* The only petitions that will be evaluated and considered for 2018-2019 school year will be from those individuals who filed a letter of intent with Atlanta Public Schools by October 14, 2016 and who meet the April 14 deadline for petition submissions.
**Petitions must be received by Office of Innovation employees by 4:00 pm on April 14, 2017. There will be no exceptions made, so please review all requirements carefully.
INSTRUCTIONS The Atlanta Public Schools welcomes qualified charter school petitioners interested in serving the children of Atlanta. This year, the district will give priority preference to petitions in two areas:
The Atlanta Public Schools seeks petitions with an emphasis on unique and innovative inclusive practices to support closing the district’s current achievement and progress gaps, including those performance gaps between students with varying abilities. Petitioners with demonstrated expertise and success working in inclusive settings will be given priority.
The Atlanta Public Schools seeks petitions with an emphasis on serving students in alternative school settings. Petitioners with demonstrated expertise and success educating students with high levels of discipline events or for whom traditional secondary school settings provide insufficient engagement and support will be given priority.
Letter of Intent
Petitioners are required to submit a letter of intent to Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and the Georgia Department of Education by October 14, 2016. Without exception, individuals who do not have a letter of intent on file with APS by the October 14, 2016 deadline will not be eligible to submit a petition for the 2018-2019 petition cycle. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to submit a letter of intent to the Georgia State Department of Education. See the applicable state guidance for any questions.
Complete petitions for charter schools proposing to open for 2018-2019 must be hand-delivered to the Office of Innovation at Atlanta Public Schools Center for Learning and Leadership no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 2017. No exceptions will be made to this deadline. Note: Hand-delivered petitions will be accepted Monday, April 10 thru Friday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No mailed petitions can be accepted. All hand-delivered petitions must be left with employees from the APS Office of Innovation. Completeness of Petition
Failure to submit a timely and complete petition will serve as grounds to deny a petition. A notice indicating completeness or incompleteness of submitted charter petitions will be mailed to all applicants by April 20, 2017. All requested content must be included and all formatting guidelines must be followed in order for an petition to be considered complete. Petitioners will be provided a written statement indicating the status of their petition; whether the petition will be rejected or move on the the next step which is the interview.
Atlanta Public Schools will offer an informational workshop for charter applicants in January, 2017. This workshop will take place at 130 Trinity Avenue. Applicants will be notified by email of the date and time. The workshop will cover the following topics: Governance, Finance, Facilities, Transportation, Student Information and Community Support. Attendance is limited to two people from each group having submitted a letter-of-intent (LOI) to APS for the 2018-2019 opening date. Attendees for these sessions must RSVP with the Office of Innovation by the December 5, 2016. Attendance is not mandatory, but is strongly recommended.
An applicant who has submitted an exemplary petition by April 14, 2017 will be scheduled for an applicant interview. Interviews will be held May 8, 2017 – May 12, 2017 at 130 Trinity Avenue SW, Atlanta, GA 30303. If an applicant is scheduled for an interview, notice of the time and room will be sent via email by April 20, 2017. Interviews cannot be rescheduled for any reason. Although the entire applicant team need not be present, it is recommended that all key board and leadership members attend. A maximum of seven applicant team members may attend the interview.
Those applicants not scheduled for an interview will receive a notice of recommendation for denial by April 20, 2017 and then a formal denial letter within 90 days of submission, as required by state law. If applicants have received neither an invitation nor a notice of recommendation for denial by close of business April 21, 2017, it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact this office before April 24, 2017 to obtain their status information.
This is a rigorous process and petitions will be reviewed for program innovation, a demonstrably effective curriculum and academic plan, solid financial planning, depth and breadth of community support, evidence of strong academic leadership and an effective board and carefully designed accountability measures. If a proposed school or school location is determined not to be in the best interest of Atlanta Public Schools, the Atlanta Board of Education has the authority to deny the petition.
The petition shall be submitted adhering to requirements set forth in the Atlanta Public Schools Petitioner Guidelines for 2018-2019. Petitioners must meet the following requirements. Each petition shall:
___ include the completed APS Petitioner with required signature in blue ink(stamped signatures will not be accepted)
___ include signed APS Assurance signature pages in blue ink
___ include Conflict of Interest Forms for all Founding and Governing Board Members (if identified)
(original signatures) (stamped signatures will not be accepted)
___ answer all requirements following the outline as it appears on the following pages of the petition
___ be typewritten in 11-point Times New Roman font and one-inch margins with a header showing the school’s name and a footer showing consecutive page numbers printed on 8.5” x 11” white paper
___ include a table of contents
___ not exceed a maximum of 100 single-sided pages, not including attachments/appendices. GaDOE application page limit is not included.
___ have all appendices labeled and numbered
___ one (1) hard copy to be submitted in a three-ring binder (no clips, staples, rubber bands or folders)
___ one (1) electronic copy in Microsoft Word format (CD or flash drive with label) (appendices may be in .pdf format)
___ include tabs for attachments/appendices
___ include a copy of the GaDOE New Charter School Application
___ entire petition (APS, GaDOE and Assurances) - one binder hard copy and one electronic copy for APS must be hand-delivered
no later than 4:00 p.m. on April 14, 2017 to:
Office of Innovation-8th Floor, Center for Learning and Leadership
Atlanta Public Schools, 130 Trinity Avenue SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303
ONLY HAND-DELIVERED PETITIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED Please direct any questions to:
Office of Innovation
Gayle Burnett, Executive Director of Innovation
Tara Jackson, Project Manager
Please follow the APS Required Petitioner Narrative Outline, addressing each requirement as thoroughly and clearly as possible in the sequence in which they appear. Be sure to complete and include the following documents:
APS Petitioner Cover Sheet
Conflict of Interest Forms for all Founding and Governing Board Members (if identified)
GaDOE and APS Assurance Form and Signature Pages
GaDOE New Charter School Application The petitioner is responsible for addressing all requirements in the petition as described by state and local documents. All staterequirements are available from the Georgia Department of Education website, including Charter School Law, Charter School Rule, and Guidance. Local requirements are contained within GaDOE Guidelines and in the Atlanta Board of Education policy on Charter Schools - IBB. The petitioner may attend the APS informational workshops offered and should call the APS Office of Innovation with any questions about the process.
Petitions will be reviewed to ensure that they are complete and that all guidelines have been followed. Incomplete petitions will not move forward during this cycle. All complete petitions will be reviewed by the APS Charter School Petition Review Panel. All petitioners submitting exemplary petitions will be required to attend an interview with the APS Charter School Petition Review Panel. The APS Charter School Petition Review Panel will submit its findings to the Office of Innovation, which will work with the Superintendent to develop recommendations for the Atlanta Board of Education.
The Superintendent will make a recommendation to the Atlanta Board of Education (ABE) for either approval or denial.
Following any ABE denial, the applicant will receive a letter that they will not receive an approval recommendation unless the required material revisions are made within thirty (30) days. Applicants will get only once opportunity to revise their petition and submit within the thirty (30) days. The revised petition will be reviewed and recommendation for approval or denial will be sent back to the ABE.
Following any ABE approval, the petitioner and APS will complete a contract referred to as the APS Charter School Agreement. The APS Charter School Agreement will not be executed until after the locally approved petition has been submitted to the Georgia Department of Education and is approved by the State Board of Education.
Note: Petitioners will be required to follow APS directions regarding corrections, revisions, amendments, etc. Coordination of final documents and required electronic formats will be at the direction of APS.
Petitioner Cover Sheet for 2018-2019
Name of Proposed Charter School:__________________________________________________
Proposed School Address: ________________________________________________________
City NPU: __________________________________________ Zip Code:_________________
Name of Group/Organization Applying for the Charter: _________________________________
Contact Person: ____________________________ Relationship to Group: ________________
Address: _________________________________ City: ______________ Zip Code: _________
Charter School Petitioner Requirement Conflict of Interest Form
(This form must be completed by each founding and/or governing board member, the proposed school leader, CFO/business manager and included as Appendix A)
Instructions: If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, please provide a substantive explanation on a separate sheet of paper. Please label explanations with the number of the corresponding question. Attach explanations behind the corresponding Conflict of Interest Form in Appendix A
Do or will you or your spouse have any contractual agreements with the proposed charter school?
Do or will you, your spouse, or any member of your immediate family have any ownership interest in any educational service provider (ESP) or any other legal entity contracting with the proposed charter school?
Did or will you or your spouse lease or sell property to the proposed charter school?
Did or will you or your spouse sell any supplies, materials, equipment or other personal property to the proposed charter school?
Have you or your spouse guaranteed any loans for the proposed charter school or loaned it any money?
Are or will you, your spouse, or any member of your immediate family be employed by the proposed charter school, its ESP or other contractors?
Did you or your spouse provide any startup funds to the proposed charter school?
Did or do you or your spouse, or other member of your immediate family, have ownership interest, directly or indirectly, in any corporation, partnership, association or other legal entity which would answer “yes” to any of the questions 1-7?
Does any other board, group, or corporation believe it has a right to control or have input on votes you will cast as a founding member or member of the Board?
Do you currently serve as a member of the Board of any public charter school?
Do you currently serve as a public official?
Have you, your spouse, or any member of your immediate family applied to establish or participated in the establishment of a charter school?
To the best of your knowledge, are there situations not described above that may give the appearance of a conflict of interest between you and the proposed charter school, or which would make it difficult for you to discharge your duties or exercise your judgment independently on behalf of the proposed charter school?
Legibly Printed Name
Name of Proposed Charter School
Academic Standards and Curriculum Describing what is innovative or distinctive about the proposed instructional program, please describe the methods and supporting materials that will be used to provide high quality instruction and educational programs.
Explain how your innovative program is research-based and standards-driven. What research supports your belief that this approach will work with your anticipated student population.
Discuss how your school will address the needs of those students who do not perform at grade level in the proposed school. What actions will the school take to help students make the kinds of progress that will enable them to achieve at grade level or higher? What long-range interventions will be established to address the needs of these students?
Describe your school’s instructional technology plan, ensuring that all students and teachers are prepared to use technology as a tool for learning.
The Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Department of Special Education has developed guidelines for
charter schools outlining specific responsibilities for charter schools and Atlanta Public Schools.
What is your plan for compliance with these guidelines?
Describe the policies and procedures that will ensure adherence to federal Child Find Procedures.
Explain how the school’s innovative curriculum and approach to instruction will be designed or adapted to serve children with special needs. How and when will parents be involved in the aforementioned processes?
Pursuant to federal and state special education regulations (including LRE and FAPE), describe how the charter school will provide the continuum of special education services to eligible students.
Describe the job duties and responsibilities of the employee who will oversee your school’s special education program.
Describe how your school will coordinate its special education program with Atlanta Public Schools in order to ensure compliance with all aspects of IDEA.
Charter Schools are mandated by Georgia statute to participate in the administration of state assessments. Materials for these assessments are provided by the state. The Charter School, as part of the local education agency, will administer all state assessments during the APS system-testing window. Charter Schools, at their expense, may implement additional assessments.
Describe the school’s plan to obtain student performance data for each student, including how the baseline standard of achievement shall be determined in order to meet the goals and objectives stated in the petition. Describe what baseline data will be submitted to APS no later than November 15 of the school’s first year.
Describe plans to formally and informally assess student performance in the core academic areas and other areas of interest to stakeholders. Describe how the charter school’s assessment plan will measure improvement and over what period of time.
Provide a statement detailing how the charter school shall comply with the accountability provisions of O.C.G.A. §20-14-30 through §20-14-41 and federal accountability requirements. Describe how the charter school will work with Atlanta Public Schools to participate in all state-mandated assessments.
If students will participate in charter-initiated assessment programs, describe the assessments, when testing will occur, how data will be collected and managed, and how data will be used to drive instruction and improve student outcomes.
For charter schools containing high school grades, describe the method for determining that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation required by the State Board of Education Rule 160-4-2-.47.
School Achievement Goals and Nonacademic Performance Goals
The school agrees to have its academic, financial and organizational performance measured using the APS Performance Framework metrics. Decisions regarding renewal, probation and closing will be based upon the school’s results, as defined by the 2016 Performance Framework.
Support for Learning
Describe the charter school’s core values and the type of unique culture the school aims to develop. Explain the strategies the school will employ to develop a positive culture that is supportive of students, faculty, and families.
Summarize the school’s discipline policy, code of conduct and appeals process for the general student population and students with special needs. Please describe how you will provide due process for students facing expulsion and how you will prepare expelled students for placement after expulsion.
Describe your school’s bullying policy; according to the Georgia Department of Education’s Bullying Law O.C.G.A. 20-2-751.4. What will you do, specifically, to convey the “No-Tolerance” policy to parents, students and school staff? Please describe, step-by-step, the actions that will be taken should a student, parent or staff member suspect that bullying has occurred?
Describe provisions for providing students with counseling services and health services.
Please describe how your school will keep and manage student health records.
Describe the rules and procedures concerning how the school will address grievances and complaints from students, parents, and teachers, including the role of how the governing board will play in resolving such grievances and complaints.
Community & Family Engagement
Provide a list of organizations that have committed to partnering with your school and explain the potential nature of the partnerships. Include letters of support from your partners All partnerships listed in the petition must have letters of support. Describe the steps you have taken to develop any strategic partnerships and your plans to further develop additional partnerships. Explain how the partnerships will be utilized, before, during or after school. Describe how the partnership will benefit the students, parents/family and/or staff. If the partner will be involved during the school day, explain how the partner’s program will be integrated into the school program. (these should be included in the Appendix).
Describe how parents, members of the community and other interested parties will be involved in the school after approval, including governing board involvement.
Describe your family engagement program and include what academic, social, emotional learning opportunities will be provided.
Provide a list of resources your Parent/Family Center will provide and explain how the center will be supported i.e. partnerships, sponsors, federal/Title resources, etc.
In what ways will the school build partnerships with local community entities to support academic goals of the schools i.e. early learning centers, libraries, recreation centers, etc.
Describe how the school plans to incorporate communal support to families and stakeholders in order to achieve academic success.
Profile of the Founding Board and/or Initial Incorporators
The Atlanta Board of Education reserves the right to require fingerprinting and background checks of the founding and/or charter school board members.
Provide resumes for all founders and all proposed governing board members. If known, include resumes for the school leader(s) (resumes should be included in the Appendix).
Individual resumes should not exceed two pages in length.
Describe how the proposed school will be governed and a statement acknowledging that the governing board shall be subject to the control and management of the local board and subject to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 et seq. and O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 et seq.
How often will the board meet? How will parents be notified of meetings?
Describe plans of the board of directors to prepare and submit to the Atlanta Board of Education and Georgia State Board of Education an annual report of academic progress by October 1 of each year in compliance with the Charter School Act of 1998 and related rules.
Provide a plan for meeting all governance training requirements for new board members within the first year, and for meeting training requirements in years two through five.
Charter School Implementation Timetable
Recommendations to the Atlanta Board of Education for contracts with start-up charter schools will not typically exceed five (5) year terms.
What is the proposed duration of the charter? Describe how the program will be phased in over the initial term.
Present a detailed timetable of the projected steps for implementing the charter from local and state charter approvals to the first day of classes for 2018-2019. Include dates for the execution of each element.
Contracts with Educational Service providers or Other Charter Partners Relationship of Founders to Charter Governing Board and Management
If the charter board intends to enter into a contract with an education management organization (EMO), education service provider (ESP), profit or non-profit, or any third party entity to manage the charter school describe
How will the proposed charter school board resolve any conflicts with the entity?
How will the charter school survive if the relationship between the board and the
entity is terminated?
Financial Objectives Financial Management
Explain who will manage the school’s finances, including fiscal controls, internal accounting and reporting procedures. Describe the financial systems that will be established for daily business operations to manage cash flow, purchasing, payroll, and audits. What financial documents and statements will the school regularly produce? Who will prepare them? How often? Who will review them and for what purpose? Describe your plan to ensure sufficient financial controls through segregation of duties.
Identify the representatives of the school who will be responsible for the financial management of the charter, and describe plans to procure and maintain during the entire length of the charter a Crime/Fidelity Bond covering all persons receiving or disbursing funds. The APS required bond amount is $1 million.
Please identify the individual who will serve in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer. Per state guidance, at a minimum the individual must possess the following qualifications: (a) A baccalaureate or higher degree in business, accounting, or finance from an accredited college or university and minimum of four years’ experience in a field related to business or finance; or (b)
Documented experience of ten or more years in the field of business and financial management. Please include the CFO’s resume with Appendix.
Please use the budget instructions and templates provided through the Georgia Department of Education website to complete questions 1 and 2 below. For the 2018 – 2019 school year, use the Estimated Petitioner Earnings Worksheet. This is only an estimate, actual funding levels will either be more or less than this amount and depend not just on extrinsic factors (tax revenues, QBE allotments, austerity measures), but intrinsic factors (student characteristics, school programs, teacher training and experience).
Provide a monthly cash flow projection detailing revenues and expenditures for the charter school’s first two (2) years of operation and for the year prior to opening (Year 0). Also provide contingency cash flow spreadsheets projecting revenues and expenditures that assume one-half (1/2) of the projected student enrollment for the first two (2) years of operation. All budgets should be included in the Appendix.
Please provide a detailed budget narrative that explains all budget assumptions. As part of your budget narrative, detail your contingency plan should you experience a budget shortfall, lower than anticipated student enrollment, higher than expected personnel costs, underestimated costs of technology maintenance, and any other costs that could be potential operational difficulties. Explain how the school will make certain sufficient funds are available to cover any special education costs incurred (include with Appendix).
Student Admissions Recruiting and Marketing Plan
Provide evidence that there is sufficient interest in your school to meet your requested maximum enrollment. Convey clearly and concretely the scope of community backing for the proposed charter school and its founding board. (include in the Appendix).
Provide a description of the method used to recruit the number of anticipated students and a statement setting forth the school’s plan for maintaining and/or increasing attendance.
Provide the calendar to be used for recruiting, registering, and admitting students the initial year, and years following.
Please include a copy of your proposed parent/student handbook in the Appendix.
Admissions and Registration Plan
The charter school must be open to any student who resides within the City limits of Atlanta. The charter school can only enroll students who reside within the City limits of Atlanta. The only eligible out-of-district enrollees are children of teachers, staff, and board members of the charter school.
Include a plan for an admission’s lottery if the number of applicants exceeds the school.
Describe the policies and procedures that will guide the admission, enrollment and withdrawal of students, including verification of city residency. Indicate any priorities for enrollment. Indicate any specific targeted traditional school attendance zones and/or City Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) capacity.
Describe the process for managing student transfers and/or withdrawals among and between other district schools (charter and traditional).
Facilities (Start-ups only) Identify the geographic region in which the school plans to locate by the neighborhood, the designated Atlanta City Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU), the street address, and description of neighboring areas. If the facility is an unused district facility, please provide its name and address.
Describe the facility to be used and how it meets the required space needed for the proposed school, including number and type of classrooms, administrative offices, any program specific space (science labs, art workshops, etc.), media center, meeting space, and kitchen facility.
School Operations School Staff Describe the qualifications and attributes of an ideal teacher for the proposed school and how they will support the mission and effective student learning.
Provide a plan for ensuring that recruitment and selection procedures will reinforce these desired qualities in the school’s faculty.
Describe your plans for developing and implementing an effective professional development program.
Detail how the evaluation system for teachers and administrators will support the school’s mission and educational philosophy. Explain how the principal’s performance will be appraised and by whom.
Indicate the number of teachers and other professional and non-professional school staff, by position, to be hired for each year. If necessary, describe the job position.
Describe the school’s plan for staffing special education, and staff for English Language Learners including necessary qualifications.
Describe the human resource policies governing processes for hiring, dismissal, compensation, and required fingerprinting and criminal record checks.
Describe provisions that will be made for all required staff to participate in the mandatory Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia.
State whether or not the charter school will elect to participate in the State Health Benefit Plan.
Include a copy of your school’s organizational chart in the Appendix
Insurance / Risk Management Evidence of all required insurance must be submitted prior to school opening for 2018-2019, no later than January 30, 2017. Applicants should, at a minimum, address local and state requirements. The following types and levels of coverage are required by the Atlanta Board. Each applicant should investigate their proposed school’s insurance needs. Many charter schools purchase higher levels of coverage and additional coverage based on the type of school they propose to establish.
Describe all insurance coverage that will be secured including but not limited to workers compensation, general liability insurance, property damage, and motor vehicle.
Legal Services Identify the charter board’s legal counsel including contact information: name, firm, address, telephone number. If the petitioner does not currently have legal counsel, provide a timeline for obtaining counsel prior to the proposed school’s opening.
Transportation A proportional share of transportation funding is provided to each school with eligible riders. For local field trips, charter schools are eligible for bus services from APS at the same rate any APS school is charged and are required to follow reservation procedures.
Describe plans, if any, for the school to transport students to and from school. Please account for these plans in the budget.
Include arrangements made for students who would not have their own means of transportation. While it is understood that you may be unable to provide an exact transportation plan without knowledge of your actual student enrollment, please be as specific as possible.
Describe policies that will ensure transportation is not a barrier to access for students. If transportation will not be provided, demonstrate how that will not be a barrier for all those who are eligible to attend.
If transportation shall be provided, the petition must include a statement that the transportation program will comply with applicable law.
Food Services Atlanta Public Schools contract with charter schools to provide food service. APS charter schools are responsible for providing APS-provided household survey forms for each student to determine free or reduced eligibility. The dissemination, collection, and submission of eligibility forms to APS for the purposes of determining the charter school’s eligibility for Title I funds is required even if the charter school does not provide food service.
Provide a brief description of a proposed food service program if not contracting with Atlanta Public Schools.
Indicate if the school plans to participate in the National School Lunch Program through the Georgia Department of Education.
Health and Safety Atlanta Public Schools does not contract with charter schools to provide nursing services. APS charter schools are responsible for providing appropriate nursing services that comply with applicable laws relating to the provision of health related services.
Describe the charter schools’ plan for providing health related services (to include dispensing of pharmaceuticals) and for managing/securing health related records.
In addition to the Exhibits required in the state application, include the the additional documents in the Appendices. The documents are required to complete your Charter School Application Package. Please label the Exhibits to match the item below. Exhibits should be as limited in size as possible.
Conflict of Interest forms along with explanations (if needed)
Letters of partnership and support
Board members, school leader(s), business manager/CFO résumés
Budget Forms with narratives (add behind the state budget template)