Thursday, June 28, 2012

If you missed the National Charter Schools Conference, leaders from two compact cities, Minneapolis and Chicago, discussed the lessons they learned when creating a compact.

Session: Scaling Impact Through Collaboration with the “Enemy”
Date: June 20, 2012
Presenters: Al Fan, Charter School Partners; Eric Johnson, Illinois Network of Charter Schools; Eric Mahmoud, Seed Academy, Harvest Preparatory School, Best Academy and Sister Academy; Sara Paul, Minneapolis Public Schools; Oliver Sicat, Chicago Public Schools; Kate Ford, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Big question: What should potential district and charter compact leaders keep in mind when designing a compact?

Advice for district and charter leaders
Keep in mind the history of inequities and mistrust between the district and charter sectors; helps build understanding
Agree to hard facts in the compact; requires a heavy lift at the beginning but clarifies conversations moving forward
Include a broader audience at the negotiation table, such as foundations and external partners; provides more leaders for the effort

Advice for charter leaders
Ask the superintendent and mayor their vision for the role of charter schools; be worried if there is not a clear role
Understand the district’s vision for what a portfolio of schools looks like; work to align expansion of new schools and facilities
Understand that when the district asks you to do something against the purity of your model (e.g., take a larger incoming class) it’s because of a student need

Advice for district leaders
Find an early big win; address an inequity to build trust
Be open to different types of partnerships between the district and individual charter schools
Announce your successes and progresses publicly and frequently, otherwise charter leaders may not know of the district’s work on their behalf