Start A School

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Creating Successful, High-Quality Charters

With over 30 years of experience supporting new school development, The Colorado League of Charter Schools is a well-respected resource for best practices, thought leadership and essential services as you begin the process of creating a successful new public charter public school.

Our technical assistance and vast library of resources are primarily free of charge and our team is here to guide you every step of the way. In addition, pending available funding, we may have planning grants to support your launch efforts.

Charter Application Review & Mock Interview

Cost: $2,000

Applying to open a school is a significant investment of time, energy and resources, and over the past three years, the number of charter application denials has increased significantly. This calls for new school developers to be ever more diligent in ensuring they are prepared for the process of application and interviews. We offer expert level, one-on-one support via a thorough and detailed application review and intensive interview preparation. 

Armed with an extensive understanding of both CSI and individual district processes, our team of experts will review your application in detail, providing feedback to perfect your application prior to submission. We then conduct a mock interview with League staff playing the role of authorizer. Teams that have leveraged this support process over the past five years have been given approval or conditional approval nearly twice as often as teams that pursue the process on their own.

Year Zero Consultancy

Research indicates that the business and non-profit aspects of running a school causes challenges, delays, and even closures. Barriers to school success include enrollment or other financial concerns, facility challenges, people operations, leadership, and level of board knowledge. Our Year Zero Cohort—which admits up to five school founding teams per year—is designed to support school founders in the critical period between application approval and the day they open their school doors, offering monthly support, training, and work sessions.

This free, unique cohort is focused on supporting single-site schools that align with the League’s pillars, principles, and priorities. Schools must be focused on serving high-need students in high-need geographies around the state where quality school choices are less prevalent. While Year Zero school teams dedicate hundreds of hours per month towards opening their doors, the cohort commitment requires a minimum of three hours per month of scheduled interactions and support time. 

Our content experts will guide you through each phase of opening, with extra time spent on areas that have been challenging for past new school founding teams. Additional benefits include:

  • 1:1 customized consulting
  • Monthly check-ins with League staff
  • Networking with other founding teams
  • Cohort team stipends for mid-year progress
  • Cohort team stipends for end-of-year progress
  • Operations Grants

To apply, email [email protected].

Launch Cohort

Many new schools struggle with enrollment and business operations in their first three years which can risk their ability to not only stay focused on building excellent schools, but also to stay open. To help get ahead of those issues, this community of charter school founders is working alongside one another to successfully and sustainably launch their new schools. 

The Launch cohort—including monthly meetings, personalized support and networking opportunities—is free to all participating schools. Participants can expect to build meaningful relationships with similar-stage founders, engage with programming to prepare for a successful launch, and collaboratively solve shared challenges. Participants will receive stipends for their participation and have access to grants to solve specific challenges throughout the program.
Ideal participants will be approximately 18 months from launch with an approved charter application or clear pathway to authorization. In alignment with the League’s principles, participants must be committed to serving all students in a range of geographies around the state where quality choices or quality schools are less prevalent.

Join a community of charter school founders working alongside one another to successfully and sustainably launch their new schools. Our high-quality programming and supports will include:

  • Monthly cohort meetings / workshops to support the launch of your schools and solve problems
  • 1:1 customized coaching
  • Networking with other founding teams
  • Cohort participant stipends & access to grants for recruitment and enrollment strategies
  • Scholarship to attend the League’s Annual Conference

Teams must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Offer a highly effective and innovative choice for students and families in their target community
  • Provide a program that provides equitable access to a high-quality education
  • Be in a position to open their school within the next 18 months (targeting August 2024)
  • Be approved and contracted by their authorizing district, or, have a clear path to authorization
  • Engage in a collaborative way with similar-stage founders in the cohort 
  • Commit to a minimum three hours per month of active engagement in meetings and follow-up

To apply, email [email protected].

We’re Here to Help

In addition to new school development, the League also offers assistance in the areas of academic services, board and governance, enrollment and communications, exceptional education, facilities and finance, health and wellness, and HR and talent.

Contact New School Development

Free Member School Services

The League offers a wide-variety of free services to all member schools, including: 

  • Ongoing access to information, best practices and crisis support.
  • Learning Communities that bring together peers from across the state to discuss current topics in specific areas, including board and governance, leadership, new school development, marketing and more.
  • Resource Library with guidelines, samples, checklists, and on-demand webinars
  • Access to our Member Marketplace
  • Unlimited job postings on the League’s website
  • League Staff Site Visits

Want to learn more? Email us today to start the conversation.