Rick Hess and ‘Cage Busting Leadership’; CSP represents MN charters nationally; Beating the Odds charters; TFA/UMN Alt Cert partnership; Minneapolis mayor’s race

In addition to the launching of six new charter schools serving the Twin Cities urban core, the new school year has been a whirlwind of activity and positive developments for Charter School Partners, ‘Beating the Odds’ charters schools in Minnesota and for Minnesota’s growing quality education movement.

CSP Partner Tuesday with Rick Hess

Last week, CSP hosted one of the nation’s leading voices in education reform and innovation. Rick Hess, author of Cage Busting Leadership and Education Unbound: The Promise and Practice of Greenfield Schooling, joined CSP Partner School leaders and board members with his message of breaking through the self-imposed infrastructures and dogmas that hold back school leaders. Special guests who spoke at the CSP event included mayoral candidate Don Samuels, MDE Assistant Commissioner Kevin McHenry and Cindy Murphy, Director of the Charter Center at MDE.
Hess with CSP Fellows

Hess with CSP Fellows

Rick Hess at CSP Partner Tuesday luncheon.

Rick Hess at CSP Partner Tuesday luncheon

CSP’s Fan represents Minnesota charters at the National Alliance Leadership Council/new MDE Facilities Working Group

Last week, Al Fan, Executive Director of Charter School Partners, represented Minnesota charter schools at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Leadership Council in Columbus, Ohio. The National Alliance, based in Washington, DC, is the leading national organization committed to advancing quality, growth and sustainability for the charter school movement.

Al Fan and CSP also serves as the charter representative on MDE’s Facilities Financing Work Group, which had its inaugural meeting September 19th.

CSP Partner ‘Beating the Odds’ charters in the news

There were a flurry of news articles and editorials that focused on Minnesota’s ‘Beating the Odds’ charters including:

UMN/TFA partner for first ALT CERT teacher prep program

Crystal Brakke

Crystal Brakke, Executive Director, Twin Cities Teach for America

On September 18th,  the University of Minnesota and Teach for America announced it would partner to develop the state’s first alternative teacher preparation program which was allowed under the 2011 passage of the ALT CERT legislation, a major policy initiative supported by CSP since 2010.

Minneapolis mayor’s race

Also, last week, a number of developments emerged in the Minneapolis Mayor’s race including a poll showing the number one issue facing Minneapolitans was education; a remarkably frank R.T. Rybak MinnPost interview in which he lamented the fact he did not do more for schools earlier in his tenure and called for the next mayor to be deeply engaged in schools; and a mayor education debate/forum sponsored by many of CSP’s strategic partners, including MinnCAN, Students First, African American Leadership Forum (AALF), Put Kids First Minneapolis, Students for Ed Reform and several others.

The forum, which was held at a packed Mill City Museum venue, raised many of the issues the quality education movement have been advocating for including high-quality charter schools, support for TFA, and elimination of LIFO (Last In First Out). All candidates supported MPS Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s proposal to allow greater autonomy and flexibility for some of the district’s lowest performing public schools (“The Shift”). The forum is available for viewing at The Uptake.

Charters again top the state’s ‘Beating the Odds’ schools

Charters again Beat the Odds

Once again, Twin Cities charters dominated the list of public schools who were having the highest impact for low-income students. (From today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune).

Once again, Twin Cities charters dominated the list of public schools who were having the highest impact for low-income students.  Today’s release only measures ‘proficiency’. Other data, including student’s academic ‘growth’, will be a part of the state’s Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR), which will be available early October.

While there is most certainly a correlation between high proficiency scores and high growth scores, often proficiency scores alone do not tell the complete story. While the goal at the end of the day is to have high proficiency scores for all students, there are many schools who serve populations that enter the school several years behind grade level. In that case, a high-impact school may be able to make significant gains in ‘growth’ (say, 1.5 to 2 years of growth in a single year), yet still may post relatively low proficiency scores.

Here is an excellent piece by education reporter Beth Hawkins, from today’s MinnPost, detailing the many issues surrounding Minnesota’s testing system.

CSP’s New Schools Initiative: Six new high-impact charters serving the urban core open in the Twin Cities

This week marks the return to school for thousands of Minnesota kids. It also marks a milestone for CSP’s New Schools Initiative where six new charters serving families from the Twin Cities urban core are opening their doors. We believe this new generation of high-impact schools that incorporates innovation with a focus on high-academic achievement through individualize learning for each student will serve as examples for all public schools — district and charter — that closing the achievement gap is possible.

The new schools include CSP’s first fellowship schools ARCH Academy led by Angela Mansfield and West Side Summit led by Matthew Bannon as well as Hiawatha Leadership Academy – Northrop, where CSP Fellow Daniela Vasan will serve as the new school’s elementary principal. HLA-Northrop is a replication school of the highly regarded Hiawatha Academies. Three additional schools — Upper Mississippi Academy, Venture Academy and Prodeo Academy have also opened.

ARCH Academy:  First days

All six schools are CSP Partner Schools and all received a $250,000 start-up grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Five of the six schools also received CSP (Charter School Programs) federal start-up dollars.  Only two other charter schools are opening in Minnesota this year, both of them are out-state (Vermilion Country School and West Concord Public Charter School).

West Side Summit, whose focus is individual learning via a blended-learning model, will be opening its doors in the old St. Matthew's School building on St. Paul's West Side.

West Side Summit, whose focus is individual learning via a blended-learning model, will be opening its doors in the old St. Matthew’s School building on St. Paul’s West Side.

In 2012, CSP, through its Charter Start Initiative or via the Walton Family Foundation, supported the opening of four new schools including Minneapolis College Prep, Hennepin Elementary School, Hiawatha Academies’ Adelante Prep (expansion of Hiawatha Academies) and Mastery School, a spin-off of the Harvest Prep Academy network of schools.

Congratulations to all school leaders, teachers, board members and supporters for your remarkable work in launching these new schools that hold great promise to create more equitable educational opportunities for students from every community, including historically under-served communities in the Twin Cities.



Charter Schools — End of summer review

Here’s a quick review of some national and state charter school highlights over the last several weeks.

National Charter School leader Nina Rees keynotes charter conference in Minneapolis

Nina Rees Executive Director  National Alliance of Public Charter Schools

Nina Rees
National Alliance of Public Charter Schools

Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, was the keynote speaker at the ‘Capstone Conference for Charter Schools’, sponsored by the Center for School Change and CliftonLarsonAllen on July 31st.

Ms. Rees challenged Minnesota’s charter community to “step up” and ensure that the next phase of the charter movement is about “quality, innovation, and accountability”. She is the third individual to hold the post since the National Alliance’s founding in 2005.

Al Fan, Executive Director of Charter School Partners, serves on the National Alliances’ State Leaders Council (SLC) as a representative from Minnesota.

State to return to 90-10 payments. While great news, it brings some short term challenges

On July 30th, MDE staff presented to the charter community a review of the 2013 K-12 Education Omnibus bill and other bills impacting Minnesota schools and charters specifically.  A headline from the presentation was that based on the state’s positive tax income projections,  the state will be able to return to a 90-10 holdback for all public schools in Minnesota (a key provision of CSP’s Charters 2.0 legislative initiative), beginning July 1, 2013. Just two years ago, the holdback was 60-40.

While this is incredibly good news, particularly for charter schools, the shift in payments potentially present a significant cash flow challenges, particularly for new charter schools opening this year or those relatively new schools  or other schools who do not have a large fund balance. In short, charter schools will not receive ANY payment from the state during October and possibly the first payment of November and are being encouraged to set aside almost half of the payments they start receiving in July to cover the cash flow gap. Per the MDE:

“Charter schools are advised to set aside approximately 43 percent of each current year payment in the periods July 15 to September 30 to provide cash for operations during the two to three periods in which they will not receive payment.”

Here’s the entire memo from MDE.

Minnesota Department of Education

TO: Business Managers
FROM: Division of School Finance
DATE: July 25, 2013
SUBJECT: Aid and Tax Shift Buyback

2013 Legislation and the latest Minnesota Management and Budget economic update make it possible that charter schools will return to a 24-period state aids payment schedule beginning in October 2013. The effect is that state aid will have been over-advanced to charter schools in the period July 15 through September 30. View the Aid and Tax Shift Buyback memo for further explanation and how to prepare in the event the payment schedule changes from 16 periods to 24 periods.

Contact: Audrey Bomstad at 651-582-8793.

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Minnesota Board of Teaching approves all Teach for America teachers for the 2014-2015 school year but warns TFA needs to be an ALT CERT provider for future approvals

On August 2, in one of the largest attended Minnesota Board of Teaching (BOT) meetings ever (over 175 attendees, mostly TFA supporters), the board granted all 38 waivers for “community expert” licensing exemption, including 16 from Teach For America, and reversed itself on two denials it voted in July. Per the Star Tribune, “…the approvals came with a warning from the board’s chair, Waseca teacher John Bellingham, that he “strongly encourages and expects” the entities seeking the variances to propose alternative licensing programs rather than continue to seek exceptions.”

Here’s a MinnPost article and a MinnCAN blog on the event.

Bill Wilson, leader of High Ground, a St. Paul charter school makes the case Bill Wilson, leader of High Ground, a St. Paul charter school requests Board of Teaching approval for four Teach for America Corps Members.  Charter school leaders from Hiawatha Academies, Sojourner Truth, Best Academy, St. Paul City School

Bill Wilson, leader of Higher Ground, a St. Paul charter school requests Board of Teaching approval for four Teach for America Corps Members. Charter school leaders from Hiawatha Academies, Sojourner Truth Academy, ARCH Academy, Venture Academy, Best Academy, St. Paul City School had all testified, requesting an individual waiver for the teachers they sought to hire. The  teachers also attended and many testified.

State charter school laws improving nationally

The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools recently published an analysis of how many states have strengthened their charter school laws over the past four legislative sessions. They found that 35 states have brought their laws into closer alignment with the Alliance’s model charter law. Sixteen states alone have lifted caps on charter school growth and another 19 states have strengthened the quality of their laws. Minnesota’s charter law continues to be ranked #1 among the 42 states (and the District of Columbia) who have charter laws. You can read more about the state changes that have been made in “Assessing the Increasing Strength of Charter Laws Between 2010 and 2013″.

Study finds District-Charter Collaboration in eight cities

A trend we follow at Charter School Partners is District-Charter Collaboration. CSP was involved in supporting a change in the charter law regarding District-Charter Collaboration,which passed in 2012.(Here’s a joint Op-Ed by Minneapolis Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson and CSP E.D. Al Fan from May 2, 2012). 

On Education Week’s Charters & Choice blog  Katie Ash explores an “Education Next” article on how traditional public school districts are increasingly pursuing collaborative, rather than obstructive, approaches to working with public charter schools. The article examines traditional public school districts’ reactions to charter schools in 12 cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, D.C., Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Newark, New Orleans, New York City, and Phoenix. All of the chosen cities had a minimum of six percent of the student population in charter schools. Of the 12 cities, eight responded to the competition from charter schools in what the article describes as a “constructive” approach. In Atlanta, district officials embraced a collaborative grant between a traditional middle school and a charter middle school. Education officials in Detroit called on charter management organizations to take over dozens of the city’s most academically struggling schools.

What’s next for ESEA reauthorization?

The National Alliance’s Charter Blog explains what’s next for the the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). On July 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of ESEA in H.R. 5, the Student Success Act.  but the Senate and the White House seems to have little appetite to take up legislation, instead relying on current waivers with individual states. Minnesota’s Republican Representative John Kline serves as Chair of U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.


Stanford CREDO study shows Minnesota/CSP charter strategy working

Charter schools in Minnesota have shown substantial improvements from 2008 to 2011 in reading and math and now surpass their peers in district schools in annual learning gains for reading in the state, according to Stanford University’s Center for Research for Education Outcomes’ (CREDO) 26-state 2013 National Charter School Study, which was released this week.

As noted in yesterday’s Star Tribune, “the outcome suggests that poorly performing charter schools are closing in Minnesota, and being replaced with new schools that produce superior results. Al Fan, executive director of Charter School Partners, which advocates for high-quality charters, said the data reflect the emergence of gap-closing, high-quality charters such as Global Academy, Hiawatha Academies and Harvest Prep.”

Unfortunately, the normally solid reporting at MPR News missed the true story line of the CREDO study and instead focused on charter school opponents generic arguments (not seemingly related to the CREDO report) that questions the purpose of charters themselves.  In Minnesota charter schools serve almost twice as many students of color, children in poverty and children for whom English is a second language than do traditional district schools.

The report concluded that the “enrollment and persistence in charter schools is especially helpful for some students, particularly students in poverty, black students, and English language learners all of whom post significantly higher learning gains in both reading and math.”  This is clearly the case for our ‘closing the gap schools’ here in Minnesota.

The CREDO report repeatedly mentioned Minnesota as a state showing great improvement in its charter sector, including the following references:

  • Page 43: “These findings [on the impacts of charter schools] show that the charter school sector has improved in most states since the 2009 report. The states with the most dramatic positive shifts from 2009 to 2013 were those that had strong results for both continuing and new schools. These shifts were most noticeable in reading for Colorado (Denver), the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. This indicates that a strong commitment to quality – and the ability to deliver it – exists at both the school and authorizer levels in these states.”  
  • Pages 44-45: “We also analyzed the changes in charter impact separately for each state. The results showed that most states improved in reading and either held steady or improved slightly in math from 2009 to 2013. As with the overall 16-state findings, these improvements were due to positive changes in performance at the continuing charter schools in most states. New charter school results were weaker than the 2009 results in the majority of states. There was, however, a notable exception to this pattern. In reading, there were three states with new charter school findings that were much stronger than the 2009 results: the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.”
  • Pages 52-53: states that Minnesota’s charter school students are gaining about 14 days of learning in reading annually over like sets of non-charter district students, according to an analysis of growth in state test scores and that while are still seven days behind in math, the study found that data not statistically significant.  Both numbers are significant improvements from the 2009 CREDO study, when reading scores for Minnesota charter students were 14 days behind district schools in reading and 21 days behind in math.
  • Minnesota’s New Charters Score! Further digging into the CREDO study shows that Minnesota’s “new charter schools” had positive impacts in both reading AND math, whereas “continuing charter schools” in Minnesota showed a positive impact in reading, but only a statistically comparable impact in math in comparison to district school peers. Minnesota is one of only five states showing positive impacts for new schools in both reading and math for the 2013 report (along with GA, CO, MA, and DC) and the only state to do so after having “low gains” in reading and math in the 2009 report.
  • Launching new high-performing charters and closing chronically low-performing charters key strategy moving forward.  The 2013 Executive Summary of the CREDO Study identifies 13 findings and one of the more interesting ones is the high correlation between the quality of a school in its first two years and its long term performance. This finding provides strong support for the idea of closing down persistently low performing schools and replacing them with new ones that start off showing high performance.  Charter authorizers are key in implementing this strategy and kudos to those Minnesota authorizers who are doing this tough work. 

Leg session ends. Charters 2.0 moves forward: all day-K; holdback toward 90-10; greater authorizer accountability

Charter 2.0 Tag CloudThe 2013 legislation session ended last week with an unprecedented investment of $485 million in new education funding including increases in the general formula for all schools, All-Day Kindergarten and an effort to continue to move toward the 90-10 holdback — initiatives that will substantially assist charter school funding in the state.  (Link: MinnPost’s ‘More Funding, all day K: This is very definitely the education session‘).

These initiatives along with the state having secured a five-year $28.2 million Charter School Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education to launch and replicate high-performing charters, has meant that several of the funding goals outlined in CSP’s Charters 2.0 Legislative Agenda –Financing the creation and growth of a new generation of high-performing charter schools, which include fast-tracking the replication of successful charters (Charters 2.0 first provision)have been realized.  Unfortunately, the Letter of Aid Anticipation provision, a funding tool the state provides to districts to help them secure low-interest loans, did not survive the final education conference committee deliberations.

There was also positive movement on Charters 2.0 second provision — Increasing charter authorizer and board accountability to improve academic performance. While a CSP initiative which would have accelerated the ‘flagging’ and potentially the closing of chronically low-performing charters did not pass (it made it to the final conference committee report), other provisions which CSP supported did pass and will help increase authorizer accountability to deal with failing charters (see below).  

We were disappointed that there seemed to be little appetite for new initiatives to Improve the leadership/teacher talent pipeline for charter schools, particularly serving low-income students (Charters 2.0 third provision) and the defeat of a provision that would have allowed districts who were authorizers to lease buildings to their authorized schools (Improving student achievement through greater District-Charter Collaboration – Charters 2.0 fourth provision).

This legislative session CSP's Al Fan (pictured above center) as well as Brian Sweeney testified in numerous education committees on various provisions of Charters 2.0.

This legislative session CSP’s Al Fan (pictured above center) as well as Brian Sweeney testified in numerous education committees on various provisions of Charters 2.0.

Overview of the E-12 Education Bill

The E-12 Education Bill, HF 630, included the following:

1. Budget Increase: An of $485 million new E-12 spending, including:

  • $234 million in school funding
  • $134 million for All Day Kindergarten (beginning 2014 school year). Currently, 54% of schools have access to free K and others have to pay out of pocket.
  • $40 million for Early Learning Scholarships (MinneMinds) for 8,000 kids to attend high quality child care and preschools. Families eligible for up to $5,000 in scholarships.
  • $40 million additional for Special Ed.
  • $10 million for career and technical ed.
  • $27 million. Misc.

2.General Formula increase 1.5% for FY 14/15

  • FY 2013, $5224
  • FY 2014; $5302
  • FY 2015: $5806 (additional increase in part due to changed pupil units)

3. New pupil unit count, also beginning FY 2015 (beginning July 2014)

  • Grades K-6: 1.0.
  • Grades 6-12 counted as 1.2 adjusted pupil units.

4. An accelerated repayment of the shift–money the state borrowed from our schools in previous budgets. While the final package did not include paying back the shift, additional language (in addition to the current law which requires increased state revenues to go toward paying down the shift) states “any positive unrestricted budgetary general fund balance” will go toward the shift.

5. Increase of base lease aid effective FY 2015 (July 1, 2014). “The amount of annual building lease aid per pupil unit served for a charter school for any year shall not exceeed the less of 90 percent of the approved cost or the product of the pupil units served for the current year times $1,314 (from $1200).”

6. Increasing Authorizer/Charter Accountability: There are several seemingly smaller charter provisions that could have a large impact on charter accountability for the state.  CSP supported both of these initiatives (the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, MACS, did not).

  • The primary purpose provision.  Previously, the six purposes for charter schools were given equal weight. Minnesota charter law now states: The primary purpose of this section (charter schools) is to: (1) improve pupil learning and student achievement; Additional purposes include to: (2) increase learning opportunities for pupils;(3) encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods; (4) measure learning outcomes and create different and innovative forms of measuring outcomes; (5) establish new forms of accountability for schools; and (5) create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site.   Primary purpose’ language was also added as the main criteria for a contract, contract renewal or termination of a contract between an authorizer and a charter school. 
  • A second provision requires authorizer give a yearly accounting for its authorized schools, something which is consistent with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) quality principles: “The commissioner shall establish specifications for an authorizer’s annual public report that is part of the system to evaluate authorizer performance under subdivision Article 4. The report shall at least include key indicators of school academic,operational, and financial performance.”

6. Other charter provisions:  There was also several smaller provisions impacting charters. The bill:

  • clarifies ‘conflict of interest’ concerns regarding family members of charter boards;
  • clarifies the process for change of authorizers at the end of a contract term if both the authorizer and charter board mutually agree to the change (this is not meant to be a way to avoid closure of charter school).
  • added language around leases: “The department must review and approve or disapprove leases in a timely manner for purposes of determining eligibility for lease aid under section 124D.11, subdivision 4 . The commissioner must approve aid only for a facility lease that has (i) a sum certain annual cost and (ii) an escape clause the charter school may exercise if its charter contract is terminated or not renewed.”
  • requires charters to have the same requirements as district schools for the state’s New Teacher Evaluation System and Truant Notification provision.

8. Elimination of Grad Standards: The bill also calls for the elimination of Grad standards but requires additional tests for college and career readiness exams (Explorer, Plan, ACT). MCA’s will be maintained for Grades 3-7 and by 2016, the MCA’s will be computer adaptive.


Minnesota Meeting May 22nd: An Evening with John Legend

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Join us for a Minnesota Meeting: An Evening with John Legend

In addition to recording platinum R&B albums and performing worldwide, nine-time Grammy® Award winner John Legend is a strong proponent of education reform. He considers delivering a high-quality education to all of our children to be the predominant civil rights issue of our time. Over the course of an hour, Legend will share his views on the importance of effective teaching and strong school leadership, and his experiences working with high-poverty schools that are getting great results for kids. Legend will take questions from the audience and will close the evening by performing a few songs.

John Legend is an R&B singer celebrated around the world. In addition to his outstanding artistic achievements, Mr. Legend has received numerous awards and accolades for his humanitarian work, including being named as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people. He serves on the boards of Teach for America, Stand for Children and the Harlem Village Academies and in 2007 launched the Show Me Campaign (ShowMeCampaign.org), an initiative that uses education to break the cycle of poverty. Mr. Legend also supports international development and relief, and efforts to develop the next generation of minority business leaders, among other initiatives.

Mr. Legend has had a string of Top 10 platinum-selling albums and has collaborated with and written for other top artists including Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and The Roots. In 2012, Mr. Legend released the hit single, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” which spent six consecutive weeks at the top of the Urban AC radio chart. Mr. Legend has just  completed work on his forthcoming album Love in the Future; the album – executive produced by Kanye West and Dave Tozer – will be released in June of this year.

Get the latest on the RESET Education campaign.

Wednesday, May 22nd
7:00 p.m.

Fitzgerald Theater
10 E Exchange St, St. Paul
Tickets are $40

Group discount: $30 for groups of 5 or more
(not available on-line – must call or visit box office at (651) 290-1200)



CSP setting THE HIGH BAR for Board Governance: A great day with Marci Cornell-Feist

Marci Cornell-Feist, Founder and CEO of The High Bar, Boston, MA, a national expert on charter school governance, today presented to CSP Partner Schools and their boards as well as staff of several authorizers "10 Targeted Things to Dramatically Improve the Governance of Your School". There were over 50 attendees. The event satisfied the MN law requirement that charter school board members "attend ongoing training on board governance."

Marci Cornell-Feist, Founder and CEO of The High Bar, Boston, MA, a national expert on charter school governance, today presented to CSP Partner Schools and their boards as well as staff of several authorizers “10 Targeted Things to Dramatically Improve the Governance of Your School”. There were over 50 attendees. The event satisfied the MN law requirement that charter school board members “attend ongoing training on board governance.”

CSPmn @ Twitter

CSPmn: Honored to have Marci Cornell-Feist of the High Bar presenting to a packed house of MN Charter Leaders about board governance this morning.
CSPmn: A charter contract is a contract to increase student achievement #thehighbar
CSPmn: Good charter boards set SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. #thehighbar
CSPmn: Check out a whole suite of free resources from #thehighbar on good charter school and non-profit board governance reachthehighbar.com/free-resources…
CSPmn: A great school culture is impt to a high performing school. That culture starts with the board being accountable for their work #thehighbar
CSPmn: Monthly 2 hr board mtgs. is only 24hrs of governance for a multi million $ public institution. Mtgs need to be effective! #thehighbar
CSPmn: Mtg minutes are a record of what was done at the mtg, not what was said by members. Many legal issues arise with verbatim notes #thehighbar
CSPmn: Our speaker notes it is much harder to be on a charter school board then on one of a publicly traded company. The #highbar remedies that.
CSPmn: Thnks to our spkr Marci Cornell-Feist for a great talk. Reachthehighbar.com is a very useful tool to improve board governance at charters
FROM CSP’s PROGRAMS FOR PARTNER SCHOOLS (click here to see more CSP Partner Offerings)
Tools for Board Development: Through an exclusive partnership with The High Bar, founded by a nationally-recognized expert in charter school governance, Marci Cornell-Feist, CSP is offering new tools to advance board development in Partner Schools. BoardOnTrack and BoardSavvy will help leverage the efforts of board members into real results for academic excellence and organizational sustainability.  All tools and strategies have been road-tested with over 200 charter school boards nationwide, in 20 different states.


RESET Education Campaign — John Legend and others to headline Minnesota Meeting events

CSP Partner Schools and Friends,

We wanted to share the exciting new RESET Education public awareness campaign launched by the Minneapolis Foundation but targeted to all of Minnesota focusing on closing the achievement gap. Charter School Partners is a partner, along with several other community groups, in this effort. We hope you will take some time and review the campaign materials and share them with your school, friends and community. We also wanted to invite you to the three Minnesota Meeting events (see below) that will be held at the Fitzgerald Theater, beginning on April 22nd. We hope to see you there.




Dear Friends,

Let’s RESET Education is a public awareness campaign and event series on closing the achievement gap. The goal is to raise our community’s expectations and create schools where every student succeeds.

About the Campaign

RESET stands for 5 proven strategies that, when used together, create successful schools where students make strong academic progress each year. There are schools, locally and nationally, where every student is on track for success. Visit www.ResetEducation.org to learn more.

It’s made possible by our community partners and our generous sponsors.

Come to Minnesota Meeting!

We’re thrilled to announce the speakers for our three Minnesota Meetings, held at the Fitzgerald Theater this spring:

Watch the PSA & RESET Strategies in Action

PSA playing in local movie theaters.
Local classrooms using RESET.

RESET in the News

Minneapolis Foundation President & CEO Sandy Vargas had an opinion piece in the Star Tribune. The campaign has also been covered by MPRTwin Cities Businessand MinnPost, among others.

Let us know what you think!
Call us or email and join the conversation on social media.

Join the Conversation

District/Charter Collaborative: MPS, Minneapolis Foundation, CSP host Blended Learning event

A packed house at MPS’s headquarters in North Minneapolis
The twitterverse was abuzz (see below) for the day-long Blended Learning Design Workshop with over 100 MPS district and CSP Partner charter school leaders coming together for the interactive day of learning and even designing high-quality blended learning environments.

National experts from Innosight Institute, Evergreen Education GroupPublic Impact, and Education Elements brought a broad national perspective on the latest developments on blending learning. The group also heard from leaders of Minnesota’s two new blended learning schools, which will open this Fall — CSP Fellow Matthew Bannon of West Side Summit and Jon Bacal and Kerry Muse of Venture Academy, a CSP Partner School.

Blended Learning is a growing force in education today, spurred on by the remarkable success of innovative efforts like Rocketship Education, Carpe Diem and School of One – schools that are already proving that successful personalized learning for all students is possible. Charter School Partners is committed to working with new and existing schools that bring together innovation/individualized learning options for students that also deliver academic results — innovation AND academic achievement.

A special thanks to our strategic Partner CEE-Trust, who sponsored the event. CSP is a CEE-Trust member, a network of 28 city-based foundations, non-profits and mayor’s offices that work together to support education innovation and reform.

Selected Tweets of the event:
  • High engagement, individualized, flexible, differentiated learning = student success. #BlendedLearning #charterdistrictcollab #gapclosed
  • It’s a packed house for our 3rd #blendedlearning design day in #minneapolis!@CSPmn pic.twitter.com/QNs56dymng
  • District charter collaboration on #BlendedLearning@MPS_SuptJohnson;@mplsfoundation; @CSPmn-sponsors.
  • District/charter collaboration in Mpls #BlendedLearning. @CSPMn; @CEEtrust. @RocketshipEd; @schoolofone; @carpediemschool r rock stars of BL
  • DistrictCharters learning together.#BlendedLearning. Innovation plus achievement. And it is closing the achievement gap. That’s true INNOVATION. @CSPmn. @CEEtrust;
  • #BlendedLearning uses real time data so that teachers know exactly where students are at. Allows for completely differentiated instruction.
  • #BlendedLearning doesn’t equal tech. It leverages new tech to individualize, provide data to staff, improve teaching and control costs.
  • Individualization impt benefit of #BlendedLearning. Students don’t learn at the same pace. Currently hold time constant rather than achvmnt.
  • Joe Ableidinger of @publicimpact: Excellent teaching more impt in #BlendedLearning models than in traditional school models.