Certification

Because your school and students are important!

Ohio Community Charter School Certification Program

  • For Students: Assurance of quality education
  • For Parents: School choice with confidence
  • For Schools: Recognition of distinction and merit
  • For Authorizers: Renewal with conviction

OAPCS Certified Charter School Members

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow Ohio Virtual Academy

Process

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools (OAPCS) is delighted to walk all OAPCS members through the accreditation process and welcome those schools as a candidate for certification. The Ohio Community Charter School Certification Program requires your school to commit to the OAPCS Quality Values and Principles, show a successful audit from the Auditor of the State, complete a third-party accreditation review and implement changes where recommended by the accreditation firm. This process is straightforward – OAPCS has worked to develop the necessary relationships with all third-party reviewers. We are here to help you through this process, so please contact us at any time.

Approved Third-Party Accreditation Firms

Listed in alphabetical order:

Frequently Asked Questions

What does certification mean and how does it work?

Ohio charter schools voluntarily submit to academic, fiscal, and governance evaluation and standards established by well-known and reputable third-party accreditation organizations such as the North Central Association (NCA), Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA) and the American Academy of Liberal Education (AALE).

What are the benefits of certification through accreditation?

  • Objective decision-making criteria for parents and students in school choice.
  • A distinctive mark of quality recognized internationally that affords external recognition of the school's or district's commitment to quality.
  • Certification gives charter schools the flexibility to maintain their tailored programs and operations that make them unique while adhering to a standard of quality shared throughout the movement.
  • Standards based on research on factors that impact student learning.
  • Proven, clear, and intuitive processes for school improvement that are grounded in best practices from education and business fields.
  • A framework and support system to help meet local, state, national, and appropriate international requirements.
  • An opportunity to gain valuable input, validation, and support from peers.
  • Connection to peer-recommended practices, best practices, and resources and tools across 23,000 public and private schools.
  • Customized and technical assistance to maximize improvement efforts.
  • Transferability of credits to students from school to school.
  • Greater accessibility for students to federal loans, scholarships, post secondary education, and military programs that require regional accreditation.

How does a school become certified?

Certification starts with becoming a member of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools and is followed by accreditation through a third-party accreditation review. Schools become accredited by meeting the standards of an accreditation firm, conducting a self-review and committing to a plan that focuses on improving student performance. Schools seeking accreditation share their plan with a team of visiting fellow educators who provide objective feedback and recommendations. Accreditation is renewed on an annual basis. Once the accreditation process is over, share your results with the team at OAPCS. Completed accreditation results in OAPCS Certification, as long as the accredited school remains in good standing with the Ohio Department of Education and the State Auditor’s Office.

What are the characteristics of a Certified Community Charter School?

  • Your school has a clear understanding of what the results of its program should be for students.
  • The goals of your school must express what it does for the whole student.
  • The school operates from an examined vision of service to students, family and community.
  • Your school delivers the programs and services that it advertises.
  • Your school continuously has plans that include strategies for improving its quality.
  • You, your board members and your teachers care enough about what it does to seek verification by a recognized accreditation authority.

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation is important to various constituent groups because it represents a commitment to quality education.

  • Business and industry leaders are interested in quality schools and consider regional accreditation status an important factor when relocating.
  • Superintendents realize dollar savings through the peer review process where educators from throughout the state volunteer their services as members of review teams to assess standards and school improvement.
  • Citizens are assured of accountability and of value for their tax dollars because their schools meet established standards and undergo regular re-evaluation by teams of professionals whose focus is on school improvement.
  • School board members know that their accredited schools compare favorably with schools in other regions.

How long does the certification last?

Certification is an ongoing process. A school is considered certified for the length recommended by the third-party accreditation reviewer, typically with annual renewals and 3-5 year accreditation reviews.

What is the difference between an audit and review from a third-party?

Financial audits ensure your school is compliant with general accepted accounting procedures, and the audit provides a general overview of the school’s financial health, likewise for special education audits. These simply focus on specific elements that make a successful community charter school. A third-party accreditation review firm ensures a comprehensive balance of finances, student development and academic progress. The third-party also reviews the school’s leadership and governance and assists with an action plan to help accelerate your school’s alignment with your mission and vision statement.

My school has already been accredited by an OAPCS third-party accreditation firm, how do I become certified?

Ensure your membership status is intact according to OAPCS membership guidelines,send a copy of your accreditation letter, your most recent audit to and the application to:

Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools 33 N. Third Street, Suite 600 Columbus, Ohio 43215

Or fax to: (614) 744-2255 Once this information is received you will be contacted.