Monthly Archives

December 2021

A year in review: Coalition accomplishments in 2021

By News
The past year was a busy one, involving lots of time at the state legislature for Coalition lobbyists! In addition to advocacy at the General Assembly, the Coalition represented charter interests with leaders of the State Board of Education (SBE), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and more.

Legislative successes in 2021

Accomplishments this past year included:

  • Ensuring the state budget included ADM hold harmless provisions for charter schools
  • Securing equity for charters in COVID relief funding
  • Obtaining authorization for charters for 2021-22 planned virtual instruction
  • Resolving LEA late payment issues for charter schools and working with the NC School Boards Association and DPI to standardize payment processes
  • Protecting charter autonomy with summer learning/remediation
  • Keeping stricter requirements for charters out of legislation restructuring high school athletics
  • Requiring NC Pre-K operators to inform parents about public charter schools in the county
  • Obtaining additional funds for charters accepting students after the second 2020-21 ADM count deadline
  • Celebrating the 25th anniversary of North Carolina’s charter law with a press conference attended by state leaders and lawmakers
What else? The Coalition pushed for timely teacher vaccinations and worked to ensure the Office of Charter Schools could continue validating alternative teacher evaluation tools. In addition, the Coalition urged SBE to hold charter schools harmless for renewals in 2021. Then, there were emails, emails, emails–seeking clarification, information, and above all, ensuring that charters’ best interests were maintained.

New members in 2021

The Coalition welcomed multiple new schools as members in 2021, including:
  • Community School of Davidson
  • Alpha Academy
  • Community Charter School
  • Francine Delany New School
  • Union Day School
  • Raleigh Oak Charter
  • Phoenix Academy
  • Revolution Academy
  • North Carolina Cyber Academy
School members, we are delighted to have you on board!

Looking ahead to 2022

What’s ahead in 2022? We’re sure it will be busy. The Coalition Board will meet early in 2022 to outline legislative priorities for the 2022 Short Session. We will keep you updated!

Celebrating New Construction Projects with Lincoln Charter and TMSA

By News
Congratulations to Lincoln Charter School and TMSA! Both are Coalition members and both celebrated new renovation and construction projects this week. In addition, Jonathan Bryant, Chief Administrator at Lincoln Charter, serves on the Coalition Board. We are so excited to see these charter construction projects come together! We have a quick recap below.

Expansion at Lincoln Charter School’s Lincolnton campus

On Tuesday, December 14, Lincoln Charter School celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony with Rural Development North Carolina of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is investing funds for facility expansion at the school’s Lincolnton campus. Read the USDA announcement here. See more photos from Lincoln Charter School here.

Lincoln Charter’s Chief Administrator Jonathan Bryant celebrates the school’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 14 with Office of Charter Schools Director Dave Machado, students, and other leaders. Photo credit: Lincoln Charter/ @LincolnCharter

TMSA breaks ground on a new Apex campus

On Wednesday, December 15, TMSA broke ground on a new campus building for The Math & Science Academy of Apex. Read the announcement here. Phase 1 will involve construction of a 72,000-square foot building serving 900 students in grades K-8. The building will be finished in Fall 2022. Phase II will include construction of a 120,000-square foot high school building on TMSA’s Cary campus–Triangle Math & Science Academy. The school will serve 800 students in grades 9-12. The building will be finished in Fall 2023.

2021 legislative gains mean Over $100M in facilities funds for charters

By News

This year, lawmakers around the country allocated more than $100 million in facilities funds for public charter schools. Facilities funding represents an area of historic inequity for charters. But change has come!

Advocacy makes the difference

Advocacy efforts on behalf of public charter schools are bearing fruit: For instance, in 11 states, lawmakers took steps to push for greater parity in funding. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools outlines these 2021 legislative gains in a blog post. Here are steps that three states took this year:

  • Colorado: Lawmakers increased the cap on moral obligation bonds for charters from $500 million to $750 million.
  • New Jersey: The FY 22 budget includes $5 million in facilities improvements for charter schools–for the first time ever.
  • Tennessee: Legislators passed a budget with $6 million in recurring funds for facilities; the budget also includes $18 million in non-recurring facility funds.

Stay tuned. As the Alliance notes, “We hope to see many other states pursue facility-related legislation in the next session as well.” Read more from the Alliance here.

View the top 10 charter videos from 2021–National Alliance

By News

Looking for some great videos that share the nuts and bolts about charters? Impacts for charter schools based on new leaders, policies or the pandemic? Check out a new compilation from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The organization recently shared its top 10 videos of 2021.

Below, we share video #4: “Why Advocate for Charter Schools?”

We couldn’t agree more about the importance of parent and school leader advocacy! Thank you for sharing your voices.

Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg invests $750M in public charter schools

By News

The nation’s charter school movement is about to get an infusion of new support. Last week, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $750 million investment to create more charter schools. In a December 1st op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled “Why I’m Backing Charter Schools,” he wrote:

“Today there are long waiting lists for charter schools across the country, but mayors and governors aren’t getting the support they need from Congress and the White House to open new charter schools. To begin meeting the demand for charters, Bloomberg Philanthropies is launching a five-year, $750 million effort to create seats for 150,000 more children in 20 metro areas across the country.

“We will provide seed capital to open new, high-quality charter schools with leadership and staff members that reflect students’ diversity. This investment will also help existing charter schools grow. We will also fund work to strengthen schools’ data systems, train and develop principals and teachers, and study what is working well to develop best practices for the nation.”

Read the press release from Bloomberg Philanthropies with more details.


Sallie B. Howard School leaders present to the State Board of Education

By News

This week, leaders from Sallie B. Howard School of Arts & Science provided a presentation to the N.C. State Board of Education about their success in closing achievement gaps. A Coalition member school, Sallie B. received a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School Award–the only public charter school in the state to win the award.

Sallie B. has a long track record of success as a North Carolina charter school. The school launched in 1997 in Wilson as one of the state’s original public charter schools. Sallie B. opened with 283 students. Now, the school serves more than 1,000 students on a 9-acre campus with a new biotechnology lab.

Kudos to Sandeep Aggarwal, Coalition Board Vice Chair

We were especially proud to see Sandeep Aggarwal, Coalition Board Vice Chair, present, along with Sallie B. founder Dr. Joanne Woodard. Sandeep is Assistant Director and Dean of Business, Technology & Cultural Affairs at Sallie B. Here’s a picture of Sandeep presenting this week.

Sandeep Aggarwal presents to the N.C. State Board of Education.

A curriculum and culture that extend beyond math and reading

Sallie B. provides a holistic approach to education, affirming the unique capacities of each student. Here’s an excerpt from the school’s write-up on the National Blue Ribbon page:

“Our success in closing the achievement gap is due to the curriculum and culture we’ve created that goes beyond developing students’ reading and math skills. Our program rewards a variety of intelligences and encourages students to discover their talents … We maintain high expectations and use research-based instructional practices aimed at instilling strong work habits, critical-thinking skills, creativity, passion, and joy among students.”

Find the presentation here — or click on the image from the presentation below.

Congratulations to these charter leaders and to Sallie B. Howard School!