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STATE COMMISSION CHARTER SCHOOL PETITION
2013 PETITION CYCLE
Cirrus Academy Charter School: State Commission Charter School Petition Page: 1
Table of Contents
DESCRIPTION OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM.......................................................................................2 STATE AND FEDERALLY MANDATED SERVICES……………………………………………………….……...............….…….17 DESCRIPTION OF ASSESSMENT METHODS...............................................................................................21 PERFORMANCE-BASED GOALS AND MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES.……………...............................................24 WAIVERS…………………………………………………...............................................................................................29 DESCRIPTION OF SCHOOL OPERATIONS...................................................................................................30 PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.............................................................................................43 DEMONSTRATION OF FISCAL FEASIBILITY AND CONTROLS......................................................................45 DESCRIPTION OF GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE...........................................................................................47 FACILITIES.................................................................................................................................................60 APPENDICES..............................................................................................................................................62
Cirrus Academy Charter School: State Commission Charter School Petition Page: 2
STATE CHARTER SCHOOL PETITION COVER PAGE
Part I. Proposed Charter School Information
Name of Proposed Charter School: Cirrus Academy Charter School (hereinafter “CAC”) Name of the Georgia nonprofit corporation that will hold the charter if granted: Cirrus Education Group, Inc. /dba/ “Cirrus Academy Charter School: Macon Campus, a String Theory School” Check one: X The proposed charter school has a state-wide attendance zone. LEA in which the School will be Located: BIBB COUNTY LEA(s) that will be Included in the Proposed Attendance Zone: The Proposed Attendance Zone is State-Wide. Petitioner’s first facility, Cirrus Academy Charter School: Macon Campus will be located in BIBB county. Prospective Address for School Location: 2270 Shurlington Dr. Macon, GA 31211
Part II. Petition Contact Information
Applicants must designate one individual to serve as the contact for official communications. Name: Mr. Albert Rogers Title: President, Board of Trustees Physical Address: 391 Monroe St., Macon, GA 31201 Phone Number: 478-461-2358 Fax Number: Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Part III. Assurances and Signatures
All assurances must be initialed in blue ink by the chairperson of the proposed charter school’s governing board. The charter petitioner (or school leader) and chairperson must sign below the final assurance in blue ink to further indicate understanding and agreement to the requirements of governing a state charter school. _____ 1. This petition was submitted to appropriate the local board of education(s) as required by O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2084(c) on the following date: June 14, 2013 _____ 2. This petition was approved by the governing board of the proposed charter school on the following date: June 7, 2013 _____ 3. If a charter is granted the proposed charter school programs, services, and activities will operate in accordance with the terms of the charter and all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations. These assurances are agreed to by: Cirrus Academy Charter School Charter Petitioner or School Leader___________________________Date: June 7, 2013 Governing Board Chairperson________________________________Date: June 7, 2013
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STATE CHARTER SCHOOL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Name of Proposed Charter School: Cirrus Academy Charter School Proposed Opening Date: September 2, 2014 Proposed Charter Term: 5 Years Grade Range: K-12 Will the School Enroll All Grades the First Year? (Yes/No): No Expected Initial Enrollment: 675 Proposed Full Enrollment: 9751 For each year of the proposed charter term, indicate the number of students the charter school plans to serve. Please note that the SCSC reserves the right to condition expansion and increased enrollment on the charter school’s ability to meet performance goals and compliance requirements.
K Yr 1 Yr 2 Yr 3 Yr 4 Yr 5 54 54 54 54 54 1 60 60 60 60 60 2 60 60 60 60 60 3 60 60 60 60 60 4 75 75 75 75 75 5 75 75 75 75 75 6 75 75 75 75 75 7 75 75 75 75 75 8 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 75 9 10 11 12 Total 609 684 759 834 909
These figures represent our model for opening facilities and will be utilized with the Cirrus Academy Charter School: Macon Campus. Additional facilities in other locations utilized pursuant to a state-wide charter will utilize this staggered model.
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In the box below, state the charter school’s mission and describe how the school will meet its statutory charge of increasing student achievement through academic and organizational innovation. Cirrus Academy Charter School’s design is founded squarely on the theory of multiple intelligences, and established curricular pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and the Arts (“STEM + Arts”). It is our belief that every child is gifted and has talent in some area. Our individual and collective responsibility to our youth is to discover, nurture, and encourage the development of that talent, so that every student will meet or exceed world-class standards, both academically and in STEM + Arts. In order to reach this vision, we will offer a comprehensive education program that equally emphasizes academic and artistic excellence. We augment our curriculum per core standards and best practices, and continue integrating technology into our academic program in order to raise our students’ levels of achievement and remain true to the vision: Individual attention, individualized instructional practices, differentiated instruction, adapted and modified practice activities, and accommodations made in testing afford all our students access to the curriculum, materials, and instructional strategies needed to receive an enriching education. Our goal is to have our students become well-rounded individuals who pursue excellence in every part of their lives. In the box below, describe the charter school’s academic program, specifically focusing on its innovation and need for flexibility and any special characteristics, such as a special population, a special curriculum, or some other feature or features which enhance educational opportunities. Our art and science based curriculum places a greater premium on academic excellence than is required by Georgia Performance Standards. The balance between the rigorous curriculum and the innovative arts program creates an ideal learning environment for the students of Cirrus Academy Charter School. In addition to the thorough academic curriculum, every student is exposed to seven creative and performing arts classes, including ballet, instrumental, visual arts, French, creative writing, science, and vocal music. Everyone plays the violin through fifth grade. Our arts curriculum fosters learning in all curricular areas; thus, preparing our students for higher education, lifelong learning, and a wealth of career options. At the end of 5th grade, each student selects a major in creative arts, performing arts, science, writing or language. In grades 9-12, Cirrus Academy Charter School offers the opportunity for students who have an interest in STEM + Arts to select courses that prepare them for postsecondary studies or for a faster entry into artsrelated occupations. The balance between artistic development and academic preparation is at the heart of the program. Students are exposed to the humanities and have the opportunity to select a course of study that will best meet their needs and interests. A high quality standards-based curriculum for the high school is adapted from several sources, including but not limited to the Savannah University of Careers, Gloucester County Institute of Technology, and other performing arts schools, as well as mandated state and national standards and high school requirements.
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The model will include several separate schools of arts and sciences. Beyond the required core courses within each academic area, students will participate in a science and technology-based curriculum to explore the performing arts or a continuum of the established core curriculum. In each grade, 9 through 12, students will take courses in STEM + Arts. They will also have a selection of electives from which to choose. All students have mandated courses required for graduation. Special Education students may follow a uniquely designed course of study in grades 9 and 10 as outlined or may opt into the inclusion model, accordingly designated in their IEPs. Additionally, Cirrus Academy Charter School will implement a curriculum designed by PITSCO. Pitsco Education is a leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 learning solutions. Their standards-based K-12 curriculum promotes student success through positive and challenging learning experiences. Our curriculum combines relevant hands-on activities and a team-based, student-directed learning environment to deliver core courses and career skills in STEM. In the box below, describe the charter school’s organizational structure, specifically focusing on its innovation and need for flexibility, its general partnership structure with an educational management organization (EMO) if any, and the school’s community interest and need. “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life.” (Baruch Spinoza) Thus, Cirrus Academy Charter School’s goal is to prepare students with invaluable experiences which enable them with the “how to” perform in life, by providing an educational environment where students are not only interested but are themselves interesting. The strengths of Cirrus Academy Charter School are varied and numerous. The founders are experienced, successful charter school providers and together with our nonprofit EMO, String Theory Schools, know how to start a charter school from a creative thought through to fruition and then, from fruition to beyond raising-the-bar. String Theory Schools provides oversight, guidance, and expertise in all areas charter schoolrelated; from building acquisition to hiring and training personnel. Children not only experience an academic academy model but have extra classes in ballet, vocal, instrumental, visual arts, creative writing, French, and science. The integration of the arts, science, math, and technology is what defines Cirrus Academy Charter School. Students are prepared to become the thoughtful, creative, and innovative citizens the world needs. From the study of the musical strings on their instruments through to the scientific string composition of the universe, the magic of learning takes form. Community, parent, and student involvement will take many forms. Community members and parents will have representation on the Board of Trustees, serve on school committees, attend decision-making meetings, when appropriate, and be involved in school activities. String Theory’s Role as an Education Management Organization: Providing state-of-the-art facilities Maintaining all school data at both the school and String Theory Schools’ data-base Providing professional development on an individual and joint school basis on current trends and mandates Overseeing special education compliance
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Ensuring fiscal responsibility through on-going checks and balances Assisting with parent engagement Assuring a culture conducive to STS’s mission and philosophy of a safe, clean, and caring school climate String Theory Schools not only has the capacity but also the resources, commitment, and experience to turnaround and operate a school. Currently String Theory Schools has experience in managing and operating all aspects of a school with strong experience in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) related fields, as well as parent and community involvement backgrounds. String Theory Schools also has a plethora of highly qualified full and part-time/consultants and experts which they call upon. Moreover, String Theory Schools has the ability to utilize the expertise of the employees of its flagship and the partnerships and relationships it has established. String Theory Schools has successfully operated Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School from its inception through to this time period, attaining improved and high ranking Pennsylvania and School District of Philadelphia mandated assessment scores for the past twelve (12) years of its charter. In 2012, String Theory Schools was awarded the H. R. Edmunds School as a Charter Renaissance School. To date, the school is making substantial progress in school climate, community and parent involvement, as well as academics as seen through benchmark testing. A capacity building grant of $2,000,000 was awarded to String Theory Schools by the Philadelphia Schools Partnership to continue its expansion. Cirrus Academy Charter School Organizational Chart
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String Theory Schools Organizational Chart
STATE CHARTER SCHOOL PETITION CONTENTS
Identify the appropriate page number in the petition or appendix where the following information may be located: DESCRIPTION OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM 1. Describe the focus of the curriculum. Cirrus Academy Charter School will focus its scholastic mission on these five goals: Integrate STEM and performing arts curricula to address the developing mind and body of every pupil. Ensure each child’s advancement in core academic skills. Educate each child according to his/her age and developmental level, so that growth and learning are united. Awaken the creative spirit of each child through the visual arts, vocal arts, instrumental music, creative writing, classical ballet, French language, computers, and informational science and technology. Nourish this spirit so that students continue to flourish long after the end of their formal training.
The focus of the curriculum is on the integration of STEM + Arts into all areas of the curriculum, with an emphasis on science and technology. We stress “inquiry-based” and “blended” learning that leads to discovery and then understanding. Students will continue to build and expand their technological skills to keep up with the ever-changing advances in the multi-media world in which we live.
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Kindergarten – 8th Grade In K-8, we provide advanced math (algebra), English and language courses. English and Creative Writing. Our English program not only focuses on literacy and appreciation of literature, but also sets aside significant time every day for creative writing. By integrating visual and tactile elements into our math program, we allow students to move from the concrete (e.g. shapes or bundles or colors) to the abstract (e.g. calculations or formulas or theorems), thus ensuring a deeper understanding of math concepts. Social Studies. Social studies encompasses geography, anthropology, history and civics, which draws on and benefits from all of our academic and artistic disciplines. We want our students to understand the world they live in, and make their own unique contribution. Our innovative science curriculum underscores our commitment to a hands-on approach to the sciences. K-8 Instrumental Major. Instrumental majors may continue to develop their violin skills or choose to learn the viola, cello, or double bass. Instrumental majors play an integral role in school performances and attend various outreach programs during the school year. K-8 Ballet. Our ballet training allows students to appreciate the discipline and beauty of dance. Everyone takes ballet through fifth grade, making them aware of the body as an instrument of expression. Students in K-8 attend vocal music class regularly. By the end of second grade, they become musically literate- familiar with music of other cultures and able to write and create short rhythms and melodies. K-8 Vocal Major. Vocal music majors become members of the school’s Concert Choir, perform, and compete throughout the school year. K – 8 students are exposed to visual arts both in their classrooms and with a specialist. Their creations enhance their daily lessons by coordinating content and expression. Foreign Language Skills Program. We begin our foreign language skills program in kindergarten, which naturally leads to greater success in foreign language study in high school and college. French is our language of choice and the language of the arts. High School. The high school curriculum is organized into seven majors: Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Dance, Theatre, Digital Design & Communication Arts, Health/Life Sciences & Biotechnology, and I.T./Engineering. Students will view each major through the lens of four components: aesthetic perspectives, creative expression, culture and history, and analysis and criticism. While students will select one major on which to focus, they will be encouraged to explore more than one area of the arts. All majors emphasize performance, presentation, and exhibition. Literacy, technology, and science are stressed across the curriculum, and all aspects of art are incorporated throughout. In addition, students explore the cultural influences within the arts and sciences and their impact on history.
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High School Instrumental Music Major. The instrumental music major focuses on developing a student’s understanding of music concepts that serves as the foundation for future development of aesthetic judgment. Students apply knowledge and understanding of the elements of style, form, and cultural heritage to listen to, perform, create, and defend their musical choices. High School Vocal Music Major. In the vocal music major, the student’s understanding of musical concepts is developed. Students focus on their own special interests and compare and contrast social, ethnic, and cultural influences on music. As students learn about the individuals who contributed to the area and time period of music studied, they form personal choices of musical performances from all historic periods. In both musical majors, students explore career possibilities in music education, music composition, the music business, and music therapy. High School Dance Major. Students taking classes in the dance major develop an awareness of the body as an instrument of expression. They refine their skills in dance technique and choreography and increase their ability to move creatively and spontaneously. Exposure to great works of art allows students to analyze the special characteristics of noted performers, choreographers, critics, and impresarios, as well as understand how these individuals have shaped the history of dance. High School Theatre Major. In the theatre major, students learn to create, perform, analyze, and critique dramatic performances. Class work becomes formalized with the students participating in theatre, film, television, and electronic media productions. As careers and performers are studied, students develop a broad worldview. Music Major. Students involved in the music major develop an understanding of music composition, theory, and production. Through the refinement of their technique, students increase their ability to identify the components of musical sound, which enhance their capabilities for composing and performing. Digital Design and Communication Arts Major. The Digital Design and Communication Arts major will incorporate the use of visual arts and creative writing to communicate ideas, translate concepts into tangible images, capture viewers’ interests, inform, and entertain. Students will learn to clearly communicate visual information across a variety of platforms using digital media and production in the constantly evolving world of art and design. The curriculum is designed to build technical skills, hone aesthetic sensibilities, and teach creative problem-solving. Life Science & Biotech / I.T. Engineering. Students in either the Life Sciences & Biotechnology or I.T./Engineering major will learn to think critically, conduct analyses, and integrate insights from different fields to impact the scientific community. This major emphasizes the scientific process through core courses and sub disciplinary electives. They prepare students for professional careers in healthcare, teaching, consulting, research, field studies, life sciences, biotechnology, engineering, software development, and information systems. STEM COMPONENT Additionally, Cirrus Academy Charter School will implement a STEM curriculum designed by PITSCO. Pitsco Education is a leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 learning solutions. Their standards-based K-12 curriculum promotes student success through positive and challenging learning experiences. Our curriculum combines relevant hands-on activities and a team-based, student-directed learning environment to deliver core courses and career skills in STEM.
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Year 3 serves students in Grade 10 with an engineering elective. Year 3 Details Grade level: 10 Class size: up to 24 students per class Cohorts:; 1 cohort for elective engineering Learning: individual, collaborative pairs, and small groups Environment: the 9 Engineering group seating room Electronic Equipment : the 9 Engineering group seating room Curriculum Overview: 4 Engineering Units
Year 4 serves students in Grade 11 with an engineering elective. Year 4 Details Grade level: 11 Class size: up to 24 students per class Cohorts:; 1 cohort for elective engineering Learning: individual, collaborative pairs, and small groups Environment: the 9 Engineering group seating room Electronic Equipment : the 9 Engineering group seating room Curriculum Overview: 3 Engineering Units
Year 5 serves students in Grade 12 with an engineering elective. Year 5 Details Grade level: 12 Class size: up to 24 students per class Cohorts:; 1 cohort for elective engineering Learning: individual, collaborative pairs, and small groups Environment : the 9 Engineering group seating room Electronic Equipment : the 9 Engineering group seating room Curriculum Overview: 1 Engineering Unit and 1 senior engineering project
Pitsco Education • Page 3
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The Cirrus Academy Charter School’s curriculum is aligned with the Georgia Common Core Standards, www.corestandards.org and Georgia Performance Standards. 2. Describe the instructional methods to be used in the charter school, including any distinctive or unique instructional techniques or educational programs.
The foundation of our drive for on-going academic achievement is Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. It is this theory that guides our differentiated instruction; we strongly believe that pupils must be taught via classroom lessons that best suit the learning style of the individual student. It is imperative that our instructors recognize the individual learning styles of their pupils. It is equally imperative that our pupils recognize it for themselves. Then, an integrated curriculum that features projectbased learning, cooperative study, multi-age grouping, state-of-the art school-wide technology integration, higher order problem solving, adapted and modified practice activities, traditional and alternative assessment, and student-centered classrooms will fully enable each pupil to become a critical thinker, an intellectual explorer, a responsible citizen, and an artist or advocate for STEM + Arts. At the school, it is believed that all of its students can and will achieve high educational standards when they are made to feel valued, expected to do well, engaged in challenging and meaningful work, and supported by a unified community of teachers, parents, and other involved adults. It is with this in mind that the school’s focus is on an integrated approach and constructivist model that emphasizes the arts, science, math, foreign language, and social studies, as well as pervasive technology. The curriculum has a coherent K-12 alignment and flow. The school’s teachers can address student needs by skill level, not age. Due to this flexibility, individualized plans of instruction permit the mixing of ages and skill groups. In addition, the curriculum, aligned vertically and horizontally across grades and content areas, allows students to have the opportunity to learn at their own rate and ability level. Teachers are trained to identify and teach different learning styles and to use multiple intelligences in creating a positive learning environment. Teachers and parents are, then, able to connect assessment strategies to measureable learning goals linked to curriculum benchmarks. Fair Assessment is a process used by Cirrus Academy Charter School teachers and students before, during, and after instruction to provide feedback and adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve student achievement and to provide appropriate challenge for all students at their instructional levels. 3. Describe the anticipated teacher-to-student ratio and the rationale for maintaining this ratio.
The teacher-to-student ratio will depend upon grade level. We anticipate a kindergarten ration of 18/1, primary. 1-3: 20/1, and all upper grades: 25/1. We strongly believe that this is an ideal ratio for group projects, social interactions, and teacher planning and preparation. 4. Describe how the charter school will meet the needs of students identified as gifted and talented.
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Gifted and talented students will be given extra opportunities for extended learning. These may occur before or after school, during regular class in the form of differentiated instruction, in small groups that may be “pulled out” of class for enrichment activities, dual enrollment in the high school, and/or on -line learning. 5. Describe any extracurricular or other auxiliary educational activities the charter school may offer, including the description of any partnerships between the charter school and local school system or other agency addressing these activities.
K through 8 students will be offered extracurricular activities that may include: Junior Orchestra Reading Enrichment and Remediation Homework Club Sports: basketball, soccer, softball, bowling, volleyball, track, etc. Creative Writing Club Math Enrichment and Remediation Junior Chorus High School students auxiliary activities may include but not be limited to: Student Government Spirit Club Yearbook Newspaper STEAM Clubs Theater Orchestra Ballet Honors Society Community Services Special Interests 6. If this is a charter high school, describe how the charter high school will determine that a student has satisfied the requirements for high school graduation, including the credits or units to be earned and the completion credentials to be awarded.
Cirrus Academy Charter School is a K-12 pathway. The high school requirements for graduation will be as follows: AREAS OF STUDY Units Required
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(I) English/Language Arts* 4 (II) Mathematics* 4 (III) Science* 4 (The 4th science unit may be used to meet both the science and elective requirement) (IV) Social Studies* 3 (V) CTAE and/or Modern Language/Latin and/or Fine Arts 3 (VI) Health and Physical Education* 1 (VII) Electives 4 (see Electives) TOTAL UNITS (MINIMUM) 23 *Required Courses and/or Core Courses Electives One or a combination of the 5 Performing Arts Strands (art, instrumental music, vocal music, dance, and theater). Unit credit shall be awarded only for courses that include concepts and skills based on the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for grades 9-12 or those approved by the State Board of Education. Unit credit may be awarded for courses offered in the middle grades that meet 9-12 GPS requirements. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) shall specify whether core courses taken as part of an IEP shall receive core unit credit. A High School Diploma will be awarded to students certifying that they have satisfied attendance requirements, unit requirements, and the state assessment requirements as referenced in Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs - Student Assessment. A High School Certificate will be awarded to pupils who do not complete all of the criteria for a diploma or who have not passed the state assessment requirements as referenced in Rule 160-3-1-07 Testing Programs – Student Assessment, but who have earned 23 units. A Special Education Diploma will be awarded to students with disabilities assigned to a special education program who have not met the state assessment requirements referenced in Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs - Student Assessment or who have not completed all of the requirements for a high school. STATE AND FEDERALLY MANDATED SERVICES
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7. For students with disabilities, describe how the charter school will provide state and federally mandated services under both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, including the school’s plans to evaluate and identify students with disabilities; to develop, review and revise IEPs; to integrate special education into the general education program; to deliver special education and related services; to ensure that the school facility meets the requirements of other related laws including the ADA and Section 504; to address student discipline; to handle programming disputes involving parents; to ensure confidentiality of special education records; to purchase services from special education vendors; and to secure technical assistance and training. The Georgia Rules for Special Education will be followed for all children with disabilities regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and who are in need of special education and related services. They are to be located, identified and evaluated. This responsibility is required by the INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT of 2004, 20 U.S.C. 1200 et. seq. (“IDEA 2004”). Cirrus Academy Charter School will follow the GaDOE recommended practices indicated in the “Special Education Primer for Petitioners, Authorizers, and Districts” (available at http://www.gadoe.org/ExternalAffairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools). Cirrus Academy Charter Schools: A Commitment to “least restrictive environment” Cirrus Academy Charter Schools will ensure that children with disabilities are educated to the maximum extent possible in the regular education environment or “least restrictive environment”. To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with students who are not disabled. Special classes, separate schooling or other removal of students with disabilities from the general educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in general education classes, even with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Programs and services available to students with disabilities might include: (1) regular class placement with supplementary aides and services provided as needed in that environment; (2) regular class placement for most of the school day with itinerant service by a special education teacher either in or out of the regular classroom; (3) regular class placement for most of the school day with instruction provided by a special education teacher in a resource classroom; (4) part time special education class placement in a regular public school or alternative setting; and (5) special education class placement or special education services provided outside the regular class for most or all of the school day, either in a regular public school or alternative setting. Special education services are provided according to the educational needs of the child, not the category of disability. Types of service that may be available, depending upon the child’s disability and needs include, but are not limited to: (1) learning support; (2) life skills support; (3) emotional support; (4) deaf or hearing impaired support; (5) blind or visually impaired support; (6) physical support; (7) autistic support; and (8) multiple disabilities support.
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Related services are designed to enable the child to participate in or access his or her program of special education. Examples of related services that a child may require include but are not limited to: speech and language therapy, transportation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, school nursing services, audiologist services, counseling, or training. Some students may also be eligible for extended school year services if determined needed by their IEP teams in accordance with state and federal regulation. The Charter School, in conjunction with the parents, determines the type and intensity of special education and related services that a particular child needs based exclusively on the unique program of special education and related services that the school develops for that child. The child’s program is described in writing in an individualized education program, or “IEP,” which is developed by an IEP team consisting of educators, parents, and other persons with special expertise or familiarity with the child. IDEA and the Arts Our school design and instructional program plan address the needs of all students. Our school design consists of parents, community residents, artists, educators, and business people who believe that every child is gifted and talented. Our school will foster youth to nurture and encourage the development of talents both academically and in STEM + Arts. Every child will receive instruction in traditional academic areas as well as STEM + Arts. The instructional program is geared towards innovative teaching and learning techniques to reach the needs of all students, including special needs populations. Cirrus Academy Charter Schools is strongly committed to integrating the Arts into the deliver of special education supports. This philosophy in accord with recent statements promulgated by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities: The President’s Committee’s Turnaround Arts initiative, created in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council, is a public-private partnership designed to help transform some the nation’s lowest performing schools through comprehensive and integrated arts education. available at http://turnaroundarts.pcah.gov/overview/. Our schools shall address the needs of all special student populations serving all Special Education students high and low incidence as well as English Language Learners.
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Supports that will be offered to students with a history of behavioral health and/or emotional issues are staff and mental health relationships, a full-time counselor, support groups, arts and after-school support programs, and teacher, parent/family, and administration communication for reasonable accommodations. All staff (teachers, administration, nurse, counselor, etc.) will work in conjunction with mental health agencies to inform and share strategies to support the student in the classroom setting. The full time counselor will be available to support students whose behavioral health is impacting their classroom performance. Support groups will be designed to provide positive peer interactions in manage concerns, when appropriate. Art programs and after-school activities such as Junior Ballet or Junior Picassos are excellent supports for students to use as an outlet to build character skills and relationships with peers. Effective communication between teachers, parents/families, and administration ensures students are receiving proper accommodations for classroom success. 8. For English Learners (ESOL), describe how the charter school will provide state and federally mandated services. Identifying ELL (ESOL) Students Cirrus Academy Charter School will require the families of enrolled students to complete a Home Language Survey. This questionnaire will enable us to identify students who may have limited English proficiency. If a returned questionnaire indicates that the student is of foreign birth or comes from a home where a language other than English is spoken, we will administer the WIDA-Access Placement Test (W-APT). The W-APT is an identification and placement assessment for English as a Second Language and Bilingual programs. It is an initial measure of a student's English language proficiency for potential placement in an English language instructional program. W-APT results will be used to determine the tier (A, B or C) of the annual English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs. This careful, structured screening process will ensure that Cirrus Academy Charter School does not inappropriately place ELL students into special education or remedial classes. Services for ELL Students ELL students will receive the same academic content and be held to the same academic standards as native English speaking students. In order to ensure academic success, our teachers, who will receive professional development to enhance their skills working with ELL students, will carefully monitor all ELL students and develop interventions designed to support these students where required. These interventions will include modifying the level of the English language classroom teacher use in their instruction, pull out intensive tutoring in English during non-core academic subjects, push-in services by a teacher or aide who is fluent in the student’s native language, pairing with another student who speaks the ELL student’s native language, home visits by a staff member who speaks the student’s native language, and other support services. All oral and written communication to families of students identified as ELL students will be translated into the family’s native language to ensure clear and rich communication and coordination between home and school. Students with limited proficiency in English will have access to all curricular and extra-curricular activities as all other students.
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Assessment, Monitoring, and Exit Criteria for ELL Students Students who have been identified as ELLs will be assessed annually using the ACCESS for ELLs ®. The ACCESS for ELLs® test battery is a collection of assessment instruments administered to all ELL students across all grades and all proficiencies. This large-scale test addresses the academic English language proficiency (ELP) standards and allows Cirrus Academy Charter School to identify student needs and levels of support. Evaluation of ELL Program Over Time As in all aspects of our operations, Cirrus Academy Charter School will collect data on student performance in order to monitor the efficacy of our ELL program. Specifically, we will look to assessments of our ELL students, including improvements in performance on the ACCESS for ELLs as well as nationally-normed tests and teacher created assessments to determine whether our program is being effective in improving our ELL students’ English proficiency levels as well as ensuring that they are meeting or exceeding content and skill standards across the curriculum. In order to make these comparisons possible, we will disaggregate assessment results by ELL and non-ELL students at every possible opportunity and use that data to continuously improve our instructional strategies. 9. Describe how the charter school will provide supplemental educational services, or a flexible learning program when required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) or applicable waiver thereof. The charter will make Supplemental Educational Services available by providing parents with a list of providers and keeping all documentation relating to these services. The charter will reimburse providers for their services, through Title I funds designated for this purpose. 10. Describe how the charter school will provide remediation in required cases pursuant to SBOE Rule 160-4-5-.01 and ESEA or applicable waiver thereof. The school will supplant SES through extra supports before, during and after school in reading and mathematics for those students needing remediation. Supports may be on-line programs, small group instruction, individualized instruction, and/or differentiated instruction. Supplemental materials, equipment, and supplies will be made available for use with students requiring remediation. The school will support students who are behind grade level in learning with small group instruction, Title I programs such as after-school programs in reading and math areas, and Saturday school. Students will be reached in the areas of need through small group instruction. Instruction is designed and implemented to meet the needs of each student. The Title I program will be designed to target students who are at least one grade level behind to remediate and offer extra support to all students. Saturday school will be used for students who are below grade level in math and reading, by providing group and individual instruction for students who need to be exposed to repeated instruction or need extended time to grasp the understanding of knowledge content. DESCRIPTION OF ASSESSMENT METHODS
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11. Describe the charter school’s assessment plan to obtain student performance data for each student, including the students’ baseline achievement data, which will be used in connection with the academic performance-based goals and measurable objectives stated in the petition. Cirrus Academy Charter School uses a combination of formative and summative assessments to actively measure student mastery and standards. In addition, these assessments are also used to drive instruction. The following formative assessments are used to modify teaching and improve student understanding: 1. Study Island – Study Island is a computerized standards-based assessment, instruction, and test preparation program. The principal, curriculum team, and teachers monitor student understanding by analyzing student performance on various assessments that are completed throughout the course of the year. Student results allow teachers to gain insight and determine which subject matters have been mastered and which concepts need to be revisited. 2. Teacher Made Assessments – Teachers use various assessments, ranging from exams, class quizzes, reports, projects, student portfolios, lab projects, classroom observations, oral presentations, and homework to regularly modify student understanding. The following summative assessments are used to monitor educational accountability: 1. Developmental Reading Assessments (DRA’s) – DRA’s are administered four times a year by the kindergarten through third grade teachers and sometimes curriculum facilitators. Teachers and the curriculum team use DRA results to gauge the students’ reading abilities. 2. Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE) – The GRADE assessment is used by the fourth through eighth grade teachers to monitor their students’ reading levels. The GRADE is administered twice a year. 3. Critical Reading Inventory (CRI’s) – The Critical Reading Inventory is used to monitor the reading level of struggling readers in the 4th through 8th grade. The Georgia Student Assessment Program will be utilized to measure student mastery of the state mandated curriculum, to identify students failing to achieve mastery, provide teachers and administrators with diagnostic information, and assist the school in establishing priorities. The Primary Assessments include: CRCT, CRTC-M, EOCT, GHSGT, GAA, and writing assessments. The leadership team, comprised of the principal, curriculum coordinators, special education lead teacher and counselor will meet on a regular basis to determine what major changes need to be implemented in the instructional process. Furthermore, the principal will meet with the teachers on a bi-monthly basis during grade group meetings to obtain teacher feedback and gain further insight. All major decisions that will lead to change in instruction will ultimately be driven by results on the Georgia State Assessments as well as student performance on the school’s various formative and summative assessments. The principal, teachers, and curriculum team will regularly report student results on the formative and summative assessments carried out in the school. Students and parents are informed of the student’s reading level (obtained by a DRA, CRI or results from the GRADE) every marking period on the student report card. Student performance on Study Island assessments can be obtained by either logging into the computer program or by score print outs that may be distributed.
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Students also receive Benchmark feedback, after every assessment when they receive a printed out score report. Teachers are strongly encouraged and regularly return marked formative assessments in the students’ weekly communication folder.
Baseline achievement data will be formulated, utilizing the results of the first Georgia Student Assessment Program results which will be utilized in shaping the school’s goals and objectives. For the charter school’s first year, baseline student achievement data shall be collected within three months from the first day of school. This data may include, but is not limited to, standardized assessment results from previous school years. 12. Explain how the charter school will ensure all students participate in all state-mandated assessments. Cirrus Academy Charter School will correspond with parents as well as the students prior to the administration of each assessment. Every child will be mandated to participate. Letters and emails will go home, in addition to postings on the school’s website. If a student is absent, make-up days will be built into the testing window. 13. Describe how the charter school’s assessment plan will measure student improvement and over what period of time. Cirrus Academy Charter School’s assessment plan will measure student improvement on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, by the School’s Data Team and through administrators and teachers meeting in grade/area groups and whole faculty meetings. 14. Describe how the charter school will use this assessment data to monitor and improve achievement for students. Using assessment data to drive instruction will be a primary source for lesson planning and of instructional delivery. All teachers will receive professional development on how to use data to effectively make instructional decisions. Common grade/area content group times will be provided to assure that teachers receive needed professional developments. Teachers will be provided with professional development to enhance their knowledge of the core curriculum through a variety of sources in order to implement the curriculum with fidelity and increase instructional rigor. All students will receive instruction in the Core Curriculum and have access to curriculum materials and texts. a. Lesson plans will be monitored. b. Daily goals and objectives will be posted c. An inventory of all books and materials will be monitored to ensure students have the necessary tools for achievement..
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All student groups will have access to supplemental material, differentiated instruction, and intervention programs. a. Inventory of all books and materials will be monitored to ensure students have the necessary tools for achievement. b. Web-based programs will be purchased and implemented to supplement the Core Curriculum. c. Lesson plans will be monitored to assure differentiation is present. Every eight weeks students will be assessed on their progress. Assessments will be used for determination of instructional strategies to be used and differentiated instructional needs for each student. Grade/Area Group Meetings will also be an opportunity to help teachers develop their skills in specific areas of interest for cross-grouping of instruction.
If needed, teachers will receive weekly professional development on reviewing and analyzing student data, as well as using data to make effective instructional decisions. PERFORMANCE-BASED GOALS AND MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES 15. Describe the academic performance-based goals and related measurable objectives for the charter school. Academic goals must be related to state and federal assessment standards. For each goal, provide measurable objectives that address each grade and content area for each year of the charter term. Academic goals should be rigorous, yet realistic and attainable, and to the extent possible, should be developed in connection with the students’ baseline achievement levels. The goals and implementation strategies for the school are as follows:
GOALS To incorporate inquiry-based learning in all subject areas with precision and application of knowledge. IMPLEMENTATION Using technology for research and exploration to gain a deeper understanding of concepts Incorporating technology as a tool to demonstrate application of knowledge Computer lab Simulated and real life learning opportunities Use of science lab in all grades for collaborative hands-on lessons Incorporation of science major throughout the school Extension of lab experience to real-life situations with application of knowledge and extensions of future applications Focus on monthly mathematics problem solving strategies in all grade levels Children will be actively involved in providing solutions with explanations of the reasoning process through written and oral communication Implementation of and a yearly increase in after-school math clubs, logical reasoning games, etc., to promote interest, reasoning, and
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To integrate math, writing, and reading with science and real life applications.
To promote higher order thinking skills and problem solving skills across the curriculum, in order to prepare 21st century learners. To initiate programs to school-wide promote an
increase in mathematical skills and literacy skills in order to meet grade level standards and beyond. To use best instructional practices to meet individual and classroom needs in order to develop a deeper understanding and application of academic concepts.
To use assessment tools for diagnostic measures to drive instruction and interventional strategies to meet individual and classroom needs. To provide opportunities for student advancement and new student academic initiation programs.
application of math skills Additional after-school test preparation classes such as Study Island to improve test taking skills and strengthen academic foundations Interactive learning through the use of Promethean/white boards in the classroom using technology and simulated activities through on-line links Use of differentiated instruction and researched-based interventions in all classrooms which is identified in weekly lesson plans to meet academic standards On-going professional development for teachers incorporating collaborative planning across grade levels to strengthen academic needs of children determined by weekly monitoring of student achievement Collaborative instruction with peers of written responses to math, science, and literacy prompts Peer mentoring to build upon ideas to foster and enhance understanding to facilitate a release of responsibility to individual students to perform independently To engage partnerships with highly accredited universities to provide collaborative and effective interventions and strategies Testing across all grade levels to determine individual reading levels Adoption of Georgia state standards, Classroom Diagnostic Tools, etc. for grades K through 12 Continued use of summative, formative, and benchmark assessments in the classroom
Provide an advanced placement program in math and literacy for students meeting set criteria Implementation of summer program for new students in grades with focus on math and literacy Engagement of student in various writing contests, math com in musical and instrumental competitions
Achievement of performance goals and objectives. Specific goals and measurable outcomes for student and school progress are: In exchange for broad flexibility, the Charter School agrees to meet or exceed the following performancebased goals and measurable objectives that are designed to result in improvement of student achievement: a. Academic Goals: The requirements of each goal are independent of and do not supersede the requirements of any other goal. Goal 1: The Charter School will perform above the level that would place it on the Priority Schools list, the Focus Schools list, or the Alert Schools list. The Charter School will also meet all targets (currently CCRPI and Performance Targets), as defined by Georgia state requirements and the state's waiver of No Child Left Behind, subject to any amendment, waiver or reauthorization thereof. Students will demonstrate proficiency and improvement over prior years’ performance.
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Measure 1: During each year of the charter term, the Charter School will meet or exceed all State Performance Targets and all other statewide-accountability requirements as established by the Department each year for all content areas of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), the End of Course Test (EOCT) and the graduation rate. Measure 2: During each year of the charter term, the percentage of students who meet or exceed state standards on each content area of the CRCT will be greater than the local district Average by at least 2% in all subjects in all grade levels. Measure 3: During each year of the charter term, the percentage of students scoring in the exceeds category on the CRCT in all grade levels and subject areas will exceed the baseline average by 2%. For new schools, baseline will be established in Year 1. For renewals, baseline will be established by the previous academic year. Measure 4: During each year of the charter term, the percentage of charter school students scoring in the meets or exceeds category on the End of Course Test (EOCT) will be greater than the local district Average by at least 2% in all subjects in all grade levels. Measure 5: During each year of the charter term, the percentage of charter school students scoring in the exceeds category in all subject areas on the EOCT will exceed the baseline average by 2% Measure 6: The Charter School will exceed local district graduation averages by 3%, or exceed 90% Goal 2: The Charter School will demonstrate proficiency and improvement on national norm referenced assessments. Measure 1: The percentage of students who meet or exceed their RIT growth targets on MAP testing, as developed by NWEA will increase by 2% each year of the charter term. Goal 3: The Charter School will demonstrate post high school readiness. Measure 1: Ninety percent (90%) of graduates will score Meets or Exceeds on the Georgia High School Writing Test Measure 2: Eighty-five percent (85%) of graduates will complete a pathway within their program of study Goal 4: The Charter School will demonstrate high school readiness. Measure 1: Eighty percent (80%) of students will score Meets or Exceeds on the Grade Eight Writing Assessment Goal 5: The Charter School will demonstrate middle school readiness. Measure 1: Eighty-five percent (85%) of students will score Meets or Exceeds on the Grade Five Writing Assessment. Goal 6: The Charter School will develop a culture of success through a climate of high expectations, mutual respect, and accountability.
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Measure 1: In each year of the charter term, 100% of students will maintain a portfolio demonstrating and charting improvement and mastery of skills required at that grade level Measure 2: Behavioral referrals will decrease from the initial year baseline by 5% in the2nd year, 7% in the 3rd year, and 12% in the 4th year. Measure 3: Unexcused absences will decrease from the initial year baseline by 5% in the 2nd year and 7% in the 3rd-5th year. Attainment of Adequate Yearly Progress status. To consistently maintain our existing curriculum and rigorous academic program, we enhance the program with enrichment opportunities. We also expand artistic experiences for our students which concentrates on performance by students and calls for students to develop skills and understandings to be able to produce, perform, and exhibit their own works in the arts…we broaden our offerings as we more closely integrate the arts into our social studies, language arts, science, and mathematics curricula. To this end, Cirrus Academy Charter School places importance on the following: Always fine-tuning of current curricula, further drawing upon national/state standards and best practices in order to better meet students’ needs and to raise students’ levels of academic achievement. An investment in integration of technology across our curriculum. The disaggregation of student achievement data. The expansion of cross-curricular learning opportunities. The expansion of performance opportunities for students. The expansion of parental involvement in all areas of the school. The expansion of enrichment programs. An expanded program of professional development.
These goals and objectives will be achieved through consistent and on-going professional development concentrating on best practices, analyzing data individually, by grade, and by school, emphasis on datainformed and differentiated instructional practices, investment of funds in materials and personnel, and continuous monitoring of all school aspects by administration, staff, students, parents, and the communityat-large. Student learning is monitored through the use of the standardized tests, pre, post and end of book tests from textbook series, reading level tests, teacher-constructed classroom tests, and portfolio assessments. Each child’s cognitive and communication skills, research and organizational skills, study strategies, and subject proficiency advance along a trajectory corresponding to that child’s developmental level. Teachers are given assessment data to analyze and guide their instruction and to formulate flexible groups. Lesson plans are reviewed by the principal to ensure that best practices and differentiated instruction is delivered according to those needs uncovered by data analysis. In addition, formal and informal observations allow for informed discussion about content and instructional strategies.
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Not only have our scholastic safeguards proven effective in detecting students who are under-performing (and in providing required remediation to these students before any question of retention arises), but Cirrus Academy Charter School is committed: To provide mandatory monthly staff professional development opportunities. To work with families as partners in their child’s education. To partner with universities, theaters, businesses, and agencies to enhance educational opportunities.
The arts have held a central place in cultures and civilizations through recorded history. Indeed, what we know about some civilizations comes only from the arts. Philosophers have questioned how the arts could ever be crowded out of a curriculum when they are so essential to the preservation of the best of all previous generations and entire civilizations. Because arts education has traditionally been a partnership of the entire community, its historical role has not been comparable to required curricular subjects like math or science. 16. Describe how these academic goals and measurable objectives will comply with the Single Statewide Accountability System. The Commission shall hold the Charter School accountable for the full performance of each of the academic goals listed above. The requirements of each goal are independent of and do not supersede the requirements of any other goal. In this manner, Cirrus Academy Charter School will comply with the Single Statewide Accountability System. 17. Describe the organizational and management performance-based goals and measurable objectives for the charter school. Organizational and management goals and measurable objectives should describe and measure the effectiveness, viability and competency of the organization, which may include, for example, financial management and performance, operational management, and satisfaction of a range of stakeholders. The fulfillment of the following organizational and management goals will be reported annually by the Charter School in addition to their Annual Report. Goal 1: The Charter School will be economically sustainable. Measure 1: Each year, the Charter Schools will operate in a fiscally sound manner as measured by an external audit that is submitted on time to the Department. Measure 2: Actual and proposed budgets for each school year will demonstrate effective allocation of resources. Measure 3: Yearly balance sheets will demonstrate that the Charter School maintains adequate cash reserves.
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Measure 4: The Charter School will meet all Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) as demonstrated by external, annual audit reports. Measure 5: The Charter School will meet all financial reporting deadlines set by the Department. Goal 2: The Charter School shall ensure all employees and Governing Board Members receive effective training. Measure 1: All Governing Board members shall participate in training at least twice yearly. This will include training on effective board governance and proper oversight of the Charter School's EMO. Measure 2: All faculty members will receive at least three PLU units yearly to assure their continued educational improvement. Goal 3: The Charter School shall promote a positive school experience that engages students, parents and teachers. Measure 1: According to data reported by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement Report Card, in each year of the charter, the percentage of students absent 15 days or more shall not exceed 10% and shall improve by 2 percentage points until the percentage of students absent 15 days or more is below 5%. Measure 2: Each year, 90% of reporting parents will indicate that they are at least “satisfied” with the overall quality of their child’s education as measured via an annual survey conducted at the conclusion of the school year, in which the options are very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, somewhat satisfied, satisfied, and very satisfied. The survey response rate will be at least 85% of parents surveyed. Measure 3: The percentage of eligible students who re-enroll at the Charter School will be at least 75% in Year 1, 80% in Year 2, 85% in Year 3, and 90% in Years 4 and 5. Measure 4: Parent participation in parent teacher conferences shall be rated at least 88% in Year 1, 90% in Year 2, 92% in Year 3, 94% in Year 4, and 95% in Year 5. Measure 5: Excluding teachers dismissed by the Charter School for any reason, including, but not limited to for cause or relocation, the Charter School retain teachers at the rate of 75% in Year 1, 80% in Year 2, 85% in Year 3, and 90% in Years 4 and 5. Measure 6: Each year, 90% of teachers will indicate that they are at least “satisfied” with the overall quality of their job as measured via an annual survey. The survey response rate will be at least 85% of teachers surveyed.
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18. State whether the charter school will utilize the broad flexibility from law, rule, and regulation permitted by O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2065(a), and if so, include illustrative examples of how the charter school will implement the flexibility to meet or exceed the performance-based goals and to increase student achievement. Cirrus Academy Charter Schools will utilize the broad flexibility from law, rule, and regulation permitted by O.C.G.A §20-2-2065(a). This flexibility will allow Cirrus Academy Charter Schools to implement the academic and organizational innovations of an Arts and Sciences’ based “academy model” of education while meeting or exceeding performance-based goals. Implementation of the flexibility will allow Cirrus Academy Charter Schools to employ only those educators who are passionate and committed. It will allow our schools to transfer the benefit of savings and services delivered through economies of scale to the children of Georgia. Specifically, we will use the broad flexibility to implement an academy model of arts and sciences based education that focuses on independent selection of curriculum material, blended learning approaches and alternative class sizes. Broad flexibility in expenditure of funds will allow our fiscal officer to quickly and independently determine what budgetary adjustments are necessary to balance the mission of our schools with the basic tenants accounting. As is indicated in this Petition, the direct benefit of broad flexibility is a longer school year, strategic partnerships with organizations such as String Theory Schools, and extensive training for our staff. 19. If the school will not utilize this flexibility, list the specific waivers requested and the rationale for each. Describe further how each waiver will help the school meet or exceed the performancebased goals and to increase student achievement. Cirrus Academy Charter Schools will utilize the broad flexibility from law, rule, and regulation permitted by O.C.G.A §20-2-2065(a). DESCRIPTION OF SCHOOL OPERATIONS 20. Describe how the charter school intends to fulfill all responsibilities of acting as its own LEA. Cirrus Academy Charter School will fulfill its responsibilities of acting as its own LEA in the following areas of governance: A. Strategic Management / Compliance
An independent Board of Trustees shall manage Cirrus Academy Charter School. A fiscal manager and general counsel shall advise the school how it may best utilize the broad flexibility from law, rule and regulation to recruit a Chief Executive Officer and leadership team.
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Cirrus Academy Charter School has entered into an Academic Services Agreement with String Theory Schools, Inc., an education management organization. Under the terms of this Academic Services Agreement, String Theory Schools, Inc. provides: oversight of the School's educational programs, supervision of the School's Principal, and advise regarding the School's business affairs, including the following services: provision of the STS Curriculum; ongoing curriculum consultation; recruitment, selection and supervision of the Principal; recruitment of teachers and other School staff; human resources management and consultation; periodic review and oversight of personnel files; consultation regarding budget preparation; consultation regarding the Facility; development of School and board policies, consultation regarding procurement of equipment, supplies, textbooks and property, casualty, liability, and officers and directors insurance. Among Cirrus Academy Charter School’s first corporate tasks shall be to develop a strategic plan for growth, in consultation with a strong management structure. The dominant philosophy of management shall be driven by results and accountability to the Cirrus Academy Charter School board of trustees. A Charter School is both a nonprofit corporation and LEA. Cirrus Academy Charter Schools shall utilize the services of general legal counsel with experience advising Charter Schools to insure compliance under local, state and federal law. B. Special Educational Needs / Due Process
Cirrus Academy Charter School shall implement a set of best practices to insure that exceptional children are identified and provided a free appropriate public education under the INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT and SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973. Our strategic plan is indicated above at Question #7. Additionally, state and federal law requires that certain due process protections are afforded to all children prior to certain disciplinary action. Cirrus Academy Charter School shall develop those best practices to comply with Title 20, Chapter 2, Article 16 of the OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED. C. Access
This category covers the LEA’s responsibility to provide an “Education infrastructure” of school places, buildings and facilities; for ensuring that children can take up a place at school and ensuring that pupils attend school. The management team at Cirrus Academy Charter School shall engage in the following activities: management and implementation of the LEA’s Asset Management Plan and capital program;
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the planning and supply of school places, including the preparation of the School Organization Plan and expenditure in relation to the establishment, alteration and discontinuance of schools; admissions processes compliant with local, state and federal law servicing school organization committees and forums; administrative costs involved in the exclusion of pupils from schools, including advice to parents of an excluded pupil; school meals and the maintenance and repair of kitchens; the assessment of eligibility for Free School Meals; the provision of meals.
21. Describe the attendance zone for the charter school. Cirrus Academy Charter School will have a state-wide attendance zone. 22. Describe the rules and procedures that will govern the admission of students to the charter school. Cirrus Academy Charter School shall not discriminate on the basis of intellectual or athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, disability, proficiency in English, race, sex, national origin or any other basis prohibited by law. Students will not be required to complete any tests in order to be admitted to the school. However, assessments will be administered upon formal enrollment in order to determine placement and instructional plan. CAC will establish an enrollment plan, each year prior to establishing an academic calendar. The enrollment plan will determine applicable enrollment periods, grade-by-grade enrollment caps, and a schedule of enrollment events. The enrollment period will be preceded by one or more informational “open house” events. The enrollment plan will be synopsized on the school’s website, as well as the local news outlets, and clearly communicated to parents of existing and prospective students well in advance of the registration deadline.
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The initial enrollment period for the 2014/2015 academic year will be from June 1, 2014 – July 30, 2014. Any applications received beyond the July 30, 2014 deadline will not be considered, but candidates may be enrolled space permitting, or added to the waiting list if space is not available. Any applications containing falsified information will be voided. The registration process will occur in three steps. First, prior to admission, CAC will require interested candidates to supply basic contact information, grade level and proof of residency as a pre-requisite to the enrollment / lottery process. Second, all applicants will be prioritized in the following categories. Category 1: Currently Enrolled Students Category 2: Children of full time faculty, full time staff, and current Governing Board Members. Category 3: Siblings of students enrolled on the date of the lottery for the upcoming school year. Category 4: All other students living within the attendance zone. Third, openings shall be filled in the order of the enrollment categories above. Where there are more applicants than available positions, a computer based randomized lottery process will be utilized to create a waiting list for enrollment: Where there are fewer positions than students within that enrollment category, applicants in that group will be randomly selected until all spots are filled. If there are more available positions than students within that particular enrollment category, all students within that group will be selected for enrollment, and the next enrollment category will be considered according to the same procedure. All applicants not selected due to lack of available positions will be placed on a waiting list. Positions on the waiting list will be determined first by enrollment category and then by selection order in the lottery. Lottery positions and waiting list positions will not be secured from year to year. Those offered the opportunity to enroll from the waiting list will have three days to complete the registration process before the opening will be offered to the next student on the waiting list. Following the registration process, students filling open positions at the school will formally enroll and be required to submit general public school enrollment documentation and assessments (discussed above) to determine placement and instructional plan.
23. Describe whether the charter school will use any enrollment priorities pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2066(a)(1). Yes. Please see above, question # 22.
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24. Describe the steps that the school will take to reach students representative of the racial and socioeconomic diversity in the attendance zone for the charter school. CAC is committed to the values of racial, gender, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in its student populations. CAC has identified several leaders within minority communities to ensure that prospective students from a diverse array of backgrounds are encouraged to seek enrollment at CAC. CAC shall create a strategic marketing plan to communicate and advertise to underserved and minority populations. This marketing plan will also include informational material describing the school’s program as well as the means by which to enroll at CAC. Such informational and advertising material will reach targeted populations through community leaders, news outlets and distribution in high-traffic locations. CAC’s Charter will not be subject to revocation based upon the racial composition of its student body so long as CAC, in good faith, makes the above stated efforts and admits students through a random selection process approved by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission and the State Department of Education.
25. Describe the charter school’s plan for recruiting students and for maintaining/increasing enrollment. The best strategy for recruiting students and maintaining enrollment is excellence and community involvement. Additionally, recruitment of students will be conducted in accordance with marketing strategies established by String Theory Schools in conjunction with the CAC board of trustees. CAC will utilize all available mediums to communicate enrollment information and opportunities. Our web site will be highly informative regarding the academy model of learning. Most importantly, CAC’s mission will be to work with local communities to create synergy between families, business, opportunity and the education of children. 26. Describe the rules and procedures concerning student discipline and student dismissal (including code of conduct and student due process procedures). The Arts, in and of itself, is a communicator. Bringing the culture of the Arts into a school means bringing the disciplined accomplishments of the Arts into the school; where students learn cooperatively and expect to stay after school to practice and expand their learning. It is a Caring Community Model where staff and family/parent relationships are vital and where families take part in student activities on a regular basis. Partnerships within the staff itself make for a family and community of caregivers and learners. Students also share in responsibilities, whether caring for their instruments or making certain they have their required supplies.
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Beginning before the start of school and reinforced every single day is a culture of communication, caring, and calmness. Students have the right to expect a safe school environment in which to learn and a climate within the school that is conducive to learning. Students have a right to expect courtesy, fairness, and respect from members of the school staff and other students. Students have a right to expect that other students and school personnel will respect their personal property. The principal will maintain open channels of communication through which students may express their individual or group concerns and suggestions, which will be formally and informally deliberated. We sincerely believe that continued recognition of students’ rights and responsibilities will develop within our youth a student philosophy that will nurture their internal strengths, will deter the influence and spread of degrading attitudes and will perpetuate the American ideal of a responsible, democratic system of government. Parents/Families are considered partners in the school’s mission. They are integral to t he success of their student(s) and the school. As “teachers,” cheerleaders, fundraisers, advocates, committee members, and the conscious of the school, parents are a valued asset. A compact between parents/guardians/families, the student, and the school which encompasses that commitment will be established and distributed. Cirrus Academy Charter School is committed to a viable partnership among families, the community, and staff. It is important that all stakeholders work together to help students achieve high academic standards. The School and Parent/Family Compact represents how the entire school staff, the parents, and the students will share responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the agreed upon roles and responsibilities that we will carry out to support student success in school and in life. School Responsibilities: We agree to carry out the following responsibilities to the best of our ability: Provide high quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment that enables students to meet core content curriculum and academic achievement. Discuss this compact at parent-teacher conferences, as it relates to the individual child's achievement. Provide parents with frequent reports on their child's progress which includes progress reports, report cards, and parent access to children's grades. Have high expectations and help every student to develop a love of learning. Communicate with families on a regular basis about student progress by providing reasonable access to staff through e-mail, phone, and conferences. Provide a safe and caring learning environment. Provide parents opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child's classroom. Family Responsibilities: We, as family (parents, guardians, care-givers), will support our child's learning by: Monitoring attendance and punctuality; ensuring our child gets adequate sleep and proper nutrition. Making sure that homework is completed. Encouraging our child's learning efforts; answering his/her questions.
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Regularly meeting in person, by telephone or e-mail with our child's teacher to discuss our child's progress. Committing to volunteer in activities that support our child's school.
Student Responsibilities: I agree to carry out the following responsibilities to the best of my ability: Attend school regularly; arrive at all classes and activities on time and prepared to learn. Behave appropriately in all classes and other locations by knowing and following school and classroom rules and respecting adults, other students, and community members. Complete class work and homework on time and to the best of my ability. Make certain my parents/guardians receive all notices and information from my school. Communicate regularly with my parents and teachers about school experiences so that they can help me to be successful in school. This compact will be signed by a school representative, the parent(s), and the student. The school will continually reach out to the community for its resources and to be a resource. Utilization of community centers, places of worship, businesses, and the like bring a wealth of needed services to the school. From speakers who may share their personal history of the community/neighborhood to the children performing at the recreation center, this relationship is invaluable. The school is a safe haven! Safety comes first and is ensured by the following GIVENS: The children are always supervised. There are no hall roamers and no child goes anywhere unescorted by an adult. The children are 100% engaged the entire day. The facility will have camera surveillance and staff managed hall monitors and secured entrances and exits. Entrance to the school will be by swipe cards, sign in/out at the front desk, and visitor badges.
The school will have a Student Code of Conduct which will include: The School is committed to respect the rights of others. Rules governing discipline and conduct are written so that parents, students, teachers, and administrators know what is required of students. By working together under clearly stated and consistently enforced regulations, we can administer firm and fair discipline practices. Parents, teachers, staff, school administrators and the Board of Trustees are responsible for helping students develop self-discipline. The Code of Student Conduct delineates the partnership that the school and the larger community share across several broad concepts. Environment, which includes the climate of the school; Education, which includes preparation and work habits; Respect, which includes treatment of others;
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Participation; which includes involvement in school activities; and Expression, which includes dress and verbal and nonverbal issues
These broad concepts appear in each statement of responsibility contained in the handbook.
The following beliefs guide the development of the Code of Student Conduct: 1. That school must be safe and secure for students and staff. 2. That students have rights and responsibilities in the learning environment of the school. 3. That the school is for instruction and learning, and anything that distracts from that process must be dealt with by school officials. 4. That students and their parents should be knowledgeable of school and classroom rules. 5. That students have a responsibility to exercise self-control over their own behavior. 6. That the responsibility of discipline is shared among students, school personnel, the Board of Trustees, and parents. 7. That students who violate school and classroom rules must be afforded their rights to due process, which are procedurally, morally, and legally fair and correct. 8. That students who violate classroom rules should be assigned disciplinary measures with the purpose of correcting their behavior. 9. That disciplinary measures should be progressive and preventative, unless the safety of students is an issue. 10. That the disciplinary measures should be firm, fair, and consistent. 11. That the disciplinary measures of the school should be a problem solving process and should focus on the causes of the infraction. 12. That the assigning of disciplinary measures should be commensurate with the circumstances. Students will be required to wear school uniforms. Uniforms take away peer pressure, identify with pride the school they attend, and allows for a neat, clean appearance. 27. Describe the rules and procedures concerning how the school will address grievances and complaints from students, parents, and teachers, including the role the governing board will play in resolving such grievances and complaints. It is the intent of the Board of Trustees and the school staff that concerns should be resolved as quickly and amicably as possible with the best interests of the students held firmly in mind. Staff and parents will know the procedures so that communication about concerns can be carried out in an open and convenient way. If the complaint concerns something that has occurred in the classroom, then the following steps should be followed:
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1. The parent should contact the child’s teacher and discuss the issue on the telephone or in person. Every effort should be made to resolve the parental complaint/concern at the teacher level. Since parents are considered to be essential partners in the educational process, each teacher must make a conscientious effort to interact with parents on an as-needed basis. 2. If the concern remains unresolved, then the parent should meet with the Principal to seek a satisfactory resolution to the concern. 3. If the concern has not been resolved to the parent’s satisfaction, the parent may write to the President of the Board of Trustees about the concern and ask for a committee of Trustee members to hear the concern and make a recommendation. If the complaint concerns an issue not directly related to the parent’s child, but reflects a concern about a classroom practice, school rule, procedure, or practice, the following steps should be followed: 1. The parent should request to discuss the concern with the classroom teacher or the Principal depending on the type of issue involved. A classroom issue is best addressed to the teacher, while a school-wide concern should be addressed to the Principal. 2. If the informal discussion does not resolve the concern, then the parent should file a written complaint with the Principal who will conduct an investigation into the matter and report the findings to the parent. 3. If the findings of the Principal do not result in a satisfactory conclusion of the matter, the parent should address the matter in writing to the President of the Board of Trustees who will assign the matter to a committee of the Board to investigate and prepare recommendations for the full Board's consideration. 28. Describe generally the charter school’s employment procedures and policies. Cirrus Academy Charter School seeks employees with a genuine interest in the care and education of young people. The contributions made by our employees are fundamental to the growth and development of the children we serve. STS is an equal opportunity employer. Our policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability in recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, layoff or termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation, including fringe benefits, discipline, and other terms and conditions of employment. We will provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified individuals with a disability to enable them to perform the essential job functions of their positions unless this presents an undue hardship to the school. Equal employment opportunity notices will be posted on appropriate employee bulletin boards, as required by law. This notice summarize the rights of employees to equal opportunity in employment and lists the names and addresses of the various government agencies that may be contacted in the event that any person believes he/she has been discriminated against.
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Teachers will be 100% highly qualified and have appropriate state certifications and clearances. Each candidate will be interviewed by a team of administrators, teachers, and parents, where applicable to secure the best possible staff with the best possible match. Part of the process will include presenting a lesson in the classroom. Professional learning communities will have common planning and professional development time, as well as time to meet during staff meetings. Class coverage will be provided, when needed, and well as Saturday trainings, summer, and before and after-school time afforded. The ideal candidate will believe that all children can learn and possess an enthusiastic, upbeat attitude about teaching and learning and a warm, caring, friendly attitude towards children. They will possess expertise in grade level subject matter, as well as state common core standards. They will demonstrate the ability to plan, pace, and provide continuity of instruction and motivate and evaluate students and student progress. Skill in classroom management is crucial, as is the ability to communicate with all stakeholders. Lastly, those seeking teaching positions will stay current on professional knowledge and engage in self-improvement and will take all professional and non-instructional responsibilities seriously. WHAT THE SCHOOL EXPECTS FROM STAFF Appearance It is very important that the entire staff project a professional image. Wearing acceptable clothing and having a neat clean appearance is necessary to maintain professional standards. Teachers, Supportive Service Assistants, Secretaries and all other personnel are not to wear jeans, thigh high skirts, shorts, cut offs, tank tops, tee shirts, swear pants or sneakers. Blazers are being provided at no cost by Cramer’s and must be worn throughout the year when weather deems appropriate. Attendance and Punctuality Regular attendance on the part of employees is critical to the educational program. In order to maintain continuity of instruction and supportive services, it is essential that all staff be at work and on time. The Principal will closely monitor employee attendance and tardiness. As soon as a pattern of five (5) absences and/or latenesses begins to develop a warning letter will be issued. If absences and/or latenesses continue, a formal conference will be scheduled to discuss the problem and possible consequences. Absences and tardiness are part of the employees’ performance evaluation and subsequent rating. Should absenteeism and/or lateness continue, the employee will jeopardize his/her status as an employee which could include an unsatisfactory rating and dismissal from service as determined by policy of Board of Trustees. Attitude
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Good manners, cooperation, and consideration for others are established habits that bring about harmony among employees. Remember that on and off the job each staff member is a direct reflection of the Cirrus Academy Charter School. Insubordination to Principal, breech of contract or disregard for school policies and procedures will result in immediate dismissal of the employee as determined by the Board of Trustees. Confidentiality Communication with parents regarding their child’s education and care is essential. However, discussions with parents must be limited to issues directly related to their child’s continued success at the school and must comply with Board policies and procedures. It is essential that conversations with parents regarding their children be conducted in a confidential manner so that other parents or employees who are not involved with the child’s education do not overhear comments regarding the child in question. Under no circumstances may employees discuss specific issues related to a student’s behavior at the school with anyone other than the student’s parents or otherwise authorized individual. 29. Describe how and by whom the principal’s performance will be evaluated. All employees shall be evaluated in writing according to established standards. As the instructional leader, the Principal will be required to demonstrate that the students are achieving in all areas – academic and nonacademic. Academic achievement will be monitored/evaluated in part by results on the prescribed standardized tests that will be administered in the appropriate grade levels. The Principal shall be evaluated annually by the Board of Trustees. This evaluation will be a rubric that incorporates all aspects of an educational leader. The Principal will go over their evaluation with the Board and also submit a self-evaluation. The Principal’s performance shall be evaluated according to the following criteria: 1. Creating a school culture that promotes the ongoing improvement of learning and teaching for students and staff 2. Demonstrating commitment to closing the achievement gap 3. Providing for school safety 4. Leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of a data-driven plan for increasing student achievement, including the use of multiple student data elements 5. Assisting instructional staff with alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment with state and local district learning goals 6. Monitoring, assisting, and evaluating effective instruction and assessment practices 7. Managing both staff and fiscal resources to support student achievement and legal responsibilities 8. Partnering with the school community to promote student learning As the instructional leader of the school, the CEO / Principal shall also be evaluated by the success of those teaching, professional and support staff under his/her charge. Teaching Staff
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Recognizing that the teacher is the single most important factor in the educational process, teacher evaluation will be of the highest priority. Teachers will be evaluated on teaching competency and on pupil progress, as demonstrated by formal and informal assessments. A performance report will be completed twice yearly. Observations can be announced or unannounced at the discretion of the Principal. Each tenured teacher will be formally observed a minimum of twice per school year and each non-tenured teacher a minimum of three times. Moreover, each teacher, as requested by the Principal will be required to submit a PIP (professional improvement plan) annually; this PIP will be subject to the approval of the Principal. At the end of each school year, the Principal will review all PIPs on an individual basis. Professional and Non-Professional Support Staff Other staff members will be evaluated according to the skills and competencies inherent in their job description and/or certification. Those who have teaching responsibilities will be accountable for relevant teaching skills as well as those competencies directly connected to their particular field. 30. State whether certification by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission will be required, and if not, describe the training and experience that will be required and the procedure for determining whether a teacher has demonstrated competency in the subject area(s) in which he/she will teach as required by ESEA. Title 20, Education, of the OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED (O.C.G.A.), outlines the legal guidelines that govern the state education program and requires the professional employees of all Georgia public elementary and secondary schools to hold state certification. CAC will require special education and core subject teachers to be certified by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. However, the CAC curriculum will implement several alternatives such as blended learning, academy based Arts and practical experience in STEM subjects; CAC does not plan on limiting employment regarding highly qualified candidates with excellent credentials such as musicians, ballet instructors and vocalists. Additionally, if CAC implements a project based science lab, the school may utilize the services of doctoral candidates to teach children practical applications in exchange for use of the science lab. 31. Describe whether the charter school will use the state salary schedule, and if another schedule will be used, provide that schedule. CAC will not utilize the state salary schedule with all certified staff. CAC seeks economic flexibility to determine employee salary and benefits packages including but not limited to offering incentives and bonuses as well as supplementary income in addition to state base pay. 32. Describe the charter school’s procedures to ensure that staff members are subject to fingerprinting and background checks.
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All employees must comply with state requirements such as, but not limited to, fingerprinting, certification, Child Abuse Index, Criminal Record Statement, tuberculin tests, First Aid/CPR, and physician’s reports. Employees are also required to provide transcripts to verify units earned or in-service hours. These requirements must be completed prior to beginning employment, and the information must be submitted to the CEO. Any cost of compliance with state requirements is the responsibility of the employee. 33. Describe the charter school’s insurance coverage, including the terms and conditions and coverage amounts thereof. Prior to opening, the Charter School shall secure adequate insurance coverage and the Charter School shall maintain such coverage throughout the Charter term in accordance with the laws of the State of Georgia. The Charter School shall obtain and attach hereto a Certificate of Insurance, which shall name the State Board of Education as an additional insured. Our coverage goals are as follows: a) Commercial General Liability: Commercial General Liability coverage, on an occurrence basis, including Contractual Liability, with limits not less than the following: (a) $2,000,000 General Aggregate (including bodily injury, or property damage or both); (b) $2,000,000 Products – Completed Operations Aggregate; (c) $1,000,000 Per Occurrence; (d) $1,000,000 Personal and Advertising Injury; (e) $1,000,000 Fire Damage or Fire Legal Liability; and $10,000 Medical Expense (any one person). (b) Automobile Liability: Automobile coverage with limits not less than the following: $1,000,000 Combined Single Limit for bodily injury and property damage for all owned autos and/or hired / non-owned autos. (c) Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability: (i) Workers’ Compensation coverage for its employees with limits not less than the statutory limits for the State of Georgia. (ii) Employer’s Liability: $500,000 Each Accident–Bodily Injury by Accident; $500,000 Each EmployeeBodily Injury by Disease; and $500,000 Policy Limit-Bodily Injury by Disease. Other states insurance including Georgia. (d) Excess /Umbrella Liability: The Charter School shall maintain Excess / Umbrella Liability coverage in an amount not less than 5,000,000 per occurrence. The Excess/Umbrella Policy shall schedule all underlying liability coverages required under the Charter unless a separate 5,000,000 limit is maintained for Professional Liability. (e) Professional Liability/Educators Liability/ Malpractice/Errors and Omissions Insurance. Professional Liability/Educators Liability / Malpractice/Errors and Omissions Insurance with limits not less than the following: (a) $1,000,000 General Aggregate; (b) $1,000,000 Per Occurrence. The Charter School shall obtain a Sexual Molestation and Child Abuse Endorsement.
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(f) Directors and Officers Liability and Employment Practices Liability: The Charter School shall maintain Directors and Officers Liability and Employment Practices Liability Insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000. 34. Describe whether transportation services will be provided and, if so, briefly describe the transportation program for the school. If transportation services are not provided, describe how this will not be a barrier to eligible students to attend the school. On regular school days, parenting adults will transport enrolled students to the school premises. Our school will implement an early drop off. Additionally, CAC will implement an extensive afterschool program until approximately 7:00 p.m. Our goal is that the school functions as a community center and anchor for the families whose children attend CAC. CAC may provide transportation services to cultural events and field trips. Where drivers are utilized, CAC will abide by all guidelines, safety standards, transportation forms and assessments applicable to public schools in Georgia including but not limited to State Board Rules: 160-5-3-.01 through .04; 160-5-3-.08 through 11; 160-5-3-.13 through.16 and any others applicable. 35. Describe whether the charter school will provide food services (including participation in federal school meals programs), and if so, briefly describe the proposed food services programs. To the extent the Charter School offers a food service program, the Cirrus Academy Charter School shall ensure that the program complies with all applicable laws governing food service for students. Cirrus Academy Charter School will either contract with the local school district for food services or solicit a minimum of three (3) bids from food service providers that comply with all nutrition and wellness criteria for providing students with a variety of menus that are not only healthy but tasty and appealing to the students. 36. To the extent the Charter School the charter school will elect to participate in the State Health Benefit Plan as provided pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-880 and § 20-2-910. CAC will not participate in the State Health Benefit Plan as provided pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-880 and § 20-2-910. PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT 37. Describe how parents, community members, and other interested parties were involved in developing the petition and will be involved in the school, including involvement with the governing body of the school. This may include letters of support, signed petitions, sign-in sheets from town hall meetings discussing the proposal, or other indicia of community interest.
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The Cirrus Academy Charter School founding board (biographies below) is, itself, comprised of community leaders, educators and parents who have worked extensively to develop this petition. Prior to making the decision to apply, they held several community meetings in and around Macon, GA. Prior to submitting this petition, the founding board conducted two (2) community meetings in Macon, which were attended by over 100 parents. A petition of support for Cirrus Academy Charter School generated four hundred (400) signatures by residents of Bibb county. Additionally, we have conducted a preliminary study of economic impact of a preliminary facility in Macon, GA using IMPLAN® (IMpact analysis for PLANning) economic impact modeling. Based upon general assumptions and using the IMPLAN database for Bibb county, the following graphs summarize the data generated by this economic impact study:
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DEMONSTRATION OF FISCAL FEASIBILITY AND CONTROLS 38. Describe the level of autonomy the charter school will have over budgets and expenditures. The Board or Trustees of CAC will have absolute autonomy over yearly budgets and expenditures. According to the CAC bylaws, The Board of Trustees (the “Board”) shall have and exercise the corporate powers prescribed by the laws of the State of Georgia, and more particularly described in the Georgia Charter School Law and the Charter (the “Charter”) of the Charter School. The essential function of the Board shall be policy making, the assurance of sound management, and active participation in the provision of necessary funds. The Board has ultimate responsibility to determine general, academic, financial, personnel and related policies deemed necessary for the administration and development of the Charter School in accordance with its stated purposes and goals. Accordingly, the fiscal officer shall be delegated the tasks of (a) Maintaining an accounting system for the organization; (b) Supplying accounting software; (c) Monitoring the budget; (d) Processing of accounts payable and vendor disbursements; (e) Preparing cash flow projections; (f) Preparing periodic financial reports; (g) Facilitating external audit; (h) Facilitating insurance placement (i) Attending Board and committee meetings
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Additionally, the charter school will retain the services of an independent corporate auditor each fiscal year. 39. Describe the plans for ensuring that the charter school will be subject to an annual financial audit by an independent Georgia-licensed certified public accountant. The CAC bylaws mandate a standing “Finance and Facilities Committee” which oversees the preparation and presentation of proposed financial budgets to the Board at large. The duty of this committee is to “prepare and implement a system of internal fiscal controls”. The Finance and Facilities Committee will procure the services of an independent Georgia-licensed certified public accountant to conduct annual financial audits. 40. Identify the school’s chief financial officer and describe how that person’s credentials comply with requirements of the State Board of Education. The school’s chief financial officer is the accounting firm of Santilli & Thomson, LLC. Gerald Santilli has over thirty years experience in municipal education, serving as Executive Director of Financial Service for the School District of Philadelphia. “Jerry” holds an M.B.A. from La Salle University. Michael Thomson has more than 25 years experience in school business administration, specializing in the implementation of fiscal systems. He previously was Director of Financial Systems for the School District of Philadelphia. “Mike” holds a B.S. degree in accounting from La Salle University. Santilli & Thomson follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and will advocate policies and procedures that ensure appropriate fiscal oversight, segregation of duties, and how the school receives and spends funds, pays employees, and invests funds. The experience and education of the accountants, business managers, technology specialists and principals of Santilli and Thomson comply with the requirements of SBOE Rule 160-4-9-.04 for service as the school’s Chief Financial Officer. 41. Provide a proposed timeline as to when the charter school will begin to receive state funds2 to when operations begin. The Charter School will immediately begin operations upon receipt of state funds. The Charter School will have all employees selected with employment agreements contingent upon the receipt of state funds in Year 1. The Charter School intends to have adequate facilities with lease agreements contingent upon receipt of state funds in Year 1. All strategic partnerships regarding curriculum, facilities, and services and inventory will also be finalized, contingent upon receipt of state funds in Year 1.
The official 2013-State-Charter-School-Application states, as Q41: “Provide a proposed timeline as to when the charter school will begin to receive state to when operations begin.” Please excuse our assumption that this question involve the receipt of state funds. We have determined that state funds would be received on or about July 2014.
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The Charter School will immediately begin those cosmetic renovations that are necessary to utilize facilities as a school. Issues such as zoning, certificate of occupancy and due diligence will be completed by the time the Charter School receives state funds. The Charter School will immediately begin employee training upon receipt of state funds. The application process in Year 1 will clearly delineate that the opening of the school is contingent upon receipt of state funds. All candidates for admission will be notified of this contingency. 42. Describe the charter school’s plans for securing other sources of funding, including funding from corporations, individuals, foundations, philanthropic groups, or any other source. The Charter school will immediately file IRS Form 1023 to apply for federal tax exempt status under IRC 501(c)(3) and a public charity under IRC 509(a)(1). The Board of Trustees Finance and Facilities committee will contribute to our strategic plan with respect to a outreach campaigns for tax exempt donations. String Theory Schools, our EMO, has raised over $2,000,000 for managed entities and will turn their grant writing / fundraising capabilities to our benefit. Cirrus Academy Charter School will hire or contract with a fundraiser or fundraising entity. DESCRIPTION OF GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE 43. Describe how the governing board will comply with the provisions of O.C.G.A. §§ 50-14-1 et seq. and 50-18-70 et seq. This charter school shall comply with the GEORGIA OPEN AND PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT. Subject to the exceptions enumerated in Ga. Code Ann., § 50-14-3 all meetings, as defined by Ga. Code Ann., § 50-14-1 shall be open to the public. All votes at any meeting shall be taken in public after due notice of the meeting and compliance with the posting and agenda requirements of Georgia law. CAC will employ sufficient administrative staff to insure that CAC posts meeting locations, times and dates in a conspicuous area available to the public. Any changes to location, time or dates of meetings shall be advertised at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled meeting. All board meetings will be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order and under a publicly available Agenda. This charter school shall comply with the GEORGIA OPEN RECORDS ACT. 50-18-71. Subject to the exceptions enumerated in Ga. Code Ann. § 50-18-72, all public records shall be open for personal inspection and copying, except those which by order of a court of this state or by law are specifically exempted from disclosure. All records of CAC shall be open for personal inspection by any citizen of the state of Georgia at a reasonable time and place and individuals in charge of those records cannot refuse this privilege to any citizen. CAC shall respond to requests within a reasonable time so that it may determine if requested records are considered open and to provide these open records to the requesting party.
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44. Describe the governing board’s function, duties, and role, including the board’s role as it relates to the charter school’s mission. Under the CAC bylaws, The Board of Trustees (the “Board”) shall have and exercise the corporate powers prescribed by the laws of the State of Georgia, and more particularly described in the Georgia Charter School Law and the Charter (the “Charter”) of the Charter School. The essential function of the Board shall be policy making, the assurance of sound management, and active participation in the provision of necessary funds. The Board has ultimate responsibility to determine general, academic, financial, personnel and related policies deemed necessary for the administration and development of the Charter School in accordance with its stated purposes and goals. More specifically, the Board’s authority shall be, without limitation: (a) to approve policies and procedures regarding employment, including but not limited, to appointment, promotion, contracts, leaves of absence, fringe benefits, qualifications of professional and nonprofessional staff, professional development and dismissal of employees; (b) to adopt the curriculum or courses of study and text books; (c) to authorize the acquisition, management and disposition of all property and physical facilities, having due respect for the corporate purpose, including the construction renovation and upkeep of the physical plant subject to any restrictions or requirements of local, state or federal laws; (d) to approve institutional documents and policy statements at the Board’s discretion to assure compliance with the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Charter, and Board Policy; (e) to sue and be sued, complain and defend and participate as a party or otherwise, but only to the same extent and upon the same condition that political subdivisions and local agencies can be sued; (f) to make contracts and leases for the procurement of services, equipment, and supplies, including contracts with and making appropriations to a school district, or Area Vocational Technical School for the charter's proportionate share of the cost of services provided or to be provided by the foregoing entities; (g) to create or increase any indebtedness, including incurring temporary debts in the receipt of funds; (h) to solicit and accept any gifts or grants for Charter School purposes; (i) to establish the annual academic calendar; (j) to adopt and approve the annual budget and to make revisions therein; (k) to establish enrollment policies and procedures;
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(l) to adopt and approve policies and procedures to assess student achievement; (m) to approve or ratify all contracts as determined by the policy on contracting; (n) to be final arbiter of all disciplinary matters; (o) to authorize any annual audit by an independent certified public accountant; (p) to fix the salary or other compensation of the Chief Executive Officer, Principals, teachers, and other employees of the Charter School; (q) to approve all personnel actions; (r) to designate depositories of Charter School funds; (s) to set the Charter School calendar in accordance with any and all applicable local, state or federal law; and (t) to have and exercise all of the powers and means appropriate to effect the purpose or purposes for which the Charter School is chartered; and (u) to have and exercise all other powers enumerated in Georgia Corporation Law or otherwise vested by law in the corporation and not consistent with Georgia Charter School Law. 45. Describe the composition of the governing board, how and when governing board members will be selected, how long each governing board member will serve, and how governing board members may be removed from office. The fundamental criteria upon which Trustees shall be selected is the desire and ability to contribute to the achievement, purposes and corporate functions of the charter school. CAC now has a fully installed board of trustees comprised of the following persons: Albert H.Rogers B.S. MBA/A: President Mr. Rogers’ involvement with charter schools began in 2008, when he was asked to consult in the development of the aviation curriculum for the Fulton Leadership Academy. In 2009, he started his research into developing and writing a petition, with an emphasis on STEM. Mr. Rogers’ experience as a college professor and as a developer and teacher for educational programs for elementary students, has taught him that, given a supportive learning environment, students can achieve academically. Shirlynn Kelly: Vice President:
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Ms. Kelly has worked with children in Bibb County for 19 years. Ms. Kelly believes that many of our children are falling through the cracks educationally due the instructional methodology that public schools continue to use. Her interest in being a part of Cirrus Academy is to provide positive change in the educational process of students. 21st Century Students will have the freedom of a 21st Century Education. Veronica Nichols: Treasurer Ms. Nichols is a certified educator, with a Masters Degree in Education. She began her teaching career in Bibb County and has had the privilege of teaching not only in Georgia, but Lebanon and Africa. She believes that all children, regardless of ethnicity, should receive a quality education. In studying current employment trends, Ms. Nichols has found that the areas of math, science, and engineering have the greatest hiring and earning potential. She believes that the educational process should be moving our children in those critical areas. G. Pilar Wilder: Secretary Ms. Wilder is the artistic director Macon’s oldest dance company specializing in West African Dance, Hayiya Dance Theatre, Inc. - now in it’s 16th season. She has taught dance as an adjunct professor at Fort Valley State University, continuing education instructor at Macon State College, dance teacher at Tubman African American Museum, and Artist-In-Residence for the Macon Arts Alliance. She served as the first dance instructor and Fine Arts Department Chair for Miller Fine Arts Magnet Middle School. While there, Ms. Pilar was also awarded the honor of Teacher Of The Year 2008. Ms. Pilar is an active member in the community and currently serve on several board and committees including Middle Georgia Food Bank, Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Junior League, Bibb County Judicial Citizen Review Board and Tattnall Square Center for the Arts Programming Advisory Board. Lewis Montford, Jr. Mr. Montford is a Mechanical Engineer. He has lived in the greater Macon community all his life. His children attend Bibb County Public School. Dr. Arrika Tunstell – Cirrus Educational Group Dr. Arrika Tunstell is currently an Interventionist in a local school district. She holds a bachelor's in Special Education, a Master's in Teaching and a doctorate in Instructional Leadership. With thirteen years experience in the educational field, Dr. Tunstell has taught language arts, reading, gifted education, social studies and special education with a focus on students with learning disabilities and behavior problems. Currently, Dr.Tunstell provides teachers with strategies and interventions for teaching reading and other subjects to students. With experience in teaching both lower and upper grades, Dr. Tunstell believes that all students can learn when appropriate accommodations and interventions are implemented to present the opportunity for success. Dr. Elazer Barnette Dr. Barnette received her Doctorate Degree in Education at North Carolina State University, Masters Degree in Education at North Carolina State University, and Bachelors in Education West Virginia State University. She is currently the Associate Vice President and Planning Dean for the School of Teacher Education at Savannah State University. Composition. The Board of Trustees shall be composed of not less than five (5) and not more than eleven (11) natural persons of full age. At least one member shall be a parent of a student enrolled in the school. No member of Board of School Directors of the chartering school district shall serve on the Board of Trustees.
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Election of Trustees. Nominations shall be placed before the Board of Trustees as needed at any regularly scheduled or special meeting open to the public. Nominations may be made by a Nominating Committee or by any Trustee. The Trustees will cast an open, public ballot. A simple majority of a quorum is required for election. Tenure. Each Trustee, after the initial Trustees, shall hold office for three (3) years, unless the Trustee dies, resigns, is removed, or becomes disqualified. The term of office of each Trustee shall be for a period effective upon appointment and qualification and ending three years after the expiration of the term which such Trustee is appointed to fill or until a successor is duly elected. A trustee may be reelected or reappointed for consecutive terms. Resignation. Any Trustee may resign by delivering a written resignation to the Board of Trustees. Such resignation shall become effective upon receipt unless it is specified to be effective at some time later. Vacancies. (a) Any vacancies on the Board of Trustees shall be filled by a vote of the Board of Trustees. Each trustee so elected to fill a vacancy shall hold office for the remainder of the predecessor’s unexpired term; (b) If a Trustee resigns by giving notice specifying that such resignation shall be effective at a future time, the Board of Trustees shall have the power to elect a successor to take office when the resignation shall become effective.
46. List any proposed business arrangements or partnerships with existing schools, educational programs, businesses, or nonprofit organizations and disclose any potential conflicts of interest. Partnerships and Business Arrangements Name String Theory Schools, Inc. Services String Theory Schools is an education management company that has been contracted to provide academic services as more fully described above in #20 Pitsco, Inc. is a curriculum development corporation that has been contracted to develop the STEM component of the CAC curriculum Conflicts Analysis There are no conflicts or potential conflicts of interest.
There are no conflicts or potential conflicts of interest
47. Disclose any potential conflicts of interest of the founding board members.
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There are no potential conflicts of interest of the founding board members, enumerated in #45 above. CAC has adopted a Conflicts of Interest Policy that requires full disclosure of any and all potential conflicts. 48. Describe how the governing board will ensure that current and future board members avoid conflicts of interest. CAC has adopted a Conflicts Interest policy. 1. Purpose The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the use of property and resources belonging to Cirrus Academy Charter School (hereinafter the “Organization”) and to protect the Organization’s interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of certain individuals. 2. Definitions a. Interested Person. Any individual or entity in a position to exercise control or influence over the Organization, including, without limitation, directors, officers and members of a committee with board delegated powers, who has a direct or indirect financial or beneficial interest, as defined below, in a transaction with the Organization is an interested person. b. Financial Interest. A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment or a related person: (i) an ownership, partnership, investment or other beneficial interest in any entity with which the Organization has a transaction or arrangement, or (ii) a compensation arrangement with the Organization or with any entity or individual with which the Organization has a transaction or arrangement, or (iii) a potential ownership, partnership, investment or other beneficial interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the Organization is negotiating a transaction or arrangement. Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration, as well as gifts or favors that are substantial in nature. A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under paragraph 4.b., an interested person who has a Financial Interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate board or committee decides that a conflict of interest exists after required disclosure is made. c. Related Person. A related person of an interested person means either: (i) the spouse, or a parent or sibling of the spouse, of the interested person, a child, grandchild, sibling, parent or spouse of a child, grandchild, sibling or parent, of the interested person, an individual having the same home as the interested person or a trust or estate of which an individual specified in this subsection c is a substantial beneficiary, and (ii) a trust, estate, incompetent, conservative or minor of which the interested person is a fiduciary. 3. Use of Organization Property
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a. Private Inurement Prohibition. All real and personal property belonging to the Organization is to be used only to further the exempt interests, activities, and mission of the Organization. Consistent with the Organization’s articles of incorporation and status as a tax-exempt entity described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, no part of the net earnings of the Organization shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its directors, officers, members of a committee, or other private persons. This provision does not prohibit the board of directors from authorizing the payment of reasonable compensation for services rendered to or on behalf of the Organization, provided such compensation is consistent with the policies outlined herein. This provision also does not prohibit the board or a board authorized committee from approving certain transactions between the Organization and interested persons or related persons, provided such transactions are consistent with the policies outlined herein. b. Political Activities Limitation. The Organization may not use a substantial part of its assets to participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. The Organization may be subject to taxation for political activities conducted. c. Use, Transfer, Loan or Lease of Organization Property by an Interested Person. In the event an interested person is requesting the use, transfer, loan, lease or engagement in some other transaction between the interested person and the Organization that involves the Organization’s property, the procedures and policies delineated in this Policy must be followed, including, but not be limited to: The interested person must disclose the required information in the manner required in paragraph 4.a. The board or committee considering the transaction shall determine whether a conflict of interest exists in compliance with paragraph 4.b. The board or committee considering the transaction, after determining that a conflict or potential conflict of interest exists, shall review the transaction in compliance with the provisions of paragraph 4.c. If the transaction is discovered after it has already taken place, the board or committee reviewing the transaction shall act in accordance with paragraph 4.d. The transaction must be recorded in the record of the Organization’s property as required in paragraph 3.d. The board or committee shall document its approval of the transaction or its denial thereof in compliance with paragraph 5.
d. Record of Organization Property. The President or Executive Director of the Organization will keep or cause to be kept a record of all property belonging to the Organization and of property loaned to, leased by or otherwise utilized by the Organization. Such record shall include at least the following with respect to each item of the Organization’s property: The date the item was acquired by the Organization.
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A description of the item, including identifying marks (e.g., serial number, unique markings, etc.). The manner in which the Organization acquired the item, noting specifically whether it was by gift, donation, purchase, lease or by some other method. The specific location (e.g., the state, the museum, other facility, etc.) of the item. The identity of the person(s) charged specifically with the custody and care of the item. An estimate of the value of the item at the time of acquisition. Date and method of any disposition of the item, if any, including loan, sale, destruction, return to owner, and the value, if any, received upon its disposition, etc. Date of the board of directors’ resolution authorizing such disposition. A summary of the terms of any disposition of an item (e.g., transfer price, purpose of transfer, date property was returned to owner, date property to be returned to the Organization if loaned to another organization, etc.).
e. Disposition of Organization Property. No property belonging to the Organization may be disposed of, whether by sale, loan, lease, or other disposition, without the express authorization of the Board of Directors of the Organization by way of either a continuing authorization to an Organization manager or committee for the use or transfer of such property (e.g., loans of museum property for display in other museums handled in the ordinary course of business by the museum curator) or an authorization for the other transfer of such property. Any disposition of an item of the Organization’s property including those handled by a continuing authorization must be recorded in the record of the Organization’s property as provided in paragraph 3.d. 4. Procedures
a. Duty To Disclose. In connection with any actual or possible conflicts of interest, an interested person must disclose to the directors and/or members of pertinent committees with board delegated powers that are considering the proposed transaction or arrangement: (i) the existence and nature of his or her financial interest, and (ii) all facts known to the interested person respecting the subject matter of the transaction that an ordinarily prudent person would reasonably believe to be material to a judgment about whether or not to proceed with the transaction. The directors and/or members of pertinent committees with board delegated powers that are considering the proposed transaction may request from the interested person such additional information or documents relating to the transaction as is required for adequate disclosure. b. Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists. After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts relating thereto, and after any discussion with the interested person by the board or committee, the interested person shall leave the board or committee meeting while the potential conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists. If it is determined that a conflict of interest exists, additional actions shall be taken as provided for herein. c. Procedures For Addressing the Conflict of Interest.
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i. An interested person may make a presentation at the board or committee meeting concerning the transaction, but after such presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting and not participate in any future meetings during the discussion of, deliberations about, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement that results in the conflict of interest. ii. The chairperson of the board or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement. iii. After exercising due diligence, the board or committee shall determine whether the Organization can obtain a more advantageous transaction or arrangement with reasonable efforts from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest. iv. If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably attainable under circumstances that would not give rise to a conflict of interest, the board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors or committee members whether the transaction or arrangement is in the Organization’s best interest and for its own benefit and whether the transaction is fair and reasonable to the Organization and shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement in conformity with such determination. v. The interested person shall not influence or attempt to influence the decisions of the board or committee considering the transaction. vi. If necessary or prudent to making an appropriate decision on a matter, the board may obtain the written opinion concerning a particular transaction or arrangement from such professionals as an attorney, accountant or other professional advisor. vii. The board shall prepare and maintain adequate records of the proceedings as discussed below. d. Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy. If the board or committee has reasonable cause to believe that an interested person has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the interested person of the basis for such belief and afford the interested person an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose. If, after hearing the response of the interested person and making such further investigation as may be warranted in the circumstances, the board or committee determines that the interested person has in fact failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action. 5. Records of Proceedings a. Minutes. The minutes of the board and all committees with board-delegated powers shall contain: (i) the name(s) of the interested person(s) who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the board’s or committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed; (ii) the names of the persons who were present for discussions and voting; (iii) the substance of the discussion of the transaction or arrangement, including the discussion of alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement; (iv) a detailing of the appropriate material and data relied upon as to the reasonableness and comparability of the proposed transaction; and (v) an adequate record of any votes taken in connection therewith.
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b. Comparable Data. Appropriate comparable data includes the following: i. For compensation purposes, such data might include compensation levels paid by similarly situated organizations, both tax-exempt and taxable, for functionally comparable positions; the location of the organization to which a comparison is being made, including the availability of similar specialties in the geographic area; current compensation surveys compiled by independent firms; or actual written offers from similar institutions competing for the services of the disqualified person. ii. For property transactions, relevant information includes current independent appraisals and offers received as part of an open and competitive bidding process; facts enabling a determination that the transaction is comparable to ones negotiated at arms’-length; and the terms of comparable or similar agreements. iii. For other transactions or arrangements, relevant factors include the reasonableness of the cost; the need of the Organization of the service, product, property, etc. to be provided in the transaction or arrangement; the background, training, experience, responsibilities and prior performance of the individual or entity associated with the transaction or arrangement; and the effort, time and other benefits to be provided to the Organization in the transaction or arrangement. iv. If a written opinion of a professional advisor is obtained with respect to a matter, such opinion shall be included in the records of the board’s consideration of a transactio n or arrangement. 6. Compensation Committees. A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Organization for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation. No member, either individually or collectively, is prohibited from providing information to the board or any committee regarding compensation. 7. Annual Statements. Each interested person, including members of a committee with board delegated powers, shall sign annually a statement which affirms that such person: (a) has received a copy of this policy, (b) has read and understands the policy, (c) has agreed to comply with the policy, and (d) understands that the Organization is a social welfare organization, and that in order to maintain its federal tax exemption it must engage primarily in activities which accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes. A form of such statement is attached to this policy. 8. Periodic Reviews. To ensure that the Organization operates in a manner consistent with its primary purposes and that it does not engage in activities that could jeopardize its status as an organization exempt from federal income tax, periodic reviews shall be conducted. The periodic reviews shall, at a minimum include the following subjects: (a) whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable and are the result of arm’s-length bargaining, and (b) whether any transaction, partnership or joint venture arrangements and agreements with management organizations or other organizations or individuals conform to these written policies, are properly documented, reflect reasonable payments for goods and services, further the Organization’s purposes, and do not result in inurement or impermissible private benefit.
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49. Describe how the governing board will ensure effective organizational planning and financial stability. The organizational structure and strategic partnerships enumerated in this Petition will ensure the accountable delegation of legal, financial and educational-mission tasks. Additionally, among Cirrus Academy Charter School’s first corporate tasks shall be to develop a strategic plan for growth, in consultation with a strong management structure. The dominant philosophy of management shall be driven by results and accountability to the Cirrus Academy Charter School board of trustees. CAC has resolved to engage in the following acts to insure organizational planning and financial stability: The development of a comprehensive strategic plan. The strategic plan shall be data driven yet will, holistically, mandate goals for growth, expenditures, community and school improvement. The School Improvement component of the strategic plan will be data driven. The data collected will not merely be survey based but will be based upon verifiable assessments of student progress. The Board has formed a search team to locate a highly qualified Principal and educational leadership team. CAC believes that a Principal should concentrate entirely upon academics, personnel and school improvement. Financial matters shall be delegated to the fiscal officer. The Principal shall be accountable to the Board. The Principal will report upon all facets of school life as well as special initiatives at every single public Board meeting. The Strategic plan will include benchmarks so that the Board of Trustees can monitor and adjust resources to achieve the goals of the plan. The Board will allocate funds for the employment of effective office staff. CAC’s philosophy, however, is not to create a “big government” administration. We believe that every possible dollar should pass to the benefit of the student. Therefore, it is the goal of CAC to employ quality crosstrained and computer proficient individuals over quantity. If it is more prudent to hire contractors for certain back-office tasks, the Board is ready to do so. CAC has created an Academic Curriculum Committee, which shall review and recommend revisions to the curriculum as necessary and recommend educational strategies, establish criteria for the evaluation of faculty and student performance, and establish and implement provisions for the regular assessment of the academic performance of the student body. CAC has created a Personnel Committee, which shall establish criteria for the performance and evaluation of the faculty and other employees of the school. This committee shall make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding salaries, bonuses, and benefits. CAC has created an Administrative Services Committee, which shall establish a disciplinary policy for the school and review and recommend revisions of the disciplinary policy as necessary. This committee will hear, or appoint a hearing examiner to hear, any disciplinary appeals made by the students, with either the committee or the hearing examiner to recommend to the Board final disposition of such appeals. CAC has created an Audit Committee, which shall oversee and review an annual independent audit and make recommendations as needed.
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As stated previously, an annual audit by an independent, Georgia-licensed Certified Public Accountant will be conducted. The Governing Board and Principal will work collaboratively to ensure compliance with other reporting requirements (i.e., filing of Form 990 and disclosure to authorizers). Policies have been adopted to ensure these reporting requirements are met. The Fiscal officer will establish and revise the budget process and timeline for the school.
50. Describe the method that the local board and the charter school plan to utilize for resolving conflicts. CAC has created an Administrative Services Committee, which shall establish a disciplinary policy for the school and review and recommend revisions of the disciplinary policy as necessary. This committee will hear, or appoint a hearing examiner to hear, any disciplinary appeals made by the students, with either the committee or the hearing examiner to recommend to the Board final disposition of such appeals. It is the policy of CAC to promote the resolution of Employee grievances (as defined below) at the level of Employee and Vice Principal. CAC provides for the resolution of problems via an orderly procedure. This process involves discussion and subsequent action at the appropriate level of management within the organization. Specifically, conflicts and grievances needing attention are to begin with the Vice Principal, proceeding, if unresolved, to the CEO, and, finally, to the CEO of String Theory Schools or the designated ombudsman of the CAC Board of Trustees. A grievance is a conflict, issue or difficulty arising in the course, conduct and/or performance of an Employee's job (as defined by the Employee's job description). A grievance is also a claim by an Employee that: The rules of CAC have been improperly applied or interpreted; or, Supervisory or administrative personnel apply unfair practices. This policy applies to all Employees who have completed their initial four-month probationary period and Contracted Employees. PROCEDURE (a) Any Employee who feels that he or she has a grievance, which cannot be handled by routine discussion with the Vice Principal, may present a complaint in writing as a formal grievance to the CEO. This should be done as soon as possible after the incident or cause of the complaint. (b) The CEO will convene a meeting to include both parties, within 10 business days of notification to hear all the facts. A decision may be made at that time. If there are still significant differences remaining after this meeting but no disciplinary action is to be taken, then the disagreements between Employee and supervisor are written up by the next level supervisor, signed by each person and filed in the individual Employee's official personnel record. If disciplinary action is involved and no agreement can be reached at this meeting, the Employee may make a written appeal to The Director of the First Philadelphia Paradigm, who will make a decision within 10 business days.
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(c) All decisions may be appealed to the level of the Board of Trustees. This decision of the Board of Trustees is final. (d) The records of all grievance procedures are to be in writing and a copy of the proceedings becomes part of the Employee's official personnel record. CAC has adopted a graduated employee discipline policy that grants broad discretion to the Principal to deal with disciplinary infractions of employees. Under this policy, the Principal may place an employee under verbal notice, written notice, suspension or personal improvement plan. The Principal may recommend employees for termination for or without cause to the Board of Trustees. 51. State if the charter school intends to contract, or has contracted for, the services of a for-profit entity or any other educational management agency. If so, describe how the contract will be in the best educational and financial interests of the charter school. Pitsco is for profit entity. After vetting several STEM curriculum providers, the best most comprehensive provider is Pitsco. The proposed agreement between Pitsco and the Charter School is product based. Our goal is to purchase their tailored STEM curriculum. The contract will be in the best educational and financial interests of the charter school because the product offered by Pitsco is superior and deserving of the children of Georgia. Our model places STEM as one of our highest priorities. 52. Describe the decision-making process and due diligence exercised by the founding/governing board in choosing to contract with the educational management organization. The founders of CAC sought an education management organization with whom they shared a common philosophy, had access to best practices, and the ability to combat resource scarcity through economies of scale. The philosophy of the founders of CAC is in accord with recent statements promulgated by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities: The President’s Committee’s Turnaround Arts initiative, created in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council, is a public-private partnership designed to help transform some the nation’s lowest performing schools through comprehensive and integrated arts education. Developed from the recommendations in PCAH’s recent report Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools, the Committee’s landmark research publication of May 2011, Turnaround Arts will test the hypothesis that high-quality and integrated arts education can be an effective tool to strengthen school reform efforts-boosting academic achievement and increasing student motivation in schools facing some of the toughest educational challenges in the country. available at http://turnaroundarts.pcah.gov/overview/.
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String Theory Schools is one of Philadelphia’s most successful education management companies, with a proven track record managing award winning schools with curriculums devoted to the arts such as the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School and the Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences. CAC sought to create charter school with a curriculum focusing on the Arts and Sciences. String Theory Schools was vetted by the founders of CAC, after several meetings with various EMO’s. FACILITIES 53. Describe the school facility that the charter school will use and its location. State whether the school facility is new or existing. If the facility plans for the charter school have not been finalized, the petition should describe prospective facilities and the steps the charter school is taking to attain a permanent facility. Cirrus Academy Charter School has not finalized a facility for use as a Charter School. We are, however, in negotiations with the owner of House of God Saints in Christ Church, located at 2270 Shurlington Dr., Macon GA 31211. The negotiations are for a long-term lease of a 40,000 square foot building previously utilized as a school. There are 26 classrooms. An additional building contains a gymnasium with a full service industrial kitchen. This centralized location will ensure that our target enrollment goals are met while providing adequate ingress and egress to the premises. Our team, however, is exploring alternative options. We believe that facilities are the most important component. The facilities must be safe and yet provide children with a vibrant place to learn, grow and exercise their minds and bodies. Community “buy in” is necessary as is the approval of this honorable Commission. Any facilities plans, both short-term and long-term, will be approved by the facilities department of the State Board of Education, prior to the beginning of work. 54. Describe any modifications necessary for utilizing the space for educational purposes. Please see above #53 55. Provide documentation of ownership or a copy of the lease of the facility. If ownership documentation or a lease is unavailable, provide a timeline for obtaining such facilities or providing such documentation. Please see above #53 56. Provide a Certificate of Occupancy, or a timeline for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, prior to students occupying the proposed facility. Please see above #53
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57. Provide the school’s emergency safety plan, or a timeline for preparing a safety plan in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1185 and submitting it to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. CAC shall develop a safety plan in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1185 to help curb the growing incidence of violence in school schools, to respond effectively to such incidents, and to provide a safe learning environment for Georgia's children, and teachers, and other school personnel. Such plan shall also address preparedness for natural disasters, hazardous materials or radiological accidents, acts of violence, and acts of terrorism. Our school safety plan shall be prepared with input from students enrolled in that school, parents or legal guardians of such students, teachers in that school, community leaders, other school employees and school district employees, and local law enforcement, fire service, public safety, and emergency management agencies. The plan shall be reviewed and, if necessary, updated annually. CAC has been in contact with James Westbrook who is GEMA Region D Coordinator for the development of School Emergency Safety Plans. He has graciously agreed to assist CAC in its development and implementation of the O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1185 safety plan. All administrative staff will be appropriately trained to implement the safety plan. The school community will be made aware of the implementation of the safety plan.
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OFFICIAL COPY OF THE CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION FROM THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE GEORGIA NONPROFIT CORPORATION THAT WILL HOLD THE CHARTER IF APPROVED.
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OF CIRRUS EDUCATION GROUP, INC. 391 MONROE STREET MACON, GA 31201 AS APPROVED AND ADOPTED ON JUNE 7, 2013
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Name, Objects and Purposes, Mailing Address, Corporate Seal, and Fiscal Year Name. The name of this nonprofit corporation shall be the CIRRUS EDUCATION GROUP, INC., hereafter referred to as the “Charter School.” Objectives and Purposes.The objectives and purposes of the Charter School are: (1) to foster quality public education and to advance the interests of public school students through the promotion and advocacy of community schools; (2) to stimulate the development of innovative programs in public education; (3) to provide opportunities for learning and assessments; (4) to provide parents and students with greater educational options in choosing a school; and (5) to hold teachers, parents, and school administrators accountable for the student educational process. The Charter School is incorporated under the GEORGIA NONPROFIT CORPORATION CODE, O.C.G.A. § 14-3-101, et. seq., and shall be organized and operated exclusively for charitable, scientific, literary and educational purposes permitted within the scope of Section 501(c)(3) of the INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986, including the purposes specified in the Charter Schools Act of 1998, as amended (O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2-2060 through 20-2-2071), and State Charter Schools (O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2-2080 through 20-2-2091), together known as and referred to herein as the “Charter School Law.” In furtherance of these purposes, the Charter School may exercise all rights and powers conferred by the laws of the State of Georgia upon nonprofit corporations and schools formed pursuant to the Charter School Law. Mailing Address.The mailing address of the Charter School shall be: CIRRUS EDUCATION GROUP, INC. 391 MONROE STREET MACON, GA 31201 The Board of Trustees may change this address as necessary.
Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the Charter School shall, unless otherwise decided by the Trustees, end on June 30 of each calendar year. Corporate Seal. The Trustees may adopt and alter the corporate seal inscribed with the name of the School, the year of its organization and the words “Corporate Seal, Georgia” and such other details as may be specified by the Board of Trustees. Section 2. Membership
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Membership. Unless or until the Articles of Incorporation of the Charter School are amended to provide otherwise, the Charter School shall have no members. Any provision of law requiring notice to, the presence of, or the vote, consent or other action by members of the corporation in connection with such matter shall be satisfied by notice to, the presence of, or the vote, consent or other action by the Board of Trustees. No certificates of membership shall be issued at any time. Section 3. Board of Trustees
Composition. The Board of Trustees shall be composed of not less than five (5) and not more than eleven (11) natural persons of full age. At least one member shall be a parent of a student enrolled in the school. No member of Board of School Directors of the chartering school district shall serve on the Board of Trustees.
Section 1.02 3.2 Election of Trustees. Nominations shall be placed before the Board of Trustees as needed at any regularly scheduled or special meeting open to the public. Nominations may be made by a Nominating Committee or by any Trustee. The Trustees will cast an open, public ballot. A simple majority of a quorum is required for election. 3.3 Tenure. Each Trustee, after the initial Trustees, shall hold office for three (3) years, unless the Trustee dies, resigns, is removed, or becomes disqualified. The term of office of each Trustee shall be for a period effective upon appointment and qualification and ending three years after the expiration of the term which such Trustee is appointed to fill or until a successor is duly elected. A trustee may be reelected or reappointed for consecutive terms. Resignation. Any Trustee may resign by delivering a written resignation to the Board of Trustees. Such resignation shall become effective upon receipt unless it is specified to be effective at some time later. Vacancies. (a) Any vacancies on the Board of Trustees shall be filled by a vote of the Board of Trustees. Each Trustee so elected to fill a vacancy shall hold office for the remainder of the predecessor’s unexpired term. (b) If a Trustee resigns by giving notice specifying that such resignation shall be effective at a future time, the Board of Trustees shall have the power to elect a successor to take office when the resignation shall become effective.
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Authority. The Board of Trustees (the “Board”) shall have and exercise the corporate powers prescribed by the laws of the State of Georgia, and more particularly described in the Charter School Law and the Charter (the “Charter”) of the Charter School. The essential functions of the Board shall be policy making, the assurance of sound management, and active participation in the provision of necessary funds. The Board has ultimate responsibility to determine general, academic, financial, personnel, and related policies deemed necessary for the administration and development of the Charter School in accordance with its stated purposes and goals. More specifically, the Board’s authority shall be, without limitation: (v) to approve policies and procedures regarding employment, including but not limited to appointment, promotion, contracts, leaves of absence, fringe benefits, qualifications of professional and nonprofessional staff, professional development and dismissal of employees; to adopt the curriculum or courses of study and text books; to authorize the acquisition, management and disposition of all property and physical facilities, having due respect for the corporate purpose, including the construction renovation and upkeep of the physical plant. The Board and contractors shall abide, be restricted and subject to all applicable statutory requirements governing construction projects as set forth in OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED (hereinafter “O.C.G.A.”). to approve institutional documents and policy statements at the Board’s discretion to assure compliance with the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, any Charter to which the Charter School becomes a party, and Board Policy; to sue and be sued, complain and defend and participate as a party or otherwise, but only to the same extent and upon the same condition that political subdivisions and local agencies can be sued; to make contracts and leases for the procurement of services, equipment, and supplies, including contracts with and making appropriations to an intermediate unit, school district, or Area Vocational Technical School for the charter's proportionate share of the cost of services provided or to be provided by the foregoing entities; to create or increase any indebtedness, including incurring temporary debts anticipation of the receipt of funds; to solicit and accept any gifts or grants for Charter School purposes; to establish the annual academic calendar;
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(ee) (ff) (gg) (hh) (ii) (jj) (kk) (ll) (mm) (nn)
to adopt and approve the annual budget and to make revisions therein; to establish enrollment policies and procedures; to adopt and approve policies and procedures to assess student achievement; to approve or ratify all contracts as determined by the policy on contracting; to be final arbiter of all disciplinary matters; to authorize any annual audit by an independent certified public accountant; to fix the salary or other compensation of the Chief Executive Officer, Principals, teachers, and other employees of the Charter School; to approve all personnel actions; to designate depositories of Charter School funds; to set the Charter School calendar which must include no less than 180 school days of education each fiscal year, or the equivalent thereof as determined in accordance with Georgia State Board of Education guidelines but the Charter School cannot be kept open for students or staff on Sundays, Fourth of July, Memorial Day or Christmas); to have and exercise all of the powers and means appropriate to effect the purpose or purposes for which the Charter School is chartered; and to have and exercise all other powers enumerated in the Nonprofit Corporation Law or otherwise vested by law in the corporation and not consistent with the Charter School Law.
Committees. The Trustees may elect or appoint committees (which may include individuals who are not Trustees of the Charter School) as they determine necessary. Each committee shall be chaired by a Trustee, unless otherwise agreed by the Board. At any meeting of a committee, a quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of a majority of the members of such committee. The members of any committee shall serve on the committee at the pleasure of the Chairperson of the committee. 3.8.1 Permanent Committees. Permanent committees may be formed to handle on-going business of the Charter School. These committees may include:
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Nominating Committee. If a Nominating Committee is appointed by the Board of Trustees, the Board of Trustees shall set forth both the time frame for nominations and the manner by which the Nominating Committee shall make nominations. If a Nominating Committee is appointed by the Board of Trustees, it shall consist of three Trustees. Finance and Facilities Committee. The Finance and Facilities Committee shall prepare and present a proposed financial budget to the Board of Trustees, and prepare and implement a system of internal fiscal controls. They shall also maintain the physical facilities. Academic Assessment Curriculum Committee. The Academic Curriculum Committee shall review and recommend revisions to the curriculum as necessary and recommend educational strategies, establish criteria for the evaluation of faculty and student performance, and establish and implement provisions for the regular assessment of the academic performance of the student body. Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee shall establish criteria for the performance and evaluation of the faculty and other employees of the school. This committee shall make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding salaries, bonuses, and benefits. Administrative Services Committee. The Administrative Services Committee shall establish a disciplinary policy for the school and review and recommend revisions of the disciplinary policy as necessary. This committee will hear, or appoint a hearing examiner to hear, any disciplinary appeals made by the students, with either the committee or the hearing examiner to recommend to the Board final disposition of such appeals. Audit Committee. The Audit Committee shall oversee and review an annual independent audit and make recommendations as needed.
Ad Hoc Committees. Ad Hoc Committees will be formed by the Board of Trustees from time to time as deemed necessary to handle specific events, functions, or issues. These committees will be terminated upon completion of their specific assigned task or as determined by the Board of Trustees. Ad Hoc Committees will be chaired by designees of the Board of Trustees and may invite non-board members to serve on them.
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Adoption and Modification of Policies. The Permanent and Ad Hoc Committees will identify areas of need and/or concern and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees for addition to or modification of current policies or Bylaws. The Trustees will vote on these recommendations at either a regularly scheduled meeting or a specifically called meeting. An affirmative vote of a majority of a quorum of the Board of Trustees will be required for adoption and/or modification of policies. If such majority vote is not obtained, the proposed recommendation may be returned to the appropriate committee for refinement. Meetings 3.10.1 Regular Meetings. Regular meetings of the Board may be held at such time and at such places as the Trustees determine. Written notice of every meeting and the annual schedule shall be given to each trustee by the August Annual meeting. Reasonable notice shall be made of the first regular meeting following the determination of the Trustees of the time and place of regular meetings.
3.10.2 Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Board may be held anytime and any place when called by the President of the Board of Trustees or by two or more Trustees. In addition to the notice required by Section 3.10.8 hereof, reasonable notice of the time and place of special meetings shall be given to each Trustee. Such notice will specify the purposes of the meeting. It shall be given to each Trustee in accordance with the GEORGIA NONPROFIT CORPORATION CODE. It shall be considered reasonable and sufficient notice to a Trustee to send notice by mail at least three (3) business days before the meeting, addressed to the Trustee at the Trustee’s usual or last known residence, or to give notice in person or by telephone or email at least twenty four (24) hours before a special meeting.
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3.10.3 Annual Meeting. The Board shall meet annually once per year at the first regularly scheduled meeting in August of each year, at a reasonable time and place convenient to the Board of Trustees and members of the community. In the event that the annual meeting is not held on the specified day, the Trustees may hold a special meeting in place thereof, and any business transacted or elections held at such meeting shall have the same force and effect as if transacted or held at the annual meeting, provided that notice is given for the meeting and the notice indicates that the special meeting shall be in place of the annual meeting. Notice of the annual meeting or notice of a special meeting called in its place, setting forth the date, time and place shall be published in accordance with Section 3.10.8 hereof and shall be mailed to all Trustees at each individual Trustee’s usual or last known address not less than seven days prior to the date of the annual meeting. At the Annual Meeting the President and the Treasurer shall present an annual report which shall set forth: (a) The assets and liabilities, including the trust funds, of the corporation as of the end of the fiscal year immediately preceding the date of the report; The principal changes in assets and liabilities including trust funds, during the year immediately preceding the date of the report; The revenue or receipts of the corporation, both unrestricted and restricted to particular purposes, for the year immediately preceding the date of the report, including separate data with respect to each trust fund held by or for the corporation; The expenses or disbursements of the corporation, for both general and restricted purposes, during the year immediately preceding the date of the report, including separate data with respect to each trust fund held by or for the corporation; The capital budget and the operating budget for the corporation’s current fiscal year; A schedule of proposed major activities for the current fiscal year; and A summary of the corporation’s compliance with the laws and regulations of federal, state and local governmental agencies and with the standards, rules and regulations of the various accrediting and approval agencies.
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3.10.4 Quorum. At any meeting of the Board of Trustees a quorum for the conduct of business by the Board of Trustees shall consist of a majority of the trustees then in office. 3.10.5 Action of Vote. When a quorum is present at a meeting of the Board of Trustees, a majority of the Trustees present and voting shall decide any question including election of officers, unless otherwise provided by law or these bylaws, including but not limited to, Section 3.10.7, 3.10.9 and 3.12. 3.10.6 Conference Telephone Meetings. One or more persons may participate in a meeting of the Board of Trustees or of a committee of the Board of Trustees by means of conference telephone or similar communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other. Participation in a meeting pursuant to this Section 3.10.6 shall constitute presence in person at such meeting. 3.10.7 Optional Provisions Not Required by Law. An affirmative vote of the majority of the members of the Board of Trustees then in office shall be required in order to take each of the following actions, of any previously taken action relating to the same subject matter: (a) adopting a school calendar, provided that any calendar must provide for no less than 180 school days of education each fiscal year, or the equivalent thereof as determined in accordance with Georgia State Board of Education guidelines; adopting textbooks; appointing or dismissing school administrators; adopting or amending the annual budget; purchasing or selling land; locating new buildings or changing the locations of previously used buildings; creating or increasing any indebtedness; adopting courses of study; designating depositories for Charter School funds; entering into contracts of any kind where the amount involved exceeds $5000.00 fixing salaries or other compensation of administrators, teachers, or other employees of the Charter School; and entering into contracts with and making appropriations to an intermediate unit, school district, or Area Vocational/Technical School for the Charter School’s proportionate share of the cost of services provided or to be provided by any such entity.
(b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) (k) (l)
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3.10.8 Open Meeting Law. All meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Charter School where actions are formally presented for approval shall be held as public meetings as described in the GEORGIA OPEN AND PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT, O.C.G.A. 50-18-70, et seq. (the “Open Records Act”). Notices of all meetings shall be given in the manner described in the Open Records Act. 3.10.9 Real Estate Transactions. A vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members in office of the Board of Trustees duly recorded showing how each member voted shall be required in order to take action on the following subject: purchase of real property or the sale, mortgage, lease or other disposal of real property. Compensation and Conflicts of Interest. Trustees shall serve as Trustees without receiving any compensation for their services as Trustees. Voting on any matter involving a conflict of interest shall be governed by Code of ethics for members of boards, commissions and Authorities created by general statute, O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3 and Title 14, Chapter 3, Article 8, Part 6 of the O.C.G.A. Notwithstanding the foregoing, common interested Trustees may be counted in determining the presence of a quorum at a Board meeting in which a transaction described above is authorized, approved, or ratified. Reservation of Powers. None of the following actions may be taken by the Charter School without the prior approval of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the Board of Trustees then in office: (a) to amend the Articles of Incorporation of the Charter School or these Bylaws;
(b) to dissolve or liquidate the Corporation; (c) to merge or consolidate the Corporation; and (d) to convey, sell or transfer substantially all the Corporation’s assets. Section 4. Officers and Agencies 4.1 Number and Qualification. The Officers of the Charter School shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary and Treasurer. The President, Vice President and Treasurer shall be members of the Board of Trustees. The Secretary may be a nonvoting member of the Board. Election. The officers shall be elected annually by the Board of Trustees at the annual meeting held pursuant to the provisions of Section 3.10.3 of these by-laws. If at any other time a vacancy exists in these offices, an officer may be elected to fill a vacancy for the remainder of the term at any special or regular meeting of the Trustees. Term of Office. The President, Vice-President, and Treasurer shall hold office for one year, until his/her qualified successor is chosen at the next annual meeting of the Board of Trustees. The Secretary shall be appointed by the Board.
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President. The President of the Board of Trustees shall preside at all meetings of the Trustees, except as the Trustees shall otherwise determine; and shall have such other powers and duties as may be determined by the Trustees. Vice-President. The Vice-President of the Board of Trustees shall have and exercise all the powers and duties of the President in his/her absence. The Vice-President shall have such other powers and duties as may be determined by the Board of Trustees. Secretary. The Secretary shall record and maintain records of all proceedings of the Trustees in a book or series of books kept for that purpose. These books shall be open at all reasonable times to the inspection of any member of the Board of Trustees of the Charter School. Such book or books shall also contain the original or attested copies of the Articles of Incorporation, the bylaws and the names and residence addresses of all members of the Board of Trustees. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the Charter School’s financial affairs, funds, securities, and valuable papers and shall keep full and accurate records thereof. The Treasurer shall supervise the CEO with regard to those fiscal matters assigned to the CEO. Other Officers. The Board of Trustees may elect or appoint such other officers as it deems useful for the proper operation of the Charter School. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) The CEO shall be the administrative head of the Charter School. He or she shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Board and shall report to the Board on all matters relative to his or her duties. The CEO shall be responsible for routine fiscal matters, including receipt of funds (including local, state, federal, and privately donated funds), payment of invoices and contracts as approved by the Board of Trustees, general bookkeeping and accounting, as well as assistance to the Certified Public Accountant assigned to audit the books of the Charter School. Bonding of Officers and Employees. The Treasurer of the Charter School shall furnish a bond in such amount and with such surety as may be required, from time to time, by the Board. At the direction of the Board, any other officer or employee shall furnish a bond in such amount and with such surety as may be required by the Board. The expense of furnishing any such bond shall be paid by the Charter School.
Standard of Care for Officers and Trustees. Trustees and Officers have a fiduciary relationship to the Charter School, including in their capacity as members of a committee. Trustees and Officers have an obligation to act in good faith, in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the School, and with such care, including reasonable inquiry, skill and diligence, as a person of ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances. In performing their duties Trustees and Officers shall be entitled to rely in good faith on information, opinions, reports or statement, including financial statements and other financial data, in each case prepared or presented by:
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1. One or more officers or employees of the School whom the Trustee or Officer reasonably believes to be reliable and competent in the matters presented; 2. Counsel, public accountants or other persons as to matters which the Trustee or Officer reasonably believes to be within the scope of professional competence; or 3. A committee of the Board upon which he or she does not serve, duly acting under the authority of the Board of Trustees.
Section 5. Dues The Trustees shall not be required to pay any dues or membership fees. Section 6. Removal of Officers and Trustees 6.1 Officers. Any elected or appointed officer may be removed from office for failure to perform or for conduct detrimental to the Charter School by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Trustees, after thirty days written notice to the officer in question. The officer is entitled to a hearing before the Board of Trustees or before a hearing officer designated by the Board of Trustees prior to a vote of a call for removal 6.2 Trustees. The entire Board of Trustees may remove a Trustee, who is not otherwise serving as an elected or appointed Officer in accordance with Sections 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7 and 4.8 of these Bylaws, with or without cause by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the of the Board of Trustees entitled to cast votes. In addition, if so decided by the Board of Trustees, it may remove any Trustee for the following conduct (list is not all inclusive): (a) Failure to attend two consecutive meetings without reasonable justification; and/or (b) Failure to attend more than three meetings in one fiscal year without reasonable justification. For conduct detailed in (a) and (b) above, if decided, the Board of Trustees shall only remove such Trustee by a two-thirds (2/3) vote at the next scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees. Section 7. Personal Liability 7.1 Definitions. For purposes of this Article: (a) “Charter School” means the charter school named at the beginning of these Bylaws, and if it is involved in any consolidation or merger, each constituent corporation absorbed in, and each surviving or new corporation surviving or resulting from, such consolidation or merger; (b) “Liability” means any compensatory, punitive or other damages, judgment, amount paid in settlement, fines, penalty, excise tax assessed with respect to an employee benefit plan, and cost or expense of any nature whatsoever, including, without limitation, attorneys’ fees and costs of proceedings; (c) “Indemnified Capacity” means any and all past, present and future service by a Representative in one or more capacities: (i) as a Trustee, officer, employee or agent of the Charter School; or
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at the request of the Charter School, as a Trustee, officer, employee, agent, director, or fiduciary of another corporation or any partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan, or other entity, enterprise or undertaking, including service as a representative that imposes duties on or involves service by the representative with respect to an employee benefit plan, its participants or beneficiaries; “Proceeding” means any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, appeal or other proceeding of any nature, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, whether formal or informal, and whether brought by or in the right of the Corporation, or otherwise; and
“Representative” means any person who: (i) serves or has served as a trustee, director, officer, employee or agent of the Corporation; or (ii) has been expressly designated by the Board as a Representative of the Corporation for purposes of and entitled to the benefits under this Section 7. Indemnification. Subject to the subsequent provisions of this Section 7.2 and of Section 7.3, the Corporation shall indemnify a Representative against any Liability actually and reasonably incurred by the Representative in connection with any Proceeding in which he or she may be involved as a party or otherwise by reason of the fact that the Representative is or was serving in an Indemnified Capacity, including without limitation, any Liability resulting from an actual or alleged breach or neglect of duty, error, misstatement or misleading statement, negligence, gross negligence, or act or omission giving rise to strict or products liability, except to the extent: (a) the conduct of the Representative is determined by a court to have constituted willful misconduct or recklessness; (b) the conduct of the Representative is based upon or attributable to his or her receipt from the Corporation of a personal benefit to which the person is not legally entitled; (c) the liability of a Representative is with respect to the administration of assets held by the Corporation in trust pursuant to Title 14, Chapter 3, Article 8, Part 5 of the O.C.G.A. (d) such indemnification is expressly prohibited by applicable law or otherwise is unlawful.
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The Corporation shall indemnify a Representative under the preceding provisions of this Section 7.2 only if the Representative acted in good faith and in a manner he or she reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the Corporation and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful. The termination of any Proceeding by judgment, order, settlement or conviction, or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not of itself create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he or she reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests or the Corporation and, with respect to any criminal proceedings, had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful. Action with respect to an employee benefit plan taken or omitted in good faith by a Representative in a manner that he or she reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the participants and beneficiaries of the plan shall be deemed to be action in a manner that is not opposed to the best interests of the Corporation. The Corporation shall not indemnify a Representative under the preceding provisions of this Section 7.2 with respect to any claim, issue or matter as to which the Representative has been adjudged to be liable to the Corporation in a Proceeding brought by or in the right of the Corporation to procure a judgment in its favor, unless (and then only to the extent that) the court in which such action was brought determines upon application that, despite the adjudication of Liability but in view of all of the circumstances of the case, the Representative is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification from the Corporation for the expenses that such court deems proper. Unless ordered by court, any indemnification of a Representative under preceding provisions of this Section 7.2 shall be made by the Corporation only upon a determination made in the specific case that such indemnification of the Representative is proper in the circumstances because he or she has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in the preceding provisions of this paragraph. Such determination shall be made the Member. To the extent that a Representative has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any proceeding referred to in O.C.G.A. § 14-3-852, as amended, or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, such Representative shall be indemnified by the Corporation against expenses (including without limitation attorneys’ fees and costs of Proceedings) actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection therewith. If a Representative is entitled to indemnification under this Section 7.2 in respect of a portion, but not all, of a Liability to which the Representative is subject, the Corporation shall indemnify the Representative to the maximum extent for such portion of the Liability.
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Limitation on Indemnification. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section 7, the Corporation shall not indemnify a Representative under this Section 7 for any Liability incurred in a Proceeding which was initiated by the Representative (which shall not be deemed to include counter-claims or affirmative defenses) or in which the Representative participated as an intervener or amicus curiae, unless such initiation of or participation in the Proceeding is authorized, either before or after its commencement, by the Board of Trustees. Advancement of Expenses. The Corporation shall pay, in advance of the final disposition of a Proceeding described in Section 7.2 or the initiation of or participation in a Proceeding authorized under Section 7.3, the expenses (including without limitation attorneys’ fees and costs of Proceedings) incurred in good faith in connection with such Proceeding by the Representative who is involved in the Proceeding by reason of the fact that he or she is or was serving in an Indemnified Capacity. Such advancement of expenses shall be made by the Corporation upon its receipt of an undertaking, satisfactory to the Corporation, by or on behalf of the Representative to repay to the Corporation the amounts advanced by the Corporation in the event it is ultimately determined that the Representative is not entitled to indemnification under this Section 7. Insurance. To effect, secure or satisfy the indemnification and contribution obligations of the Corporation, whether under this Section 7 or otherwise, the Corporation from time to time may self-insure, obtain and maintain insurance or letters of credit, create a reserve, trust, escrow, cash collateral or other fund or account, enter into indemnification agreements, pledge or give a mortgage upon or a security interest in any property of the Corporation, or use any other mechanism or arrangement, in such amounts, at such costs, and upon such other terms and conditions as and when the Board shall determine. Absent fraud, the determination of the Board with respect to such matters shall be conclusive against all security holders, trustees, officers and directors, and shall not be subject to avoidance or voidability. Payment of Expenses. A person who is entitled to indemnification or advancement of expenses from the Corporation under this Section 7 shall receive such payment or advancement promptly after the person’s written request therefore has been delivered to the Secretary of the Corporation.
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Interpretation. The provisions of this Section 7 shall constitute and be deemed to be a contract between the Corporation and its Representatives, pursuant to which the Corporation and each such Representative intend to be legally bound. Each person serving as a Representative shall be deemed to be doing so in reliance upon the rights provided by this Section 7. The rights granted by this Section 7 shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which persons seeking indemnification, advancement of expenses or contribution under this Section 7 may be entitled under any statute, agreement, vote of Trustees or disinterested Trustees, or otherwise, both as to action in an Indemnified Capacity and as to action in any other capacity. The rights to indemnification, advancement of expenses and contribution provided by this Section 7 shall continue as to a person who no longer serves as a Representative, and shall inure to the benefit of his or her heirs and personal and legal representatives. 7.8 Proper Reliance. An Indemnified Representative shall be deemed to have discharged his or her duty to the Charter School if he or she relied in good faith on information, advice or an opinion, report or statement prepared by: (a) one or more officers or employees of the Charter School whom such Indemnified Representative reasonably believes to be reliable and competent with respect to the matter presented; (b) legal counsel, public accountants or other persons as to matters the Indemnified Representative reasonable believes are within the professional expert competence of such persons; or (c) a committee of the Board of Trustees on which he or she does not serve as to matters within its area of designated authority, which committee he or she reasonably believes to merit confidence. 7.9 Binding Effect. All rights to indemnification under this Section 7 shall be deemed a contract between the Charter School and the Indemnified Representative pursuant to which the Charter School and each Indemnified Representative intent to be legally bound. Any repeal, amendment or modification of this Section 7 shall be prospective only and shall not affect any right or obligations then existing. 7.10 Non-exclusive Remedy. The indemnification of Indemnified Representatives, as authorized by this Section 7, shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which those seeking indemnification or advancement or expenses may be entitled under any statute, agreement, vote or disinterested Trustees or otherwise, both as to action in an official capacity and as to action in any other capacity. The indemnification and advancement of expenses provided by or granted pursuant to this Section 7 shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be an Indemnified Representative in respect of matters arising prior to such time, and shall insure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, administrators and personal representatives of such person. 7.11 Indemnified Representative. Each person who shall act as an Indemnified Representative of the Charter School shall be deemed to be doing so in reliance upon the rights of indemnification provided by this Section 7. Section 8. Execution of Instruments
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General. All contracts, deeds, leases, bonds, notes, and other instruments authorized to be executed by an Officer of the Charter School shall be signed by the President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, except as the Trustees may generally or in particular cases otherwise determine. Any recordable instrument purporting to affect an interest in real estate, executed in the name of the Charter School by the Board of Trustees shall be binding on the school in favor of a purchaser or other person relying in good faith on such instrument, notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of the Charter, by-laws, or votes of the Board of Trustees. 8.2 Guarantees. The Charter School shall make no contracts of guarantee without the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Trustees then in office. Section 9. Dissolution Upon revocation or non-renewal of the Charter School’s Charter, such revocation or non-renewal date being when all administrative and judicial remedies have been exhausted, the Charter School shall be dissolved. Upon the filing of Articles of Dissolution pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 14-2-1401, the Charter school shall be dissolved. After disposition of or making provision for the payment of all liabilities and obligations of the Charter School, any remaining assets shall be distributed in accordance with the Articles of Incorporation. Section 10. Amendments These by-laws may be altered, amended, repealed and replaced by new by-laws by a vote of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the Board of Trustees at any regularly scheduled or called special meeting of the Board of Trustees provided, however, that notice shall be given in the notice of the meeting that a change to the by-laws will be proposed at that meeting. Section 11. Rules of Procedure The proceedings and deliberations of the Charter School shall be in accordance with rules adopted and amended by the Board of Trustees. All matters not governed by such rules shall be governed by the parliamentary practices established by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. Section 12. Nondiscrimination In administering its affairs, including admissions, hiring, and operation, the Board and the Charter School shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation or age.
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PRE-LOTTERY ADMISSIONS APPLICATION
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Cirrus Academy Charter
Lottery Admissions Application
2014-15 School Year Applicant Last Name____________________________________ Applicant First Name______________________________ Street Address__________________________________________________________________________________________________ City_________________________State___________ZIP__________________ Date of Birth _____________________ Gender(M/F)_______________ Applying for Grade (circle one) K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Parent/Guardian Last Name______________________________Parent Guardian First Name____________________ Home Phone___________________________________ E-mail address_____________________________________________ Relationship to Student____________________________________ Street Address__________________________________________________________________________________________________ City_________________________State___________ZIP__________________ Siblings Eligible to Enroll at Cirrus Academy Charter School for 2014-15 __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ Grade ___________ ___________ ___________
By signing this form, you are certifying that you are the parent or legal guardian of the child/children listed on this for. I understand that the completion of this “Lottery Admissions Application” does not guarantee admission to the school. __________________________________________________________ Parent/Guardian’s Signature ______________ Date
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PROPOSED ANNUAL CALENDAR AND DAILY SCHOOL SCHEDULE
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Cirrus Academy Charter School 2014-2015 Tentative Calendar
First Day of School – Sept 2, 2014 Rosh Hashanah – School Closed Sept 24, 2014 Yom Kippur – School Closed Oct 3, 2014 Columbus Day – School Closed Oct 13, 2014 Veterans Day – School Closed Nov 11, 2014 Thanksgiving Break – School Closed Nov 27-30, 2014 Winter Recess – School Closed Dec 21-Jan 2, 2015 Martin Luther King Day – School Closed Jan 19, 2015 Presidents Day – School Closed Feb 16, 2015 Spring Break – School Closed April 6-10, 2015 Memorial Day – School Closed May 25, 2015 Last Day of School - June 12, 2015
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MONTHLY CASH FLOW PROJECTION DETAILING REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES FOR THE CHARTER SCHOOL’S FIRST TWO (2) YEARS OF OPERATION.
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ALTERNATIVE MONTHLY 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.
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SPREADSHEETS PROJECTING CASH FLOW, REVENUE ESTIMATES, BUDGETS, AND EXPENDITURES ON AN ANNUAL BASIS FOR THE FIRST FIVE (5) YEARS OF THE CHARTER TERM.
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DOCUMENTATION OF ANY SOURCES OF REVENUE APPEARING IN THE SPREADSHEETS THAT ARE ANTICIPATED TO COME FROM PRIVATE SOURCES.
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A COPY OF ANY AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER LOCAL SCHOOLS OR SCHOOL SYSTEMS FOR SERVICES THAT WILL BE PROVIDED TO THE CHARTER SCHOOLS, INCLUDING FOR THE CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PARTICIPATION IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES SUCH AS INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS AND CLUBS.
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