Elevating our game to elevate our schools
Welcome back to the school year! We trust you all had some well-deserved downtime and relaxation over the past couple of months.
Here at the League, our members’ needs are what drive our efforts on a daily basis. As just one example of this, we’ve worked tirelessly in recent years to achieve equitable charter funding on everything from mills to facilities because our schools have consistently rated this as one of their top issues. Last spring we were able to deliver on this priority by attaining our highest level of Charter Capital Construction funding ever along with the legislative commitment to (finally) equalize funding for CSI schools beginning with the 2024-25 school year. This of course all happened alongside the largest increase in PPR in state history.
These were historic accomplishments. But we know that the needs of our schools, particularly in the current environment, remain significant, which is why we are constantly looking at new ways to increase our value and enhance our member support. As the new year kicks off, I wanted to share with you some of the ways that the League continues to up our game to better serve our schools. But if there are other topics or priorities you think we should be focused on, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know.
First, we’re elevating our game in terms of voice and member representation. We’re continuing on with our town hall series this year starting in September and we’re planning on regional meetings around the state throughout the year — more information on those soon. We’re also creating a robust plan to engage and meet with many of you on a more individualized basis. Reach out to schedule a visit from League staff or with your elected officials. With several new representatives, our Member Council also continues its great work of giving voice to the varied needs and interests of Colorado’s collective charter school community.
Second, we continue to escalate our work in grassroots advocacy. Through our sister 501(c)(4) organization CLCS Action, we are working to be more influential in local and state elections that are necessary to advance and defend quality charter schools, and we continue to build up momentum toward our legislative efforts by spending over $2 for every $1 received in membership dues. Imagine the force we could be if we were more effective at activating the 137,000+ families across the state currently benefiting from public charter schools.
Third, we’re taking on several efforts to ensure that quality and opportunity for all students are at the heart of what we do. In line with our organizational principles, we are working diligently on the rollout of our Member Quality Standards & Supports initiative that we announced last winter. This project will elevate the urgency of quality amongst all of us. We are also preparing a groundbreaking piece of research that will demonstrate the need for new quality public school options for students in key locations across Colorado. Look for this Opportunity Landscape report in February of 2024.
But even with all these efforts, now is not the time to sit back and relax. It is time to ensure that our ongoing work continues in the key areas of school services and updating our website to better serve you and connect members to partners, legislators, events, and support offerings. We are also proud to announce that our Leadership Summit is now open for registration, and our Annual Conference, Advocacy Day, and Legislative Agenda are all in the works with more information to come soon.
Tricia Noyola, Chief Executive Officer, Rocky Mountain Prep. Tricia serves as the CEO of Rocky Mountain Prep (RMP). For the past 15 years, she has worked alongside scholars, families, teachers, leaders, and staff to cultivate vibrant schools where all students can excel academically.
Ian Stout, Executive Director, Loveland Classical Schools. Ian serves as Loveland Classical Schools’ Executive Director and has been active in support of the Colorado charter school community for over a
decade. The 2023/24 school year is his twentieth year in education.
Kate Siegel Schimko, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Colorado State University Systems. Kate joined the Colorado State University System as assistant vice chancellor for community engagement, a newly created position in which she will focus on government relations involving the state executive branch and the city and county of Denver, as well as work to further relationships with the business community.
We’d like to welcome these three new board members, and thank all our board members for their service.
If you’re new to the League, welcome. If you’re one of our long-standing members, thank you for your continued commitment. Here’s to a standout year for 2023-2024. Please let us know how we can best serve you.
Dan Schaller, President
Colorado League of Charter Schools