Promising Cooperative Practices

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools conducted a nationwide search to find the most promising and innovative cooperative practices between charter and traditional public schools. We sought cooperative practices with strong collaboration, originality, inventiveness and the ability to replicate. As a result, we found the following charter/traditional school cooperative practices:

Click each title to read the cooperative practice description…




Grass Roots Value Added: How the Arizona Growth Model was Born-Arizona

Strand: Performance Management

The Arizona Charter School Association strives to bring the best practices to all public schools in the state. In pursuit of that goal, the Association created Growth Percentiles to measure student progress from one year to the next. The Association works in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education to post every public school’s median growth percentile for grades four through eight. The growth percentile compares each student’s performance to students in the same grade who had similar test scores in past years; it also uses multiple years of a student’s test score to show how that student is progressing from year to year. This transparency creates public accountability and has helped shift the learning climate in Arizona to a data-driven, collaborative environment. The Association provides workshops to both charters schools and districts on how to use data to improve student achievement. The collaboration between the Arizona Charter School Association, the Arizona Department of Education, and school districts has broken down communication barriers and improved years of mistrust in Arizona. Most importantly, the collaboration directly benefits over 700,000 school children in Arizona. Presenter: Rebecca Gau, Vice President, Arizona Charter School Association

Sharing Enrollment and Campuses in Denver-Colorado

Strand: Operations, Facilities

The Denver Public Schools are working on a number of exciting collaborative projects that bring traditional schools and charter schools together to provide a better education for all students. This presentation will highlight two practices: the Northwest Shared Enrollment Zone and the Shared Camps Initiative. Through the Northwest Shared Enrollment Zone, three middle schools—two charters and one district—share a common enrollment zone. Every student living in that zone of the city is guaranteed a spot at one of the schools. The project requires close collaborative between all the schools. Through the Share Campus Initiative, the Denver Public Schools leverages excess capacity in district-owned buildings to encourage new school development, reduce district-wide inefficiency, and facilitate the right-sizing and turnaround of existing programs. The initiative has converted the district’s most under-utilized school buildings into shared campuses that house multiple schools, turning formerly wasted maintenance costs into district revenue. Presenter: Parker Baxter, Director of Charter Schools at Denver Public Schools

Transformative Education through Mentorship – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Strand: Other – Communications

With help from a three-year grant from the City of Santa Fe, Monte del Sol Charter School is distributing its award-winning mentorship program to a district high school. The grant comes with the recognition that successful mentoring programs can accomplish many goals that benefit students, businesses, and the city: the program better positions youth to obtain high-paying job while giving them the skills and confidence they need to thrive in school and work; it supports business growth by providing the foundation for a skilled work force; and it provides community business relationships that could encourage students to remain and work in Santa Fe after graduation. The city is now recommending that the grant be extended for one year to continue the success that has already started. Presenter: Angela Ritchie, Principal, Monte del Sol Charter School

Moving Beyond Co-Locations to Cooperatively-Run Campuses – Los Angeles, California

Strand: Facilities

This fall, through the efforts of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Synergy Academies, a district and charter school will co-operate an entire school campus. This will mark the first traditional school-charter school partnership in the Los Angeles Unified School District where two schools are both intentionally working together to co-operate a school campus and not just co-locate on it. Under this model, Synergy Charter Academy and CR ES #17 students will have lunch and recess together, and joint staff meetings will be held throughout the year. This partnership is just getting under way but offers exciting collaborative opportunities and great promise to students of Synergy Academy and the Los Angeles school district. Presenters: Meg Palisoc, Co-Founder, Synergy Academies and Celia Ripke, Principal for Local District 5 in LAUSD

D.C. Promise Neighborhood Initiative – Washington, D.C.

Strand: Conditions for Learning

The D.C. Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) is a collaborative, full-community effort to increase the number of children who complete their education and enter adulthood as productive participants in the 21st century economy and in the civic life of their communities. Inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone, the vision of DCPNI is to ensure that each child in Ward 7 receives the five promises of caring adults; physical and emotional safety; a healthy start; an effective e education; and the opportunity to help others. Four schools—a charter high school, a charter middle school, and two district elementary schools—are working with other community partners to provide an education corridor for students in Ward 7. The principals of the schools meet with one another regularly and stand side-by-side at monthly neighborhood dinners to describe their vision and hope of the DCPNI. Presenters: Irasema Salcido, CEO & Founder, Chavez Schools, and Mary Bogle, Director of Planning, DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative

High Tech High: Design Principles Leading a Teaching and Learning Revolution – San Diego, California

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

High Tech High began in 2000 as a single charter high school launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators. It has evolved into an integrated network of schools spanning grades K-12, housing a comprehensive teacher certification program and a new, innovative Graduate School of Education. This presentation explains how HTH shares its design principals in their Teacher Credentialing Master’s Program, Residencies and Summer Institutes, and Intern and Induction programs, which are open to all teachers, charter and traditional alike. High Tech Middle School teacher and School Leadership participant Dan Thoene describes his HTH experiences and how “Judo Math,” a motivational method for differentiated instruction based on the core Judo principles of cooperation and mutual welfare illustrate HTH pedagogical culture and how innovative best practices are shared across school systems. Presenter: Dan Thoene, Dean of Students, High Tech Middle

Charter and Traditional School District Enrichment through Innovative Facilities Agreements - San Antonio, Texas

Strand: Facilities

Across the country, many charter schools struggle to find quality facilities, while some buildings in urban districts remain vacant. This presentation highlights a unique arrangement whereby a charter school leases a building and also provides its innovative programming to the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). The partnership between SAID and the Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School for Art + Design is no ordinary landlord/tenant agreement. It’s a groundbreaking partnership that accomplishes five goals: 1) providing a cost-effective location for the charter school; 2) giving a shuttered school building vibrant new life; 3) demonstrating SAISD’s commitment to re-purpose unused school buildings for educational and neighborhood revitalization; 4) extending HFA: ASAD’s impact in the community through resources provided to SAISD; and 5) bringing new opportunities in art and design to San Antonio families. The Academy provides its art curriculum to SAISD and shares teacher professional development and its Senior Mastery Process, a capstone project that includes off-site internships and career exploration courses. Presenters: Jeffrey D. Flores, Superintendent/Principal, Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School for Art + Design and Shannon Clements, Executive Director, Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School for Art + Design

Jobs for American’s Graduates Collaboration – Charter and Public Schools Working Hand in Hand serving at risk High School youth - Indiana

Strand: College and Career Readiness

The Jobs for America’s Graduates program is a national program to assist students with graduating on time, and providing transition to life after high school (including college, military, trade school training, or the workforce). The curriculum combines core workplace competencies with mentoring and experiences such as college tours, classroom speakers, and hands on activities that students typically don’t have one. This presentation explains how the JAG program that initiated at the Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school operated by Goodwill Education Industries, has since expanded to four additional sites (a township school and three Indianapolis Public Schools). Partner schools share staff - a college transition counselor and a community outreach coordinator - and resources and work together to provide internships, workshops, and other opportunities for students across all schools. Presenters: Cindy Kicinski Manager for Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) in Indiana, and Brian Abney, JAG Specialist and Sherman Woodard, Director of Student Services, Ben Davis High School

Sharing Knowledge, Sharing Energy: Delivering Alternative and Renewable Energy- Upper Scioto Valley, Ohio

Strand: Facilities, Curriculum and Instruction

The Wind/Energy Academy is a charter school that brings together the efforts of seven school districts and Ohio Northern University to provide students of all ages with knowledge and skills directly transferable to the job—while also saving the school district money. The Academy made history last year by hosting the largest wind power project on a K-12 campus. Working with other district schools that have installed solar panels, the efforts met nearly 50 percent of the district’s energy needs and have made the Upper Scioto Valley School District the first in the country to be powered by both wind and sun. Students at the Wind/Energy Academy not only learn about wind and solar energy, but also monitor the wind turbines and observe how energy is being provided for the school in a 4,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Green Lab. The lab is also provides career-technical and workforce training to displaced adults through a partnership with the Hardin County Jobs and Family Services, ARRA, and the regional Community Action Agency. Presenters: Dr. James Bowser, Upper Scioto Wind/Energy Academy, and Jennifer Ervin, Site Administrator/Lead Teacher, Upper Scioto Wind/Energy Academy

Using Formative Assessment tools to Inform New Teacher/Veteran Teacher Collaborative Learning - Santa Clara County, California

Strand: Performance Management (and Conditions for Learning)

The Silicon Valley New Teacher Project (SVNTP) is a consortium of the Discovery Charter School and school districts throughout Santa Clara County. SVNTP’s teacher induction programs profoundly benefit schools and districts by developing new teachers. The programs are led by veteran teachers and help schools and districts establish Integrated Professional Cultures (IPCs), in which new and veteran teachers share responsibility for their school, students, and each other’s professional growth. These IPCs tend to improve teacher retention. They also help develop a personal and accountable relationship between teachers and students and among all educators serving the community. Presenters: Geoffrey Baker, New Teacher Center (NTC) and Discovery Charter School (DCS) and Johanna Caslander, Curriculum Specialist, Discovery Charter School

Collaborative Inquiry - Massachusetts

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

The goal of this project was to develop and support meaningful Collaborative Inquiry practice at the Arthur D. Healy School and the Winter Hill Community School with the effect of strengthening classroom instruction and raising student achievement. Collaborative Inquiry is the powerful learning that occurs when teams of educators intentionally collaborate to design instructional plans and evaluate the effectiveness of their classroom instruction. The cycle begins with the identification of critical skill objectives and the setting of measureable goals for student achievement. From there, teachers incorporate research-based best practices into their instructional plans and assessment designs. Presenter: Jessie Gerson-Niedler, Collaborative Inquiry Coach

DC Data Summit – Washington, D.C.

Strand: Performance Management

With support from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in D.C. and foundations, three education-focused organizations—Friends of Choice in Urban Schools, New Leaders for New Schools, and the Achievement Together—hosted the first annual D.C. Data Summit, which brought together over 50 school leadership teams from the District of Columbia Public Schools and charter schools in the city. The goal of the summit was three-fold: to help leaders at district and charter schools understand the connection between measurable goals, performance indicators, data collection, and data quality; to develop concrete plans for capturing and monitoring data that measures progress toward goals; and to work together to share the best practices and ideas. Presenters: Naomi Rubin DeVeaux, Director of School Quality, and Thaly Germain, National Director of Charter School Strategy (NLNS)

Study Tours - Massachusetts

Strand: Conditions for Learning

The Massachusetts Center for Charter Public School Excellence organized study tours, which provide the chance for teams of educators to spend a day visiting charter schools. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal was for educators to learn how to replicate the common elements of success found in five high-performing charter schools in high-need communities. Presenter: Brian Anderson, Program Manager, Massachusetts Center for Charter Public School Excellence

Partnership and Immersion Maintenance Program – Forest Lake, Minnesota

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

Lakes International Language Academy, a K-6 charter school in a semi-rural and less-than-affluent region, emphasizes second-language acquisition by immersing learners in Spanish from kindergarten through sixth grade. To ensure that its students have the chance to continue second language acquisition after leaving the school, LILA worked with the Forest Lake Areas school district to develop the Spanish Maintenance Program at Southwest Junior High. LILA alumni can take up to three content classes in Spanish in grades 7-9, and the program will soon expand to 10th grade at Forest Lake Senior High School. LILA decided to take this approach, rather than expanding grades at its school, to avoid additional facilities and resource costs and to enables students to participate in elective and after school activities programs that could not be offered at LILA. The district is able to gain out-of-district revenue. Presenter: Julie Lundgren, LILA Co-Founder and Melissa Martyr-Wagner, LILA Foundation Director

The Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL): Unifying schools, communities, businesses and universities to transform Indiana

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction, and College and Career Readiness

New high school models such as Early College High School and New Tech High Schools are a part of today's education revolution. Abandoning the idea of “traditional schooling,” New Tech Highs provide students with unique opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills to survive and succeed in the 21st-century global economy. The Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), located at the University of Indianapolis, provides both charter and traditional schools in Indiana with the state-of-the-art, innovative instructional practices and provides networking opportunities for schools implementing new models. The Early College High School network includes representatives from both charter and traditional public schools working together on policy initiatives to make dual credit opportunities available for students. CELL’s annual School Transformation Conference unites teams of school, business, policy, and community leaders to build high-performance education systems that fuse 21st-century skills, knowledge and global connectedness with student learning, community values and economic development. CELL has also hosted monthly "table talk" meetings where both charter and traditional principals actively participate in the sharing of practices and resources. In these and other ways, CELL has served as a catalyst for change and a resource for innovation to Indiana charter and traditional public schools for the last decade. Presenters: David Dresslar, Executive Director, Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, University of Indianapolis and Mary Ann Sullivan, Consultant, Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning ,University of Indianapolis

A Pioneering Collaboration to Improve Reading in Central Falls – Rhode Island

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

The Growing Readers Initiative is a professional development partnership between an urban school district and a charter school – one of the few examples nationally of such collaboration. In a district whose high school was the epicenter of a vociferous debate about turnaround strategies for low-performing schools, this initiative has steadily been achieving quiet success. The Learning Community, a K-8 charter school founded in 2004, has developed a coordinated reading program to build strong readers in the early grades. Through the Growing Readers Initiative, teachers, coaches, specialists, and administrators from the charter school are working alongside their colleagues in the neighboring Central Falls School District to share best practices teacher-to-teacher, share systems of support and data analysis, and encourage a team approach to student achievement. Presenters: Sarah Friedman, Co-Director of The Learning Community and Jeremy Giller, Director of Development

The Power of Planning Project: Raising Achievement Through Standards-Based Long Term Planning & Data-Driven Instruction – Washington, D.C.

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

Data-driven instruction plays a leading role in schools with outstanding student achievement. However, assessments on their own don’t transform schools; in-depth plans that link standards, instruction, lessons, and assessments are the key to dramatically increasing teacher effectiveness and, most importantly, student achievement. E.L. Haynes Public Charter School led the Power of Planning Project, which brought together a consortium of D.C. public and public charter schools to create a template for how educators can develop detailed year-long plans for grades Pre-K through 12 and then implement and refine plans throughout the school year. These plans, as well as planning templates, instructional materials, and sample lessons have been made available to schools across D.C. Presenter: Jennifer Niles, Founder and Head of School, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

UCAS, an Early College Partnership School- Utah

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction and Operations

Utah County Academy of Sciences (UCAS) is a math, science, and engineering magnet school for students in three different Utah school districts. Working with those districts and Utah Valley University, UCAS serves 360 students who, by the time they are seniors, are receiving a full schedule of university courses. UCAS leases classroom facilities, custodial services, and utilities from the university; the university also provides curriculum assistance, counseling, and access to their courses. Many students are graduating from UCAS with an associates’ degree and continuing on with their college education, at Utah Valley or other colleges. Presenters: Clark Baron, Principal, Utah County Academy of Sciences and Dr. Anna Trevino, Director of Counseling, Assistant Principal, Utah County Academy of Sciences

What’s Best for Kids: The Hillsborough County Public and Charter School Advisory Council – Tampa, Florida

Strand: Operational Efficiencies and Other - Communication

The superintendent of Hillsborough County School District—the eighth largest in the nation—created the Charter School Advisory Council in order to provide the best education to all students. Top officials from the district and Charter School Leaders-FL (an operator group) meet monthly to address and solve issues. The council adopted a simple but profound mantra: to place the best interests of children ahead of political agendas or desires for control and autonomy. The council has helped shift a once-hostile climate to a community working together to serve students. One example of how the collaborative works is by bringing teachers from district and charter schools together to participate in joint professional development training. Future goals include training for all district and charter personnel on relationship building and developing a common set of metrics to evaluate district-charter relations. This collaborative has already dramatically improved communication between charters and the district while allowing them to reap the benefits of sharing resources and expertise. Presenters: Cametra Edwards, Principal, Village of Excellence Academy, and Jenna Hodgens, Supervisor of Charter Schools for Hillsborough County Public Schools

An Uncommon Partnership: Hoosier Academies Virtual and Hybrid Schools, Indiana Department of Education and Indiana Parents! -Indiana

Strand: Conditions for Learning

Recognizing that it is more efficient for the state to have one statewide virtual school, a number of organizations—including the Indiana Department of Education; Ball State University; the Indiana Public Charter School Association; K12, Inc., and the Hoosier Academies Learning Coaches (parents)—are working together to accomplish this goal. This presentation will share how Indiana’s education community came together to provide educational choice to parents, and through collaboration, designed a “Family Accountability Plan” to spell out specific expectations. Presenters: Lynn Black, Head of Schools, Hoosier Academies; Andrea Goldwater, Operations and Accountability Administrator for Hoosier Academies; Stacie Porter-Bilger, School Board President for Hoosier Academies

Partnerships in Service of Children: Hill View Montessori Charter Public School and Haverhill Public Schools - Haverhill, Massachusetts

Strand: Operations

The Hill View Montessori Charter Public School is working with the Haverhill Public Schools to design and implement creative solutions to common problems and to improve the needs of all students. The relationship is guided by eight strategies that help the district and charter school overcome obstacles that in the past have strained relationships between charters and traditional schools. Among those strategies are putting oneself in the other’s shoes, building bridges, and focusing on the benefits for the children. The collaborative efforts have resulted in many positive outcomes in areas ranging from transportation to operations to facilities. Presenter: Janet Begin, Hill View Montessori Charter Public School and Nancy London, Founder, Hill View Montessori Charter Public School

Partnership Turnaround Initiatives: Friendship Public Charter School Inc.- Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C.

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

Friendship Public Charter School, Inc. has partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools and District of Columbia Public Schools to close the achievement gap in some of the lowest performing schools in the districts. Together, the organizations have combined their experience, resources, and passion for education as they work collaboratively to change failing schools into environments of success. And it’s working so far: all of the partnership schools have seen positive results in academic achievement and attendance. Funding from the Gates Foundation and the World Bank, and tutoring assistance and health-related services from George Washington University and Georgetown University are just some examples of the partners that work with the districts and Friendship schools to turn the schools around. The excellent communication between all the partners has been a vital factor in the initiative’s success, as the willingness to work cooperatively has promoted pragmatic conversation and effective action.
Presenter: Patrick J. Gavin, Deputy, Strategic Planning and Expansion Friendship Public Charter Schools

Smart Character Choices - Hartland, Michigan

Strand: Conditions for Learning

The Charyl Stockwell Academy (CSA), a charter school in Michigan, received a four-year research and implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Education Safe and Drug Free Schools Office Partnerships in Character Education program. CSA recruited other schools—both traditional and charter—to participate in the program. Some schools were in a control group; others (three charters, including CSA, and a traditional school) were assigned to a program group. The grant has brought Smart Character Choices to the schools in the program group. Smart Character Choices is a character education program embedded in the belief that behavior is guided by one’s personal actions and thoughts and not by fate or luck. This presentation highlights the relationship that developed between the charters and traditional school as they worked together to implement the grant. Presenter: Diane Vance, Director, Smart Character Choices

Breakthrough Partnerships in Cleveland - Ohio

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

Charter and district leaders in Cleveland are creating a new model for partnership to provide thousands of urban children with a high-quality, college-focused education. Breakthrough Charter Schools is a first-of-its-kind charter management organization started by three independent charter schools with very unique academic models. Perry White, founder of Citizens Academy, and John Zitzner, founder of E Prep, will talk about how they are working together with The Intergenerational School as well as with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to more boldly transform the way Cleveland's children are educated. Presenters: Perry White, Executive Director, Citizens’ Academy and John Zitzner, President, Friends of ePrep Schools

Care Team Collaborative Framework - Ohio

Strand: Conditions for Learning

The mission of the Care Team Collaborative is to mobilize family and community resources and develop systems that create opportunity to build assets and achieve academic success, which will enable all youth to become healthy, resilient contributors in the community. The Collaborative connects community partners with schools—both district and charter—to address nonacademic barriers to academic success. These community partners include a wide range of organizations that address barriers students face, including physical and mental health concerns, legal issues, and child protection. Principals from schools meet quarterly to share best practices and address common concerns. This year, similar meetings will be held for program coordinators and student support personnel, including guidance counselors, nurses, and attendance officers. Presenter: Michele D. Timmons, Director, Care Team Collaborative

Tri-City Alternative Education Chemistry Curriculum Project - Midland, Michigan

Strand: Curriculum and Instruction

To increase academic rigor for all students, the Michigan Department of Education mandated the teaching of chemistry or physics in all Michigan high schools. Small schools and schools serving at-risk students were at a distinct disadvantage—having never offered these courses, they lacked funds to supply needed classroom equipment and materials, curriculum, and capacity. But the students at the schools were in dire need of scientific knowledge, and they deserved a chance to learn about science careers. This best practice demonstrates how non-mainstream high schools serving non-traditional, at-risk students, can successfully partner to meet shared needs. Working with the American Chemical Society and various foundations, three alternative high schools participate in program that brings resources to the schools, including laboratories, equipment, textbooks, and a curriculum aligned with the state goals and targeting alternative students. By the end of the 2010 school year, 110 students had earned chemistry credit and the certificate. Presenters: Nancy Schreder - Vossen, Windover High School, and Rob Moyer, Bay-Arenac Community High School