NYC’s District-Charter Collaboration Compact, signed in 2010 by former chancellor Joel Klein and 88 charter schools, engaged the NYCDOE in supporting high-quality charter schools by emphasizing equity and resource sharing. In turn, charter schools reaffirmed their commitment to innovation and to providing high-quality education for all students. District and charter schools have both benefitted from co-locating schools; in some instances co-locations have blossomed into true collaborations.
NYC Collaborates, a program born out of NYC’s Compact, brings district and charter leaders together on a Collaboration Council to discuss issues that affect schools across the city. They organize school study tours for teachers from both sectors to learn about practices (i.e., supporting English language learners and students with special needs) in exemplary charter and district schools and operate an “Education Leadership Collaborative” to help educators become stronger school leaders. The organization is also actively working to dispel myths about co-location, testifying at council meetings on how schools can benefit when they work together.
A key part of NYC’s collaboration has been a program to prepare teachers in all schools for the implementation of common core state standards. New Visions for Public Schools has organized district and charter teachers to work together to create high-quality lessons that incorporate the standards. City educators will have easy access to lessons via a free online library.
While these practices show promise, CRPE has seen and documented that district-charter collaboration is politically fragile, and smart cities reinforce the foundation of the work to withstand leadership transitions. NYC Collaborates’ work to connect teachers and leaders across the city and to daylight successful collaborations is one strategy to shore up such foundations.