Charter Schools and School Choice
Meeting the multitude of complex academic, administrative, and regulatory challenges facing public charter schools requires the right approach and the right team. What is the best way to address the academic needs of diverse learners? How do you create and make better use of performance data streams? Where is the balance between monitoring schools for public accountability and protecting autonomy to spur innovation?
Working with charter schools, authorizers and policy makers, boards, and management companies, AIR conducts studies to identify, design, and implement systems that help organizations cultivate practices that result in high-quality schools and accountability. We place a wide range of expertise at the fingertips of the people leading charter school work. Our charter school and school improvement policy and practice veterans are versed in the most effective approaches and have first-hand experience serving as charter school teachers, administrators, governing board members, authorizers and researchers.
Comprehensive analysis, targeted expertise to close gaps, and proven data management and systems building are instrumental in improving performance across instructional, administrative, and school community functions. Technical assistance can be tailored for education agencies, policy makers, authorizers, charter management organizations, independent charter schools, and governing boards. Our capacities span the spectrum from national research analysis, to state policy to high-needs school improvement in settings from urban to rural. Support also can be focused to organize and facilitate inter-school collaboratives.
AppleTree, a research and development institute and public charter preschool with campuses across Washington, D.C., seeks to close the achievement gap before students get to kindergarten by providing three- and four-year-olds with the social, emotional, and cognitive foundations that enable them to thrive in school. AIR researchers will evaluate the expansion of AppleTree as they open nine new charter schools in the city over five years.
Implementation of School Waiver Systems in Georgia
Through the Regional Education Laboratory Southeast, AIR researchers will study the implementation of Georgia’s school waiver systems, including Strategic Waiver School Systems and Charter School Systems, with a research alliance of Georgia education stakeholders focused on school flexibilities. In addition, AIR will provide training, coaching, and other technical assistance to states and local education agencies around school practices, policies, and research methodology.
Improving the Quality of Charter Schools in Minnesota
The Midwest Comprehensive Center at AIR is providing support to the Minnesota Department of Education in its efforts to improve the quality of charter schools in Minnesota. Specifically, the Center developed a scan of authorizer/state education agency practices related to authorizer evaluation systems and charter applications. Center staff serve as a thought partner to strengthen the Department’s stakeholder engagement and resource dissemination through its charter school boot camp and charter conferences.