Bluum’s efforts to launch, replicate, and expand high-performing schools are aligned to national standards for best practices.
We are not afraid to appropriate great ideas, models, talent and concepts from other states. As the nation’s fastest growing state, Idaho will take all the help it can get to ensure we are improving school options for our families and children.
We seek to:
DEVELOP Innovative Leaders
GROW Successful School Models
SHARE Research and Learning Innovations
PROVIDE School Support and Management Help
COMMUNITIES OF EXCELLENCE
Apply for a Federal Charter School Start-Up Grant
A consortium of partners has come together around Idaho’s Communities of Excellence federal CSP program to lead the expansion of high-quality charter schools across our state. Bluum, a Boise-based statewide nonprofit charter school support entity, is project lead. Bluum is organized to seek out, vet and support innovative leaders and high-performing school models. Bluum is joined by Idaho’s primary charter school authorizer, the Idaho Public Charter School Commission. The Idaho State Board of Education and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation are long-time leaders in Idaho education and school improvement efforts. Both are key members in Idaho’s consortium. The nationally-renowned non-profit charter school facilities finance group Building Hope is the fifth member of Idaho’s consortium.
For more information about the award, please see our press release here.
Idaho’s Communities of Excellence Federal CSP Program represents $17.1 million in funds available to help Idaho expand opportunities for students to attend excellent public charter schools that meet and exceed state academic standards. Idaho’s Communities of Excellence project has three objectives:
- Increase the number of quality charter school seats by 8,200 students, especially for our most educationally disadvantaged and rural students, through start-up, replication and expansion
- Support the Idaho Public Charter School Commission in expanding its quality authorizing efforts while disseminating and supporting best practices for other authorizers statewide
- Evaluate and disseminate widely the successes and lessons of highly-quality charter schools to impact the broader education system.
It is expected that a total of 19 sub grantee schools would be funded under the terms of this grant. Nine will be start-up schools, five will be expansion, and another five will be replication schools. Accordingly, $3.5 million would be allocated for expansion, $4.25 million for replication, and $7.65 million for start-ups.
The funds will be distributed during a 5- year grant period, with each school (sub grantee) award funded over 24 months. Sub grantee award amounts range from $700,000 to $1,000,000, dependent upon the number of new seats each school will create.
Eligible applicants must have an approved charter school petition from an Idaho authorizer in order to apply for Federal CSP dollars under this program. Additionally, schools must meet the federal requirements. Grant applicants must conform to the federal definition of a public charter school in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to be eligible for grant funds under the CSP.
For those approved by an Idaho authorizer, the Communities of Excellence rigorous RFP application and Peer Review process for selecting exemplary applicants for CSP funding will constitute an important first step. The RFP seeks to identify quality eligible applicants that have the capacity to meet the program objective of serving more students, especially disadvantaged and rural students. In order to demonstrate its ability to create a high-quality charter school, the eligible applicant will submit its approved charter petition and any supplemental information necessary to demonstrate completion of the requirements outlined in Bluum’s application process.
The work to grow Idaho’s charter school sector builds on lessons learned from across the country and from Idaho’s 20 years of charter school experience. The seven lessons that we will apply to the design of the Communities of Excellence project include:Idaho Independent Peer Review Panel will assess applications based on the following criteria:
- A committed board of trustees that own the charter school process, demonstrate responsibility for the school’s success or failure, and understand their roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis that of the school management.
- Quality instructional leader(s) who are either experienced and proven in running a high-performing school and/or has received first-class charter specific training.
- Demonstrated ability to attract, recruit, retain, and develop top talent.
- Sustainable business plan that includes appropriate start-up dollars and support.
- Market Demand and demonstrable need for the school in the selected community.
- Innovative and effective learning model(s) that will meet the needs of educationally disadvantaged and/or rural students.
- Well conceived facility plan.
These seven lessons are the components – along with federal requirements for reporting, accounting, and serving students with special needs – that Bluum will ask eligible sub grantees to describe, demonstrate, and commit to in their applications for CSP sub grants.
Petition and Authorizing Information
Public charter schools in Idaho may be authorized by their local school district, the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, or public colleges and universities.
Idaho State Statute 33-5205: Petition to Establish Public Charter School
Tools & Resources from the Idaho Public Charter School Commission
Tools & Resources from the Idaho State Department of Education
SCHOOL APPLICATION TO COME
In coordination with consortium partners, Bluum will conduct in-person introductory Charter School Grant workshops across the state (in Boise, Idaho Falls, and northern Idaho) to announce the CSP grant, to explain how to apply, and to answer questions. Attendance is mandatory for applicants. In addition, Bluum will run a statewide webinar describing the CSP grant opportunity and the application process.
Charter School Grant Introductory & Technical Assistance Workshops (attendance is mandatory for applicants)
DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED
Resources – Idaho Public Charter School Commission
The Idaho Public Charter School Commission offers a wealth of charter-related resources – links, tools and templates covering operations, finance planning, Performance Framework, and more:
- Support Materials – Find a pre-opening checklist and timeline, board and governance resources, and info about additional charter support organizations.
- PCSC Policies
- Research & Organizations – A list of organizations which provide additional support for charter schools in Idaho.
- New & Transfer Petitions – Idaho statute describes the process through which the PCSC may consider new charter petitions. Administrative rule and PCSC policy provide additional structure. Webinars on this page provide additional information about preparing a new petition, the petition process submission timeline, preparing a new petition budget, and the role of the authorizer.
Resources – Idaho State Department of Education
- Charter 101 Workshops – In Idaho, any organization submitting a charter school petition is required to attend the Charter Start 101 Workshop presented by the Idaho State Department of Education. Click the “Training” tab for current schedule, or contact Michelle Clement Taylor for more information.
- Accountability – Schools can use this to understand Idaho’s ESSA indicators for the school report cards. For more information, contact
- Idaho Public Schools Report Card – Compare your school to others in the state (required for expansion/replication grant applications)
- Assessment Resource Center – Sign up for training and newsletters. In-person training dates can be found under the training tab, at the bottom of the page.
- 2019 State Department of Education Assessment Road Show Agenda
To ensure sub grants are awarded to the most capable applicants, each proposal for a CSP sub grant will be reviewed by an external Peer Review panel. The Idaho Independent Peer Review Panel will be comprised of teams of two reviewers, selected through an application process. These reviewers will receive training on the effective use of a Peer Review Rubric to rate potential sub grant proposals. Individuals selected as peer reviewers must be well informed regarding education, education policy, evaluation, and operations of public charter schools.
If you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cohort One Awarded Applicants | 2019
TO BE ANNOUNCED