2017-2018 Charter School Leadership Survey

Every two years the Association conducts the Minnesota Charter School Leadership Survey to collect information on the state and status of charter school leadership so that the Association can better support school administrators. The information from previous surveys has been extremely helpful in addressing public policy issues and in shaping the work of the Association with school directors.

The Survey asks questions in four areas: Basic Demographic Information, Professional Background and Experience, Work of the Director, and School Governance and Management. The Survey is based on the Charter School Leadership Survey developed by the Center for Reinventing Education at the University of Washington.


Charter School Boards – Role & Responsibilities

One of the topics the Association’s Board Governance Work Group grappled with over this past fall was the question of “What is the Role & Responsibilities of Boards in the Oversight of Student Performance, Achievement and Success?” In researching the question it was amazing to find how little has been written on the topic.

What the Work Group did find set in motion a vigorous discussion about the what achievement and success mean,  what factors are a part of measuring student performance, achievement and success. Ultimately the Work Group thought those issues need to be addressed by individual boards – but the discussion led to the defining of what the charter school board’s role and responsibilities are in the oversight of student performance, achievement and success.

The Work Group recommended a Policy Statement that can serve as a job description for boards and a blueprint for board education on the board’s role and responsibilities in the oversight of student performance, achievement and success.

The Policy Statement has been sent to Boards and School Directors of member schools.


The Cost of Authorizing Minnesota’s Charter Schools Report

In 2009, the Legislature enacted a number of amendments to Minnesota’s charter school law involving the authorizing of chartered public schools. Among the amendments was a new funding formula schools pay to authorizers to conduct their oversight responsibilities, and a requirement for authorizers to publicly account for the authorizing fees they collect from schools through an annual income and expenditure report submitted to the Commissioner of Education.

Annually, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools compiles all of the authorizer income and expenditure reports submitted to the Commissioner to produce a comprehensive picture of the cost of authorizing chartered schools in our state.

The big picture shows that in FY17, authorizers as a group took in over $2.9 million in income, with expenditures of over $2.7 million, and that the average cost of authorizing was over $16,700  per school.


A Growing Movement – Charter Enrollment

A Growing Movement is the title of a recently published report on America’s Public Charter School Enrollment. In 2016-2017, over 3,011,000 students or 6% of the nation’s 49,974,000 students attended a chartered public school.

Minnesota charter schools had an enrollment in 2016-2017 of 53,930 or 6% of the 874,830 public school students in the state.

According to the report St.Paul had the 34th largest charter school population in the nation with 12, 910 students, while Minneapolis had the 38th largest charter school population in the nation with 10,840 students.

The full report published by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools can be found HERE

MN Supreme Court Hears Education “Adequacy” Case

On Tuesday, the MN Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cruz-Guzman vs State of Minnesota. The Plaintiffs in this case  claim that state action (open enrollment, charter schools, etc.) and inaction have led to segregated schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The argument before the Court was whether the issue of what is an “adequate education” is an issue for the courts, or whether what an “adequate education” is should be an issue for the legislature and the people.  The Plaintiffs believe courts should decide what is an “adequate education”, while the State believes it should be decided by the Legislature and the people.

For those who like watching court television shows – here is a Real Case.


40 Charter Schools Designated High Quality by MN Department of Education

Last week the MN Department of Education announced that 40 charter schools were designated High Quality Charter Schools and are eligible to apply for a Expansion or Replication Grant in 2018.


AFSA High School, Vadnais Heights; Arcadia Charter School, Northfield; Aspen Academy, Savage; Athlos Leadership Academy, Brooklyn Park; Cologne Academy, Cologne; Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul;

DaVinci Academy, Ham Lake; Discovery WoodsStar of the North Academy Montessori School, Brainerd; Eagle Ridge Academy Charter School, Minnetonka; East Range Academy of Technical Science, Eveleth; Face to Face Academy, St. Paul;

Global Academy, Columbia Heights; Great Expectations, Grand Marais; Harbor City International, Duluth; Higher Ground Academy, St. Paul; Hmong College Prep Academy, St. Paul; International Spanish Language Academy, Minnetonka;

KIPP Minnesota Charter School, Minneapolis; La Crescent Montessori & STEM School, La Crescent; Lionsgate Academy, Minnetonka; Math and Science Academy, Woodbury;

Nasha Shkola Charter School, Brooklyn Park; New Discoveries Montessori Academy, Hutchinson; Noble Academy, Brooklyn Park; North Lakes Academy, Forest Lake; Northeast College Prep, Minneapolis; Nova Classical Academy, St. Paul; Prodeo Academy, Minneapolis;

Riverway Learning Community Charter, Winona; Spectrum High School, Elk RiverStar of the North Charter School, East Bethel; STEP Academy Charter School, St. Paul; Swan River Montessori Charter School, Monticello; TrekNorth High School, Bemidji; Twin Cities Academy, St. Paul; Twin Cities German Immersion Charter School, St. Paul;

Ubah Medical Academy Charter School, Hopkins; Universal Academy Charter School, Minneapolis; Yinghua Academy, Minneapolis

Minnesota’s ESSA Plan – Update

On Wednesday, of this week the MN Department of Education submitted revisions to Minnesota’s State ESSA Plan to address the areas that the federal government asked the state to provide clarifications based on a review of the proposed Plan. A final decision on the approval of the Plan is expected by the U.S. Department of Education by January 16th.

ESSA Minnesota State Plan

While the State Plan has been moving through the federal approval process, MDE has launched the process to look at three topics that were identified for further examination through the consultation process in developing the State Plan.

  1. Indicator(s) of School Quality or Student Success
  2. Data Dashboard (Public Data Reporting)
  3. School Recognition

The Department has established 3 Sub-committees to examine and make recommendations on these topics.

Yesterday, the School Quality or Student Success Sub-committee met for 4 hours to examine whether the MN Common Course Catalog (MCCC) system might be able to provide information that could be utilized as an indicator of a well-rounded education and career and college readiness. The Sub-committee will be meeting again on January 17th to make a recommendation.