Updating NACSA’s New School Application

Updating NACSA’s New School Application

Because one of the most consequential decisions any authorizer makes for students and communities is whether to approve a new school to open, we’ve been working with the field over the past year to put into practice our recommendations for rethinking the new school application. Last updated in 2017, NACSA’s Model Charter School Application has long provided guidance to the field, and we are excited to update this critical resource during 2024. Our newest resource, The Capacities of Charter School Founding Teams: How to Identify and Assess for School Success, will help authorizers “shift rigor from paper to people” and is a first step. 

Updates to the application don’t happen in isolation; they must be grounded in a holistic approach to improving the entire new school application process. For example, as authorizers think about how to center the “people” more effectively using NACSA’s new resource, there will inevitably be impacts on the “paper. Both the written application and Ready to Open (RTO) process are bound to evolve. (NACSA is also working to update its RTO guidance this year.) 

In revising the Model Charter School Application, we are using learnings from the work of our Leadership in Action cohort and the field more broadly to answer: 

  1. What specific plans does an applicant need to provide and what capacities do they need to demonstrate?
  2. How does an authorizer best assess for these? 
  3. When does an authorizer best assess for these?  

We are excited to engage with you throughout 2024 as we learn together, develop and share resources, and release a comprehensive update to our Model Charter School Application by the end of the year. We invite you to come on this journey with us starting with Third Thursday on January 18th to learn more about The Capacities of Charter School Founding Teams: How to Identify and Assess for School Success.  


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