A quality charter school conducts operations that are aligned with a mission driven culture, are compliant with legal and regulatory mandates, effectively manages risk through effective management of the physical plant, student discipline, and safety protocols, employs effective support services, manages labor relations according to mandates and best practices, engages and communicates with stakeholders, and manages data and technology. Download the full rubric and scoring documents here.
4.1: LAWS & REGULATIONS
The school maintains access to legal counsel and ensures compliance with charter contract requirements as well as all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, standards and mandates related to charter schools and if applicable, non-profits.
- Do the board and leader at least annually review the charter contract?
- Does the school meet the annual goals and objectives written in its charter?
- Does the charter provide authorizers with required reports in a timely and accurate manner?
- Does the school periodically review changes to mandates and revise policies and practices to remain compliant?
- Has the school been warned or sanctioned by the authorizer for delinquent and / or inaccurate reporting?
- Is independent legal counsel retained?
- Does legal counsel review policies before adopted?
- Is legal counsel invited to board meetings when significant decisions are made that may have legal implications?
- Board minutes documenting review of goals and objectives and key charter components
- The school or organization publicly distributes/posts academic and financial ratings as required
- Documented reports to authorizers or other regulatory agencies
- Board minutes documenting updates on legislative session or other changes to mandates or comparable documentation
- Nonprofit policies mandated by Sarbanes Oxley
- Policies and standard operating procedures related to federal and state mandates
- Records related to health inspections for the nutrition program
- Records related to inspections for the transportation program
- Documented reports to authorizers or other regulatory agencies
- Documented legal retainer
- Budget line item for legal retainer and legal fees
- Documented policy adoption policy and procedures, including attorney review
- Documented participation by an attorney in board meetings, including executive session affidavits
4.2: RISK MANAGEMENT
The school develops, implements, and enforces policies that reduce hazards and risks to the school.
- Does the school purchase general liability insurance?
- Has the school management team or Governing Authority received quotes from multiple insurance brokers to ensure an adequate amount of coverage for the most economical price?
- Has the school purchased Directors and Officers insurance to protect its governing board from liability?
- Has the school purchased Property and Casualty insurance?
- Does the school carry vehicle insurance for transporting students?
- Does the school management work closely with the insurance broker to reassess risk and determine an adequate amount of insurance coverage every time a major change in the physical environment or personnel occurs?
- Does the school have an annual insurance walk through to identify site hazards or potential risk?
- Does the school require criminal and financial background checks and fingerprinting in its policies for all staff and visitors?
- Does the school have an established process for determining what findings are acceptable and those that aren’t?
- Does the school require a bond for key employees with access or management over significant public funds?
- Does the school periodically schedule training for employees?
- Does the school document participation in the training?
- Is training provided by qualified staff or by external contractors with appropriate credentials?
- Is training periodically updated to align with new policies and mandates?
- Does the school have a documented safety contingency/crisis plan in place?
- Is the safety/contingency/crisis plan aligned with state and federal emergency management standards?
- Does the school regularly practice application of the safety and crisis plans and report them to applicable agencies?
- Has the school established relationships with support organizations related to safety and crises?
- Does the school employ adequate and relevant staffing to support safety and crisis management?
- Does the school have policies related to segregation of duties, bonding of key employees, inventory control, and independent audit requirements?
- Does the school maintain policies related to personnel qualifications, insurance, training,
- Does the school maintain policies related to management of the site and buildings?
- Does the school maintain policies related to student safety, privacy, and protection?
- Does the school maintain policies related to nonprofit compliance (as appropriate)?
- Does the school maintain policies related to federal and state laws, regulations, mandates and directives?
- Does the school periodically assess its standard operating procedures, staffing plans, and budget to ensure consistency of enforcement?
- Does the school have protocols in place for communicating policy revisions and additions to stakeholders and staff?
- Multiple Insurance policy quotes
- Communication records with Insurance broker
- Certificates of Insurance
- Documented insurance walk through findings and action plan
- Criminal and financial background check and fingerprinting documentation of all parties
- Documented process for evaluating background checks
- Fingerprinting and background check policy and standard operating procedures
- Bonding documentation
- Bonding policy
- Documented training on employee handbook and other key information disseminated
- Training presentations
- Sign in sheets for trainings or signed acknowledgements of training
- Safety and crisis plan
- Budgeted line item contingency funds or reserve
- Fire, tornado, and other safety and crisis drills on the calendar and reporting documents
- Evidence of relationships with agencies such as police, fire, state emergency management, social services organizations, etc.
- Staffing plan that includes positions such as security and counselors
- Policy manual
- Evidence of an annual independent audit
- Forms and standard operating procedures aligned with policy
- Staffing plan aligned with policies and standard operating procedures
- Documented communication process related to policy revisions and additions
4.3: STUDENT ENROLLMENT
The school has fair and equitable enrollment and admissions practices.
- Does the school establish and monitor its enrollment plan?
- Does the school review its policies to ensure they do not exclude or discriminate against any student or groups of students?
- Does the school document its enrollment trends and use the trends for enrollment projections?
- Does the school monitor community demographics?
- Are enrollment processes transparent and aligned with the law?
- Are pre-lottery registration forms free from potentially discriminatory information (such as race, creed, student programs, or economic status)?
- Is enrollment information published and is adequate notice provided?
- Is the lottery public with documented and published procedures? Does the school record the lottery?
- Is there a system in place for notifying the public about results of the lottery?
- Is the lottery audited and certified by a third party?
- Enrollment/Application packets provided to parents
- Admissions policies and procedures
- Non-discrimination policy posted on school web-site
- Longitudinal and enrollment trend data on community and school demographics
- Documented enrollment process
- Pre and post lottery form free from potentially discriminatory information
- Documented lottery process – including public notice of results, video recording, and documentation from lottery certification
4.4: SUPPORT SERVICES
The school conducts a systematic approach for support services (student health, finance/business processes, transportation, food services and evaluates its efficiency and effectiveness.
- Does the school maintain adequate and qualified staff to implement student support services?
- Are professional development and training plans inclusive of support personnel?
- Are standard operating procedures codified for each support service?
- Does the annual budget allocate adequate resources to support delivery of the services regarding staff, equipment, supplies, training, and other expenditures?
- Does the school have a codified process, policies or procedures in place for evaluating and selecting vendors for support services?
- Job descriptions aligned with applications or vendor contracts
- Documented checklists or other evidence related to periodic compliance review
- Professional development plans for support personnel
- Standard Operating Procedures manual
- Line items in annual operating budget
- Vendor selection process, policies, or procedures
4.5: LABOR RELATIONS
The school is fully staffed with appropriate qualifications, has a defined hiring process, maintains accurate documentation on employees, and provides administration for human resources processes such as onboarding, compensation packages, benefits, and retirement.
- Are individuals serving in operational positions fully qualified?
- Is there a process in place to communicate expectations regarding job duties?
- Is there a process in place for professional development for operational positions?
- Does the school provide for succession?
- Are staffing needs aligned with annual operating budgets, school improvement and strategic plans?
- Does the school have a documented hiring process?
- Is the hiring process free from the opportunity for acts of discrimination?
- Does the school prescreen applicants?
- Does the school require and verify proof of licensure or experience?
- Does the school require and verify candidate references?
- Is the school leader trained in effective and legal interviewing techniques?
- Does the school utilize a scoring rubric or other objective measurement tool for evaluating candidates?
- Does the school follow a records retention schedule for employee files?
- Does the school maintain updated licensure records?
- Does the school maintain employee files that do not have inappropriate documentation?
- Are background checks kept separate from employee files?
- Is there evidence that professional development is provided to all personnel?
- Is there evidence that performance appraisals are conducted regularly?
- Is there evidence of intervention plans with employees not meeting requirements satisfactorily?
- Is documentation maintained regarding employee vacation and leaves of absence?
- Is documentation maintained related to retirement, insurance and compensation changes?
- Is documentation maintained for non-exempt staff related?
- Is overtime paid correctly to non-exempt staff?
- Are staff members categorized correctly as exempt or non-exempt?
- Are contracts or at-will agreements maintained?
- Is documentation maintained to support a claim for workers compensation or unemployment?
- Are taxes and other withholding recorded?
- Are mandated labor relations postings visible at the school?
- Are staff members handling labor relations documents qualified?
- Are documents related to the hiring process for employees and those not selected maintained?
- Do new employees participate in an orientation?
- Do all employees have a signed contract/at will agreement and offer letter on file that clearly states agreed upon salary and benefits?
- Are new employees provided a mentor and/or a coach?
- Do you provide proper training and orientation for staff and volunteers by qualified staff?
- Does the school regularly review the compensation model or salary schedule to ensure it is competitive?
- Are benefits regularly reviewed for quality and cost effectiveness?
- Are employees thoroughly informed of insurance and retirement benefit options available to them?
- Is the school compliant with employer contributions related to taxes, benefits, or retirement?
- Does the school publish salary schedules or the compensation model?
- Job descriptions aligned with employment applications or resumes
- Professional development plan
- Assessment and monitoring tool
- Succession plan and career ladder plan
- Line item budget related to staffing positions
- Appropriate staffing is addressed in strategic plans and school improvement plans
- Standard operating procedure for hiring
- Job postings on website and at the school
- Forms with non-discrimination statements and lacking inappropriate response to prompts
- Licensure proof in employee files
- Scoring rubric or objective measure
- Employment application, employee handbook, records release, offers letters, contracts (if applicable)
- Hiring policy and documented hiring process, including references
- Proof of licensure
- Employee files compliant with state requirements
- Background checks and employee files separate
- Professional development plans, credits earned, and sign ins
- Performance appraisal or walk-through documentation
- Recorded leave of absence for each employee
- Retirement plans as applicable
- Life status changes or compensation changes recorded for each employee
- Write ups related to employee infractions and communication records that are related
- Records retention schedule
- Employee handbook
- Forms and processes aligned with human resources policies
- Board minutes that demonstrate review of compensation plans or salary schedules
- Evidence of employer contributions
- Published salary schedules or compensation model
The school employs a process to develop and implement external and internal communication plans aligned with the school’s mission and ensures the security and appropriate accessibility of all data and records.
- Is there a communication process for stakeholder engagement?
- Do you have a system for relationship management for investors?
- Do you have a feedback mechanism for stakeholders?
- Does the leadership communicate with the staff on a regular basis?
- Does the school send communication to parents on a regular basis?
- Does the school publish key information on a user-friendly website and at the school?
- Does the school publish an annual report?
- Does the school regularly communicate with the media related to school events and accomplishments?
- Does the school maintain a database of information?
- Does the school have policies related to data management and access?
- Does the school follow a records retention schedule?
- Are student and staff records kept in a fireproof cabinet, vault, or room?
- Are records regularly audited for accuracy, completeness, and compliance?
- Are records maintained in appropriate formats for access and storage?
- Does the school have a documented process for document accessibility by internal and external staff that is compliant with FOIA?
- Are Special Ed. records kept separate from cumulative files for students?
- Are Special Ed. records secured and accessible to authorized personnel only?
- Do files contain legally permissible documents?
- Does the school have a document release form used to obtain student and staff records from other schools or employers?
- Parent Engagement Compact or similar
- Documentation of communication with investors
- Newsletters or documented regular communication
- Annual report
- Press releases and media coverage documentation
- Documented faculty meetings and parent meetings
- Advisory panels and committees
- Records retention schedule
- Fire proof storage with locks
- Audit records
- Sign in sheets for records access
- Document release form
- Data formats such as electronic, hard copy, microfilm or fiche, server backup
- Data management and access policies
4.7: PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
The school maintains sites, facilities, services, and equipment to provide a safe, orderly, and healthy environment.
- Are the grounds and buildings kept clean, tidy, and free from hazards?
- Does the custodial staff follow a documented regimen for daily, periodic, and annual cleaning and maintenance?
- Does the school maintain a short-term maintenance plan?
- Does the school maintain a long-term maintenance plan?
- Does the budget reflect adequate funds to properly maintain the site and buildings?
- Is equipment such as fire hydrants, water fountains, cleaning equipment, HVAC systems, etc. regularly checked for functionality and maintenance needs?
- Are proper containers utilized for chemicals?
- Are OSHA approved chemicals used?
- Is proper labeling and storage provided for chemicals or hazardous substances?
- Is access to mechanical rooms or other hazardous locations on the site or in the buildings secured?
- Does the school prepare for inclement weather including salting or clearing steps and ramps?
- Is shade provided in external recreational areas?
- Is signage provided for wet floors or other hazardous conditions?
- Does the site provide for safe pick up and drop off of students with proper markings and signage?
- Does the site provide for safe access to the buildings and site for wheelchairs via sidewalks, ramps, truncated domes, and elevators?
- Is lighting appropriate and maintained for the interior and exterior of the buildings?
- Is cleaning equipment such (mops, brushes, rags) properly sanitized regularly?
- Is fencing erected and maintained around playground areas, retention ponds, electrical equipment, or hazardous areas?
- Does the school have sidewalks, crosswalks, and proper signage on roadways leading to the school?
- Are the playground equipment and mulch levels checked regularly?
- Does the school maintain qualified staff for maintenance and custodial care of the sites and facilities?
- Janitorial checklist
- Short and long term maintenance plans and progress monitoring
- Budget line item for maintenance
- Equipment check records
- Storage rooms or external storage buildings secured
- Labeled containers
- Chemicals meeting OSHA standards
- Secured access to hazardous locations
- Proper inclement weather materials on hand
- Shaded areas
- Road and parking lot markings
- Sidewalks, ramps, truncated domes, and or elevator
- Well-lit parking lots, buildings lit during evenings or during power outage
- Fencing check documentation
- Playground check documentation
- Documented inspections
- Resumes or applications of maintenance and custodial staff
The school prioritizes student, faculty, and visitor safety, and utilizes a safety committee or review process to oversee and report safety concerns to the administration.
- Does the school have a safety committee established?
- Is the safety committee trained to comprehensively review the building and site?
- Does the safety committee conduct periodic checks of buildings or grounds?
- Is a process in place and codified for reporting and acting upon safety concerns?
- Does the school document safety committee checks?
- Does the school have limited access to the buildings?
- Does the school have a process for screening and monitoring visitors entering the building or being on site?
- Does the school have a security system?
- Does the school secure all doors?
- Is equipment properly secured?
- Does the school regularly review safety precautions with staff, students, and parents?
- Is there a documented process for reporting and addressing safety or security concerns?
- Does the school employ security personnel or a resource officer?
- Documentation of safety committee checks
- Training documentation
- Standard operating procedures
- Safety reports to management
- Action plans
- Locked doors with keyed or comparable access
- Sign in sheets and visitor tags
- Cameras and mirrors
- Installed security system with recording capability
- Documented safety review
- Standard operating procedure
- Meeting agendas or minutes
- Staffing plan
4.9: STUDENT DISCIPLINE
The school develops, implements, and monitors its student discipline system to ensure a safe learning environment for all students.
- Does the school have a documented discipline system including a Code of Conduct and documented processes?
- Is the system communicated regularly to staff, students, and parents?
- Does the school publish behavioral expectations in policies, student handbooks and on signage around the school?
- Is there a process for monitoring fidelity to the school-wide discipline plan?
- Are consequences appropriate and tied to the infraction?
- Does the discipline system include provisions for due process?
- Does the school provide documentation for school files and to parents?
- Does the school maintain discipline data?
- Is the discipline data regularly reviewed and discussed?
- Does the Code of Conduct address zero tolerance infractions that impact safety and security?
- Are similar incidents handled in a consistent manner?
- Does the school measure the success of discipline policies and their implementation by regularly collecting and analyzing data to determine successful approaches and need for improvement?
- Has the school created a committee to analyze data to determine if discipline disparities exist on the basis of race/ethnicity, gender, disability, or language status?
- Student and staff handbook
- Discipline policies
- Discipline/Student Referral forms
- Documented due process provisions
- Documented communication to staff, students, and parents
- Discipline incident reports
- Data that includes at least the following:
- Demographics: the student’s race/ethnicity, gender, disability, language status (whether the student is English proficient or an English Learner), and other demographic information necessary to address inconsistencies in discipline policies and their implementation;
- Offense/reason for discipline referral;
- Referring staff member and race/ethnicity;
- Consequences imposed by staff member, including but not limited to, any alternatives to suspension imposed, suspension (and what type: in-school or home suspension), disciplinary transfer, recommendation for expulsion, or expulsion
- The administrator imposing discipline and her race/ethnicity
- Documentation of data analysis to determine any racial/ethnic disparities in discipline and plan to address such disparities.
4.10: TECHNOLOGY AND DATA SYSTEMS
The school ensures technology infrastructure and staff is in place to fully implement comprehensive technology plan.
- Does the school have a technology plan that includes both short and long term goals for equipment procurement, maintenance, use and replacement?
- Does the school train staff on use of technology?
- Does the school have adequate hardware to run technology programs to support school operations?
- Are firewalls and other protective measures provided to prevent unauthorized access to inappropriate web content?
- Is malware and antivirus protection used?
- Does the school have proper software to implement school operations?
- Does the school have a member on staff or a contracted vendor to maintain the technology equipment and systems?
- Does the school have policies related technology use for students and staff?
- Does the school hire qualified technology staff and keep their skills current through targeted professional development?
- Technology plan
- Technology equipment
- Technology software
- Malware and antivirus
- Staff or vendor to support technology
- Policies on use of technology by students and staff
- Training records for students and staff related to technology