Oregon Charter School News Weekly

A bi-weekly newsletter of Charter School happenings
around Oregon and the Nation.

This is the final week of the 2021 Legislative Session. In a previous update, we shared a high level summary of the various priorities that were funded through SB 5513 (Grant-in-Aid Budget). Since then, the bill has passed the full Joint Ways and Means Committee, the Senate, and got its a final vote in the House and now goes to the Governor for her signature. Overall, we’re excited that this bill included full or expanded funding for most of our priorities. However, we did confirm that SB 227 (Professional Learning for Ethnic Studies) and SB 328 (K-12 Discipline Data on Suspension/Expulsion) were not funded through SB 5513. 

In response, we have shifted our attention to HB 5006, a bill referred to as the “Christmas tree bill.” The Legislature is constitutionally required to pass a balanced state budget, so this bill usually emerges in the final days of session with a myriad of unrelated funding requests.

To show you how fast this bill has moved, the budget summary for HB 5006 was posted late Wednesday afternoon for a hearing at 8am Thursday and a final vote in the Joint Ways & Means Committee that same afternoon. The Legislature did include a $200 million dollar transfer from Lottery Funds to the State School Fund to replace the reserve funds that Gov. Brown line time vetoed in SB 5514. 

Our ORC3S priority bill, HB 2954 the Weighted Lottery reinstatement bill, did pass and heads to the Governor for her signature! We're excited that this legislation passed and will not ever sunset again (as it did in the last iteration.)

Our next update will contain a longer debrief on all things related to charter schools that happened during the legislative session, we look forward to debriefing those with you all in great depth later this summer!

How Charter Schools Can Leverage Community Assets through Partnerships
Community partnerships empower charter schools by strengthening their capacity to serve the needs of students, families, and staff through deliberate partnerships with community-based entities. Schools can collaborate with community organizations to gain access to educational or physical resources, and the school community can give back through service-learning opportunities and resource-sharing with local organizations. And thanks to their relative autonomy, charter organizations are uniquely equipped to engage partners and even design schools where partnerships are a key design element. 

How Charter Schools Can Leverage Community Assets through Partnerships is a resource to guide charter school operators in their design and implementation of community partnerships. It can be used by operators in any phase of school development.

This brief summarizes the partnership-building efforts of four charter school organizations:
•    Central Queens Academy (Queens, NY)
•    Kairos Public Schools (Vacaville, CA)
•    Denver School of Science and Technology (Denver, CO)
•    City Garden Montessori (St. Louis, MO)

It also includes a look at seven factors that can help you build successful school-community partnerships, as well as the four-step guide, “Getting Started: How to Turn Your Community Partnerships Vision into Reality.” Click here to learn more.
Download Resource
Grants for Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities
On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the United States Department of Education (Department) will publish in the Federal Register its notice inviting applications (NIA) for Grants for Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities (Credit Enhancement) for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The application deadline is Friday, July 23, 2021, at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

The Department will host a pre-application webinar for interested applicants on Monday, June 28, 2021, from 12:30 – 1:30 pm Eastern Time. Use this link to register for the webinar now through the time of the event. Attendance at the webinar is optional for applicants. A recording of the webinar will be made available on the Department’s Credit Enhancement web page following the event.

For questions or further information, please contact Clifton Jones at or (202) 205-2204.
Register for the Webinar
Call to action: Step Up For Students

After a challenging year for educators and students, it’s great to see education is a priority in the White House’s budget proposal. But despite growing demand for charter schools throughout the pandemic and more money for K-12 education overall, the President’s proposal doesn’t increase support for the Charter Schools Program at all.

Supporting the Charter Schools Program would have sent a strong signal that the president's educational equity agenda was aligned to what millions of parents demand—more quality public school options for their kids—but now we need to turn to Congress for support.

Contact Congress and tell them that public school students don’t have any more time to wait. Families need more options, more innovation, more flexibility. Ask Congress to step up and support the Charter Schools Program. Click the button below to contact Congress and tell them that public school students don’t have any more time to wait.

Take Action!
Sandra Day O'Connor Institute For American Democracy presents the summer O'Connor Civics Challenge!   

•    The civics video competition is open now through Thursday, July 15, 2021 
•    Open to all students entering 6th through 9th grade in fall 2021  
•    Choose a topic and watch a brief tutorial video
•    Create a video up to 3 minutes long!
•    Winners in each grade will be awarded Apple products!
•    Four winners in the Justice O'Connor category will also be awarded Apple prizes!
Download this PDF flyer to share with your students and families!

#OConnorCivicsChallenge video entries may be submitted now through July 15, 2021. Click here to learn more!
Questions? Contact:
Heather Schader
Vice President, Programs & Administration | (602) 730-3300 x8
Learn more

Programs, Policy, and Research

Identifying Indicators of Distress in Charter Schools Toolkit
The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) is pleased to announce the publication of Identifying Indicators of Distress in Charter Schools: Tools to Support Authorizer Data Collection, a resource to help authorizers build upon their current data collection processes to identify struggling schools prior to failure, and prior to not meeting renewal criteria. This toolkit includes tools to help authorizers identify indicators of distress, audit their current data collection methods for evaluating indicators of distress, and assess whether and to what extent the schools in their portfolio are showing indicators of distress.
This toolkit builds on NCSRC’s earlier report, Identifying Indicators of Distress in Charter Schools Part 1: The Role and Perspective of Charter School Authorizers, released in 2020. Both publications are the product of extensive qualitative research and formal interviews with authorizers across policy contexts from a variety of authorizing entities.

Find Lending Opportunities with The CSP Credit Enhancement Transactions Dashboard
The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) is excited to share the CSP Credit Enhancement Transactions Dashboard, a new interactive tool to explore lending information for grantees of the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program (Credit Enhancement Program). As of 2019, the Credit Enhancement Program, out of the U.S. Department of Education Charter School Programs, has helped leverage approximately $6.7 billion in financing for 766 charter school facilities. The CSP Credit Enhancement Transactions Dashboard can help charter schools find information about charter school facility lending and connect with lenders to secure lower cost financing for facility projects. 

Secretary Cardona Testifies on FY 2022 Department of Education Budget Request
On June 16, U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on the Department of Education’s FY 2022 budget request. View a recording of the hearing and see a memo from our partners at Penn Hill Group for more information. When asked about the federal Charter Schools Program, the Secretary affirmed his support but said he will not be endorsing “private charter school growth.” We look forward to working with the Secretary and remind him that all charter schools are public schools.

Call for Comments: Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program
The comment period is now open to comment on a proposed extension of data collection on the Expanding Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Program: Technical Assistance to Support Monitoring, Evaluation, Data Collection, and Dissemination of Best Practices, formerly titled Charter Schools Program Grant Awards Database. Comments due by July 15.

New Framework on Educating Students with Disabilities
new brief from The Center for Learner Equity, in collaboration with Pathways 2 Tomorrow, proposes critical components of a strategic, city-based framework that will lead to better access and outcomes for students with disabilities. The framework has the potential to ensure that students with disabilities have access to a robust continuum of educational opportunities in districts that have widespread public school choice and, in particular, charter schools.

Call for Comment: Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline
The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education is requesting comments that include information, research, and suggestions regarding the administration of school discipline in preK-12 schools. The purpose of these comments is to inform future policy guidance, technical assistance, or other resources that would support schools in improving school climate to ensure equal access to education for all students. Comments are due by July 23.

Upcoming Events
School Opportunities and Resources
National Charter School Resource Center Funding Opportunity Database
The database includes one-time and ongoing grants, fellowships, prizes, and scholarships. Sponsors include the U.S. Federal Government and philanthropic organizations. The page is updated frequently as charter school funding opportunities are announced. Click here or the button below to view the database and search for funding opportunities.

Grant Opportunity: Native Hawaiian Education Program
Applications are now open for the Native Hawaiian Education (NHE) program, which received an additional $85 million from the American Rescue Plan to support projects that target communities significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this program is to support innovative projects that recognize and address the unique educational needs of Native Hawaiians. New and existing grantees may propose projects that address current needs of the Native Hawaiian community in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. Charter schools are eligible to apply independently or in consortia. Applications are due Friday July 2.

Grant Opportunity: Model Demonstration Projects to Improve Services for Children with Disabilities
Applications are now open for new awards for Model Demonstration Projects to Improve Services and Results for Infants, Toddlers, and Children with Disabilities. The purpose of this program is to promote academic achievement for children with disabilities through technical assistance, model demonstration projects, disseminating information, and implementing research-based activities. Charter schools that are their own LEAs are eligible to apply. Applications are due July 20.

Grant Opportunity: Education Innovation and Research Grants
Applications are now open for FY 2021 Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grants. The EIR program provides funding to create, develop, implement, replicate, or scale evidence-based innovations to improve student achievement for high-needs students. Applications are currently available for Mid-Phase grants and Expansion-Phase grants. Charter schools that are their own Local Educational Agencies are eligible to apply independently or as part of a consortium of eligible applicants. Applications for both programs are due September 7, 2021. 

Charter Schools in the News

Here are a few local headlines from the past few weeks:

Phoenix charter school lands $1.3M, Mail Tribune

Oregon public schools plan stepped-up summer enrichment, child care, Oregon Live

Portland school board votes for return to full-time in-person learning in fall — with virtual option, KGW

How equity and inclusion coaches are helping schools become anti-racist, The Washington Post

Here are a few national headlines from the past few weeks:

The impact of urban charter schools, Thomas Fordham Institute

Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools*, Education Week

As America’s Charter Schools Turn 30, Bill Clinton and an Expert Panel Reflect on the History (and Future) of Education Reform, The Seventy Four

Virtual learning is the new fault line in education: It’s either on the way out or on the rise, The Washington Post

When the Neighborhood School and Homeschooling Didn’t Work for My Daughter, This Charter School Did (Op-Ed), Project Forever Free

Pandemic Learning Loss Is Rooted in the Racial Chasm Between Educators and Students of Color. Only Teacher Diversity and a Strong Black Teacher Pipeline Can Fix It (Op-Ed), The Seventy Four

Choice Programs Must Be Inclusive, Diverse To Best Serve Disadvantaged Students (Op-Ed)*, redefinED
Is your school a member of ORC3S yet? 
We are a coalition of community-based, public charter schools representing all corners of our state. Although, we are all unique in our pedagogy and practice, what unites us is our commitment to educational innovation and to high-quality schools for all students. Our mission is to provide a voice and sustainable support and guidance for the members of our coalition.
Join us now!
  • If you have any specific questions, or feel you need some additional assistance, please reach out to Iris Maria Chávez at or 504-701-3931.
Oregon Coalition of Community Charter Schools
13809 SE Division St Ste A
Portland, OR 97236

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Oregon Coalition of Community Charter Schools · 13809 SE Division St Ste A · Portland, OR 97236-2843 · USA

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