Public/Private School Design & Replication

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Strategic Planning

Replicating Quality Schools Program

Clients: New York City Charter School Center, funded by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

The Challenge

Preparing charter schools and charter school management organizations to successfully replicate and expand their networks of schools takes careful planning, time, energy, and vast expertise in a variety of areas in K-12 education, including strategic planning, operations, human capacity, finance, curriculum, and real estate. The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation believes that one of the ways to increase quality educational options for students is by supporting the replication of established, high performing charter schools. Yet successful replication is challenging, and a key concern is ensuring expansion does not lead to a decrease in the quality of education provided.

Our Solution

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation contracted the New York City Charter School Center (NYCCSC) to develop and administer four rounds of a new program aimed addressing this need: the Replicating Quality Schools Program. NYCCSC, launched as the country’s first citywide charter support strategy, works to grow the movement, ensure quality, solve sector-wide challenges, provide key resources and trainings, and build a favorable public policy environment. NYCCSC hired Ford Research Solutions and CA Group to co-direct the program. Over the past three years, four cohorts of approximately eight schools each completed the program, in New York City (twice), New Orleans, and Nashville/Memphis.

Ford Research Solutions and CA Group developed a targeted application (including a growth/replication readiness self-assessment) and designed a rigorous preparative program for schools, including: determining organizational and legal structure design; building organizational culture; replicating academic and instructional programs with fidelity; developing performance management and data-driven culture; building human capacity pipelines; and financially planning and modeling for growth. Over the course of the four cohorts, the training was updated to build on best practices and lessons learned from previous cohorts. See below for a description of session content from the most recent NYC cohort (Fall 2014).

Training I: Oct 2014

  • Case Studies: Growth and Evolution of Charter School Networks
  • Planning from the Outset via Financial Modeling & Sensitivity Testing
  • Institutional Evolution Discussion
  • Readiness Assessment and Impact Statement Exercise
  • Cohort Auditor Presentations

Training II: Nov 2014

  • Keys to Building Effective Performance Management Tools and Systems
  • Academic Performance Management
  • Operations Performance Management
  • Talent and Leadership Development
  • Distinct Organizational and School Specific Staffing Models
  • Organizational and Staffing Charts
  • Emerging Charter School Sector CMO Issues

Training III: Dec 2014

  • Facilities Opportunities and Challenges: A New Era in New York City
  • Guidance on Accessing State and/or City Funding
  • Building Board Capacity to Engage in Facilities Fundraising and/or Capital Campaigns
  • Growth Green-lighting Processes and Criteria Panel Discussion
  • Discussion and Exercise: Growth and Governance
  • Elements of Change Management