Aspen Academy has been identified as a 2016 “High-Quality Charter School”

Aspen Academy has been identified as a 2016 “High-Quality Charter School” (HQCS) for the purpose of determining eligibility for a significant expansion/replication grant from Minnesota’s federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant project!

This identification is based on a Comprehensive Performance Framework (CPF) that incorporates multiple measures of schools academic, operational and financial performance. Thirty-five of Minnesota’s charter schools were identified as HQCS. The attached Method & Process document provides the details. We are notifying identified HQCS today and the list of eligible schools for 2016 is attached.

The first opportunity for your school to apply for a federal CSP significant expansion/replication grant will be in the spring of 2016. The grant opportunity notice will be posted in March. Please consider applying! More details regarding application requirements will be provided in the coming weeks; if you have questions in the meantime regarding your school’s thoughts and plans I encourage you to contact me directly. There will be two opportunities for identified schools to apply each year (fall and spring), eligibility for the 2017 grant competition(s) will be established in the fall of 2016 when the 2017 HQCS list is determined.

Some details:

MDE received a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase charter school quality and authorizer accountability. Minnesota’s Federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) Grant Project will:

  • Increase the number of high-quality charter schools in the state;
  • Establish a charter school accountability framework to increase academic performance and decrease the achievement gap;
  • Improve the capacity of authorizers to effectively authorize, monitor, and hold accountable charter schools; and
  • Disseminate promising and innovative practices of high-quality charter schools to each LEA in the state.

MDE successfully requested a waiver to the limit of one Planning/Implementation grant per school, which provides an opportunity to award grants for significant expansions/replications of existing high-quality charter schools.

MDE intends to award Planning/Implementation grants to existing high-quality charter schools that wish to significantly expand or replicate the charter school beyond plans approved in the school’s original affidavit and charter. Grants are awarded for up to three years (one year of planning, first two years of operation) and range from $100,000-225,000 per year.

Eligibility Criteria for Significant Expansion and Replication Grants (items A-B included in establishing eligibility; items C-E addressed in the grant application):

  • Have a track record of increasing student achievement and student success by meeting the state’s definition of “high-quality” (detailed in attachment);
  • Successfully complete its first federal CSP grant project at least two years before applying for a significant expansion award;
  • Demonstrate a history of organizational and financial stability and viability;
  • Have the capacity to effectively implement the proposed expansion; and
  • Plan to add an elementary or secondary component not reflected in original affidavit and charter contract and increase enrollment by at least 50% for existing schools that serve at least 200 students (net increase of at least 100 students) beyond plans presented in original affidavit and charter contract.

The 2016 HQCS list was established using a new CPF that was developed through the work of a volunteer group of charter school stakeholders and was coordinated by MDE staff. This engagement group has developed a CPF that incorporates multiple measures of school quality, including academic, operational and financial performance, to identify HQCS in Minnesota.

In addition to the opportunities to participate if the Federal CSP Grant competitions, HQCS will have opportunities to share their best practices with schools throughout Minnesota. Please watch for additional information regarding this opportunity.

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14825 Zinran Avenue
Savage, MN 55378

Phone: (952) 226-5940
Fax: (952) 226-5949