The League can match you with a mentor who has been involved in the development, launch and continued operations of a successful charter public school! Our mentors are happy to consult with you on an as-needed basis as you work toward the successful launch of your school. Contact Lori Ventimiglia for more information.

 

Charter Renewal Support
Be sure to contact the League when your charter contract comes up for its first renewal (ideally in the spring prior to your renewal year). We offer a variety of renewal support services including: technical assistance and resource sharing to comprehensive performance evaluations, policy reviews, facilitated renewal discussions with your district and in-depth renewal reports and reviews. Please contact Lori Ventimiglia at lventimiglia@coloradoleague.org  or 303-989-5356 ext. 113 to learn more.

 

Growth, Expansion, and Replication

The League facilitates meetings with school boards and leadership to design a process and timetable for developing a business plan and a growth, expansion, or replication strategy. The League also provides samples of well-developed business plans, a replication readiness checklist, referrals to connect with others who have done this work successfully, assistance with multi-year and multi-site financial forecasting, and feedback on draft plans. 

 

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