New Schools With Communities

How authorizers can better assess community need and demand and engage communities in the development of new schools

Students and communities have both long-standing needs–particularly in long-ignored and under-resourced communities–and new aspirations–especially as we enter pandemic recovery. If we listen and act from these needs and aspirations, authorizers can reimagine what public education can do by guaranteeing access to high-quality public education.

“We know that each community has tremendous assets. In uplifting all voices, we can reimagine what charter schools can do for students. Together, we have the responsibility to ensure students and families have access to the education opportunities they deserve. You are a critical part of ensuring all schools meet the aspirations and needs of their communities.”
-Karega Rausch, President & CEO

NACSA has designed this New Schools with Communities Guide to help authorizers proactively engage key stakeholders and school applicant teams so communities are reflected during the new school application process.

Community Aspirations and literacy and numeracy graphic.

This guide is designed to be used either as one cohesive document, or by focusing on a particular section, based on authorizers’ needs. Each section contains a context and concrete examples and/or tools authorizers can use to evaluate community-centered authorizing expectations and practices. These sections include:

The U.S. Department of Education Charter School Program Grant (CSP) updated the regulations for state entity grantees in 2022, including expectations for community need, demand, and engagement for new charter schools. This guide reflects those regulations. So, the practices described will generate evidence grantees and subgrantees can use for CSP reporting purposes. Current CSP grant regulations and resources can be found here.