This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
STATE CHARTER SCHOOL PETITION COVER PAGE
Part I. Proposed Charter School Information Name of Proposed Charter School: Hephzibah Charter Academy Name of the Georgia nonprofit corporation that will hold the charter if granted: Georgia Charter Educational Foundation Check one: -wide attendance zone. -wide attendance zone but offers only virtual instruction. √ The proposed charter school has a defined attendance zone that is not state-wide. LEA in which the School will be Located: Richmond County School District LEA(s) that will be Included in the Proposed Attendance Zone: Richmond County School District Prospective Address for School Location: TBD Part II. Petition Contact Information Applicants must designate one individual to serve as the contact for official communications. Name: Lyn Michaels-Carden Physical Address: Title: Board Chair Phone Number: Fax Number:
Email Address: 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: _______________________. _____ 2. This petition was approved by the governing board of the proposed charter school on the following date: ________________________. _____ 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: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Charter Petitioner or School Leader Date _____________________________________________________________________________________ Governing Board Chairperson Date
Hephzibah Charter Academy
STATE CHARTER SCHOOL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Name of Proposed Charter School: Hephzibah Charter Academy Proposed Opening Date: August 2014 Proposed Charter Term: 5 years Grade Range: K-8 Will the School Enroll All Grades the First Year? (Yes/No): No Expected Initial Enrollment: 845 Proposed Full Enrollment: 1145 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 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 120 120 120 120 120 1 115 115 115 115 115 2 115 115 115 115 115 3 115 115 115 115 115 4 115 115 115 115 115 5 115 115 115 115 115 6 150 150 150 150 150 7 0 150 150 150 150 8 0 0 150 150 150 Total 845 995 1145 1145 1145
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. Hephzibah Charter Academy‘s (HCA) mission is to provide a safe learning environment where every student is challenged to reach his or her full potential. HCA strives for academic excellence and a school culture with positive morale by providing a research-based and rigorous curriculum. HCA will teach children the value of lifelong learning as well as the importance of contributing to society and community in positive ways. 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. HCA, in partnership with Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), an educational service provider, will implement an educational model based on Robert J. Marzano‘s What Works in Schools, a synthesis of thirty-five years of research, as well as his accompanying work, The Art and Science of Teaching. This model is an innovative approach to improving student learning and academic achievement, where datadriven instruction, an unwavering focus on the needs of each student, and ongoing teacher support are paramount. To achieve its goals of offering students a high-quality charter school education, HCA will use unique and innovative academic components to complement CSUSA‘s comprehensive data-driven educational model. The nine components include the following:
Hephzibah Charter Academy School-Wide Goal Setting (at the year‘s onset, teachers and administrators analyze the previous year‘s data to set school-wide improvement goals for the new year); Personalized Learning Plans (PLP) (designed to track the individual student‘s strengths and weaknesses, PLPs are collaboratively developed between students, parents and teachers to empower students to track their own progress); Progress Monitoring and Assessment (tracks specific and measurable goals regarding attendance, test scores, graduation rates and teacher retention to inform data-driven decision making); Innovative Measurement Tools to Drive Research-Based Instruction & Data Analysis (employs state-of-the art technology like the student information system, Teacher eGrade Book, and Narrative Report Card); Technology to Support Student Engagement (using interactive white boards, interactive tablets, and document cameras, etc.); Character Education Program (promotes an increase in student motivation toward academic learning by incorporating student interest with real-world experiences); Academic Intervention and Acceleration (using diagnostic assessments and benchmark data, students receive additional instruction and practice on identified areas, with teachers instructing before and after school, through content area integration); Supplemental Programing (collaboration and community integration through which character and academic education meet with engaged stakeholders in extracurricular and auxiliary activities); Meaningful parental engagement is an essential element of HCA‘s culture. A Comprehensive Parental Involvement Program and Family-School-Community partnership model is planned for HCA.
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. The Georgia Charter Educational Foundation (GCEF) was formed in 2009 for the sole purpose of opening quality charter schools in the state of Georgia. GCEF is interested in advancing the educational options of parents and students throughout the state of Georgia and creating cutting-edge and industry relevant charter schools. By facilitating the growth of charter schools across the state, the GCEF collaboration creates a powerful platform for innovation, best-practices, and replication and, most importantly, gives children opportunities to thrive into the future. GCEF has successfully opened and is operating two high quality charter schools in collaboration with CSUSA – Cherokee Charter Academy and Coweta Charter Academy – and served over 1,300 students in 2012-2013. Through economies of scale, appropriate resources, and organizational maturity the GCEF/CSUSA collaboration ensures best practices and success at each of its schools and looks to expand its successful core model while also integrating a variety of Communities of Character, partnerships, programs, and training. The Vision: The strategic vision for HCA and its stakeholders is ambitious – advancing the educational options of parents and students. Like all quality charter schools, the communities, stakeholders, and partners of HCA are committed to developing innovative learning environments where all students are self-motivated, productive citizens and are prepared to reach their potential in 21st century educational and workforce opportunities with an emphasis on civic engagement and integration of innovative programs and partnerships. The mission is to create rigorous and supportive learning environments
Hephzibah Charter Academy concentrating on best practices, a culture of safety and success, active citizenship and experiential learning through community engagement, strategic partnerships, and real-world learning experiences. The School: At the core of HCA‘s strategy is rigorous and comprehensive academic and ―wrap-around‖ programming to create a match between academic and auxiliary programming to meet the needs and demands of the students and the surrounding communities. The intent of GCEF partnerships are to link proven educational models with project-based, progressive collaboration where students will participate in focused Communities of Character with highly-qualified teachers, the community (local, national, and global), Institutes of Higher Education, industry, and business. The appropriate processes, tools, and systems are uniquely designed by Charter Schools USA to accomplish our purpose of the creation of a learning environment where all students are self-motivated, productive citizens and are prepared to reach their potential in 21st educational and workforce opportunities. HCA, like each GCEF/CSUSA collaborative school, is planned to create a culture of high expectation and mutual respect and includes strong local governance and decision-making, active and meaningful parental involvement and intense measurement & monitoring of school culture. HCA will also incorporate unique and innovative academic components that complement the comprehensive data-driven instructional delivery to foster the development of well-rounded student-citizens and provide experiential learning opportunities that include: research-based instructional strategies; personalized learning plans; Integrated Character Educational Model (Strive 65); Communities of Character Program; foreign language at all grade levels; and student information system. HCA, like each partnership, draws from local assets and resources where students learn within the context of projects to produce artifacts/products based on problems and entrepreneurial ideas posed by students, teachers, and the community. At the heart of the concept is the integration of partnerships and appliedlearning experiences across the curriculum to drive collaboration between students, parents, community members, government, businesses, and service organization to ensure cross-curricular learning opportunities and communities of practice and/or internship/service learning. In the case of Hephzibah Charter Academy, the cities of Hephzibah, Blythe, and the South Richmond community have embraced, advocated, and spearheaded the efforts to bring a quality school choice option to the area.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
STATE CHARTER SCHOOL PETITION CONTENTS
Identify the appropriate page number in the petition or appendix where the following information may be located: I. DESCRIPTION OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM 1. Page 1 Describe the focus of the curriculum. 2. Page 13 Describe the instructional methods to be used in the charter school, including any distinctive or unique instructional techniques or educational programs. 3. Page 22 Describe the anticipated teacher-to-student ratio and the rationale for maintaining this ratio. 4. Page 22 Describe how the charter school will meet the needs of students identified as gifted and talented. 5. Page 23 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. 6. Page 24 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. II. STATE AND FEDERALLY MANDATED SERVICES 7. Page 24 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. 8. Page 30 For English Learners (ESOL), describe how the charter school will provide state and federally mandated services. 9. Page 31 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. 10. Page 31 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. III. DESCRIPTION OF ASSESSMENT METHODS 11. Page 31 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. 12. Page 33 Explain how the charter school will ensure all students participate in all statemandated assessments. 13. Page 33 Describe how the charter school‘s assessment plan will measure student improvement and over what period of time.
Hephzibah Charter Academy 14. Page 33 Describe how the charter school will use this assessment data to monitor and improve achievement for students.
IV. PERFORMANCE-BASED GOALS AND MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES 15. Page 35 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. 16. Page 36 Describe how these academic goals and measurable objectives will comply with the Single Statewide Accountability System. 17. Page 37 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. V. WAIVERS 18. Page 38 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. 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 performance-based goals and to increase student achievement.
19. Page 42
VI. DESCRIPTION OF SCHOOL OPERATIONS 20. Page 42 Describe how the charter school intends to fulfill all responsibilities of acting as its own LEA. 21. Page 43 Describe the attendance zone for the charter school. 22. Page 45 Describe the rules and procedures that will govern the admission of students to the charter school. 23. Page 47 Describe whether the charter school will use any enrollment priorities pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2066(a)(1). 24. Page 47 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. 25. Page 48 Describe the charter school‘s plan for recruiting students and for maintaining/increasing enrollment. 26. Page 48 Describe the rules and procedures concerning student discipline and student dismissal (including code of conduct and student due process procedures). 27. Page 49 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. 28. Page 51 Describe generally the charter school‘s employment procedures and policies. 29. Page 59 Describe how and by whom the principal‘s performance will be evaluated. 30. Page 61 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
Hephzibah Charter Academy subject area(s) in which he/she will teach as required by ESEA. Describe whether the charter school will use the state salary schedule, and if another schedule will be used, provide that schedule. Describe the charter school‘s procedures to ensure that staff members are subject to fingerprinting and background checks. Describe the charter school‘s insurance coverage, including the terms and conditions and coverage amounts thereof. 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. 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. State whether 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.
31. Page 61 32. Page 62 33. Page 62 34. Page 62
35. Page 63
36. Page 63
VII. PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT 37. Page 64 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. VIII. DEMONSTRATION OF FISCAL FEASIBILITY AND CONTROLS 38. Page 68 Describe the level of autonomy the charter school will have over budgets and expenditures. 39. Page 70 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. 40. Page 70 Identify the school‘s chief financial officer and describe how that person‘s credentials comply with requirements of the State Board of Education. 41. Page 71 Provide a proposed timeline as to when the charter school will begin to receive state to when operations begin. 42. Page 71 Describe the charter school‘s plans for securing other sources of funding, including funding from corporations, individuals, foundations, philanthropic groups, or any other source. IX. DESCRIPTION OF GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE 43. Page 72 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.. 44. Page 72 Describe the governing board‘s function, duties, and role, including the board‘s role as it relates to the charter school‘s mission. 45. Page 78 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. 46. Page 83 List any proposed business arrangements or partnerships with existing schools, educational programs, businesses, or nonprofit organizations and disclose any potential conflicts of interest. 47. Page 83 Disclose any potential conflicts of interest of the founding board members. 48. Page 83 Describe how the governing board will ensure that current and future board members avoid conflicts of interest.
Hephzibah Charter Academy 49. Page 84 50. Page 85 51. Page 86 Describe how the governing board will ensure effective organizational planning and financial stability. Describe the method that the local board and the charter school plan to utilize for resolving conflicts. 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. Describe the decision making process and due diligence exercised by the founding/governing board in choosing to contract with the educational management organization.
52. Page 86
X. FACILITIES 53. Page 87 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. 54. Page 88 Describe any modifications necessary for utilizing the space for educational purposes. 55. Page 88 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. 56. Page 88 Provide a Certificate of Occupancy, or a timeline for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, prior to students occupying the proposed facility. 57. Page 88 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. APPENDICES 1. Page 90 Sample Curriculum Maps Aligned to Common Core GPS 2. Page 152 Proposed Annual Calendar and (Draft) Daily Schedule for Hephzibah Charter Academy 3. Page 167 Draft Admissions Application (Pre-Lottery) For Hephzibah Charter Academy 4. Page 170 Student Handbook and Code of Conduct 5. Page 224 Schedule of Insurances 6. Page 229 Budgets a. Page 230 Spreadsheets projecting cash flow, revenue estimates, budgets, and expenditures on an annual basis for the first five (5) years of the charter term b. Page 233 Monthly cash flow projection detailing revenues and expenditures for the charter school‘s first two years of operation c. Page 244 Alternative monthly cash flow spreadsheets projecting revenues and expenditures that assume one-half (1/2) of the projected student enrollment for the first two years of operation 7. Page 259 Certificate of Incorporation from the Georgia Secretary of State for Georgia Charter Educational Foundation 8. Page 269 Bylaws for Georgia Charter Educational Foundation. 9. Page 279 Board Member Resumes 10. Page 307 Management Agreement 11. Page 329 Facility timeline
Hephzibah Charter Academy
DESCRIPTION OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
1. Describe the focus of the curriculum. The guiding vision for Georgia Charter Educational Foundation (GCEF), Hephzibah Charter Academy (HCA) and the HCA Local Governing Council (LGC) is the belief that all children can learn, become self-motivated life-long learners, function as responsible citizens, and actualize their potential as productive citizens in the local and global societies and the 21st century workforce. Guaranteed & Viable Curriculum The Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum, as outlined by Robert Marzano in his book What Works in Schools, ensures academic excellence in every classroom and encourages steady academic progress as students build their knowledge and skills from one year to the next. HCA‘s Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) comes from highly qualified educators organizing the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) in such a way as to guarantee the same education in each teacher‘s classrooms. Textbooks and instructional materials are recommended by the education service provider‘s core education and support team to enhance the curriculum and ensure the text and materials‘ viability and effectiveness in positively impacting student achievement at the school. Academic Programming The focus of the curriculum will be the mastery of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards with an emphasis on targeted, data-driven instruction. HCA, the GCEF and the education service provider, Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), will implement an educational model based on Robert J. Marzano‘s research. The Educational Model With the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum as its core, the educational model provides the process for improving student learning and academic achievement. The six steps included in the model are baseline assessment, data-driven instruction, assessment, grading, reporting and decision. A network of administrators, teachers, parents, students and a core education team will support each transition to the next step. This model will be the framework for what is taught at each grade-level. A curriculum map is created for all subjects aligned to the Common Core GPS (please see Appendix 1 for sample curriculum maps). To ensure student achievement, the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum considers the following: The content considered essential for all students to learn versus the content considered supplemental has been identified and communicated to teachers The amount of essential content that has been identified can be addressed in the instructional time available to teachers The essential content is organized and sequenced in a way that students have ample opportunity to learn it
Hephzibah Charter Academy Minimized interruptions and the proactive scheduling of non-instructional activities during the school day protects the instructional time available to teachers
The Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum ensures academic excellence in every classroom and encourages steady academic progress as students build their knowledge and skills from one year to the next. Textbooks and instructional materials are resources to support the curriculum maps; they are not the curriculum themselves. After clear guidance is given to teachers regarding the content to be addressed in specific courses and at specific grade levels, the core education team and school administration will monitor learning so that the academic content necessary for achievement within each grade is not disregarded or replaced. Baseline Assessment and Data - Baseline assessment provides all stakeholders with the information needed to identify students‘ strengths and weaknesses; to effectively target instruction; and to set school level, classroom-level, and individual student-level goals. Baseline assessments include summative assessments such as Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, Benchmark Tests, pre-assessments, and end-of-unit and chapter tests. Teachers will begin the school year by assessing the previous year‘s data with Benchmark Number 1 to target and differentiate instruction and to help students focus their learning as they work to master specific skills and content in the Common Core GPS. Throughout the year, school administrators will meet with teachers in ―Data Chats‖ to review Benchmarks Numbers 2 and 3 to further drive instruction. This academic data is also reviewed during the creation of a strategic plan and/or school improvement plan. The strategic plan will include goals in core-content areas, school operations, and parent satisfaction. Data-Driven Instruction - GCEF, HCA, and CSUSA‘s community of stakeholders and extensive network of support provides teachers with staff development and the sharing of best practices to ensure that teachers have the necessary tools and instructional strategies to be effective in increasing student achievement. This network will assist HCA‘s teachers in the process of analyzing baseline data from the school‘s Student Information System, and using it to make informed instructional decisions that best meet the needs of each student. Teachers will use the information, adjust instructional focus, and employ regrouping and other differentiation strategies to ensure that each student is making progress towards mastery of specific skills and content in the Common Core GPS. Using this approach of data-driven instruction and ongoing teacher support through collaboration within the network around meeting the needs of each student, HCA will ensure a culture of continuous improvement and increased student achievement. Assessment - After data-driven instruction, formative assessments will be given to determine areas of growth and will be used to continue to identify instructional priorities. The primary objective of formative assessment systems is to guide ongoing instruction compared to summative assessment systems that measure where students are at the end of instruction. Formative assessment enables teachers to identify instructional priorities and deliver targeted instruction, intervention, remediation, or enrichment to their students as necessary. Further, timely and specific feedback based upon formative assessments of student performance on grade level standards is given to establish individualized goals for all students (Marzano, 2003). These assessments are graded at the most specific level of the Common Core GPS. Through the collection of data on each student and the inclusion of parents in the overall academic progress of their child, we believe that each student will recognize his/her individual potential and strive to meet and exceed the academic goals that he/she has participated in setting for him/herself. Although
Hephzibah Charter Academy testing and evaluation may be stressful for some students, testing is a normal and expected way of assessing what students have learned. The purpose of collecting individual student data is to provide an independent insight into each child‘s progress, as well as that of each school. The analysis of this data is what drives classroom instruction and student progress, otherwise known as data-driven instruction. This is how the school ensures that every student is achieving academic growth and receiving tailored instruction. Grading - HCA‘s grading of assessments is accomplished through the Teacher eGrade Book on HCA‘s student information system. As students complete their assignments, their grades are recorded in the Teacher eGrade Book. These assessments are graded at the most specific level of the Common Core GPS to facilitate data collection. As the data is collected, it is reported within the Teacher eGrade Book in various formats for straightforward data analysis. The data is then reviewed at the specific standard to target individual student needs on specific skill expectations. Grades earned by each student are based on student mastery of standards and do not include effort, responsibility or conduct as inputs into the academic grade. These are reported to parents separately, apart from the academic grade. Reporting - Reporting offers HCA the capability of disaggregating data by individual student, by individual class, by grade level and by school. The data is reported out to parents, administrators, and the students themselves, as well as other appropriate stakeholders. Decision – Once the process of data-driven instruction, assessment, grading and reporting of a particular standard is complete, teachers and administrators, based on the data, will make the decision to either move on to a new standard and begin with a baseline assessment, or revisit the same standard and move again through the steps of the educational model. Elementary Programming K-5 Reading: The primary goal of the reading program is to help students understand what they read, effectively convey what they mean, and apply these skills to all areas of the curriculum as expressed in the Common Core GPS and aligned to the five (5) components of reading: phonemic awareness: phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. A firm foundation of reading skills is developed through a strong phonics program in order to provide word attack and word analysis skills and the acquisition of decoding skills. During daily reading periods, teachers use numerous approaches to develop and strengthen skills of comprehension and vocabulary development. A minimum of 90 minutes instructional time-on-task is required. Informal discussions of stories promote inferential skill development and frequent oral reading encourages expressiveness. The use of multi-level tests, computer programs, chapter books, and a wide variety of literature, helps each child master the skills needed to achieve early independence in reading. The literature covers a broad scope of interests that encourage personal development through reading. Children learn to appreciate literature and their own creative stories. HCA Planning Team, which includes CSUSA Curriculum Resource Teachers and members of GCEF, has reviewed current research in order to formulate a research-based reading curriculum. This curriculum is a balanced reading approach that incorporates a combination of reading and teaching strategies, realizing that students need to use multiple strategies to become proficient readers. HCA recognizes that phonics and whole language should not be viewed as competing methods of instruction but that both are necessary. Developing phonemic awareness in students and presenting literature both orally and independently are both instructional techniques that educators integrate into their teaching repertoire. There are four major approaches to reading instruction that have dominated the academic world – phonics, basal, literature, and language experience/writing (Cunningham & Allington, 1999). Phonics instruction provides the basic understanding for how our alphabet works. A basal approach assures the teacher covers phonics and comprehension strategies in a systematic and sequential manner using an
Hephzibah Charter Academy appropriate selection of literature. Reading ―real‖ books gives students the opportunity to experientially encounter literature, and writing allows students to practice reading strategies in their own compositions. Creating the foundation with phonemic awareness and phonics instruction is a vital part of the reading curriculum. Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words. Phonemes are the individual sounds that make up spoken language. It is the ability to attend to those sounds, differentiate them, and manipulate them in speech that produces reading. A student with phonemic awareness is able to shift his/her focus from the meanings of spoken words to their sounds. Phonics instruction is a method of teaching reading that stresses the systematic acquisition of soundsymbol relationships. When using phonics strategies, students employ their phonemic awareness base by identifying the sounds that letters and letter combinations make and using that knowledge to decode words. For that reason, phonemic awareness must be developed prior to phonics instruction. Phonics can be taught by: Sorting word activities Manipulating letters or letter combinations to build words and work with spelling patterns Maneuvering onsets and rhymes to make new words Phonics instruction is designed to increase accuracy in decoding and word recognition skills, which in turn facilitates comprehension. The fluent and automatic application of phonics skills to text is a critical skill necessary to maximize oral reading and reading comprehension. Research has also identified specific skills children must learn in order to read well, which HCA will incorporate as part of their Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. According to the Report of the National Reading Panel (2000) Teaching Children to Read, the best instructional reading programs include: alphabetics (phonemic awareness and phonics), fluency (guided oral reading and independent silent reading), and comprehension (vocabulary and text comprehension). HCA will focuses on five reading components: phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension. HCA has incorporated these identified skills into the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum thereby providing teachers benchmarks, standards, teaching strategies, and assessment techniques that will assist each student in achieving his/her highest potential in reading. One of the primary goals of a reading program is to develop fluent readers, which involves building the confidence level of students in reading as well as their ability to understand and enjoy reading (Mastropieri et. al., 1999). Fluent reading involves oral reading whereby students read quickly, expressively, and with good phrasing (CIERA, 1998). For students to become fluent readers who devote their attention to the meaning of texts, many opportunities to read appropriate levels of text are needed throughout the early grades. Guided oral reading and independent silent reading are two instructional approaches that are used to teach reading fluency to help children learn how to use independent reading strategies successfully. In guided reading, a teacher works with a small group of students, helping them develop and use a range of skills and strategies to read a text for themselves. Guided oral reading encourages students to read passages orally with systematic and explicit guidance and feedback from the teacher. The teacher‘s role is crucial. The teacher selects the text, introduces it, and guides the students as they talk, read, and think their way through the text. The format of a guided reading session includes the following: Stating the purpose(s) for reading
Hephzibah Charter Academy Introducing the reading Reading and discussing the texts Responding to texts Following-up for understanding
The reading curriculum encourages teachers to incorporate the use of supplemental reading materials in order to reinforce phonetic principles instead of developing them. This is to ensure that during the remedial process of learning how to improve reading skills, students have immediate correction and feedback for decoding, fluency, and comprehension skills. Comprehension is another critically important piece in the development of children‘s reading achievement; and the size of a student‘s vocabulary (either oral or print) will significantly impact the degree of a student‘s reading comprehension. To develop student vocabularies, children need to read as much as possible and teachers must explicitly teach the vocabulary words that students may encounter. Teachers must encourage students to attend to the meanings of new words by giving explicit information about the word‘s definition coupled with attention to their usages and shades of meaning across contexts. Strategies for vocabulary development include but are not limited to the following: Repetition Multiple exposure Computer technology Study roots and affixes Study topics Student glossaries Oral story telling Vocabulary word wall The following are types of instruction that research has shown to be effective in improving reading comprehension: Cooperative learning, where students learn reading strategies together Use of graphic and semantic organizers Use of story mapping Question answering with immediate teacher feedback Story sequence and structure review Summarization Discussion The reading curriculum for elementary students has been designed to provide a balanced and researchbased approach to meeting the literacy needs of all students. As mentioned above, students in grades K-5 actively participate in reading instruction every day for 90 minutes. This 90-minute period is used strictly for teaching and reinforcing alphabetics (phonemic awareness and phonics), fluency (guided oral reading and independent silent reading), and comprehension (vocabulary and text comprehension). There is another 45-minute period used for language arts, which includes spelling, writing, and further vocabulary development. Other Elementary Programs The primary goal of the language arts program is to help students build a basic understanding of the mechanics and structure of the English language as expressed in the Common Core GPS.
K-5: Language Arts
Hephzibah Charter Academy Other Elementary Programs Fundamentally, students in grades K through 5 are focused on developing comprehension strategies that will enable them to manipulate grade-level texts of appropriate complexity and communicate effectively both in writing and in speaking. Students will begin to anchor their inquiries and responses firmly to the text, whether literary or informational, using increasingly specific and relevant evidence to support their claims and inferences. Students‘ analytical skills will extend to identifying main idea/theme, understanding character and plot development, and evaluating the impact of word choice. Additionally, students will identify structural elements in text such as scenes and chapters, distinguish narrative voice, understand the impact of aesthetic elements, and make logical connections. A key component of the Common Core GPS is the expectation of appropriate grade level complexity in text choices. The primary goal of the foreign language program is to develop the conversational and written skills required for living in a diverse environment. To support and build background about the language, students are provided with information about culture and communities of foreign languages. Having a background about the relationships, perspectives, and products of cultures is key in making connections about the language. The foreign language program is taught by highly qualified teachers and focuses on the introduction of communicative competence in the target language and understanding of the culture(s) of the people who speak that language. It assumes that the students have no prior knowledge of the language and culture. The Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum, which is centered on the Common Core GPS, K-5: Mathematics focuses students on accuracy of computation and mastery of basic operations, fundamental math concepts and developing the ability to apply their knowledge to practical problem solving. All grades use word problems to promote analytical thinking skills. Teachers use various manipulative materials before moving students to paper and pencil tasks. The curriculum provides instruction that integrates the process standards with the following mathematic content areas: counting and cardinality; operations and algebraic thinking; number and operations in base ten; number and operations – fractions; measurement and data; and geometry. Science is a process, a way of thinking about and investigating the world in which we live. Students build their knowledge of living things, life cycles, and how living things interact with each other and their environment. Students develop awareness about the Earth through experiences in comparing, contrasting, and describing earthly materials. Through guided observations, students learn to notice as much as possible about objects and events, paying close attention to detail. Developing their own questions and performing investigations and experiments in a safe environment, students use the processes of scientific investigation to design, predict, conduct, observe, measure, describe, gather data, and evaluate while communicating and recording their observations. Students start to build knowledge about the properties of the physical world as they explore, examine, classify, and manipulate common objects in their environment and note their similarities and differences. The curriculum, centered on the Common Core GPS, encompasses the Characteristics of
K-5: Foreign Language
Hephzibah Charter Academy Other Elementary Programs Science Standards, Habits of Mind and The Nature of Science, and the following content areas: Earth Science Physical Science Life Science Through the integration of the process standards and content standards, science curriculum is delivered through a discovery instructional process with emphasis on scientific thinking and real world experiences. The social studies curriculum uses a sequential approach to unify history and the social sciences through the examination of the following content areas of the Common Core GPS: the symbols of America, American heroes, the origins of American democracy, Georgia history, and United States history. The Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum promotes the development of concepts and the mastery of methods of inquiry. Students gain an understanding of the major factors that have influenced the structures of our society from earliest times to present day. Teachers seek to educate students to become effective and contributing members of their community, to increase their understanding of privileges and responsibilities of citizenship, and to instill a feeling of patriotism and national identity. Concepts of home and community are reviewed and extended. Students gain a broader understanding of living in communities through the study of both similar and diverse societies. The primary goal of the art program is to provide every student an opportunity to develop and explore his or her creative potential. Art specialists encourage skill development and artistic adventure as they guide students to create and express themselves in both realistic and abstract models. Students will develop art skills, including an aesthetic awareness of art forms in nature, an appreciation of different artistic styles, and the confidence to use art as a mode of personal expression. Students practice imagining, experimenting, solving problems, thinking independently, and making their own decisions. The music curriculum includes both vocal and instrumental music. A variety of melodic and harmonic classroom instruments in accompaniment of singing during classroom practice and performances is incorporated throughout the music curriculum. Music specialists introduce students to both music skills and knowledge of various types of musical literature. Students are exposed to musical contributions representing various cultures, genres, styles, and artists. Exposure to a variety of composers representing various historical periods and cultures enables students to understand the role of regions, events, and historical context on the various music types. Skills and techniques are developed throughout all grade levels. The curriculum focuses on the refinement of musical skills by introducing and practicing techniques such as blending vocal timbres, matching dynamic levels, appropriate tempo and balance, and responding to cues of the conductor through the singing of songs, rhymes, and melodies both individually and as a group. In addition, instruction will lead students to demonstrate progressive competency in reading and interpreting simple melodies, rhythms, melodic patterns, and appropriate dictation. HCA recognizes and embraces the important role technology plays in educating children to prepare them for the opportunities of tomorrow. Technology has proven invaluable,
K-5: Social Studies
Hephzibah Charter Academy Other Elementary Programs not only as a skills-based tool for children to learn, but also as an additional instructional tool to assist teachers in providing targeted, effective learning instruction for successful educational outcomes. HCA‘s philosophy of the role of technology in the classroom is based on three concepts. First, technology is a core for learning. Second, technology must be ubiquitous (i.e., readily accessible to teachers and students in the classroom and all areas where learning takes place). Third, educational use of the Internet broadens and deepens students‘ knowledge and academic achievement. Appropriate use of the Internet is ensured via the installation of software filters designed to block access to those sites deemed unsuitable for student access including pornographic sites. Supervision by faculty and staff further ensures appropriate student use of the Internet. HCA bases technology instruction on 6 national standards (Spiral of Skills) that support computer literacy beginning in kindergarten. These standards are taught with increasing complexity at appropriate levels (Level I, Grades K-2; Level II, Grades 3-5) as follows. The student: Knows the characteristics and uses of computer hardware and operating systems Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software Understands the relationship among science, technology, society, and the individual Understands the nature of technological design Understands the nature of, and operation of systems Understands the nature and uses of different forms of technology The primary goal of the physical education program is the basic application of individual skills in a team sport environment. Physical education will include a variety of developmental activities emphasizing fine and gross motor skill development. The kindergarten through 2nd grade curriculum is focused on movement exploration through various motor and non-motor experiences and includes instruction in keeping growing bodies healthy, clean, and out of harm‘s way (e.g. health/nutrition, exercise, drug prevention, first aid, and safety). Physical education in grades 3 through 5 allows students to interact in team sports that also contribute to developing habits of good sportsmanship. HCA‘s Media Center/Library Program will be the hub of learning and academic activity in the school. It will support the curriculum by providing access to current, adequate, and appropriate information resources and ensure that all students, teachers, and staff are effective users of ideas and information. HCA‘s Media Center/Library program will provides access to information and ideas for all users. It will serve students and teachers alike, while allowing students to learn how to access a wealth of knowledge and learning resources. It affords opportunities for students to appreciate literature and the cultural arts, to learn creative thinking skills, to become critical seekers of information and ideas and to use instructional and educational technology effectively so they may become independent life-long learners and decision makers. The media center will have seating for classes and small groups, along with individual study. Each classroom will maintain a library, which will include a selection of genres and reading levels.
K-5: Physical Education
Hephzibah Charter Academy Middle School Programming 6-8: English Language Arts The primary goal of the English Language Arts program is to provide instruction in the content areas of English Language Arts: A) Reading, B) Writing, C) Conventions, and D) Listening, Viewing, and Speaking. These competencies are integrated throughout students‘ learning experiences in English Language Arts. Students refine and master previously learned skills in increasingly complex reading selections, presentations, and written compositions. Students read a wide variety of classic and contemporary selections, as well as informational texts, poetry, and selections for personal enjoyment. Students should be able to comprehend more challenging books and articles, basing all of their analyses, inferences, and claims on explicit and relevant evidence from the texts. Students will expand on their ability to identify central ideas by identifying how those themes are shaped and conveyed by particular details. Their analysis of basic literary elements will extend to identifying connections and complexities within narratives and how individual elements weave together to advance plot and reveal character. The evaluation of the impact of language on tone and meaning will begin to include more sophisticated concepts such as analogy and allusion, subtleties in point of view such as dramatic irony, and a more sophisticated appreciation for connotative diction. These skills will be incorporated into the students‘ own narrative and expository writing. Students will become increasingly adept at understanding an author‘s biases, the use of complex rhetorical devices including logical fallacies, and tailoring his or her own prose for maximum influence. While continuing with a variety of literary non-fiction, students in grades 6-8 will begin to tackle more technical informational texts as well. Literary selections will include foundational materials from mythology, cultural histories, and religious traditions. Middle School Reading The reading curriculum for middle school students has been designed to provide a balanced and researchbased approach to meeting the literacy needs of all students. The development of competent, proficient readers capable of using reading for learning in all content areas is the goal of the middle school reading curriculum. The focus of the middle school reading program is to develop students who: Are able to use reading as a primary method of learning Are able to learn from increasingly complex content area reading materials Are able to communicate effectively using reading and writing Are prepared for reading demands beyond high school and in the workplace Are able to read expository and narrative texts, technical materials, information presented in visual displays such as charts and graphs, and are able to read through interactions with technology. Acquire the habit of reading for enjoyment as a life-long pursuit HCA will implement a reading program that is aligned with the Charter Schools USA educational model and based on the Charter Schools USA curriculum maps containing the Charter Schools USA Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. Teachers have access to the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum in all subject areas and have the opportunity to participate in an annual review of the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum each spring. All subject areas having access to the reading Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum allows middle school grade level teams to support the reading program in the content areas. Crosscurricular reading support is provided to teachers as part of the Charter Schools USA Professional Development offerings.
Hephzibah Charter Academy HCA supports teaching reading through the implementation of the following guidelines: Reading skills are introduced through the most important age appropriate literary genres and vocabulary development. Reading is further enhanced by the incorporation of basic reading skills in the content areas of science and social studies. Because students should have well-developed reading skills by this stage of middle school, intensive learning programs are provided to all sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who score at remedial reading levels. All seventh and eighth grade students who have below a 2.0 grade point average in their Language Arts or English class will be placed in an intensive reading class. Using reading as the foundation, all middle grades students will receive rigorous academic instruction through challenging curricula delivered by highly qualified teachers with outstanding leadership to ensure that eighth grade students are prepared to successfully transition to high school. The implementation of the reading curriculum is consistent with HCA‘s educational model following the principles of data-driven instruction. After conducting and/or analyzing baseline assessments and data on the five reading components, instruction is planned for each student, based on the area of need identified through the assessment. This data-driven instruction is based on research-based instructional strategies and learning methods. Other Middle School Programs The primary goal of the foreign language program is to provide instruction in the following five areas: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. Focusing on these five areas, students will learn to communicate in a language or in languages (other than English) through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students formulate and answer questions about the literary elements of targeted language selections. Students identify themes, ideas, or viewpoints on social behaviors and/or social interactions of various cultures and discuss these cultural differences as they participate in age-appropriate cultural activities ranging from sports to dance. Students learn to exchange information with peers orally and in writing. They use appropriate vocabulary and cultural expressions to request additional information when a message in the target language has not been fully understood, and they use repetition, rephrasing, and gestures effectively to assist in communicating spoken messages. Presentations are conducted in the foreign language by students to further develop their communication skills in front of an audience regarding various topics. Through these presentations, students recognize that languages have different patterns of communication and interaction. They will be prepared to use the language within and beyond the school system. Using strategies, skills, concepts, and technology, students move beyond a particular problem, generalizing to other situations, and experience the integration of mathematics into as many areas of study as possible. The Mathematics content includes skills and knowledge and mathematical practices, or habits of mind, that should develop students mathematical expertise. The content is organized into the following domains: ratios and proportional relationships, the number system, expressions and equations, functions, geometry, and statistics and probability Early intervention and proper assessment of learning disabilities are key to developing
6-8: Foreign Language
Hephzibah Charter Academy Other Middle School Programs students who are successful at understanding mathematical concepts. The first step in providing increased learning opportunities and interventions to low-performing students is an assessment of student‘s mastery or non-mastery of each mathematical standard. Those middle school students identified as low-performing, or having skill gaps receive intensive instructional support. The primary goal of the science and technology program is to provide instruction that integrates the Characteristics of Science Standards (The Habits of Mind and The Nature of Science) with the content area of Earth Science, Life Science and Physical Science delivered through a discovery instructional process with emphasis on scientific thinking and real world experiences. Instruction in science content areas is achieved through an integrated science curriculum. The integrated science curriculum constructs thematic concepts integrating the perspectives of biology, chemistry, physics, and earth/space science. For example, electricity is normally only studied in physics. Through HCA‘s integrated science curriculum, students explore the generation and conduction of electrical impulses in living organisms in biology, how the earth‘s electromagnetic field is generated and detected in earth science, electrochemistry in chemistry, and electron flow and positive and negative charges in physics/physical science. Through integrating science themes throughout the science curriculum, students discover the many connections between the different fields of science. Knowledge of scientific facts, vocabulary, and investigative skills are developed through hands on experimentation. With the incorporation of hands-on activities, students identify and understand science as an active process of systematically examining and searching for understanding about the natural world. Students will develop solutions to problems by following the scientific method: 1) formulating a hypothesis, 2) devising experiments, 3) controlling and manipulating variables, 4) comparing and analyzing results, and finally 5) defending conclusions. Inquiry skills include organization and mathematical analysis of data, manipulating variables in experimentation, and identifying sources of experimental error. Content areas cover physical science, life science, and earth science. Physical Science The Common Core GPS emphasizes the examination of the scientific view of the nature of matter; familiarity with the forms and transformations of energy; an investigation of the relationship between force, mass and the motion of objects; the nature of sound and electromagnetic radiation; and the characteristics of gravity, electricity, and magnetism as major kinds of forces acting in nature. Understanding and investigating common properties, forms, and changes in matter and energy will assist students with knowledge about the physical world. Technology integration is utilized at all facets possible during the study of physical science. Life Science The Common Core GPS emphasizes investigating and comparing the diversity of living organisms; the ability to describe the structure of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems; the ability to recognize and understand biological traits; the examination of the interdependence of organisms; and the examination of the evolution of living organisms. Students work towards building a complex understanding of change, cycles, patterns, and relationships in the living world.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Other Middle School Programs Students build on basic principles related to these concepts by exploring cellular organization and the classification of organisms; the relationships among organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems; and change as a result of the transmission of genetic information from generation to generation. Earth Science The Common Core GPS emphasizes student exploration of the evolution of scientific views of the universe; the effects of the relative positions of the earth, moon and sun; the significant role of water in earth processes; what affects climate and weather; the scientific views of the earth‘s formation; and an understanding of the various sources of energy. Students review historical contributions in the development of scientific thought about the earth and space; stress the interpretation of maps, charts, tables, and profiles, and stress the importance of utilizing technology to collect, analyze, and report data. They investigate geological materials, placing an emphasis on understanding the interaction of geology, astronomy, and meteorology as they pertain to the world. Exploration of the world integrates the life sciences and the physical sciences into the study of earth and space. Technology, like other subject areas, is departmentalized and offers specific courses for study. These courses may include a culminating project that demonstrates their computer literacy. Examples of such projects are PowerPoint presentations, creation of a desktop published document, and effective use of a spreadsheet to track data, podcasts, and webpage design. The primary goal of the social studies program is to provide instruction in history, government/civics, geography, and economics according to the Common Core GPS. Students are able to describe and demonstrate how history is the story of events, peoples, and places and place these events and activities in chronological order. Students investigate beliefs and principles of major religions, ethical systems, philosophies, and ideologies that have shaped economic, social, and political institutions and influenced the course of history. Students learn to identify: Natural characteristics of places How people interact with and modify their environment How cultural, economic, and political processes shape human migration and settlement How language, ideas, beliefs, and institutions of one culture influence other cultures The relative value of primary and secondary sources How diversity of societies, social classes, and groups have been affected and changed by forces of geography, ideology, and economics Additionally, students understand the history of Georgia and its people over time. Students focus on analyzing Georgia‘s history; examining the geographic and demographic characteristics that define Georgia; examining the state government of Georgia; and examining Georgia‘s economic growth. Students demonstrate an understanding that being a good citizen in America involves important actions, including personal and civic rights and responsibilities. Students identify and describe national symbols, icons, songs, traditions, and individuals of the United States that exemplify cherished ideals, represent American democracy and values, and provide continuity and a sense of community across time. On a broader
6-8: Social Studies
Hephzibah Charter Academy Other Middle School Programs level, students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship and interactions between the United States and other nations in the world. The primary goal of the Arts program is to provide instruction in the following: skills and techniques; creation and communication; historical and cultural connections; aesthetic and critical analysis; and applications to life. The Arts encompass music, visual arts, theatre, and dance. The Arts are serious and rigorous academic subjects with the potential to help students achieve creativity, selfawareness, self-expression, and interactive and cooperative learning skills. Study of the Arts has been proven to enrich and enhance reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Research also shows education in the Arts is critical to students‘ intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth. Students enhance their knowledge about the Arts by learning artistic traditions of their own culture as well as artistic traditions of other cultures. While understanding that each art is distinctive, students also recognize the many similarities between and across various art forms. Students look at the Arts as a language unto itself as well as a link to other disciplines, cultures, and human interactions. The primary goal of the physical education program is to provide instruction in the 6-8: Physical/Health strands of physical education: physical literacy, responsible activity behaviors, and advocate and promote physically active lifestyles. These strands offer students the Education opportunity to develop and continually enhance life management skills necessary for healthy, active living. Students not only develop the skills required for participation in physical activities, but also develop an understanding of physical fitness, health and nutrition, and the importance of instituting positive health behaviors. Physical education courses are designed to address the needs of all students. Students will analyze the benefits of regular physical activity; learn how participation in physical activity creates receptiveness toward persons of differing abilities; and understand that physical activity provides for challenge and healthy competition. Students will demonstrate competency in physical education by maintaining a level of physical fitness that is health-enhancing. 2. Describe the instructional methods to be used in the charter school, including any distinctive or unique instructional techniques or educational programs. Research-Based Instructional Strategies: HCA will focus on the use of research-based instructional strategies. These strategies are focused on meeting state standards through the implementation of the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. The educational program provides curriculum design and implementation aligned with ongoing assessment of student achievement and areas of need. The educational model (see question #1) was designed as a continuous improvement model which allows it the flexibility to meet the needs of any student population when applied. As previously outlined, the educational framework is founded upon the works of Robert Marzano, which outline many research-based instructional strategies that are implemented in the classroom. The effective and systematic use of the nine research-based instructional strategies provides students a unique opportunity for their learning to be academically rigorous and challenging, yet innovative and focused on individual student learning needs. Professional development is provided to help teachers create and implement this instructional framework and to give them guidance as to the most appropriate use of the research-based instructional strategies and innovative learning methods.
6-8: The Arts
Hephzibah Charter Academy
Teachers at HCA will utilize research-based instructional strategies within their classroom during the school year. The principal will monitor planning and instruction to ensure implementation of appropriate instructional strategies. Leadership, community partners, providers and others will provide professional development, data analysis, and feedback based upon school visits to support effective classroom instruction at HCA. The table below outlines some of these strategies and their application. Category Identifying similarities and differences Specific Learning Methods Assigning in-class and homework tasks that involve comparison and classification Assigning in-class and homework tasks that involve metaphors and analogies Asking students to generate verbal summaries Asking students to generate written summaries Asking students to take notes. Ex: Cornell Notes Asking students to revise their notes, correcting errors and adding information Recognizing and celebrating progress toward learning goals throughout a unit Recognizing and reinforcing the importance of effort Recognizing and celebrating progress toward learning goals at the end of a unit Providing specific feedback on all assigned homework Assigning homework for the purpose of students practicing skills and procedures that have been the focus of instruction Asking students to generate mental images representing content Asking students to draw pictures or pictographs representing content Asking students to construct graphic organizers representing content Asking students to act out content Asking students to make physical models of content Asking students to make revisions in their mental images, pictures, pictographs, graphic organizers, and physical models Organizing students in cooperative groups when appropriate Organizing students in ability groups when appropriate Setting specific learning goals at the beginning of a unit Asking students to set their own learning goals at the beginning of a unit Providing feedback on learning goals throughout the unit Asking students to keep track of their progress on learning goals Providing summative feedback at the end of a unit Asking students to assess themselves at the end of a unit Engaging students in projects that involve generating and testing hypotheses through problem solving tasks Engaging students in projects that involve generating and testing hypotheses through decision-making tasks Engaging students in projects that involve generating and testing hypotheses through investigation tasks, experimental inquiry tasks, system analysis tasks, and invention tasks
Summarizing and note taking
Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
Homework and practice Nonlinguistic representations
Cooperative learning Setting objectives and providing feedback
Generating and testing hypotheses
Hephzibah Charter Academy Category Questions, cues and advance organizers Specific Learning Methods Prior to presenting new content, asking questions that help students recall what they might already know about the content Prior to presenting new content, providing students with direct links with what they have studied previously Prior to presenting new content, providing ways for students to organize or think about the content
Having teachers reflect on classroom practices, procedures and what instructional strategies they implement in their classroom is a technique that assists them in raising the quality of their classroom instruction. The four planning questions helps guide the teacher in making good decisions about when it is appropriate to use certain strategies. The Four Planning Questions and Corresponding Instructional Strategies Planning Questions Instructional Strategies What will students learn? Setting objectives Which strategies will provide evidence of student Providing feedback learning? Providing recognition Which strategies will help students acquire and Cues, questions, and advance organizers integrate learning? Nonlinguistic representation Summarizing and note taking Cooperative learning Reinforcing effort Which strategies will help students practice, Identifying similarities and differences review, and apply learning? Homework and practice Generating and testing hypothesis Professional Development Effective teachers who utilize multiple instructional strategies will provide their students an educational environment that focuses on innovative learning methods for application of what they have learned. To facilitate a broad understanding of high-yield research based instructional strategies, the following professional development trainings are provided: Required Trainings New Teacher Induction - a two to five-day seminar depending on the needs of the teachers that includes instructional methods for data-driven instruction and research based classroom management and student motivation. Teacher Learning Communities - an on-going community for new teachers that include monthly meetings to review and enhance the teacher‘s knowledge of high-yield instructional strategies. Curriculum Cadre - teachers from the Charter Schools USA network of schools meet to discuss innovative classroom strategies that support student achievement once a month, as well as to monitor
Other Offerings Writing Effective Lesson Plans Formalization of the Instructional Program Development of a Comprehensive Assessment Plan Collection and Interpretation of Student Performance and Achievement Data Theory of Multiple Intelligences Harry Wong: The Effective Teacher Assessment and Evaluation What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things that Matter Most Classroom Instruction that Works: 9 HighYield Strategies Six Traits of Effective Writers Using Manipulatives in Math
Hephzibah Charter Academy Required Trainings the success of past strategies. Curriculum Mapping - although the process of curriculum mapping occurs throughout the school year, once a year teachers meet to discuss the notes they have taken throughout the year to see how they can improve the curriculum maps for each subject area. Master teachers then take this information to the classroom teachers to ensure that they have a successful next year by making them aware of any changes to the curriculum map. Data Analysis - staff development is provided to teachers to ensure that they are analyzing their students‘ data for maximum student achievement. Other Offerings Strategies for Successful Test Taking CHAMPs: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management (CHAMP: Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation) ―Best Practice‖ Strategies for the Classroom Centers in the Classroom Technology in the Classroom The Interdisciplinary Curriculum English for Speakers of Other Languages Regulations and Procedures Exceptional Student Education Regulations and Procedures Research-Based Innovative Learning Methods
HCA‘s professional development is a strategic tool for the school‘s continued growth, productivity and ability to retain valuable employees. Short-term plans for projects, long term plans for the organization, career development plans for the employee and skill building for the immediate performance deficiencies, all are a part of professional development. HCA will develop a professional development calendar to include: Professional development during teacher planning week at faculty meetings Participation in the Curriculum Cadres Strategic Professional Development trainings for targeted areas of improvement Personalized Learning Plans A distinctive focus of HCA is the Personal Learning Plan for each student, which sets individual goals and measures. Through analysis and evaluation of data, administrators, teachers, parents, and students are able to devise an academic plan for each student to achieve learning gains. As a reference, baseline achievement levels are incorporated into each student‘s Personal Learning Plan as a starting point for determining future rates of academic progress. Based on areas of mastery and deficiency, students‘ Personalized Learning Plans are modified. Goals are set for each student, skill areas are identified, and student groupings based upon academic needs are adjusted. Each student‘s Personalized Learning Plan serves as the foundation from which to measure student outcomes. The outcomes are congruent with Georgia‘s Common Core Performance Standards and the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. Students are expected, at a minimum, to achieve the benchmarks of the Common Core GPS for each grade level and the goals and objectives specified in their Personalized Learning Plan. Technology to Support Student Engagement Using technology within learning is essential to real world application. The goal of technology usage within a classroom is to take it out of the hands of the teachers and place it within the hands of students, for an optimal experiential learning environment. Teachers and students will have technology integrated in the classroom through a variety of modalities such as: Laptop Computers Audio Stations o Computers Interactive White Boards o Headphones Interactive Tablets o Microphones Learner Response Devices Document Cameras
Hephzibah Charter Academy As stated by Marzano, in his work, Teaching with Interactive White Boards, using learner response devices, graphics and other visuals to represent information, and using applications that allow teachers to present information in an unusual context, have a statistically significant relationship with student achievement. In particular, the use of interactive white boards in the classroom has been shown to have a 16 percentile point gain in student achievement (Marzano, 2009). The use of interactive white boards not only prepares students with 21st century technology skills, but also increases students‘ achievement. Integrated Character Education The Academy will implement an integrated character education program that serves as a cross-curricular strategy to instill strong character and citizenship in the students. This program is known as Schools Taking Responsibility for Important Values of Excellence or ―STRIVE.‖ STRIVE is a unique character education model created through a partnership with the Clarion Council for Educational Greatness. The STRIVE Model has three domains (Moral Character, Performance Character, Active Citizenship) and is supported by explicit behaviors. Embedded Throughout the Curriculum A key differentiator of the STRIVE program is embedding character education throughout the curriculum so that it supports academic rigor and is a meaningful part of the overall curriculum as opposed to and add-on that may be perceived as an after-thought. This embedding is accomplished in a variety of ways. General Pedagogical Practices: Assign work that matters Study examples of excellence Build a culture of critique Require multiple revisions Provide opportunities for public presentation Support cooperative learning Teachers are provided with a Character Curriculum Map designed to provide support in integrating Character Education into the curriculum, allowing teachers to: Identify foundational understanding and essential questions for each grade level Identify character curriculum components available to embed within each lesson, aligned to Common Core GPS Access tested electronic lesson plans to support the classroom teacher‘s efforts to embed character training into curriculum content Access online media to supplement classroom instruction Access reading resources and writing prompts Access ideas on how to stimulate discussion and include inspirational stories Curriculum Alignment and Lesson Planning Teachers are encouraged to develop and access lesson plans aligned to character. For example, when students are in U.S. History class studying the American Revolution, they can learn that John Adams, our nation‘s second President said, ―All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, have declared that our happiness as well as our dignity consists in virtue.‖ When students are in English class studying the great literature, they can learn it was author C.S. Lewis who said, ―Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.‖ Hence, students studying math and learning about counting money, are challenged to think about their responsibility in using money wisely and with integrity. Lesson plans aligned to character may include, but not be limited to: Literature rich in meaning Writing prompts
Hephzibah Charter Academy Civics in life Incorporation of performance character into daily classroom instruction Historical content and examples Teaching for thinking Controversial issues discussion Cooperative learning Scientific issue discussions Assignments, lessons, discussions that highlight ethical performance, character and active citizenship
As students begin to understand these moral principles, they are encouraged to care enough to commit to performance character – those characteristics that will produce excellence such as perseverance, responsibility industriousness and self-control. Finally, students are challenged to be courageous in taking an active role in society and engaging the traits of service, community involvement, respect for authority, cooperation, patriotism and to choose to be a change agent - to make the world better. Thus taking moral action is an outpouring of ethics and excellence expressed in active citizenry. Our students will be actively involved in community service projects.
Overall Theme The United States has a rich heritage of national heroes who have demonstrated moral character, performance character, and active citizenry. Moreover, modern day heroes, many in our military, exemplify the desirable character that we want to develop in students. STRIVE uses present day and historical heroes to inspire and instruct. Understanding that our students will take their place in American society, shining a light on positive national role models helps students see how they can make a positive difference as future citizens. Links are also made in terms of how a great country requires citizens who personally strive for greatness. So the message of the STRIVE character education program is to inspire future citizens to elevate their country by elevating their lives. An American, patriotic theme provides a backdrop for STRIVE that brings an inspirational component.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Communities of Character Program Students must be taught how to be productive citizens, and the best way to teach them is to demonstrate how to be productive members of a community while achieving academic goals. Therefore, Hephzibah Charter Academy will continue to implement the Communities of Character program as it expands to a K8 learning environment in conjunction with the STRIVE Character Education Model as innovative programs that integrate a focus on academic rigor, good citizenship, and opportunities for real-world experiences. The Communities of Character program provides teachers and students the opportunity to apply STRIVE in a real community environment set up within and external to HCA. Teachers oversee students who are practicing their content skills and knowledge (education curriculum) in a mock community environment where each student has a responsibility to function within the group. Students create, govern and support the daily operation of their Communities of Character, known as a learning group. The goal of this program is to teach, practice and instill good citizenship within each person in the entire educational environment. With the oversight and guidance of teachers, the Communities of Character program is designed to be a microcosm of the global world within the school environment, run by students. The Communities of Character provides students with a safe environment for taking risks and making errors while they grow in their knowledge of the world around them. Further, the Communities of Character is made up of learning groups where students further explore and apply their learning. The learning groups function as independent communities within a larger community taking responsibility for their contribution as a member of the larger Communities of Character. The focus of every single learning group within the larger Communities of Character is to develop students who can apply their character knowledge by doing what is right in a real-world setting. The school-wide community provides the opportunity to explore future career choices. The communitybased learning groups focus on gaining students‘ interest in work experiences so that they can make informed decisions about possible future educational or vocational opportunities. Along with the school-wide community being part of their everyday interactions with other students, each learning group meets once a week, during the school day, to create projects and conduct business within the community. Students also have the opportunity to join after school learning groups that focus on communication, critical thinking, hands-on activities and demonstrations. Building learning groups within the larger Communities of Character provides multiple volunteer opportunities for community members, businesses, and parents. These volunteer opportunities provide a true picture of what mentoring and being a positive role model is all about in an educational environment. Learning Groups The learning groups are small Communities of Characters that are created to foster the development of the whole child by allowing students to apply the academics taught in their traditional classroom settings to real-life situations. Students have the opportunity to join a community that fits their interest where they apply their academic knowledge in simulated settings. The community-based learning gives students an opportunity to see every aspect of societal development. For example, they are able to see and articulate what goes into developing goods, providing services, and creating innovative technology. In society, students have a limited opportunity to understand the concepts behind such things as the price of a gallon of milk rising because of the price of gasoline. The small learning groups give students the opportunity to see all sides of an issue in order to formulate possible solutions. In the investors and entrepreneurs learning group, the students see the business world as a whole by having to create a business plan, collect customer surveys, and develop solutions to business problems. These activities provide students the opportunity to take calculated risks, be problem solvers, inspire innovative ideas, and facilitate critical thinking. Further, students study human needs, societal needs, and personal needs and learn to fill voids that may exist.
Hephzibah Charter Academy The Communities of Character program also promotes self-governance through the Student Government. This body examines issues and solves problems in their school and community and work to develop leadership qualities that will propel them in life. The self-governance aspect of the environment creates a spirit of ownership of challenges and successes. Sample Learning Groups within the Communities of Character Program (to be developed and implemented over the term of the charter) Mediation and the Judicial System - Students who are a part of the Mediation and the Judicial System learning group will work towards understanding how to mediate and how the Georgia state court system and the United States court system work. Students participate in mock trials that will help them develop the character traits of respect and justice. Students are also able to use their mediation skills to develop an understanding of integrity by offering their mediation skills to other students under the supervision of the Mediation and the Judicial System learning group Teacher Leader. Students participate in the basic frameworks of peer mediation, invite guests from the field of law, and participate in field trips (active and/or virtual). Media/News - The Media/News learning group is responsible for disseminating all school news and community news to the students. They apply the character traits of caring and industriousness to ensure that each month a school newspaper is delivered to each student that accurately reflects the events within the school and community. Students learn the basics of media production through digital arts in order to produce the news for the school (desktop publishing, digital photography, digital production through presentation and video). Student Government - The Student Government learning group is the governing body of the smaller learning groups and advises the principal regarding the procedures and regulations that the student body should follow by researching prominent government leaders and understanding the role of the leader within a community. The student council begins with 3rd grade students and provides developmentally appropriate opportunities for each level. Cultural Awareness through the Arts - The Cultural Awareness through the Arts learning group collaborates with the art and music classes to create school productions that integrate the skills of the business and entrepreneurial learning group and creates and delivers school productions that target the school community audience. Students research and publish information regarding the arts to share through school-wide communication venues (close circuit television presentations, hallway music, posters, and themes) as well as community-wide events. Scientific Learning - The Scientific Learning group focuses on experimentation and dissemination of its results to the school body for the betterment of the whole school. The Scientific Learning group works with the Media/News learning group to ensure that its results are published and accurately reflect its findings. The students utilize an inquiry lab for hands-on experimentation, utilize technology for virtual experiments, and create artifacts for display as part of their inquiry. Investors and Entrepreneurs - Students within the Investors and Entrepreneurs learning group discover how to create a business plan for an innovative idea. They are also responsible for the daily operations and budget of the school store. As many businesses are small businesses, the group meets with small business owners within the community to see how they came up with their idea, created a vision to match their idea, and how their business plan facilitated accomplishing their dream. Students use a currency system to be able to create real world experiences including investing in the internal system. They also learn the basic concepts of saving, spending, investing, giving, and borrowing. Focus will be given to evaluating their own spending patterns in order to create future success for themselves and those whom
Hephzibah Charter Academy they surround themselves with. Students are encouraged to take risks and possibly fail in a safe educational environment where no real risk is involved. Further they learn what credit means for him/her and a business he/she may create. In the creation of a business plan, students are able to learn how to access capital and learn how they can earn money through interest when investments mature. Further, they are able to practice deferring buying in order to invest more to earn more. Community Changer - The Community Changers learning group focuses on reaching out to the community to help those in need including small community outreach projects, as well as developing an annual all-student outreach project. They coordinate their efforts with the Media/News learning group to ensure that they are developing projects that the students have interest in and the Investors & Entrepreneurs to ensure that their outreach project is viable. After-School Programming - The After-School programming also focuses on smaller learning groups that may include banking & investing, organic gardening and a cooking club. These programs are focused on providing students with skills that they can immediately incorporate into their daily lives. Guest speakers and other community volunteers are a critical component of HCA‘s curricular, extracurricular, and auxiliary programming; however, it should be noted that all guest speakers and community volunteer opportunities are approved by the principal before presenting and interacting with students. If a parent is uncomfortable with the material to be presented and the material is outside the scope of Common Core GPS, the parent may request an alternate activity for the student. Communities of Character promote an increase in student motivation towards academic learning by incorporating students‘ interest in real-world experiences. This is congruent with research that guides educators toward student engagement methods to increase student achievement. Students‘ interests are utilized to fuse the data-driven curriculum with real world application of principles giving students an opportunity to grow in the safe environment of the smaller learning groups. K- 5 Foreign Language The primary goal of the foreign language program is to develop the conversational and written skills required for living in a diverse environment. A vital component in the foreign language program is the goal that students build an understanding of the relationship between the different perspectives and products of various cultures. Application of this knowledge affords them the ability to recognize cultural practices and the uniqueness of various communities. Based on the need and demand of the community and the student population, the Local Governing Board, school administration, and faculty will determine which foreign language(s) will be offered prior to the start of the school year. Choices may include, but are not limited to, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Management Partnership The partnership between the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, HCA, the HCA Local Governing Council, and Charter Schools USA creates a unique and powerful platform to provide high quality, community-centered educational opportunities for students of Richmond County. As consideration of becoming a high-quality school, the founding board identified a management partner with the track record of responsibility required to be successful at operating charter schools from a ―comprehensive‖ perspective. Charter Schools USA possesses both the organizational capacity and proven successes to serve as the management partner for HCA. Please see Appendix 2 for HCA‘s proposed school calendar and sample daily schedule.
Hephzibah Charter Academy 3. Describe the anticipated teacher-to-student ratio and the rationale for maintaining this ratio. The anticipated teacher-to-student ratio is provided on a classroom basis for each grade level as a component of the financial model. The anticipated teacher-to-student ratio ranges from 18-23 students per class depending on grade level. These ratios reflect a maximum ratio for direct classroom instructors to students. The actual student-to-teacher ratio will be lower when factoring in specialist instructors (e.g. Reading Specialist, Curriculum Resource Teachers, ESOL, and ESE). This ratio and corresponding staffing model has been developed and refined over years of research and practice to yield the ideal balance between providing a conducive learning environment and financial viability. 4. Describe how the charter school will meet the needs of students identified as gifted and talented. A gifted education student is defined as one who demonstrates a high degree of intellectual and/or creative ability(ies), exhibits an exceptionally high degree of motivation, and/or excels in specific academic fields, and who needs special instruction and/or special ancillary services to achieve at levels commensurate with his or her ability(ies). The abilities manifest in a collection of traits, aptitudes, and behaviors that, when taken together, are indicative of gifted potential. To be eligible for gifted education services, a student must meet eligibility requirements as provided in State Board of Education Rule 1604-2-.38. Students identified as gifted and whose participation has received parental consent shall have an Educational Plan written which includes a statement of the student‘s present levels of educational performance, a statement of goals, including measurable short-term instructional objectives, a statement of the specific services to be provided to the student, and evaluation procedures and schedule for determining whether the student‘s goals are being achieved. The Educational Plan writing process is intended to build parent/school relationships, provide a forum for discussing student needs beyond the general curriculum, facilitating changes in instruction and classes, and determining appropriate service options. The Educational Plan is reviewed and updated annually. An effective gifted education program focuses on writing goals that are high but achievable, continuously reviewed, created with teacher, student and parent input, evaluated for successful achievement, and build on each student's strengths and weakness. Students served by an effective gifted education program will successfully meet their Educational Plan goals. Furthermore, gifted elementary students receive gifted services one segment per day in a resource setting. While the student will participate in a gifted resource class, assignments in general education classes are modified or eliminated depending on the student's academic strengths. Gifted services in the middle school extend the middle school curriculum and take into consideration the academic, social, and emotional growth of the student. Gifted students will be placed in advanced content courses or cluster groupings on the basis of achievement scores, past academic performance, and teacher recommendations. All gifted students will be responsible for mastering the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. Additionally, the school‘s Gifted Curriculum objectives are focused on developing cognitive, learning, research and reference, and metacognitive skills at each grade level. Differentiated instruction will be provided to the student to allow for enrichment and curriculum compacting opportunities in one or more of the following content areas: mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, foreign language, fine arts, and vocational/technical education. Each quarter, teachers will analyze the benchmark assessment results of their students. For gifted students, the teachers will use this benchmark assessment data to help identify enrichment areas. Within the framework of the school‘s Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum educational model, the teachers will determine the instructional focus, strategies, and curriculum resources to be used for enrichment during the six weeks between benchmark assessments. In addition, the school‘s gifted instruction as a whole will be built upon an academic foundation and centered on
Hephzibah Charter Academy interdisciplinary enrichment activities. Students‘ studies may include holistic projects that include components such as the development of advanced research skills, complex creative thinking and problemsolving, communication skills for a variety of audiences, and use of technology to promote the desire for learning on self-selected and/or teacher selected topics. 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. Guest speakers and other community volunteers are a critical component of HCA‘s curricular, extracurricular, and auxiliary programming; however, it should be noted that all guest speakers and community volunteer opportunities are approved by the principal before presenting and interacting with students. If a parent is uncomfortable with the material to be presented and the material is outside the scope of Common Core GPS, the parent may request an alternate activity for the student. There are five major areas or components that the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation has linked back to the design of a distinct public school option in Richmond County. This design, coupled with the STRIVE 65 Character Education and the Communities of Character framework, integrates partnerships and hands-on learning experiences across the curriculum that drives collaboration between students, parents, community members, government, businesses, and service organizations. Each of the stakeholder-identified areas has been integrated into a comprehensive approach for extracurricular, auxiliary, and enrichment programs at HCA. These include: Integrated Character Education and Citizenship Cultural Competency and Foreign Language Options Arts Focus and Enrichment Activities Postsecondary Exploration and Preparation Programming Structured Mentoring and Volunteer Opportunities The following outlines the stakeholder-identified areas and a sampling of programs, activities, and partnerships HCA may implement upon opening; however, all activities and programs will be driven and finalized by faculty, staff, students, parents, and other key stakeholders. Athletics Basketball – Grades 1-8 (boys and girls) Cheerleading – Grades 1-8 Volleyball – Grades 1-8 Others to be determined STRIVE 65 Programming The STRIVE 65 program offers students character education, life skills lessons and the importance of community. The program is incorporated in all aspects of the children‘s learning experience. We have community leaders speak with the students about careers, life skills, practical issues, the 65 STRIVE characters and how they transfer into real life. These partners come from a wide variety of backgrounds allowing the children the opportunity to get a broader view of their community. Students at all grade levels are given the opportunity to engage in community enrichment activities. Over the course of the school year students from each grade chose a community project to be involved with, during their grade‘s ‗STRIVE month‘ that activity becomes a school -wide project coordinated and supervised by the students and teachers of the grade who chose it
Hephzibah Charter Academy Enrichment classes and clubs HCA will encourage clubs based on student need and student interest. These clubs will have a faculty sponsor and the backing of the school for meeting place, financial assistance and the appropriate insurance and liability needs. Examples of clubs that may develop are: American Girl History Latin Rhythms Art! Art! Explorative Art! Mad Science Ballet Mandarin Chinese Ballroom Dance Martial Arts Beginning Band Middle Grades Choir Beginning Musical Composition Movie Making Band Newspaper Club Scientifics‘ Adv. Lego Robotics Paper.Scissors.Cake Club Scientifics‘ Lego Robotics Roaring into Robotics Club Sprouts Robotics Cooking Class Salsa Dancing Cooking Confidence for Kid-zzz Santa's Craft Shop Cooking Confidence II: Party Foods Science Lab Curtain-Up Drama Troupe Show Choir Drama Spanish Dramatic Choir Speed and Agility Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sports and Fitness Future Educators of America Storytelling Art Game Making Technology Fair Guitar Club Yearbook Hip Hop Dance Youth Chorus Honor Band Writing From the Star Jr. Robotics Students will also participate in a CSUSA network-wide science fair and spelling bee. Additional Programs and activities will be developed through parent, staff, and community involvement. 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. The intent of GCEF, the HCA Local Governing Council, and HCA stakeholders is to undertake a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation and planning process pertaining to the design, development, and implementation of a high school serving grades nine through twelve. Based on community input and engagement as well as integration of best practices. HCA anticipates the development and implementation of an appropriate high school model that aligns to the vision, mission, and unique needs of its stakeholders by the 2016-2017 Academic Year. Once planning and development activities are complete, if necessary, the appropriate amendment and/or application process will take place.
STATE AND FEDERALLY MANDATED SERVICES
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
Hephzibah Charter Academy 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. HCA‘s education of students with disabilities is guided by the belief that with appropriate supports all students can learn, function as responsible citizens, and actualize their potential. Students receiving special education services will be provided with an educational program implemented in accordance with federal, state, and local policies and procedures, including the Georgia Special Education Rules Implementation Manual; and, specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Student Identification, Evaluation, and Placement HCA will conduct Child Find activities for the complete student population to ensure that all children suspected of having a disability, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated. The school will use its website to disseminate Child Find information. All students enrolled at the school will participate in evidence-based instruction that is based on grade level Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. When it is discovered that a student is having difficulty mastering the content of the general education curriculum, a tiered system of interventions, following the practices of the Georgia Student Achievement Pyramid of Interventions, will be provided to help the student to make progress. For students who do not make progress within the tiered system of interventions, referral will be made to the school‘s special education department for a comprehensive evaluation to consider special education eligibility. HCA will form a Student Support Team (SST) that will work collaboratively to address the needs of students who continue to have learning and/or behavior problems after the teacher has tried appropriate interventions in the general education classroom. A student may be referred to the SST by a teacher or at the request of the student‘s parent/guardian. First, the SST will identify whether the concern is academic and/or behavioral in nature through data analysis. The SST will then identify whether appropriate instruction in reading and mathematics has taken place through the use of the practices of the Georgia Student Achievement Pyramid of Interventions. Interventions that are established will be implemented for twelve weeks during which at least six assessments will take place to evaluate whether the student is responding to the interventions. Documentation of the interventions will then be reviewed to evaluate if the strategies were successful. If the strategies were successful, the SST will continue to monitor on a monthly or as needed basis. If the interventions were not successful and sufficient evidence has been gathered that shows that a disability may be the primary cause of the student‘s learning or behavior problems, the SST will refer the student for an evaluation. After a signed, informed parental consent has been obtained, a comprehensive evaluation will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team that includes the parent(s), special education teachers or service providers, at least one of the child‘s general education teachers, the LEA representative, any individual determined by the LEA or by the parents to have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, and the child, when appropriate. A qualified psychological examiner will participate when psychological and clinical evaluation components are required, at a minimum. The testing will include all areas related to the suspected disability, which may include but is not limited to cognitive functioning, academic achievement, psychological processing, speech/language skills, medical information, social/emotional functioning, and results from vision and hearing screenings. Once the testing is complete, an eligibility meeting will be held to determine whether a disability exists, the degree to which any identified disability impacts the student‘s academic, functional and/or developmental performance in the school setting and whether the student meets eligibility criteria for a plan for students with disabilities. If special education and related services are deemed necessary, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be written. If the
Hephzibah Charter Academy results of the evaluation indicate that the child requires accommodations without the need for special education services, a 504 Plan would be put into effect for the student. The student‘s placement will be designed to meet that student‘s needs in the least restrictive environment. Development, Review and Revision of Individualized Education Plans (IEP) Upon HCA‘s Eligibility Team having made the determination that a student is eligible for an Individualized Education Program, an IEP Team will develop an initial IEP. The initial IEP will be developed within 30 days of the determination that the child needs special education and related services. The IEP Team will consist of the student‘s parents, not less than one regular education teacher of the child, not less than one special education/provider, a LEA representative, and an evaluation specialist. In addition, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child might also be invited to participate in the development of the IEP, as would the individual child whenever appropriate. The IEP Team will also participate in the review/revision and development of subsequent IEPs. When developing an IEP, the IEP Team will consider the student‘s strengths, parent concerns, evaluation results, statewide/CSUSA assessment results, the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child, and special considerations that would need to be taken into account when writing the student‘s IEP. The written IEP will include: A statement of the child‘s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance; A statement of measureable annual goals (and short-term objectives, when necessary) to meet the child‘s needs that result from the child‘s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and meet each of the child‘s other educational needs that result from the child‘s disability; A description of how the child‘s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured and when progress reports will be provided to the parents; A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services that will be provided on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to the child; An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in the nonacademic and extracurricular activities, being mindful of the provision of services in the least restrictive environment; and A statement of any individual accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic and functional performance of the child on Statewide assessments. It will be the responsibility of the IEP Team to make placement decisions on behalf of the student and ensure that the individual instructional needs of the student are reflected in the student‘s IEP based on Free and Appropriate Public Education guidelines and being mindful of the provision of services in the least restrictive environment. The IEP Team will reconvene at least annually to review and develop an updated IEP. Additionally, if the IEP Team determines that modifications need to be made to the IEP at any time during the duration of a current IEP, the IEP Team will meet and revise the student‘s IEP accordingly. Hephzibah Charter Academy will provide parents with notification of any IEP Team meetings early enough to ensure that the parent will have an opportunity to attend and will make an effort to schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time. Integration and Delivery of Special Education Services HCA will provide special education services for all students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment as determined by the IEP Team. HCA believes that it is important that each student has the opportunity to learn and grow within his or her community so that he/she will be productive citizens upon graduation from school.
Hephzibah Charter Academy HCA will offer a continuum of special education and related services to meet the needs of its students with disabilities. When a student‘s IEP is written, the IEP Team will develop a plan to allow the student to be educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate to the student‘s needs. Students will be educated in a special education setting only if the nature and severity of the student‘s disability is such that education in regular education classes with the use of supplementary aides and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. A recommendation will be made as to how the required services will be delivered to the student within HCA. It is vital that the school review specific services that may be required for individual students in order to ensure that they are placed in the most appropriate least restrictive educational setting. The cumulative folders of all students coming from another state will be reviewed by the IEP Team to determine if the is documentation indicative of the student having been previously eligible for special education services. Within HCA, the special education teachers and the general education teachers working with special education students will collaborate with regard to lesson planning and implementation, as well as to review progress notes on the students that they serve to determine whether the students are on target to achieve their IEP goals. Similarly, related service providers will also collaborate with the student‘s special education and general education teachers. This will ensure that all teachers working with the special education students will be focused on meeting the students‘ needs as well as student growth and goal attainment. Special education and general education teachers will be required to participate in professional development opportunities that focus on writing quality IEPs, using research-based instructional strategies for special education students in the classroom, implementation of accommodations in the general education classroom, and modeling how to use progress monitoring data to analyze if students are effectively meeting their IEP goals. Special education students will be encouraged to participate in school functions, field trips, and extracurricular activities with their general education peers. Should supplemental aides and services be needed by the student to access such programming, HCA will make these supports available. The families of special education students will be invited and encouraged to participate in the school-wide Open House events that occur twice annually. At these events parents will be provided with an opportunity to meet all teachers and staff members who provide services to their special education students and visit the student‘s classrooms. Requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 HCA will operate in accordance with all state and federal special education guidelines and regulations as provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. HCA will comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that states that no person with a disability can be excluded from or denied benefits of any program receiving federal financial assistance. A person is disabled within the definition of Section 504 if he or she has a mental or physical impairment, which substantially limits one or more of the person‘s major life functions. Section 504 requires that a school evaluate ―any person who, because of a disability, needs or is believed to need special education or related services.‖ HCA‘s plans related to this requirement were described above when addressing plans to evaluate and identify students with disabilities. If it is determined that a student is disabled under Section 504, HCA will develop a plan that will allow for the implementation of needed accommodations and/or services. The determination of what accommodations and/or services are needed will be made by a team of professionals knowledgeable about the student. HCA will be physically designed and adapted to meet the needs of exceptional students as required by the ADA and IDEA to ensure that it provides a free and appropriate education within the least restrictive environment. HCA will implement the Universal Design model, accommodation to the maximum extent possible for individuals with special needs. HCA is aware that special education spaces should not be
Hephzibah Charter Academy clustered or isolated in a single area of the building. While some special education functions clearly need to be adjacent or in proximity to each other, the balance will be dispersed throughout the school. The design of HCA will respect the distance students travel throughout the building. HCA‘s Universal Design sanctions that school furniture should maximize comfort and minimize the potential for injury, eye fatigue, and distractions by being free of protrusions and having rounded edges and no glare surfaces. Likewise, pedestrian walks, bus circulation, car circulation, service deliveries, and parking should be physically separated. The clear delineation of these traffic patterns enhances everyone‘s safety. Pedestrian routes, including those to and from parking areas and bus loading and drop-off areas, will be supervised during school hours as well as well-lit during dark hours. Points of transition such as steps, ramps, intersections, and entry doors will meet all ADA requirements. For students with disabilities whose needs can be met in a regular classroom environment, provisions of supplemental supports and services and/or modifications and accommodations will be provided as outlined in their IEP or 504 Plan. HCA is aware that assistive technology and environmental adaptations may be required for some students. Discipline of Special Education Students HCA‘s Code of Student Conduct will apply to students with disabilities, unless the student‘s IEP specifically provides otherwise. At HCA, a system of progressive discipline will be in place. Initial behavioral infractions will be addressed through verbal warnings to the student, phone calls made to the student‘s parent, after school detention sessions, Saturday detention sessions, and then ultimately suspensions if necessary. Special education students will not be suspended from HCA for more than ten school days in the same school year without following the guidelines stated in State Board of Education Rule 160-4-7-.10. Should a student with a disability begin to display a pattern of behavior warranting disciplinary actions, HCA will seek parental consent to initiate a functional behavior assessment (FBA). Based upon the findings of the FBA, a behavior intervention plan might be warranted along with modifications to the student‘s IEP in order to address the student‘s behavior so that similar violations do not occur. In the event the student continues to display such behaviors, and if such behavior results in more than ten days of suspension in a school year, HCA will notify the parent of the need for the IEP Team to hold a Manifestation Determination meeting to determine if the conduct in question is caused by, or has a direct and substantial relationship to, the student‘s disability or if the conduct in question was the direct result of HCA‘s failure to implement the student‘s IEP. HCA will implement a positive behavioral system tailored to the needs of HCA‘s students. As a result, it is the expectation that this system will minimize the frequency of behavioral violations in special education and general education students alike. Resolving Parent Disputes Pursuant to State Board of Education Rule 160-4-7-.09, a Parents Rights Notice for students with disabilities will be given in the native language of the parent(s), unless it is not feasible to do so, in order to notify, to make aware, and/or to offer consent for any individually administered evaluation/reevaluation; any meeting scheduled to discuss eligibility and/or placement; any time a due process hearing is filed; announcements of all IEP meetings; all meetings to discuss transition planning; all dismissal meetings; any time there may be doubt or question as to procedural policy; and at least once a school year. If the native language of the parent(s) is not a written language, the explanation of the notice must be given orally or in a manner of communication the parent(s) will understand. School personnel will ensure the parent(s) have understood the information. They will also collect written documentation from the parent as evidence that this requirement has been met. These safeguards are in
Hephzibah Charter Academy place in order to help the parents of children with disabilities to understand the rights that accompany programs for students with disabilities. Additionally, the parent(s) may examine all records of his/her child, receive explanations and interpretations of the educational records, receive copies of the records with the understanding that a fee may be charged for the copying of the records, and/or receive a copy of the evaluation report and any other documentation used to determine a child‘s eligibility for a special education program or used for assessment purposes. Maintaining open lines of communication between HCA‘s parents, administrators, and school personnel will minimize parent disputes. If a parent were to express dissatisfaction within HCA, the first step in the process would be to encourage the parent to sit down with the teachers and school counselor/student services coordinator to come to an agreement on a mutually acceptable plan. Should this not be sufficient to the parent, HCA‘s Special Education Coordinator and/or school administrator (Principal/Assistant Principal) would connect with the parent to come to a resolution. Should the parent continue to be dissatisfied, the parent would be given the opportunity to speak with the Director of Special Education at the CSUSA‘s corporate office. In accordance with State Board of Education Rule 160-4-7-.12, a parent or HCA (as the LEA), can also request mediation or an impartial due process hearing to resolve differences with regard to the identification, evaluation, placement or provision of a free and appropriate public education to a child with a disability. In the event that a parent was to provide a written complaint to the State Board of Education, HCA would adhere to the policies indicated in State Board of Education Rule 160-4-7-.12 in order to address the complaint. Confidentiality of Special Education Records In accordance with State Board of Education Rule 160-4-7-.08, HCA will protect the confidentiality of students‘ special education records. Within HCA, special education files will be maintained in a locked, fireproof cabinet stored within a locked office. Only school-based staff with an educational need to access the records will be granted such permission. When teachers are provided with copies of their students‘ IEPs, they will maintain them in secure location within their classrooms. Should an outside entity request access to students‘ special education records, a release of information would be required with signed consent from the parent obtained in advance prior to the release of such information. Purchasing of Services from Special Education Vendors HCA will contract with vendors of special education clinical and related service providers. CSUSA will release a Request for Proposal annually to encourage interested special education vendors to submit proposals for consideration. Contracted providers will provide special education and related services including but not limited to speech and language services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work services, nursing services, and school psychology evaluation services. The students‘ IEPs will determine the specific services that will be contracted for by HCA. All contracted providers will need to be appropriately certified / licensed based on State Board of Education Rule 160-4-7-.14. In addition, contracted providers will be required to maintain professional liability insurance. Technical Assistance and Training In order to provide high quality instructional services to the students with disabilities enrolled at HCA, the school-based special education coordinator and other designees will participate in ongoing professional development. CSUSA‘s Director of Special Education will provide training via webinar on a monthly basis related to best practices in special education. In addition, school staff will be encouraged to participate in special education webinars and conferences sponsored by the State Board of Education. HCA shall: Participate in any workshops, in-service and/or trainings offered by the Georgia Department of Education, for persons serving as SST/Section 504 chairpersons
Hephzibah Charter Academy Participate in workshops, in-services and/or training offered by Georgia Department of Education for special education staff Provide professional development training for the Section 504 team through state opportunities
8. For English Learners (ESOL), describe how the charter school will provide state and federally mandated services. Federal law requires that English language assistance services be offered for students identified as English Language Learners. English Language Learners are identified through the registration process. At the time of registration, parents are given a Home Language Survey to identify potential English Language Learners. Those students whose parents respond affirmatively to any of the questions are referred to the English for Speakers of Other Languages liaison for language screening utilizing the screening assessment adopted by the Georgia Department of Education, the W-APT (WIDA ACCESS Placement Test). The mission of the English for Speakers of Other Languages program is to prepare and successfully equip bilingual, bicultural, and bi-literate students to meet the needs of their global community. Assessment instruments used follow the established guidelines and procedures of the State Board of Education, such as the W-APT and ACCESS for English Language Learners (Accessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State for English Language Learners). HCA will work to prepare English Language Learners to continue to make academic gains in content and English language proficiency to profit individual students educationally as well as to meet Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for HCA. All English Language Learners also participate in the state assessments pursuant to Georgia State Board of Education Rule 160-3-1-.07. Teachers of English Language Learners shall meet state certification requirements. In order to promote both literacy and proficiency, the English for Speakers of Other Languages program provides English Language Learners with English language development instruction that is age and grade appropriate and is tailored to the student‘s English proficiency level. This will be accomplished through the implementation of the WIDA English Language Proficiency standards in conjunction with the Common Core GPS. English Language Learners are in a climate that promotes not only listening, speaking and reading, but also writing skills. English Language Learners receive comprehensible instruction for the core curriculum so that they can make academic progress comparable to that of native English speakers as documented by individual and group data. In addition to English language development and the academic Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum, all students receive instruction that promotes positive self-image and cross-cultural understanding. Activities, methods and strategies, as well as culturally appropriate content in all areas are used. Home-school partnerships are acknowledged as a positive aspect of the student‘s background and are important instruments for communication of academic information. English Language Learners have equal access to appropriate programming as required by law. In classrooms with English Language Learners, a distinction will be made between ―language acquisition‖ and ―language learning‖ because teaching methods differ for each area of development. Language acquisition is acquiring the language learned as well as the grammar rules of the language; whereas, language learning is what occurs when an English Language Learner pays conscious attention to the rules of language. Language learners need contextual support (videos, audiotapes, computers, bulletin boards, visuals, and art and writing materials) to assist them with their learning. Venn diagrams and "What you Know, What you Want to Know, and What you Learned" charts are common graphic organizers that are used with English Language Learners acquiring and learning the language. Language assessment is conducted by an English for Speakers of Other Languages-certified teacher/administrator who has been trained in the administration of the Assessment Instrument. The Placement, Program Delivery, Exit and Monitoring processes of English Language Learners will follow the guidelines established by the State Board of Education.
Hephzibah Charter Academy 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. Should HCA be deemed a qualifying school, supplemental educational services will be provided to all students from low-income families who attend. The services will be provided in accordance with guidelines established in Guidelines for the Implementation of State Board of Education Rule 160-4-5-.03 Supplemental Educational Services in Title I Schools. In order to meet the requirements of State Board of Education Rule 160-4-5-.03 and No Child Left Behind, additional academic instruction will be provided outside the regular school day that is designed to increase the academic achievement of low-income students (as defined by eligibility for free or reduced price meals) who attend HCA. Such programs include but are not limited to: after-school tutoring that focuses on additional math, reading, writing, social studies and science instruction; in-school aids; writing workshops; Saturday-school programs for enrichment and remediation; and summer tutoring camps. Further, the school will set specific achievement goals for each student, which will be developed in consultation with each student‘s parent(s)/legal guardian(s). Students‘ progress will be measured by reviewing student data, assessment data and Adequate Yearly Progress data to ensure that the specific achievement goals are being met. Additionally, the progress of each student is regularly reported to the student‘s parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and teachers. 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. Middle school remediation pursuant to State Board of Education Rule 160-4-5-.01 will consist of research-based instruction specific to the needs of the students with identified deficiencies in reading, writing, or mathematics. Students scoring on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in the lowest 25th percentile in reading, writing and/or mathematics will be eligible for the remedial education program. The students will be identified by their scores on the latest Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and progress monitoring throughout the school year. A model to meet the needs of students requiring remediation will be provided through remediation courses. Reading, writing and/or math deficiencies in students will be addressed through the implementation of remedial instruction for 50 minutes utilizing research-based intervention programs.
DESCRIPTION OF ASSESSMENT METHODS
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. HCA considers evaluation and assessment to be a broad and continuous effort that involves all stakeholders. A comprehensive assessment plan not only provides a system where students can effectively demonstrate their levels of mastery of the required content and crucial skills of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, but it also provides all stakeholders with relevant and specific information to make informed instructional, programmatic, and developmental decisions in the best interest of the whole child. One of the key elements of our Educational Model is baseline assessment and data. Assessment of student performance will be achieved using formative and summative assessments, as well as various instructional strategies employed by the teacher. For example, teachers will collect baseline data from the NWEA MAP test and MAP for Primary Grades as well as use specific instructional strategies such as cues, questions, and advance organizers to activate students‘ background
Hephzibah Charter Academy knowledge, and to help students focus their learning. Students will take the appropriate state assessments as mandated by state law. Teachers also use formative assessments that include publisher and teacher-created assessments, as well as assessments from supplemental material to obtain performance data for each student. Examples of teacher-created formative assessments include but are not limited to: Teacher created content tests Student portfolios Journals Teacher observations Probing questions Writing samples that focus on the development of expository, narrative, persuasive, and analytic writing skills Anecdotal records of the student‘s performance Attitude inventories Teachers also have access to Weekly Standards Assessments, common formative assessments aligned to their textbooks and the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, which include objective questions for quick check of content material, as well as essay type questions that require the use of critical thinking and writing skills. Teachers are required to monitor and assess students throughout the year in order to target learning gaps and improve achievement for students. This process includes collecting and analyzing data from formative assessments, making appropriate changes to individual student or class instruction, teach, re-teach, assess, and again modify or intensify instruction to meet the needs of students. All curriculum decisions are made by analyzing the variety of student data available to instructors. Baseline assessments include summative assessments such as Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (and eventually the PARCC assessment), End of Course Assessments, Benchmark Tests, pre-assessments, and end of unit and chapter tests. Teachers begin the school year by assessing the last year‘s data with Benchmark #1 to target and differentiate instruction, and help students focus their learning as they work to master specific skills and content in the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. Benchmark Tests HCA‘s Benchmark Tests are computer adaptive exams in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science, that are meant to provide administrators, teachers, and students information on individual student achievement based on a specific set of criterion – the Common Core standards and the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. These exams are meant to be ―formative‖ in nature. These exams will be openly discussed with students in terms of mastery achieved as well as areas for improvement. These areas for improvement may factor into a student‘s Personalized Learning Plan (see page 17). School leadership compiles student assessment data by individual skill or standard, strand, class, grade level and at HCA level. This gives HCA‘s administrator an understanding of what each student has or has not mastered in comparison to their classmates, allows for professional discussions about data-driven instruction in the classroom or across classrooms. HCA will be committed to collecting and analyzing student performance data to activate prior knowledge, determine baseline levels of student achievement, and drive instructional planning. These benchmark assessments will be collected at least three times per year in grades taking the state assessment and four times per year in grades not tested by the state assessments. 12. Explain how the charter school will ensure all students participate in all state-mandated assessments.
Hephzibah Charter Academy HCA will participate in all State-mandated assessments in addition to student assessments. HCA will ascribe to the defined performance measures for each State assessment (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests/ PARCC, writing assessment, end-of-course tests, and norm-referenced tests as applicable) each year and for the life of the charter. HCA will participate in all state-mandated assessments as outlined above and will follow all state rules, policies, and procedures for Georgia public schools as provided in the annual Georgia Student Assessment Handbook. This includes transitioning to the PARCC assessments in 2014-2015, when they replace the CRCT in subject areas of Mathematics, English Language Arts, Reading and Writing. Additionally, HCA will designate a school test coordinator to represent HCA. HCA‘s test coordinator and school principal, in cooperation with the state test coordinator, are responsible for test storage and security once the test is distributed to schools. 13. Describe how the charter school’s assessment plan will measure student improvement and over what period of time. Tracking progress is a fundamental belief of the school. In order to target instruction to a child‘s individual needs, a comprehensive tracking system is needed. Throughout the year, data from our benchmark assessments will be used to target student progress and then gear our programs (tutoring intervention programs, differentiated instruction) to meet the needs of the child. Our benchmark testing process is designed to generate reports that compare a child‘s progress from benchmark to benchmark. The school will create a data wall display that will show the students‘ progress throughout the year. This data analysis will guide instruction in the classroom. Teachers will also use this data to differentiate instruction in the classroom through small groups. A student‘s progress will not just be tracked throughout the school year. The teacher will receive previous years‘ state assessment scores and will have the ability, when the data is available, to track student progress over a longer period of time. The trends that can be seen by tracking a longer time period often give further insight into a child‘s needs. Student progress will also be tracked through our Instructional Focus Calendar (IFC) Program. Based on results from our benchmark assessments, the lowest reported areas will be spiraled back into the daily lessons as a daily instructional focus. This is outside of the regular classroom minutes. An additional assessment is given at the end of each instructional focus period (between one and two weeks), and progress is determined to be sufficient (usually at 80% mastery) or insufficient. If insufficient, that reporting category will go back on the Instructional Focus Calendar to be retaught, reassessed and mastery re-determined. 14. Describe how the charter school will use this assessment data to monitor and improve achievement for students. Student Information System HCA will track individual student data through the use of a student information system. The student information system offers the capability of disaggregating data by individual student, by individual class, by grade level and by school. It also offers teachers, parents, and students online access to student data. Student achievement data is included in each student‘s file, which makes day-to-day evaluation and tracking of mastery of the Common Core GPS more efficient. The student information system provides students, parents, teachers and administrators with real-time information to make decisions about differentiating instruction for each student over the course of school year. The Teacher’s PowerTeacher eGrade Book The Teacher‘s web-based grade book will assist teachers in creating and recording daily assignments that are aligned to the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum and the Common Core GPS. Since all courses taught have Common Core GPS assignments in the grade book, each assignment, as well as formative
Hephzibah Charter Academy and summative assessment given, is directly aligned to the Common Core GPS and the data is made accessible to all relevant stakeholders via the Student Information System. Access to the Student Information System allows for real-time monitoring of student performance on the Common Core GPS, in which administrators, parents, teachers and students can track and compare rates of academic progress made by the students throughout the year. When an assignment is created for a specific subject, the teacher assigns points to the most specific element of the Common Core GPS covered in that particular lesson. When the assignment is completed by the students, the grades are then logged into the eGrade book by the teacher, creating a running record of the level of mastery each student has achieved on the related standards and benchmarks. Grades are automatically calculated and various individual and class reports can be generated. This tool has created an invaluable way for teachers to effectively evaluate individual student‘s mastery of state prescribed skills and content areas, as well as improve the overall effectiveness of classroom instruction in each subject. The eGrade Book is an integral reporting tool that empowers parents to monitor and participate in the student‘s academic progress and improvement, as well as empowers students to monitor and take responsibility for their own learning. The eGrade Book also enables the principal to monitor coverage of HCA‘s Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum and State standards by each teacher, subject, or grade level and then verify the effectiveness of teacher lesson plans. The Narrative Report Card The Narrative Report Card is a school reporting tool used to identify and evaluate the educational strengths and needs of students, making sure "no child is left behind." It provides students, parents, and teachers detailed academic information about the various objectives and skills the student has or has not mastered. The Narrative Report Card, as a part of the overall academic process, is used to provide more detailed and targeted feedback to parents and students regarding the student‘s progress. The Narrative Report Card provides a higher level of comprehensive student assessment than traditional report cards, by aligning a student‘s evaluation with state standards and the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum for each specific grade level. This format allows parents to see that their student is not only ―passing‖ in a specific subject or earning a specific letter grade, but also has attained specific skills within a learning standard throughout the year. The Narrative Report Card allows teachers and administrators to sort student performance data and curriculum objectives in a variety of ways: By student: teachers or administrators can generate a report of all the academic goals and objectives a student has or has not mastered By subject: teachers or administrators can generate a report of all the academic goals and objectives students have or have not mastered by individual subject By classroom: teachers or administrators can generate a report of all the academic goals and objectives students have or have not mastered by classroom By grade level: teachers or administrators can generate a report of all the academic goals and objectives students have or have not mastered by grade level The Educational Model is designed to give teachers and administrators a process for monitoring student progress. Various formative and summative assessments and the Student Information System provide the information and tools needed to make key instructional decisions based on the data. Teachers‘ ongoing decision to either move on to a new objective and begin with a baseline assessment, or revisit the same objective through data-driven instruction, ensures a culture of continuous and improved achievement for students. Through the Educational Model, HCA will adhere to the guidelines established by Georgia‘s Single Statewide Accountability System, built on the principle and core belief that all children can learn.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
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. Students‘ scores from the previous year‘s administration of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, where available, will serve as a baseline for student performance. The results of the current year‘s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests will serve as a post-test to measure how well students have performed. HCA will conduct all student assessments mandated by state law, as well as student and stakeholder satisfaction surveys. HCA will be evaluated on the number of students enrolled by the Cycle 1 FTE date, the number of students who complete the school year, as well as track the retention rate of staff. This data will be maintained by HCA. HCA will conduct all student assessments mandated by state law as well as administer a series of nationally normed Benchmark Assessments aligned to the Common Core to evaluate student progress throughout the year. In addition, the school will administer student and stakeholder satisfaction surveys, evaluate the number of students enrolled by the October FTE date, the number of students who complete the school year as well as track the retention rate of staff. This data will be maintained by HCA. The following goals and objectives will outline expectations of HCA‘s success in meeting a majority of the CCRPI requirements in year one. However, an annual evaluation of data will be used to adjust benchmarks for future goals to ensure continuous improvement and increased student achievement. In exchange for the flexibility granted, HCA agrees to meet or exceed the following performance-based goals and measurable objectives that are designed to result in an improvement of student achievement: Academic Goals The State Board of Education shall hold HCA accountable for the full performance of each of the academic goals listed below. The requirements of each goal are independent of and do not supersede the requirements of any other goal. Goal 1: HCA will perform above the level that would place it on the Priority Schools list, the Focus Schools list, or the Alert Schools list. HCA will also meet all targets (currently CCRPI and State Performance Targets), as defined by Georgia state requirements and the state‘s waiver of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, subject to any amendment, waiver or reauthorization thereof. Students will demonstrate proficiency and improvement over prior years‘ performance. Measure 1: During each year of its charter term, HCA will meet or exceed the State average College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) Achievement ―Points Earned‖ in each content area; Reading/English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies, when applicable. If portions of the CCRPI are not finalized, HCA will meet or exceed all State Performance Targets and all other statewide-accountability requirements of the State of Georgia‘s current and approved accountability measure(s). Measure 2: Performance on the State Assessments (CRCT, EOCT, etc.) in year one of the charter term will act as a baseline. In each subsequent year, the percentage of students scoring Meets or Exceeds on the state assessments will exceed the baseline year‘s average by 2% per year. When the percentage of students scoring Meets or Exceeds is at or above 90%, HCA will increase the
Hephzibah Charter Academy percentage of students achieving a passing score on state assessments to at least match the Richmond County School District average or by 1% per year for the remainder of the charter term. New baselines will be established in years where new state mandated assessments are introduced. This information will also be tracked at the cohort level. Measure 3: In the first two years of CCRPI implementation, the school Student Growth Percentile (SGP) will meet the district average in each grade and subject tested. In each subsequent year, the school SGP will match the Richmond County School District average or exceed the baseline year by an additional 2% per year—whichever measure is greater. When the school SGP is at or above 90%, HCA will match the district average SGP or increase the school SGP by 1% per year for the remainder of the charter term. New baselines will be established in years where new measures or calculations are introduced.
Goal 2: Students of HCA will demonstrate proficiency and improvement on national norm-referenced assessments. Measure 1: The percentage of students who meet or exceed the RIT growth targets on MAP testing, as developed by the NWEA, will increase by 2% each year of the charter term. When the percent of students who meet or exceed their RIT growth target is greater than 90%, HCA will increase the percentage by 1% each year. Goal 3: Students of HCA will demonstrate middle school readiness. Measure 1: In each year of the charter term, the percentage of students scoring Meets or Exceeds on the Grade Five Writing Assessment will be greater than or equal to the State or District average, whichever is higher. Measure 2: In each year of the charter term, the percentage of students scoring Meets or Exceeds on the Grade Eight Writing Assessment will be greater than or equal to the State or District average, whichever is higher. 16. Describe how these academic goals and measurable objectives will comply with the Single Statewide Accountability System. HCA‘s performance-based goals and objectives are designed to focus all stakeholders on areas of public interest such as student academic achievement and student character and citizenship. Rigorous academic goals based on established local and state data, coupled with individual student goal-setting and parent support of academic growth with specific strategies, ensure improved student achievement and compliance with the Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS) in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 202-2063. Additionally, the goals of HCA ensure that students make continuous academic progress towards meeting the increasingly rigorous state-mandated requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver, Race to the Top (RT3), State Performance Targets (SPTs) and the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI). The Governing Board recognizes that as a charter school, there is a greater need for accountability and transparency to create awareness of individual and school-wide performance results. The goals and objectives of HCA will fully support the state-mandated requirement that HCA meet or exceed the minimum state standards and improve student learning for both achievement and growth. In addition, our goals and objectives correlate with our school‘s mission to provide a safe learning environment where each student is challenged to achieve his/her full potential. We strive for academic, social, positive moral, and physical excellence by providing a quality and challenging curriculum. HCA equips students with intrinsic motivation to become lifelong learners and contributing members of society. 17. Describe the organizational and management performance-based goals and measurable objectives for the charter school. Organizational and management goals and measurable objectives should
Hephzibah Charter Academy 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. HCA proposes a comprehensive set of measures to evaluate school performance, operational management, and satisfaction of stakeholders. These measures include customer satisfaction of staff, parents and financial health. HCA will capitalize on existing tools and techniques to gather critical data from key stakeholders that feed directly into the annual school improvement plan. In response to the Georgia legislative intent for charter schools, HCA integrates distinct organizational and academic components designed to ―increase student achievement through academic and organizational innovation.‖ Organizational components of the school are integrated into the design to develop a superior culture within HCA environment. Student achievement is significantly impacted by the culture of the school and community in which it resides; therefore, the following Organizational and Cultural Elements are essential components to HCA. These include: Multi-tiered Governance to ensure success; Active and Meaningful Parental Involvement; School Uniforms; Performance-Based Compensation; and Measurement & Monitoring of School Culture. Superior Culture Superior culture measures focus on the environment at the school and provides valuable input to the strategic planning process for school improvement. These measures are often viewed as ―leading indicators‖ because the culture of a school will ultimately end up impacting academic and financi al performance. Culture is measured through two primary methods: Parent Survey – Aligned to Marzano‘s What Works in Schools model and measures parent satisfaction across 50+ factors. Staff Survey – Administered to all school employees. The survey is aligned to the Gallup research of high performing organizations and Marzano‘s Principles of Effective School Leadership. Goal 1: HCA will be economically sustainable. Measure 1: Each year, HCA 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 HCA maintains adequate cash reserves. Measure 4: HCA will meet all Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) as demonstrated by external, annual audit reports. Measure 5: HCA will meet all financial reporting deadlines set by the Department. Goal 2: HCA shall ensure all Governing Board Members receive effective training. Measure 1: All Governing Board members shall participate in training at least once annually. Measure 2: The Governing Board shall meet at least monthly while school is in session. Goal 3: HCA 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 each year until the percentage of students absent 15 days or more is below 5%. Measure 2: Each year, 90% of 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
Hephzibah Charter Academy conclusion of the school year, in which the options are very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, somewhat satisfied, satisfied, and very satisfied. Measure 3: 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 conducted at the conclusion of the school year, in which the options are very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, somewhat satisfied, satisfied, and very satisfied.
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. HCA will utilize the broad flexibility from law, rule, and regulation permitted by O.C.G.A § 20-22065(a). HCA requests to exercise all waivers save for such waivers that would restrict the school from receiving funding or otherwise render the school unable to receive state funding. HCA will comply with all the requirements of the Single Statewide Accountability System. HCA will not waive any provisions that State law does not allow such as: (a) the Charter Schools Act (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2061 through §20-2-2071); (b) the accountability assessment program (O.C.G.A. § 20-14-30 through §20-14-41); (c) the Open Meetings Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 through §50-14-6) and the Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 through § 50-18-79); (d) federal, state, and local statutes, rules, regulations, and court orders relating to civil rights; special education; insurance; the protection of the physical health and safety of students, employees, and visitors; conflicting interest transactions; and the prevention of unlawful conduct; (e) laws relating to unlawful conduct in or near a public school; (f) laws prohibiting the charging of tuition or fees to attend a public school, except as may be authorized by O.C.G.A. § 20-2-133; (g) the reporting requirements of O.C.G.A. § 20-2-320; and (h) the brief period of quiet reflection provision of O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1050. The broad waiver permitted by O.C.G.A § 20-2-2065(a) is essential in allowing HCA the ability to implement its proven, innovative Educational Model. Implementing the Educational Model and all its components outlined within the charter petition will result in exceptional student achievement as defined in the performance goals and objectives. Samples of uses of waivers are outlined below. O.C.G.A. Designate the performance to be improved: Describe how the charter will measure the improvement of such performance The appropriate class sizes will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of the School as found in the Accountability and Evaluation section of this petition.
Class Size O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-182(i) and SBE Rule 160-51.08
On occasion, class size may need to be altered to facilitate increased student achievement. The goal is to maintain a class size of 20-25 students, but situations might arise where this is impractical
Demonstrate how any such waiver does not undermine the intent of the waived state and local rules, regulations, and policies The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law and the State Board of Education rule to minimize class size so that each student receives optimal education
Hephzibah Charter Academy O.C.G.A. Designate the performance to be improved: Describe how the charter will measure the improvement of such performance Demonstrate how any such waiver does not undermine the intent of the waived state and local rules, regulations, and policies instruction to improve student achievement.
State Board to Prescribe Textbooks O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-1010 and Electronic Format of Textbooks: O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-1015 and SBE Rule 160-44.10(k)
Scheduling for Instruction – SBOE Rule 160-42-.16
Duty Free Lunch Period O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-218
given specific instructional formats, such as theatre or music. In such cases, student collaboration and learning would be improved through granting of this waiver. This waiver provides the flexibility for HCA to implement a textbook that may not yet be adopted by the State of Georgia, but would be in the best interest of continuous improvement in student achievement for our students. However, it is our goal to adopt textbooks approved by the State of Georgia. In a continuing effort to provide the optimal environment for student learning, the School will use this waiver to have the flexibility to construct a daily schedule that best meets the needs of both teachers and students. HCA requests the flexibility to construct a daily schedule that best meets the needs of both teachers and students. Situations may arise when it is appropriate to assign teachers to assist students during the lunch period. Having this option via the waiver enables HCA to manage financial resources and promote increased student-teacher time together to forge strong relationships in a
The importance of flexibility in textbook selection will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of HCA.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law and the State Board of Education The intent of any textbook selection for HCA will be to focus on the overall mission to improve student achievement and focus on accelerated learning for all. The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law to provide students an optimum learning environment.
The importance of flexibility in developing staff schedules will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of HCA.
The importance of flexibility in developing staff schedules will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of HCA.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law to give teachers duty free time. HCA recognizes the need for duty free time for its teachers as well as the positive social and leadership aspects of student-teacher interaction outside the normal classroom. This waiver affords the flexibility to make these scheduling decisions that are in the
Hephzibah Charter Academy O.C.G.A. Designate the performance to be improved: Describe how the charter will measure the improvement of such performance Demonstrate how any such waiver does not undermine the intent of the waived state and local rules, regulations, and policies best interest of the school at the appropriate time.
Values and Character Education Program – SBOE Rule 160-4-2-.33
School Day – SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.02
Professional Learning – SBOE Rule 160-3-3-.04 and 160-3-3-.10; Appropriate Organizations to provide In-Service or Continuing Education O.C.G.A. 20-2201(c) Teacher Salary Schedules and Increases O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-212, 20-2¬ 212.1, 20-2-212.2 and SBE Rules 160¬5-2-.04 and 160-5¬2-.05
venue outside the normal classroom toward increasing student performance and enhancing the closeness of the school community. The school wishes to waive the requirements established in this SBOE rule in order to fully implement the Strive 65, Community of Character and other instructional frameworks as defined in this application. In order to maximize instructional time and to ensure that students are served in the most efficient schedule, HCA proposes to waive this state rule to develop a school day that meets the need of the students. HCA and its partners propose to provide staff and professional development through Charter Schools USA and other providers that may not be approved through Georgia Department of Education.
Effectiveness will be measured through student achievement and citizenship outcomes outlined in this charter application.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law to provide Values and Character Education in a public school setting.
Effectiveness will be measured through the identified student achievement and stakeholder satisfaction outcomes.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law to provide a quality and effective school day schedule.
Effectiveness will be measured through the identified outcomes in this application.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law to provide staff development through quality providers.
HCA wishes to waive the state teacher‘s salary schedules and increases requirements to ensure compensation aligns appropriately with teacher background and credentials and complements the ongoing development of the
The value of determining compensation plans unique to the School will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of HCA.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law and the State Board of Education regulation to establish a schedule of minimum salaries for services rendered. To accomplish its mission, HCA will
Hephzibah Charter Academy O.C.G.A. Designate the performance to be improved: Describe how the charter will measure the improvement of such performance Demonstrate how any such waiver does not undermine the intent of the waived state and local rules, regulations, and policies develop compensation plans for its faculty based on demonstrated abilities in teaching to ensure increased student achievement. The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law and the State Board of Education regulation. HCA will hire qualified administrators based on their demonstrated academic and managerial abilities that are aligned with the school‘s mission.
schools vision and instructional goals.
School Administrator O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-042 (1.1)
Teacher Certification O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-200
Substitute Teachers – SBOE Rule 160¬5-1-.05
It is the intent of HCA to employ school administrators whose demonstrated qualifications and superb managerial skills fit the mission of the school. This waiver provides the flexibility for HCA to hire administrators, regardless of current certification status, to help lead the school toward fulfilling its mission. It is the intent of HCA to employ teachers whose demonstrated qualifications and superb managerial skills fit the mission of the school. This waiver provides the flexibility for HCA to hire teachers, regardless of current certification status, to help lead the school toward fulfilling its mission. HCA would like the flexibility in choosing qualified substitute teachers in the school including the use of qualified mentors, community volunteers, and others screened according to established school policy.
The importance of flexibility in hiring administrators will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of HCA.
The importance of flexibility in hiring teachers (based on certification requirements) will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of HCA.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law and the State Board of Education. The School will hire qualified teachers based on their demonstrated academic and managerial abilities that are aligned with the school‘s mission.
Effectiveness will be measured through student achievement and staff satisfaction outcomes outlined in this charter application.
The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law to provide quality substitute teachers and ensure a safe school environment.
Hephzibah Charter Academy O.C.G.A. Designate the performance to be improved: Describe how the charter will measure the improvement of such performance The impact of this financial flexibility will be measured by the achievement toward the mission of HCA. Demonstrate how any such waiver does not undermine the intent of the waived state and local rules, regulations, and policies The requested waiver does not undermine, and is consistent with, the intent of the law to effectively and efficiently manage expenditures of QBE funds. To accomplish the mission, HCA will manage prudently the rollover funds while utilizing the additional flexibility to advance the academic best interest of the student population and the community at large.
Expenditure of Funds O.C.G.A. Section 20-1-167
HCA will be engaged in building and expanding a unique educational program over the duration of the charter term. In this regard, HCA requests to waive expenditure requirements of QBE funds. HCA plans to rollover residual funds to be used the following year to extend and improve the Districts instructional resources and programs versus returning these funds to the state. This flexibility will greatly increase the Districts‘ ability to directly improve student academic performance and achievement across our curriculum.
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 performance-based goals and to increase student achievement. As described above, HCA 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. GCEF intends to uphold the mission and vision of HCA, to set policy for HCA, to ensure effective organizational planning, and to ensure financial stability of the school. The governing board recognizes that it must fulfill the duties of an LEA and has partnered with an experienced operator, CSUSA, who has the capacity to assist in implementing policies and procedures regarding programs, staffing, finances, operations, and students. CSUSA, in partnership with GCEF, has successfully supported Cherokee Charter Academy and Coweta Charter Academy at Senoia and served over 1,300 Georgia students and (# of employees if available) in the past three years. A comprehensive LEA Policy Manual shall be approved by the governing board prior to the start of the school year. CSUSA has expanded its regional support network to include Regional Curriculum Resource Teachers, Lead Principals, and Regional Business Operations Managers. Additionally, CSUSA has moved up its
Hephzibah Charter Academy timeline for hiring school administrators (Principal, Business Operations Manager, and Registrar) and enhanced the level of mentorship and professional development new school leaders receive prior to school opening. CSUSA is currently replicating these concepts in Georgia. CSUSA will continue to monitor and evolve its support model as it scales. 21. Describe the attendance zone for the charter school. The defined attendance zone of Hephzibah Charter Academy includes the cities of Hephzibah and Blythe and the surrounding areas in South Richmond County. First priority will be given to students residing in Attendance Zone ―A‖ which is defined as the City Limits of Hephzibah. Should seats remain available, students residing in Attendance Zone ―B‖ will be enrolled as outlined. Attendance Zone ―B‖ is defined by stakeholders as the natural geographic boundaries that include the following: On the west side of Hephzibah; everything south of Highway 88 to Blythe and South following Highway 1 to the Jefferson County line. On the east side of Hephzibah everything south of Brown Road to Highway 56 and South following Highway 56 to the Burke County line. Please see below for maps of the proposed attendance zone. After enrollment of students in ―A‖ and ―B‖ above, and space remains available, GCEF reserves the right to open enrollment to students county-wide in the same manner as outlined in this petition. Hephzibah Target Area – 2014
Hephzibah – Zoomed Overall
Hephzibah Charter Academy
Zoomed – East
Zoomed – West
Hephzibah Charter Academy
22. Describe the rules and procedures that will govern the admission of students to the charter school. In accordance with O.C.G.A. 20-2-2066 (1)(A), the school shall admit students of any race, color, nationality and ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. HCA shall enroll eligible students, as defined by the local school district or Georgia Department of Education, who reside within the attendance zone and submits a timely application unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building (please see Appendix 3 for a sample admissions application.) In such cases, all applicants have an equal chance of being admitted through a random lottery process. The GCEF, the LGC and school leadership are committed to enrolling a diverse student population and forbid discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, gender, marital status, ethnicity, or disability. Applications will be made available online through the Student Information System, accessible on the school website, and in paper form at local distribution sites. The Student Information System accepts student applications and monitors the number of applications submitted for each grade. The Student Information System manages all aspects of the enrollment process including: online applications, application verification, admission preference management, manual and computerized lottery options, wait-list management, data exports (mail merges), and statistical reporting. Upon submission of an application, the information is reviewed for eligibility of attendance. Proof of residence in a particular area and age requirements are verified. At each phase of the admission process. the appropriate correspondence will be generated and communicated to each applicant. The data will be monitored and reports created to determine the need for a lottery, waitlists, and letters of acceptance. If, at the end of the Open Enrollment period there is an over subscription for any grade level, a lottery will be conducted.
Hephzibah Charter Academy All accepted applicants will be provided with access to registration requirements via the Student Information System. Documentation required by the school district is collected for review and verification. The following items are generally required for all students: Authorization for request of cumulative folder Proof of residence Social security card (optional) Birth certificate Report card, transcript Current immunization/medical history When appropriate, ESE, ESOL/ELL, literacy folder, and any conduct/discipline actions Once all current students are registered and classes have been assigned, class size will determine the need for subsequent marketing efforts. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and maintained on a waiting list. Communication with perspective students is generated as appropriate. Prior to HCA‘s opening, an Open Enrollment period will be established and announced. During Open Enrollment, staff will host informative meetings in areas where new schools will be opening for the upcoming school year. These meetings will not only focus on informing the community about HCA, but more specifically the meeting will provide direction for parents/guardians interested in enrolling their child(ren). At the end of the enrollment period, parents will be notified of acceptance to HCA or assigned a lottery number in the event that applications exceed capacity. If capacity is not reached after the established Enrollment Period, subsequent applications will be accepted and ordered based on the date the application was received and the preferences extended to the applicant. As seats become available, they will be offered to applicants according to this established order, until capacity is reached. In subsequent years, applications will be accepted each year during an Open Enrollment period and continuously to maintain capacity in each grade level. All applications will be date/time stamped as they are received and filed by grade level. If the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building, a lottery will be held to determine which applicants are admitted. The number of seats available will be determined by the number of students who recommit minus the capacity. The drawing will continue until every name has been drawn and scheduled for enrollment or placed on a numerical waiting list. All applications received after the Open Enrollment period will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list for that particular program, class, or grade level in the order in which they are received. The lottery will be both random and system-generated. Each applicant selected in the lottery will receive an offer letter, containing a confirmation code specific only to that applicant. This confirmation code is linked to the applicant‘s file in the Student Information System, which makes tracking and confirming each applicant‘s plans for attendance expedient for the enrollment staff. An applicant will have one week (7 calendar days), starting from the date the offer was made, to respond to the offer letter via the internet or mail. They will have the opportunity to confirm their plans for attendance at the school, by either accepting or declining the offer. If the applicant fails to respond to the letter, in either the affirmative or the negative, the offered seat will be rescinded and offered to an applicant on the waiting list. Should the applicant decide to accept the offered seat, they will receive a confirmation email within 24-48 hours of their response. The email will contain instructions for completing the enrollment and registration process. Starting from the day of the applicant‘s acceptance, the applicant will have two weeks (14 calendar days) to complete and submit several items of the required registration paperwork. If these specified registration items are not submitted within the two week window, the applicant will lose their
Hephzibah Charter Academy seat. The registration items required to secure an applicant‘s seat can all be electronically signed online through the Student Information System, and they include: Dress Code Agreement Internet Use & Promotion Form Parent Contract Photograph & Video Release Permission Form Volunteer Form Special Programs Information HCA will provide a bar code tracking system for recording receipt of registration items. Reports detailing status of student registration items are produced using this data. Marketing strategies to disseminate information about HCA to ―hard to reach‖ populations will include, but are not limited to the following: Use of the local print media Posting of information (in appropriate languages for the community) in local public areas such as public libraries, public housing, grocery stores, Boys and Girls Clubs, community centers and clubhouses, recreational fields and facilities, and others as identified by the board and other stakeholders Advertising in local magazines, free community publications, and others as identified Distribution of information to local businesses Advertise Open House Information Sessions Production of marketing materials and school applications in languages other than English as needed to accommodate the needs of the community Availability of bilingual staff to answer questions A website with online applications in appropriate languages for the community Radio public service announcements in multiple languages Utilization of local cable advertisements Other strategies identified through the stakeholder input and collaborative development process. 23. Describe whether the charter school will use any enrollment priorities pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-22066(a)(1). HCA will use enrollment priorities in accordance with O.C.G.A. 20-2-2066 (1)(A), a start-up charter school shall enroll any student who resides in the school‘s attendance zone as specified in the Charter Petition and who submits a timely application as specified in the Charter Petition unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building. In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2066(a)(1)(A), HCA may give enrollment preference to the following categories of applicants and in the following priority: i. Siblings of students enrolled in the Charter School; and ii. Students whose parent or guardian is a member of the Governing Board of the Charter School or is a full-time teacher, professional, or other employee at the Charter School. 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. Marketing and Recruitment HCA will conduct a broad marketing and recruitment campaign targeting the Attendance Zone (outlined above) to educate and publicize to the community information about school-choice and charter school options and more specifically the opportunities and benefits available at HCA. Publications and media clips will be produced bilingually as needed to match the demographics of the community.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
These efforts include, but are not limited to: Use of the local print media Posting of information in local public areas such as public libraries, public housing, grocery stores, community centers and clubhouses, recreational fields and facilities, and others as identified Advertising in local magazines, free community publications, and others as identified Distribution of brochures and pamphlets about HCA and programs offered Facilitation and continuation of ―town hall‖ meetings utilized in the stakeholder input process Direct mailings to the community Announcements in Human Resources Newsletters for area businesses Utilization of the HCA‘s website via the internet, with email options Presentations/information sessions to the local community, neighborhood clubs, libraries, and other organizations Display signs and posters throughout the immediate and surrounding communities Open Houses and information sessions at the facility Information sessions and meetings at area schools classified as ―overcrowded‖ Announcements at the local college and university career centers University and college print media Attendance at local career fairs Presentations/Information sessions for employees at local businesses Education fairs for employees Internal company email advertisements through local businesses 25. Describe the charter school’s plan for recruiting students and for maintaining/increasing enrollment. In order to ensure strong demand and create a ―waitlist‖ application pool, marketing occurs to all eligible populations residing within the school‘s attendance zone. Utilizing the school‘s Student Information System, HCA‘s applicants will be tracked and ordered appropriately. This method provides an opportunity for all students applying to be admitted, while ensuring an orderly management of achieving enrollment targets across all grade levels. To ensure that all stakeholders understand the unique programming of HCA, before students enroll, parents and students are given thorough explanations of the curriculum, expectations, and requirements of the school. This information is delivered through a variety of mediums: open houses, published information, brochures, online applications and, website question/answer modules. After enrollment and the start of school, parents continue to have flexibility to monitor their child‘s progress online and/or through parent conferences. Because HCA will follow a continuous improvement model, parents have real time access to their child‘s progress. This online access informs them, via a controlled access password, about their child‘s class work, test grades and weekly progress of the standards. Parents have significant information provided to them to schedule a conference, asks questions, or just be aware of their child‘s academic achievement. Parents have the flexibility to choose among the diverse educational opportunities within the state‘s public school system throughout the school year. 26. Describe the rules and procedures concerning student discipline and student dismissal (including code of conduct and student due process procedures). A primary objective of HCA is to enhance students‘ potential for learning and to foster positive interpersonal relationships. HCA acknowledges that students who possess personal, academic, and civic
Hephzibah Charter Academy capabilities will become effective and productive citizens. A positive school culture will support academic achievement, emphasizing civility, fairness, mutual respect, and acceptance of diversity. Discipline in a school environment is often solely characterized by student behavior. We believe that discipline encompasses not only student behavior, but all elements that contribute to the teaching and learning environment. Those elements include but are not are limited to policies, rules, procedures, expectations, and motivators. We further believe that the management techniques ingrained in each of these elements are not systematically addressed within instructional techniques, thus our philosophy requires a formal school-wide discipline plan. HCA‘s discipline plan is rooted in equipping students, teachers, and all other members of the school community with the tools needed to secure an optimal teaching and learning environment thus enhancing the opportunity for exemplary academic achievement and personal development. Discipline is the process of changing a student's behavior from inappropriate to exemplary. We are never satisfied with merely stopping poor behaviors; we desire to teach the student to do what is right. We do not discipline a student out of anger or for the sake of convenience, but with a loving desire to help the student to do what is right. Though few students desire discipline, they often need it in order to reach their full potential. To ensure the safety and security of students and staff, each student receives a copy of the Student Handbook, (please see Appendix 4) which clearly outlines the behavior expectations of HCA. The Code of Conduct is appended to the Student Handbook. Both students and parents must sign the Code of Conduct at the beginning of the year certifying that they have read and understand the policy. Additional disciplinary procedures are published in the parent handbook and parent/student contract of the school. While we would like to think that simply by signing the Code of Conduct that every child will behave in the appropriate manner, we know that this is not usually the case. HCA‘s personnel will be trained in how to discipline students effectively through means that are fair, yet seek to meet the needs of each individual child. The parents will always be involved with the discipline process as well as other appropriate stakeholders as the child‘s needs require. The goal of any disciplinary measure will be the ultimate success and well-being of the child. The teachers will also be trained at our New Teacher Induction, as well as through targeted workshops throughout the year. They will be trained on classroom management strategies, as many discipline problems can be prevented through positive teacher intervention in the classroom. They will also be trained in more targeted classroom intervention strategies that address those students who have a greater need for additional support. Training teachers is the first step to a positive behavior system that educates, and trains as opposed to one that reacts and retaliates. Furthermore, active parental participation is required at the school. Parent participation is key to the success of the overall program and is solicited for the development of school goals and objectives. 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. Procedure for Student/Parent/Guardian Complaints: GCEF, HCA and CSUSA believe in just, fair and equitable treatment of ALL students and in providing a learning environment that is free from unfair or discriminatory practices. Procedures for addressing grievances and complaints from students, parents, and teachers and resolution of discriminatory practices have been established.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Rights: Students/Parents have the right to report, and seek redress for unfair treatment, discriminatory practices or harassment. Responsibilities: Students/Parents have a responsibility to know and follow procedures for filing complaints. There may be times when students feel they have been treated unfairly. In most cases, problems can be resolved if students/parents speak with the teacher or staff member involved. If the student/parent does not resolve the problem or feels uncomfortable addressing the issue directly to the teacher or staff member, the student or parent may request a conference with the Principal or Assistant Principal. The student/parent may also request the presence of a third party, such as a counselor, resource teacher or other staff person. The parent may also be present. If the problem is not resolved at this level, the following steps should be followed: The student/parent must present a written and signed statement to the Principal within five (5) school days. The statement should include the following information: (a) description of the incident; (b) date and time of the incident; (c) persons involved and/or witnesses; (d) location of the incident; and (e) attempts made to resolve the issue. The Principal shall respond, in writing, within five (5) school days of the receipt of the statement. The Principal shall make every effort to resolve the matter. If the problem still has not been resolved or the Principal fails to respond in a timely manner to the student‘s statement, the student/parent may submit the grievance to the ESP for resolution. A meeting will be scheduled within five (5) school days of receipt of the student‘s/parent‘s request for such a meeting. This meeting will include the person involved in the original action, the Principal, the student, the parent/guardian of the student and a representative from the ESP. If a decision is made at this meeting, documentation of the agreed upon actions will be forwarded to all parties within five (5) school days. If the student, parent/guardian is not satisfied with the outcome of the decision, they may contact the Governing Board for their input. This may be done at any point of the process. At any time, a parent or guardian may withdraw their student(s) from HCA and enroll them in the student‘s assigned school in accordance with school district policy. Procedure for Teacher Complaints Misconduct: All allegations of misconduct that are reported by employees or in regard to employees will be reported to the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation and/or Charter Schools USA. Once the investigation is complete and a determination is reached about the validity of an allegation, the appropriate action will be followed. If the misconduct is related to an Ethics or Moral Turpitude violation, a report will be submitted to the Educator Ethics Division of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for further investigation. Likewise, if a citizen makes an allegation directly to the GAPSC, GCEF, HCA and CSUSA will fully cooperate with any investigation. Performance Complaint Procedure: From time to time students and/or parents/guardians may have a complaint related to the performance of a teacher or staff member of HCA. These complaints are taken seriously and will be immediately addressed. Step 1. Step 2. The student, parent/guardian or co-worker should report the incident to the Principal. The Principal investigates the situation and evaluates witnesses‘ interviews and case documentation.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Step 3. A determination is made after the case is reviewed by GCEF and/or Charter Schools USA Corporate Human Resources, depending on the situation, a Progressive Disciplinary Policy may be followed or other action as required. The Progressive Disciplinary Policy puts the employee on notice that immediate improvement is expected.
If the teacher or staff member feels they have been treated unfairly as a result of actions from HCA, the aggrieved employee may submit a formal grievance and a further investigation will be conducted. 28. Describe generally the charter school’s employment procedures and policies. Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, the Local Governing Council, and HCA‘s leadership will contract with Charter Schools USA to implement and manage employment procedures and policies (at the guidance and authority of the governing board/GCEF) for HCA. Charter Schools USA has conducted extensive internal and external research to determine the most important elements in designing a work environment and culture to support employee performance, morale and student achievement. The following describes the school‘s People First Plan, which is the framework for all employment policies and procedures. HCA will utilize the People First Plan as outlined below: Performance-Based Compensation Research supports the notion that people are motivated through achievement and growth. Moreover, studies indicate that not only does this contribute to the retention of high-quality staff, but also positively impacts student achievement. Consequently, HCA will adopt a performance-based compensation plan that includes: Performance bonuses for Administration based on pre-determined goals Merit increases for faculty and staff determined by a robust evaluation tool based on the research of Robert Marzano Participation in various programs to provide incentive bonuses for teachers School-wide performance incentive goal provided to faculty and staff at each school that achieves predetermined school-wide goals Superior Culture The culture of each school is integral to the attraction and retention of high quality staff. The following are cultural elements that will be built into HCA: Uniforms Parent involvement including voluntary involvement contracts Strong discipline plans Classroom management expectations Action plans based on semiannual staff surveys Action plans based on semiannual parent surveys Strong focus on the 21 Responsibilities of a Leader that research shows drives student achievement Recognition programs (corporate and school based) Company Summit and Conferences that celebrate success, involve staff in planning, and provide motivation and excitement about our mission Teambuilding and recreational events that build camaraderie and a sense of belonging
Hephzibah Charter Academy STRIVE character education program that supports an Ethical Learning Community and positive school culture Other factors that support a positive culture include: o Safe and Orderly Environment o Collegiality and Professionalism
Recruitment All employees must be committed to the high academic standards of HCA. Faculty must have the ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively with fellow faculty, parents, community organizations, and the business community. Quality teaching requires energetic, creative, knowledgeable persons who possess a desire to make education exciting and make a difference within the educational experience of each student. If students are to succeed to their maximum potential, having a quality teacher working with every student is paramount. Georgia Charter Educational Foundation and the Local Governing Council, alongside its education service provider Charter Schools USA, are committed to recruiting, selecting, inducting and retaining highly effective teachers. It is recognized that hiring talented people who continue to develop skills and increase their value to the school and to students is critical to sustained school performance; we also recognize that high-performing educators are the school‘s most important asset. The purpose of the employment procedures and policies is to recruit employees who behave in a way that is consistent with the organization‘s values and contribute to the school in alignment with the organization‘s mission. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 simplifies the process of identifying and hiring ―highly qualified‖ teachers, which will be targeted for employment at HCA. Procedural guidelines and support enhance the likelihood of recruiting highly effective staff. The comprehensive recruitment effort is focused on identifying certified teachers who come from diverse backgrounds and uses a system of intensive screening designed to hire the most qualified applicants. HCA, in collaboration with Charter Schools USA, is an equal opportunity employer and will recruit quality staff throughout the year for job openings using a progressive and innovative recruiting plan. Recruitment occurs locally, statewide, and nationally through various resources that include: HCA‘s website Charter Schools USA‘s website The Student Information System to advertise all vacant positions internally Employee Referral Program Resume Databases and Social Networks Job Fairs College Recruiting On-line Job Posting Boards Minority Organizations As a component of the management agreement, Charter Schools USA will work with GCEF, the Local Governing Council, and school leadership to manage job advertising, conduct applicant screening, and refer qualified applicants to the principal and administration to ensure that staffing needs are met. A proven and consistent process of screening, interviewing and selecting employees is essential to the school‘s ability to recruit qualified staff. A consistent process ensures that all candidates are provided an equal opportunity to demonstrate and/or articulate their skills and abilities. The collaborative process is outlined below:
Hephzibah Charter Academy Prescreening: Prescreening questions are used to determine the basic qualifications needed for candidates to move to the screening and interviewing phases. This includes questions regarding performance at previous employment, reasons for terminations, certifications, good standing with Georgia Professional Standards, violations and convictions of ethics and/or crimes, and investigations and convictions related to crimes of moral turpitude. Screening: HCA and the Governing Board (through an agreement with CSUSA) will employ a systematic approach to screen applicants to ensure final candidates meet the qualifications for the position. In an initial interview screeners will ask applicants compelling questions that focus on their abilities, skills and experiences. As the applicant pool is narrowed, successful applicants advance toward a more in-depth building-level interview with the principal and/or interview team comprised of school/educational/board leadership and stakeholders. Selection: The selection process is informed by factors identified in applied psychology, such as interview structure and the phrasing of question prompts, and it draws on effective teacher research. Interview protocol focuses on job-related questions and thus is within the legal bounds of interviewing guidelines. Selection Criteria The following information is used to guide the process of screening applications, analyzing oral interviews, and teaching demonstrations: Administrator/Principal: Responsible for the administration of the school Principal must have Educational Leadership Certification Educational Background- Degree in Education with appropriate school grade background; experience as an educational leader Teaching experience Knowledge of the needs of the school‘s population Ability to work with community agencies and resources Experience in working with school boards, board of directors, and advisory boards Skilled in using technology as a tool for learning and monitoring student progress Knowledgeable of curriculum for appropriate grades of student body Motivated to establish innovative and creative learning programs Dedicated to providing supplementary programs to enhance student learning Committed to professional development programs for faculty and school concepts Ability to implement staff development and training Promoter of positive school climate Committed to enabling each student to reach his/her personal best Assistant Principal: Responsible for assisting in the supervision of the school program and the curriculum Assistant Principal must have Educational Leadership Certification Responsible for assisting in the supervision of the school program and the curriculum Possesses similar qualities as designated for the Principal Classroom Teachers: Educational Background- Bachelor‘s Degree or higher in Education and/or area of specialization in the grades he/she is teaching Presents positive teaching evaluation history
Hephzibah Charter Academy Displays exemplary personal presentation and interpersonal skills Demonstrates strong written and oral communication skills Literate in computer skills Demonstrates in-depth knowledge of subject area Understands various teaching methods and learning styles Ability to make learning exciting and interactive for students Committed to the academic development and character development of each student Displays enthusiasm, flexibility, and innovative techniques toward education Ability to work effectively with parents, students, resource personnel, and other school wide groups of individuals Engages in continual professional development seminars, presentations, and organizations Professional Certification
Interviews: The utilization of a research-based interview protocol assists the interviewer team from distinguishing promising teachers from those with less potential to be effective. The interview process for hiring instructional staff uses a panel or team interview approach, assembled by the principal. Final candidates progress to an interview with the principal. The interview protocol asks teacher applicants about their past performance and experience. The interviewer or interview team uses an anchored rubric to evaluate applicants‘ responses. Research-based data about the qualities of effective teachers and a well-structured interview provides a solid foundation for the teacher selection process. According to research, six quality indicators of teacher effectiveness ultimately influence student achievement. They are: 1) prerequisites of effective teaching; 2) the teacher as a person (i.e., personal attributes); 3) classroom management and organization; 4) planning for instruction; 5) implementing instruction (i.e., instructional delivery) and; 6) monitoring student progress and potential (i.e., student assessment and student expectations). Since these quality indicators are explicitly linked to core qualities of effective teachers our interview protocol uses research-informed questions that relate to the six core qualities inherent in effective teachers: 1) Prerequisites of Effective Teaching Verbal ability Teacher certification Content knowledge Teacher experience Education coursework 2) Teacher as a Person Caring Fairness and respect Interaction with students Enthusiasm 3) Classroom Management and Organization Classroom Management Organization Student Discipline 4) Planning for Instruction Importance of instruction Importance of instruction Time allocation
Motivation Dedication to teaching Reflective practice
Teacher expectation Instructional planning
Hephzibah Charter Academy
5) Instructional Delivery Instructional strategies Content and expectations Complexity 6) Assessment Homework Monitoring of student progress
Questioning Student engagement
Response to student needs and abilities
Hiring Policy Prior to an interview, applicants are required to complete an Employment Application and a Release of Information. The Release of Information allows HCA, GCEF, and/or Charter Schools USA to conduct a background check and verify the candidate‘s employment history. HCA will be an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate in its employment practices. The hiring policy is to offer an equal employment opportunity to all qualified employees without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, age, pregnancy, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, non-job related disability or physical or mental handicap, or any other characteristic protected by law. Pursuant to all federal and state laws including Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Fair Labor Standards Act, Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 1963, Age Discrimination Act of 1963, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination Act of 1967, Occupation and Health Act of 1970, Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, Vietnam Era and Special Disabled Veterans Readjustment Assistance of 1974, Worker‘s Compensation, O.C.G.A 34-9-81.1, and Unemployment Compensation. Employment at Will: HCA reserves the right to dismiss employees ―at will‖ but without being in violation of federal and state laws. HCA serves as an ―at will‖ private employer as outlined in the Georgia Department of Labor website to mean: Georgia recognizes the doctrine of employment at will. Employment at will means that in the absence of a written contract of employment for a defined duration, an employer can terminate an employee for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all, so long as it is not an illegal cause. It is the objective of the school and board/leadership to retain highly qualified employees, with a vested interest in their professional development. The success of our employees reflects the success of the school and the organization. As such, HCA will have a progressive disciplinary process where areas for improvement are discussed, along with suggested actions for improvement. Employees are provided a reasonable amount of time for performance improvement. In cases where the administrator has demonstrated coaching and counseling, both verbally and in writing, and the employee‘s performance fits poorly with the school, termination may be pursued. Direct violations of school policies in the Employee Handbook regarding harassment, ethics, values, and expected behavior are grounds for immediate termination. Hiring Qualifications: HCA, in partnership with Charter Schools USA, reserves the right to hire the most qualified instructional and non-instructional staff as evidenced by their education credentials, competencies and demonstrated abilities and expertise for the position. Background Verification Process: Upon selection, the candidate‘s education credentials will be verified by the administrative staff. The verification process includes checking for clearance of disciplinary actions. HCA will participate in the NASDTEC National Clearing House for state reciprocity to review and verify any disciplinary action reported prior to and during employment. Teaching certification will be verified through GAPSC Teacher Certification Information
Hephzibah Charter Academy (https://www.gapsc.com/Certification/Lookup/look_up.aspx). The principal of HCA or an appointee will contact the new employee‘s professional references. New hire employment history verification is conducted by a licensed third-party vendor. Consistent with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission‘s Code of Ethics, an individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied, or suspended will not be hired by HCA to serve as a volunteer or be employed as an educator, paraprofessional, aide, or substitute teacher. Certification Monitoring: Teachers‘ certification status is actively monitored throughout their career with HCA. As a best practice, HCA maintains a file for teachers (and staff members) and ensures that their certification is current. Teachers who do not possess current certification are separated from employment or action taken according to the GPSC until such certification becomes current. It is the responsibility of HCA and its ESP to ensure teachers meet the requirements prior to employment and to ensure any conditional requirements are met by the educator within the required timeline. Non-renewable certificates and five-year renewable requirements will be actively monitored for compliance. Criminal Background Check and Fingerprinting: HCA follows the protocol established for the screening of school employees and all vendors working in and around students. HCA is responsible for arranging background and fingerprinting services. This includes FBI fingerprinting and background check. As a condition for continued employment, every five years the staff of HCA is required to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. A comprehensive criminal history background check includes both GCIC and NCIC and is conducted on each applicant assigned to HCA. Minimum findings that warrant exclusion from entering the school include: Any felony conviction Any drug conviction Any crime against children Any sex-related conviction HCA requires drug testing when reasonable suspicion is established as well as post workplace injury. HCA also asks legal questions on its employment application in relation to past felony convictions, probation, pleadings, and pending disciplinary actions. If a candidate misrepresents his/her application, the school and/or Charter Schools USA reserve the right to end the hiring process or employment relationship. Offer of Employment and On-boarding Practices Processes are in place to ensure hiring is consistent with all state and federal law and supports the school budgets. Approval processes are followed that include school requirements, human resources consistency, and financial accountability. If the candidate successfully completes the pre-employment requirements and meets all the desired qualifications, an offer of employment will be extended. Every hired employee will sign an offer of employment. Upon acceptance of the offer, an Electronic New Hire Packet is presented to the new employee. The packet includes the required payroll forms, such as I-9 (to be completed within 3 days of employment), W-2, state income tax form, Employee Handbook (and acknowledgement page), and information related to company-offered benefits. If qualified, insurance enrollment forms are provided to the employee.
Hephzibah Charter Academy The knowledge, skills and qualifications required for members of staff are specified in the job descriptions. The table below represents the school‘s staff functions. GAPSC Certification Yes N/A
Title Principal Assistant Principal Dean Business Operations Manager Guidance Counselor Registrar Administrative Assistant
Position Function Serves as the school leader. Assist the principal in providing school-wide leadership. Assist the Principal as needed and implement company policies. Administers the business affairs of school.
Subject Area Educational Leadership Educational Leadership Educational Leadership N/A
ESE Director Specialist Teacher
To help students achieve personal fulfillment by providing them with guidance and counseling services. Coordinates and performs student registration and promotion of the school. Ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the school office so that the office's maximum positive impact on the education of children can be realized. Support the school‘s instructional program by directing ESE Teachers and the ESE program. Create and implement a flexible program and classroom environment favorable to student learning and personal growth. Develop lesson plans consistent with our Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. Maintain an orderly, safe and pleasant atmosphere in the cafeteria, on the playground and in other designated locations by helping and supervising staff and students during authorized Before or After School Program. Supports the school‘s instructional program by identifying LEP students, planning an appropriate developmental program for them and implementing Instruction. Help and supervise students during authorized Before or After School Program in accordance with Charter Schools USA policy and established school procedures. Administer the food service program at school level in an efficient and effective manner. Prepare and serve meals at the school level in an efficient and effective manner. Organize, administer, and coordinate the school‘s library media center/facility and its
Certified in 1 area of Special Education (preferably 2) Appropriate subject area
Before and After Care Director
CPR, First Aid Training
Endorsement in ESOL and certification in nonendorsement field N/A
Before and After Care Worker Food Service Director Food Service Worker Media Specialist
N/A N/A Education Media Specialist
Hephzibah Charter Academy GAPSC Certification Yes N/A
Position Function programs. Provides training and support to teachers; assists with Reading program implementation. Serves as primary reception and information resource for the school. This position is the focal point for the school. Enable children to pursue their education as smoothly and completely as possible in the absence of the regular teacher. Assist the special education teacher by working with individual disabled students.
Reading Specialist School Receptionist Substitute Teacher Unique Aide
Reading Specialist N/A
Employment Offers: An employment offer will be signed by each employee hired by HCA. Staff will be hired ―at will‖ on a year-to-year basis with the offer extensions recommended on an annual basis. All instructional personnel will be considered 10-month employees paid over a 12-month period. Instructional personnel will begin about two weeks prior to the start of school and work about one week after the end of school. New Teacher Orientation: Once the above requirements are satisfied and the candidate is hired, new employees participate in a mandatory orientation geared to familiarize new employees with the school vision and mission and to reviews key areas of the Employee Handbook. The first 90 days of employment with HCA are considered an orientation period. New teachers go through a Teacher Induction Program prior to the start of school. The Principal, Business Operations Manager and a Charter Schools USA Human Resource team member participate in school-based new teacher orientations. Prior to the commencement of the school year, new employees will be involved in seminars and meetings covering the following subjects: Professional ethics Employee handbook Policies and procedures Student handbook Employee benefits School and classroom protocol, including the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect Discrimination/harassment training Teambuilding and leadership Teacher Induction Program (conducted by the Education Team) Dismissal: The first 90 days of employment are considered an Introductory Period. The employee may resign from the school and the school may terminate employment without cause and without notice. After the first 90 days, progressive discipline policies will be followed for minor performance situations and immediate termination for any violations of a serious nature. Per the employee handbook, the school asks for two weeks notice of all voluntary resignations. HCA reserves the right to dismiss employees ―at will‖ but without being in violation of federal and state laws. HCA assures thorough, consistent termination procedures will be followed.
Hephzibah Charter Academy HCA’s Professional Development: Employee development planning is almost universally recognized as a strategic tool for the organization‘s continued growth, productivity, and ability to retain valuable employees. Managing the company‘s development planning process is a current and on-going process. Short-term plans for projects, long-term plans for the organization, career development plans for the employee and skill-building for the immediate performance deficiencies are all a part of professional development. The professional development available to all employees includes, but is not limited to the following: New Hire Orientation Employee Handbook Student Handbook Professional Seminars, Memberships and Fee‘s HR workshops given with the current trends of new hiring procedures, progressive discipline, EEO compliance, customer service, and non-harassment training. With the on-going guidance and support of the corporate staff, each school has developed a professional development calendar to include: Pre-school in service Staff development during teacher planning week at faculty meetings Participation in Curriculum Cadres 29. Describe how and by whom the principal’s performance will be evaluated. Both the GCEF and the Local Governing Council will hold the principal accountable primarily through the performance expectations defined in the charter application and/or the management agreement between GCEF and Charter Schools USA. GCEF, the Local Governing Council, and Charter Schools USA are responsible for evaluating the principal's performance and offering feedback for areas of growth. A comprehensive and rigorous performance evaluation process has been aligned to the expectations of the governing bodies, to the school‘s Educational Model, and the specific mission of the school. In addition, the principal will attend all GCEF meetings and the monthly Local Governing Council meetings and provide status updates on a routine basis. An appraisal of the principal‘s performance takes place annually. The principal‘s evaluation includes the following components: Academics, Human Resources, Operations, Finance, Values, and the 21 Responsibilities of a Leader as defined by Robert Marzano. Setting Performance Expectations (Principals) Performance expectations are communicated in August of each year in two ways: Criteria on Performance Evaluation Tool: All criteria that the principal is evaluated on are communicated in August. Given the range of responsibilities for which principals are accountable, the August communication ensures that specific expectations are set. The Board, in collaboration with Charter Schools USA, clearly defines what good performance looks like. Performance within each criterion is used to determine merit increases. Principal Goals: HCA has a Strategic Plan, as well as a School Improvement Plan. School-wide goals are developed from these two documents. The Principal determines personal goals as developed in five areas: 1. Academics 4. Finance 2. Operations 5. Growth 3. School Culture Achievement of these goals is evaluated at the end of the year and linked to an incentive bonus.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Monitoring Performance and Providing Feedback Performance is monitored throughout the year and feedback is provided to support continued improvements and high performance. Monitoring methods include: School site visits conducted semiannually Staff surveys conducted in November and April Parent surveys conducted in November and April Monthly principal meetings Monthly principal reports Benchmark tests Regular conversations and visits with members of the Education Team. Performance Management – Principal Evaluation Tool A formal evaluation is conducted at the end of the year. The following are the categories included in the Principal Evaluation Tool. For each factor specific criteria has been identified in terms of what performance is expected. Academic Excellence Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum Challenging goals and effective feedback Parent and community involvement Safe and orderly environment Collegiality and professionalism Teacher level factors Technology Operational Management Registration and student record keeping Customer service Governing board relations Following guidelines for facility operations Compliance with district and state regulation Superior Culture Leadership Human Resources Performance and planning Compensation management School values Financial Growth Budget development and management Business manager relations Fundraising Risk management Growth Enrollment Succession Planning
Hephzibah Charter Academy School Opening Teams
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. Elementary and secondary teachers must hold a Bachelor‘s or higher Degree in Education or related discipline, demonstrate content-area mastery, and be ―highly qualified‖ in each core academic subject they teach. Core academic subjects are: Language Arts/Reading, English, Science, Mathematics, Civics and Government, Economics, History, Geography, Foreign Language, Art and Music. ESE and ELL teachers must be ―highly qualified‖ in core subjects that they may teach to their students (through a state exam and hold a Clear Renewable certificate in the appropriate subject area through The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GAPSC)). Therefore, the goal is to hire a staff (teachers and administrators) that holds valid certification with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Teachers will hold a Clear Renewable Certificate and meet the requirements of the GAPSC. Paraprofessionals with instructional support duties will meet guidelines of Section 1119 of the No Child Left Behind Act and ESEA. Substitute teachers will be required to meet local board policy concerning qualifications and training and be paid at a daily rate. All personnel will be in compliance with the Drug Free Public Work Force Act of 1990. HCA will not employ an individual to provide instructional services or to serve as a paraprofessional if the individual‘s professional certificate or license is suspended or revoked in Georgia or any other state. HCA and/or Charter Schools USA may employ or contract with skilled selected non-certified personnel to provide instructional services or to assist faculty members as teacher‘s aides. 31. Describe whether the charter school will use the state salary schedule, and if another schedule will be used, provide that schedule. The Governing Board believes that it is in the best interest of both the school and its employees to fairly compensate our workforce for the value of the work provided and have structured the compensation system in a way that rewards high performers based on criteria linked to student achievement. Pay bands have been established to a minimum, midpoint, and maximum scale by which job families can grow with merit increases. How quickly an employee moves toward the maximum is determined by the budget and the level of individual performance through an annual performance appraisal process. Incentive bonuses are provided that link to the school strategic plan. Examples of these are: student achievement and school enrollment criteria. The governing board works to establish budget criteria, incentives, and other motivating factors that attract, reward and retain the best employees. When determining an employee‘s starting salary several factors are considered, including but not limited to: Base pay, which is the start of the salary band. Years of experience the candidate brings with him/her. Higher education, such as a Master‘s or Ph.D. Critical shortage area: Science, Math, etc.(as needed) The school‘s salaries are comparable to GAPSC but structured differently. The school will use a salary worksheet to calculate starting salaries in a fair and consistent manner. As an example of how HCA determines starting salaries, the table below provides the basic criteria:
Hephzibah Charter Academy
Example Position Title Base Salary Minimum $34,000
Proposed Teachers Midpoints $36,500 Maximums $39,000
District Teachers 1 year $35,574 5 year $38,924 10 year $44,763
The budgeted average base teacher salary assumes that approximately half of our teachers start at the beginning of the salary band and the other half will have varied levels of teaching experience or require adders as needed to recruit qualified candidates. Once the starting salary is determined, the employee moves through the band depending on how well they perform. The band is assessed annually based on local market analysis, cost of living adjustments, budget and any other factors that might justify adjusting the salary band. The above does not include additional bonus opportunities that teachers are eligible for through school and goal achievement. 32. Describe the charter school’s procedures to ensure that staff members are subject to fingerprinting and background checks. HCA will follow the protocol established for the screening of school employees and all vendors working in and around students. HCA will be responsible for arranging background and fingerprinting services. This includes FBI fingerprinting and background check. As a condition for continued employment, every five years the staff of HCA will be required to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. A comprehensive criminal history background check includes both GCIC and NCIC and is conducted on each applicant assigned to HCA. Minimum findings that warrant exclusion from entering the school include: Any felony conviction Any crime against children Any drug conviction Any sex-related conviction 33. Describe the charter school’s insurance coverage, including the terms and conditions and coverage amounts thereof. Please find a schedule of insurances at Appendix 5, which clearly describes the insurance coverage that will be utilized by HCA. The schedule of insurance also includes terms, conditions, and coverage amounts. 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. Transportation services will not be provided by the school except in cases of special needs students enrolled in the School with an IEP requiring special transportation. The school and/or management company will work collaboratively with parents and community partners to develop alternative transportation options such as carpools or ride sharing for those students who are not otherwise eligible for transportation and require assistance. Any transportation services provided will comply with all applicable transportation statutes, including but not limited to: O.C.G.A 20-2-188; 40-8-110 through 40-8-115 and 20-2-1090. The management company will select a vendor that is state licensed and meets all state and local requirements to be a transportation
Hephzibah Charter Academy provider including certification requirements of its drivers. Vendors are selected upon weighing several criteria including but not limited to: Size/Age of fleet and capacity Verification of service/safety record Procedures for driver selection/training Customer references Licenses held Bond/Insurance Costs 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. HCA will provide food services to meet the nutritional needs of students by contracting with an established entity experienced in providing public school meals that comply with National School Lunch Program requirements. HCA will contract with a third party food service provider - Preferred Meal Systems. Preferred Meal Systems provides a quality unitized meal program that includes all the ―components‖ of a full service operation. Their ―component meal system‖ consists of: individually packaged entrees; side dishes; fresh fruits; vegetables; fresh bread; condiments; spork kit; trays and liners. In addition to providing the items listed above, Preferred Meal Systems also will also provide the following services to the school: delivery of all items to the school; menu planning; nutritional analysis; all necessary kitchen equipment (ovens, refrigeration, freezers, milk coolers, etc.); equipment maintenance; commodity utilization; food service training; marketing and promotions. Prior to the beginning of the school year, Preferred Meal Systems will send personnel to HCA in order to train the staff on how to properly run the food service program, including: ordering, inventory, food preparation, serving procedures, and clean up. During the school year, the cafeteria staff will prepare all of the required meal components following the directions provided by Preferred Meal Systems. Depending on the size of the school‘s enrollment, there will be up to two serving lines for the students. The serving lines will be set up with the point of service station at the end. This set up will ensure that the cafeteria personnel can guarantee that students are receiving all of the required components to make up a reimbursable meal. HCA will utilize a computerized point of sale system (e.g. Microcheck) that tracks meals and provides a reporting function for accountability and claiming. All students will be assigned an account number at the beginning of the school year and can add funds to their account in the cafeteria office. Regardless of account balance, no child will ever be denied a meal. At the end of each month, the cafeteria staff will be responsible for sending the monthly historical edit check report to the National School Lunch Program Director, which will be used in the submission of the reimbursement claim. HCA will provide food services and participate in the National School Lunch Program. 36. State whether 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. HCA‘s education service provider, Charter Schools USA, provides benefits with various levels of coverage and premiums to meet the needs of employees. HCA does not elect to participate in the State Health Benefit Plan.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
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. Parent and Community Involvement Meaningful parental and community involvement is the most critical and challenging aspect of strategic planning and the operation of any school. The recruitment, education, and involvement of the parents and community are vital to the success of HCA. It is the priority of school leadership that parents and community members feel welcomed in the development process and are viewed as essential to the success of the students, the school, and the broader community. A Comprehensive Parental Involvement Program and Family-School-Community partnership model will be implemented at HCA. Parental involvement includes: attending school functions; attending conferences; helping children improve their school work through encouragement, providing study time and place, model behavior, and tutoring; serving as advocates for their children and school; volunteering in the school and community; and assuming an active decision-making role in their child‘s education. Parent participation is integral to the success of HCA and will be solicited as the school develops additional goals and objectives as well as annual planning. As outlined in the Governance Overview, a minimum of three parents will be members of the Local Governing Council. In addition to the role parents play in governance, all parents agree to volunteer a minimum of twenty (20) hours per school year. When two or more children from the same family are enrolled parents shall be asked volunteer a total of thirty (30) hours per school year. Parents are given access to our student information system allowing them to track their volunteer hours. Opportunities are individualized to meet the needs, demands, and capabilities of the individual student/ family as it pertains to required volunteer hours. Needs Analysis, Demand, and Development of the Charter Application Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, the HCA Local Governing Council, and other stakeholders have initiated a rigorous and comprehensive stakeholder input and collaborative development process to further define need, demand, and structure HCA. The charter application planning and development process of the proposed HCA has and continues to serve as a catalyst for collaborative development amongst vested community, postsecondary, business, and other organizations as well as capitalized on relationships with existing educational and community initiatives Stakeholders have been fully engaged in all aspects of the petition process and the planning and development of the operation and the governance of the school to ensure that HCA builds and secures broad community support for all phases of development, implementation, operation, governance, management, and evaluation. To ensure stakeholder and community engagement, Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, the HCA Local Governing Council, Ed Innovation Partners, Charter Schools USA, and other partners have initiated a proven engagement approach in the planning and development of a collaborative and distinct charter school located in Hephzibah and serving students statewide. Overviews of the input and development process as well as the school development timeline and activities are included below.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Hephzibah Charter Academy Stakeholder Input and Development Overview Identification of strengths/assets of the school and surrounding community Identification and articulation of specific academic programs included in the design of the school Identification and articulation of current and future educational needs Identification of extracurricular and auxiliary educational activities Identification and formalization of partnership opportunities to enhance programming Development of a comprehensive strategy to create and/or sustain for active and meaningful parental involvement Development of a resource development strategy to ensure sustainability Facilitation of community engagement activities ensuring ALL segments of community are reached as necessary Facilitation of conversations with parents, community members, and other stakeholders as part of community ―engagement‖ by school leadership Identification, development, and formalization of key partnerships that meet the needs addressed by the community and aligned to the corecurriculum, innovative programming, and other extracurricular and auxiliary educational activities Implementation of communication and feedback loop that includes an information and dissemination website that provides information about the school choice and charter school movement, the school, and its partners Essential collateral and marketing materials Website and digital media presence Survey and support documents Five-year strategic plan Business Plan Enrollment projections Budget Models Grant Applications Facility Plan Partner MOU‘s/MOA‘s Comprehensive Resource Development Plan Completed charter application Others as identified
GCEF SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION PROCESS HEPHZIBAH CHARTER ACADEMY GOAL 1: ESTABLISH GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE FOR HEPHZIBAH CHARTER ACADEMY ACTIVITY Governing Board Development Governing Board Training and Preparation IMPLEMENTATION STEPS Members/Roles Defined TIMELINE March-May 2013
Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation Training Preparation for Presentations and/or Interviews GOAL 2: INNOVATION AND INSTRUCTIONAL FRAMEWORK FORMALIZED ACTIVITY School Instructional Model IMPLEMENTATION STEPS Articulate Vision and Mission
TIMELINE February 2013 –
Hephzibah Charter Academy and Academic Framework Defined Key Planning Documents Developed Identify Education Model(s), Best Practices, and Innovative Approaches Engage ESP (if needed) Identify Partnership Programs and Proposed Alignment Identify Potential Support and Wrap-Around Programs Develop School/Project Strategic Plan May 2013 January 2015February 2016 for High School
April 2013 – June 2013 May 2013
Develop Resource Development Plan
GOAL 3: STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT AND COLLABORATIVE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY Marketing and Outreach Partner-Building Outreach and Stakeholder Involvement IMPLEMENTATION STEPS Develop Marketing Plan Develop and Implement Online Survey and Support Petition Develop Collaterals and Community Outreach Documents Create Website Initiate and/or formalize relationships among stakeholders and facilitators Provide Project/Partnership Overview and Presentation to Community Engage Elected Officials and Political Leadership Finalize Partnership Model/Plan Execute MOA's/MOU's Continue Community Visibility Develop and Provide Presentation Materials Finalize Press Materials and Targeted Communications Participate in Networking and Marketing at/with Key Organizations and Events Participate in Public/Government Meetings Facilitate Charter-Centered Town Hall Meetings Implement Community Input/Stakeholder Input and Collaborative Development process for charter application (surveys, petitions, letters) TIMELINE February 2013 November 2013
March 2013 March 2014 Ongoing
June 2013 March 2014
*Ongoing for community engagement
Hephzibah Charter Academy
GOAL 4: CHARTER APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT, SUBMISSION, AND FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITY Charter Application Partnership and Stakeholder Review Integration of Community input into application and programming Review/Approval Process IMPLEMENTATION STEPS Draft Application Acquire Support Letters and Documentation Develop Final Draft Submit Application Continue Community Dialogue Participate in Interviews and Follow-Ups as Necessary TIMELINE May 2013 – September 2013 May 2013 – September 2013 September 2013 – Ongoing
Key Feedback from Stakeholders Community Forums and Engagement Activities: The City of Hephzibah and key community stakeholders have hosted multiple community meetings in the past five months around the planning, design, and development of a charter school option to serve Richmond County. Stakeholders initiated the process outlined above. Preliminary feedback from community meetings, online surveys, and online/paper support petitions were integrated into the current application. Additionally, as outlined below, there will be a continuous feedback loop established between the community and the State Charter Schools Commission as well as the ―Intensive‖ engagement aspect of the plan in the next 120 days which ensures momentum and sustained ownership by the community and HCA‘s stakeholders. Rationale for Attendance Zone City of Hephzibah as the Location of Hephzibah Charter Academy; and Preferred Site for Hephzibah Charter Academy: A summary provided by HCA Local Governing Council sums up the desire for a charter school: The cities of Hephzibah and Blythe, and the surrounding areas in South Richmond County have failed to realize the growth potential that is available due to the reputation of the Richmond County public school system. As families with school age children move to the CSRA they evaluate the respective school systems and tend to migrate to Columbia County, or North Augusta, SC. This migration is taking place with our local young people as they come of age and start their own families as well. The Cities of Hephzibah and Blythe and the surrounding areas in South Richmond County are affordable (Hephzibah has no city taxes, very low cost water, and low sewer rates) and offer a great quality of life. Without giving our parents a choice for the public education of their children we are failing to grow. Our current Public schools are not preparing our children for the challenges they face in higher learning institutions. When trying to recruit industry, biotech and high value employers to our area we are failing. Employers are looking for a highly educated work force that is trainable in today’s high tech work place. These are just a few of the reasons that the City of Hephzibah, City of Blythe, and other partners is the area are advocating and spearheading the charter school model for our community.
Hephzibah Charter Academy The City of Hephzibah has several large parcels of property on which we intend to assist with the building of a Hephzibah Charter Academy if approved. The preferable sight is 27 acres and has new sport facilities with $1,000,000.00 of capital improvements already in place, which would allow for a sports program for this school from day one. If this site does not allow full build-out of the school or presents other challenges, the City has other property to offer as well. In summary we feel that if the area is to grow and prosper for its families and children we must provide a choice for education. We also must strive to produce a highly educated workforce to attract employers that are willing to invest in our community. Communication with Georgia State Charter Schools Commission As outlined above, the planning and development process for Hephzibah Charter Academy‘s 2014 opening is rigorous, comprehensive, and collaborative among all stakeholders. The process is ongoing building support and momentum as well as formalizing partnerships with key partners (Hephzibah and statewide). Because this is a continuous process and the HCA stakeholders understand the need for constant engagement and demonstration of support, GCEF/HCA Local Governing Council anticipates active communication with and providing updates to Georgia‘s State Charter Schools Commission regularly during the review process and beyond. Below is an overview of the proposed schedule: August 15 – Updated Stakeholder Engagement and Partnership Development Report including: o Online Survey Results o Online Support Petition Update o Community Forum Participation Logs o Updated MOAs/MOUs o Compiled Support Letter from Business, Industry, and Stakeholders o Governance Training Updates September 15 – Updated Stakeholder Engagement and Partnership Development Report and any requested information from the SCSC October 15 – Updated Stakeholder Engagement and Partnership Development Report, any requested information from the SCSC, and/or other pertinent information
VIII. DEMONSTRATION OF FISCAL FEASIBILITY AND CONTROLS
38. Describe the level of autonomy the charter school will have over budgets and expenditures. HCA and GCEF will utilize well-established processes and procedures to ensure fiscal responsibility and sound internal controls. The GCEF will adopt on an annual basis a comprehensive budget, which will include all forms of revenue and all expenditures, including (i) Total Revenues; (ii) Operating Expenses; (iii) Reserve Expenses, (iv) Audit Expenses and (v) Fund Balance with respect to HCA. Amendments to the budget will require the approval of GCEF. HCA and CSUSA will provide to GCEF, on a monthly basis, an accounting of all HCA revenues and expenditures, as well as a comparison of actual results as compared to the approved budget. GCEF, through a contract with its education service provider CSUSA, assures the capacity and the responsibility for the day-to-day financial management of HCA and will comply with all financial requirements set forth in the Charter Schools Section of the Department‘s Financial Management for Georgia Local Units of Administration Manual. In addition to preparing a conservative budget, GCEF has a rigorous budget management process to ensure that HCA achieves the desired positive financial results. GCEF approaches budget management as a three-part process: (1) financial statement preparation, (2) regular review of actual results, and (3)
Hephzibah Charter Academy continuous forecasting of future results. The first part of the process is the preparation of HCA‘s monthly financial statements. These financial statements will be prepared on a monthly basis by the Charter Schools USA accounting team and will be distributed to both the school leadership and GCEF. In addition to the financial statements, CSUSA‘s finance team will provide monthly variance analysis reports. These reports will summarize the monthly activity of HCA and compare the results to the budget, identifying significant budget variances, and providing recommendations where appropriate. Any material items will be presented to GCEF. As budget variances arise and are managed, new forecasts will be developed each month to ensure that HCA stays on track financially throughout the year. These forecasts allow school leadership to make timely management decisions to ensure the financial health of HCA and are presented to GCEF on a monthly basis. Each month the CSUSA finance team will meet with the GCEF‘s Financial Committee to review the budget, line-by-line, before presentation to the LGC and GCEF. The Financial Committee, which includes the board‘s treasurer and CFO, will ensure all revenues and expenses are in line with the budget. HCA will employ a school-based Business Operations Manager who will act as a liaison to the Charter Schools USA Finance Department for human resources, payroll, and financial matters relating to cash collection and accounts payable. The Business Operations Manager, in addition to the Charter Schools USA‘s Finance Department, will also work with the principal and GCEF to ensure adherence to the approved budget. Below is a summary of the finance and accounting functions that the Business Operations Manager will perform: Deposit funds received from food service sales, aftercare programs, and fundraising into proper bank accounts according to company policy Submit documentation for all receipts and disbursements made at the school-level Follow up and collect returned checks from parents Prepare and submit purchase orders according to company policy Prepare and submit check requests to accounts payable Review and approve expenditure invoices with school Principal Maintain reconciliation of internal funds account The Charter Schools USA financial management team consists of the following: Accounts Payable Coordinator: Pays approved expenditures for HCA from the school‘s operating account Staff Accountant: Prepares the monthly financial statements for HCA Accounting Manager: Oversees the work of the Staff Accountant Controller: CPA; oversees the CSUSA Accounting Department Budget Analyst: Prepares HCA‘s annual budget; reviews the financial performance of the school on a monthly and quarterly basis, focusing on budget variances Director of Financial Planning and Analysis: Oversees the work of the Budget Analyst; conducts Quarterly Dashboard reviews with Charter Schools USA Accounting and the school leadership. Vice President of Finance: Oversees the work of the Accounting Department, the Finance Department, and the school-based Business Administrators Appendix 6 contains monthly cash flow projections as well as the five-year projected budget for HCA, which includes a full explanation of all assumptions used for revenues and expenditures, as well as projections from the Georgia Department of Education for earnings. The state and federal average funding per pupil were derived from information received from the Department of Education‘s QBE
Hephzibah Charter Academy earnings website. Per student amounts in the five-year plan are per the current calculations for the school with no increases applied for inflation. This scenario demonstrates the ability to adjust the school‘s expenses and maintain a viable operating plan. Also, the 50% of enrollment scenario (also found in Appendix 6) identifies the financial impact to the school in the event that only 50% of enrollment is achieved. The Department of Education, for budget and cash-flow purposes, may provide potential charter school petitioners estimates of state funds to be available per FTE and the basis for the estimates as well as approximate dates of availability of funds. As noted, HCA‘s budget and enrollment projections have been developed in a conservative and achievable manner and the assumptions have been subjected to a rigorous review process. HCA is also planned with a surplus fund balance in all five years, which will be used to absorb any enrollment or revenue shortfall. Budgets will be revised as necessary to achieve balance, which include methods to align costs with revenue that are least disruptive to the learning environment. Charter Schools USA will stand behind HCA to ensure its viability, up to and including reducing its fees for services to zero, if necessary. HCA‘s Governing Board will determine the most effective use of any surplus funds remaining at the close of one fiscal year to ensure the long-term viability of the school. Use of surplus funds include, but are not limited to, enhancing the school‘s academic program, capital investments, repair/replacement fund for facility maintenance, and fund balance for emergency purposes. 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. HCA shall be subject to an annual financial audit conducted by an independent Georgia-licensed Certified Public Accountant, in accordance with O.C.G.A. 20-2-2065(b)(7). HCA will bear this expense, as planned for in the school‘s budget. The audit will be prepared and submitted within 90 days of the school‘s fiscal year end. HCA will provide the Governing Board and Georgia Department of Education with a copy of the management letter from the audit as well as any responses to the auditor‘s findings with a corrective plan, which shall be prepared and submitted within thirty (30) days from the date of the management letter. In the event that the charter is not renewed or is terminated, HCA shall submit a financial audit for the final year of operation, prepared by an independent Georgia-licensed certified public accountant. This audit shall include a detailed inventory of all assets and any balance of public funds will revert back to Georgia Department of Education. HCA will notify Georgia Department of Education immediately if the school is contemplating the cessation of operations, and will cooperate to the extent necessary to provide an orderly return of the students to their local school. If HCA ceases operations for any reason, the school personnel and its governing board will cooperate fully and be responsible for appropriately safeguarding and distributing the school‘s assets and winding up the school‘s business and affairs. 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 role of Chief Financial Officer for HCA will comply with all necessary credentials as outlined in SBOE Rule 160-4-9-04. Specifically, the CFO role will be filled by a Georgia Charter Educational Foundation Director/Member who is Georgia Certified CPA and meets all Georgia laws and requirements. Additionally, as outlined in board by-laws (Appendix 8), policy, and procedure, this board member will act as the Board Treasurer, Chair of the Finance Committee, and the CFO for the board and all the school(s) the board oversees. The Director/CFO will meet monthly with finance departments to ensure oversight of the budget and will then update the board and make any necessary recommendations to the school/board/providers.
Hephzibah Charter Academy 41. Provide a proposed timeline as to when the charter school will begin to receive state funding to when operations begin. HCA‘s enrollment count will be determined for purposes of calculating charter school funding pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2068.1(c) and HCA acknowledges that the proposed budgets will be calculated upon a projected enrollment. Revenue items will be adjusted to reflect actual enrollment upon the school‘s opening and enrollment reporting. Adjustments will be made monthly (up or down) and FTEs by program will adjust at the October FTE count. Payments from state and local earnings will be paid monthly beginning July through June 30th. Projected expenditures will adjust (up or down) to provide for actual instructional requirements and other expenditure items. Pursuant to state statute, HCA will be treated no less favorably than other public schools with regards to receipt of state and federal funding. Starting in August of the first year of operation and in all subsequent years of operation, HCA will receive state funds earned. In addition, starting in August of the first year of operation and in all subsequent years of operation, HCA will receive local funds earned. HCA will comply with all federal monitoring requirements for schools receiving federal funds. HCA proposes to open at the beginning of the 2014- 2015 school year and anticipates funding from the State based on the projected enrollment count. This count will be determined by applications for enrollment before July 1st, 2014. 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. HCA‘s budget is designed so that all of the ordinary and necessary costs of operating the school, including capital needs, will be met primarily by the provided state and federal funding streams. This includes management of necessary entitlement programs and grants. A limited budget for fundraising revenue has been included which will be provided from the School‘s Parent Teacher Cooperative and/or student fundraising campaigns. HCA and GCEF will explore options to supplement revenue by pursuing a variety of public and private grants and charitable donations and implementing an on-going fundraising campaign. The School‘s Governing Board and/or Local Governing Council will be primarily responsible for applying for grants and soliciting charitable donations; however, instructional staff, as well as other school personnel, may also seek grant opportunities to benefit the school‘s instructional and supplemental programs. The governing board and the established parent/teacher organization will work collaboratively to generate funds through various fundraising programs. Additionally, GCEF is in the process of developing its long-term Resource Development Strategic Plan which directly impacts the funding at HCA. Recommendations and activities are underway to: Develop comprehensive 5-year Strategic and Business Plans for the board and each LGC/School; Refine Resource Development Plan and develop school-level plans as well Create Marketing/PR plan; Catalyze/Engage/Grow Board; and Commit to External Partnerships The identified needs, funding areas, and preliminary projections were based on historical context of past revenue streams as well as refined vision and priorities of HCA and GCEF. The broadly defined design is intended to shift the focus to a more sector-centered and entrepreneurial approach to resource development versus the traditional donor model.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
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.. HCA will be subject to the control and management of the State of Georgia Board of Education and/or Georgia Department of Education in accordance with the constitution of the State of Georgia. The Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, as the charter applicant, is organized and operated as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of Georgia. Please see Appendix 7 for GCEF‘s certificate of incorporation. HCA and its governing board will be subject to the supervision of State of Georgia Board of Education and the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 et seq. (Open and Public Meetings) and O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 et seq. (Inspection of Public Records). HCA shall submit an annual report using the template from the State Department of Education, in addition to that outlined below, outlining the previous year's progress to the Board of Education, parents and guardians of students enrolled in the school and the Department of Education no later than October 1 of each year. The report shall contain, but is not limited to: An indication of progress toward the goals as included in the charter; Academic data for the previous year, including state academic accountability data, such as standardized test scores and adequate yearly progress data; Unaudited financial statements for the fiscal year ending on June 30, provided that audited statements will be forwarded to the Board of Education and State Board of Education upon completion; Updated contact information for the school and the administrator; Assessment results; Proof of current nonprofit status; and Any other supplemental information that the charter school chooses to include or that the state or Board of Education requests that demonstrates its success. 44. Describe the governing board’s function, duties, and role, including the board’s role as it relates to the charter school’s mission. Background The Georgia Charter Educational Foundation was formed in 2009 for the sole purpose for opening quality charter schools in the state of Georgia. GCEF is interested in advancing the educational options of parents and students to the state of Georgia and creating cutting-edge and industry relevant charter schools. By facilitating the growth of charter schools across the state, the GCEF collaboration creates a powerful platform for innovation, best-practices, and replication and, most importantly, gives children opportunities to thrive into the future. GCEF has successfully opened and is operating two high quality charter schools in collaboration with Charter Schools USA – Cherokee Charter Academy and Coweta Charter Academy – and served over 1,300 students in 2012-2013. Through economies of scale, appropriate resources, and organizational maturity the GCEF/LGC/CSUSA collaboration ensures best practices and success at each of its schools and looks to expand its successful core model while also integrating a variety of Communities of Practice, partnerships, programs, and training. The Vision The strategic vision is ambitious – advancing the educational options of parents and students by operating a network of charter schools across the state of Georgia. Communities, stakeholders, and partners are committed to develop and replicate innovative learning environments where all students are
Hephzibah Charter Academy self-motivated, productive citizens and are prepared to reach their potential in 21st century educational and workforce opportunities with an emphasis on civic engagement and integration of innovative programs and partnerships. The mission is to create rigorous and supportive learning environments concentrating on best practices, a culture of safety and success, active citizenship and experiential learning through community engagement, strategic partnerships, and real-world learning experiences. Our Schools At the core of our strategy is rigorous and comprehensive academic and ―wrap-around‖ programming to create a match between academic and auxiliary programming to meet the needs and demands of the students and the surrounding community. The intent of our partnerships are to link proven educational models with project-based, progressive collaboration where students will participate in focused Communities of Character with highly qualified teachers, the community (local, national, and global), Institutes of Higher Education, industry, and business. The appropriate processes, tools, and systems are uniquely designed to accomplish our purpose of the creation of a learning environment where all students are self-motivated, productive citizens and are prepared to reach their potential in 21st educational and workforce opportunities. Each GCEF Collaborative school is planned to create a culture of high expectation and mutual respect and includes strong local governance and decision-making, active and meaningful parental involvement and intense measurement & monitoring of school culture. Schools also incorporate unique and innovative academic components that complement the comprehensive data-driven instructional delivery to foster the development of well-rounded student-citizens and provide experiential learning opportunities that include: research-based instructional strategies; personalized learning plans; Integrated Character Educational Model (Strive 65); Communities of Character Program; foreign language at all grade levels; and student information system. Each partnership school draws from local assets and resources where students learn within the context of projects to produce artifacts/products based on problems and entrepreneurial ideas posed by students, teachers, and the community. At the heart of the concept is the integration of partnerships and appliedlearning experiences across the curriculum to drive collaboration between students, parents, community members, government, businesses, and service organization to ensure cross-curricular learning opportunities and communities of practice and/or internship/service learning. Local Governance and GCEF Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, in collaboration with Local Governing Councils, operates under a two-tiered governance structure as outlined below. This organizational structure is comparable to KIPP New York, KIPP New Orleans, and most recently KIPP Metro-Atlanta. Georgia Charter Educational Foundation proposes to maximize state and local leadership to provide both academic innovation and innovation in the area of business practices within the charter sector of Georgia. The design is to create efficiency at the leadership level, ensure financial viability of its affiliated charter schools, utilize economies of scale for resources and programs, and leverage partnerships designed to increase the academic achievement of students in the target community. This approach also allows for effective replication of successful school designs and has proven successful throughout the country in the charter school sector as well as the broader not-for-profit industry. The governance model adds tremendous value to both the school and the ―network‖ by allowing school level concentration on achieving performance goals and student outcomes without the constant business/operation concerns that have traditionally plagued charter schools. The model brings instant capacity to the charter school and its leadership through utilization of shared purchasing, a unified facilities plan, systematic professional development and technical support, and financial viability via a centralized board working in collaboration with a high-quality education service provider. This strategy affords school-level academic leaders (and the local governing council) the opportunity to concentrate on
Hephzibah Charter Academy essential academic and operational matters thereby allowing concentration on teacher supervision, professional development, and teacher/student performance. Advantages of the Structure: The outlined organizational structure is a proven model that yields strong accountability, highly talented governance, community involvement in school oversight, and deeply experienced school operations management. Leadership: Georgia Charter Educational Foundation will provide strategic oversight impacting education change initiatives locally and statewide and is able to attract highly sought after, proven community and business leaders. This enhances accountability by getting real buy-in from reputable stakeholders to ensure the success of the school. Additionally, Georgia Charter Educational Foundation will connect the school and its LGC to the broader local and state communities, provide expertise to the school, assist with fundraising, and drive key governance functions and legal responsibilities including management oversight, strategic planning, policy-making, and fiduciary requirements. GCEF ensures due diligence on behalf of the school and the local governing council in relationship to the management company and other business and program partners as well as a goal of ensuring capacity at the LGC for a transition, in an appropriate timeframe, into a full Local Governing Board with the appropriate composition, capacity, training, and experience to ensure that the HCA Local Governing Board meets all indicators of Charter School Autonomy including, but not limited to, the following: HCA‘s Local Governing Board makes personnel decisions (People) HCA‘s Local Governing Board makes decisions about what happens in the school (Time) HCA‘s Local Governing Board sets school budget spending priorities (Money) Community Control: The Local Governing Council is responsible for ensuring that the school is meeting the specific needs of the community. Initially, the Local Governing Council will be delegated authority to oversee the school‘s finances and to hold the education service provider accountable. Absent compelling reasons, such as emergencies or Charter compliance issues, actions taken by the GCEF Board related to the school must first be heard by the Local Governing Council. These groups have and continue to be the lifeblood of the grassroots and advocacy efforts on behalf of our schools and continue to serve as community and school ambassadors in the development of the vision, mission, and goals of our schools. The Local Governing Council is instrumental in providing input and feedback to the principal, school leadership, and Board of Directors on campus-specific issues and concerns as well as active participation, recommendation, and approval of the annual budgeting process. Additional responsibilities are outlined in the table below; however, the local governing council will be instrumental in ensuring adequate resources and local partnerships; serving as a support mechanism on personnel, community, and grievance matters; and supporting the school and its staff in accomplishing performance goals set forth in the charter application. As outlined above, the long-term goal is to transition each LGC into a full Local Governing Board with complete decision-making authority over all aspects of the school. Operational Expertise: Our education service provider for HCA, Charter Schools USA, brings an established track record of successful school operations with a focus of high academic achievement. A seasoned school administrator is the point person for implementing the school‘s Educational Model. Extensive hands-on support is provided by Charter Schools USA‘s Executive Management Team and staff. All Charter Schools USA partner schools are deeply integrated into the overall philosophy and undergo specific training on Charter Schools USA‘s tools and techniques. Responsibilities: Georgia Charter Educational Foundation and the Local Governing Council shall be responsible for developing and outlining the mission, vision, and values of the school and developing the appropriate policies to ensure those fundamentals are maintained. GCEF and the Local Governing Council have contracted with a professional education management organization, Charter Schools USA,
Hephzibah Charter Academy to provide necessary management and professional expertise. Charter Schools USA will be responsible for developing and implementing the ongoing operational procedures in accordance with the mission, vision, and values outlined by the GCEF, the Local Governing Council, and other stakeholders. As outlined in the Governance and Accountability Overview below, Georgia Charter Educational Foundation is responsible for the legal and financial obligations of the school. GCEF and the Local Governing Council will establish policy consistent with the school‘s mission and ensures the school‘s programs and operations are faithful to the terms of the Charter including compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. The GCEF and the Local Governing Council will continue to uphold the mission and vision of the school through visible leadership and stewardship of the school, including the following: Communicating the mission and vision of the school to the community Recruiting and mentoring Local Governing Council members to ensure they have shared values Holding Charter Schools USA accountable to achieving the mission and vision of the School Participating in fund raising and other community events on behalf of the School Leading by example in their personal and professional endeavors The Local Governing Council: HCA‘s Local Governing Council will be comprised of 2-3 parents and 45 community leaders dedicated to providing high quality educational choice options for the citizens of Georgia with a statewide school option located in Hephzibah. The Local Governing Council will oversee the implementation of the school‘s mission and daily operations. HCA‘s Local Governing Board is responsible for ensuring the school meets the specific needs of the community/stakeholders and oversees the school‘s finances, procedures and policies as well as holds its education service provider(s) accountable as outlined in management contracts. Expectations/Requirements: The Local Governing Council will uphold the mission and vision of HCA through visible leadership and stewardship of the school, including the following: Communicating the mission and vision of the school to the community Recruiting and mentoring Local Governing Council members to ensure they have shared values Holding education service provider(s) accountable to the mission and vision of the HCA Participating in fund raising and other community events on behalf of HCA Leading by example in their personal and professional endeavors The Local Governing Council will hold meetings at regularly scheduled intervals (monthly), during which they will be presented information regarding the school‘s monthly financial expenditures, enrollment, personnel issues and changes, facility updates, and any additional issues related to the school. The LGC is instrumental in providing input and feedback to the principal, school leadership, and the GCEF on campus-specific issues and concerns as well as active participation, recommendation, and approval of the annual budgeting process. The LGC will hold the principal accountable primarily through the performance expectations defined in the charter application and/or any management agreement between HCA and the education service provider(s). The Local Governing Council will assist (along with the GCEF and ESP) in evaluating the principal's performance and offering feedback for areas of growth. Absent compelling reasons, such as emergencies or Charter compliance issues, actions taken by the GCEF Board related to the Hephzibah Charter Academy must first be heard by the HCA Local Governing Council. This group is the lifeblood of the grassroots and advocacy efforts on behalf of HCA and serves as community and school ambassadors in the development of the vision, mission, and goals of Hephzibah Charter Academy. The LGC is responsible to identify business partnerships for the school that could offer support opportunities as well and STRIVE speakers and other community engagements.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Additional responsibilities are outlined in the table below; however, the LGC will be instrumental in ensuring adequate resources and local partnerships; serving as a support mechanism on personnel, community, and grievance matters; and supporting the school and its staff in accomplishing performance goals set forth in the charter application. Overview of HCA Local Governing Council Responsibilities Hephzibah Charter Academy - Local Governing Council Works collaboratively with GCEF to set vision, mission, and goals of school Makes recommendations to GCEF on behalf of school Provides direct link to parents and community Leads in setting and supporting schoolspecific performance goals Ensures adequate resources and local partnerships Serves as support mechanism on personnel, community, and grievance matters Recommends approval of school budget / finances Provides operational oversight Meets monthly to review HCA performance Seven members 2-3 parents 4-5 local community leaders: - Municipal - Finance - Legal - Education - Community Service - Parents
The HCA Local Governing Council will be expected to participate in a minimum of 6 hours training per year. That training will be arranged in collaboration with the GCEF. Topics discussed have and will include: Roles of the Board Models of Governance and Leadership Charter School Law Review of By-Laws Basic Understanding of Parliamentary Procedures Review of Open Meeting law Reading a Financial Statement Guided Questions for Mission Statement and Strategic Planning Drafting Board Policies Each LGC Member will receive a comprehensive binder containing copies of the board by-laws, charter contract, management agreement, minutes for previous year, contacts and other pertinent information. Both the Governing Board and Local Governing Council will hold the principal accountable primarily through the performance expectations defined in the charter application and/or the management agreement between GCEF and Charter Schools USA. GCEF, the Local Governing Council, and Charter Schools USA are responsible for evaluating the principal's performance and offering feedback for areas of growth. A comprehensive and rigorous performance evaluation process has been aligned to the expectations of the governing bodies, to the school‘s Educational Model, and the specific mission of the school. GCEF and Local Governing Council members will be given the opportunity to provide input to Charter Schools USA on the principal‘s performance. In addition, the principal will attend all Georgia Charter Educational Foundation Meetings and the monthly Local Governing Council meetings and
Hephzibah Charter Academy provide status updates to them on a routine basis. The following table provides an overview of governance and accountability. Governance and Accountability Overview Component State Board of Education / Georgia Charter School Commission Georgia Charter Educational Foundation Function Control, management, and compliance in a manner consistent with the Charter Schools Act of 1998 and outlined in this Charter Application Charter holder & founding board Provides macro vision of school and core philosophy Retains ultimate authority for schools‘ performance Recruits Local Governing Council members Acts upon recommendations from Local Governing Council (absent compelling reasons, such as emergencies or Charter compliance issues, actions taken by the GCEF Board related to HCA must first be heard by the Local Governing Council) Meets regularly to review schools‘ performance Approves annual budget and reviews monthly financial reports Ensures proper internal controls are in place Executes the management agreement with Charter Schools USA Works collaboratively with Local Governing Council to evaluate the principal's performance Works with the principal CSUSA to set hiring criteria and evaluation standards for staff Promotes the school to the public and potential partners Facilitate resource development and fundraising activities to ensure school viability Develop and implement processes to ensure that HCA meets the requirements and conditions per the Charter Works collaboratively with GCEF to set vision, mission, and goals of school
Composition GADOE/GCSC Staff State Board of Education Members/Commissioners Nine members (current) Statewide and local visionaries and leaders Education/community leaders Involvement leaders Political leaders Finance and economics leaders
Local Governing Council
Seven members 2-3 parents
Hephzibah Charter Academy Component Charter Schools USA Principal Function Makes recommendations to GCEF on behalf of school Provides direct link to parents and community Leads in setting and supporting school specific performance goals Ensure adequate resources and local partnerships Serves as support mechanism on personnel, community, and grievance matters Recommends approval of HCA budget / finances Provides operational oversight Meets monthly to review school performance Implements and managed educational model Oversees day to day operations Provides financial management Provides reporting and accountability to Local Governing Council Supports Local Governing Council reporting to Governing Board Lead responsibility for implementing educational model at HCA Serves as school building leader and recommends policy and operations changes Serves as front-line manager for school operations & staff Attends GCEF and Local Governing Council meetings Provides status reporting to stakeholders Composition 4-5 local community leaders: - Municipal - Finance - Legal - Education - Community Service - Parents
Executive Team Corporate Staff Georgia Management Team School Employees
Certified School Administrator with proven track record of success
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. Governing Board Composition: Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, as the Founding and initial Governing Board, is a Georgia Not-for-Profit entity organized exclusively for educational purposes. The Georgia Charter Educational Foundation is comprised of respected leaders in the state of Georgia that are committed to providing high quality educational options for Georgia citizens. Selection: Each GCEF Board member and LGC member shall hold office for staggered terms to provide for continuity. The terms of elected Board members shall be staggered so that no elected member‘s term expires less than four months before the expiration of the term of the next elected member.
Hephzibah Charter Academy New members will be nominated by existing members through a nominating committee. Not less than one month prior to a regular meeting, the Governing Board‘s nomination committee, known as The Trustee‘s/Board Development committee which consists of three members, are tasked with the continued and on-going growth and development of the board and LGCs as well as identifying future and potential GCEF and LGC board members. The committee compiles and submits to the Governing Board a slate of candidates for the directorships and offices to be filled at the upcoming meeting. These submissions shall be deemed to be nominations for each person named. Persons shall be offered a position on the Governing Board contingent upon a favorable vote of the Governing Board. Number and Qualifications: The number of directors of the Governing Board shall be as determined by the Board of Directors of the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation from time to time, but in no event shall there be fewer than three directors at any given time. The By-Laws state that up to twelve may serve on the Board of Directors; however, at this time there are nine. When the number of directors is decreased, each director in office shall continue to serve until his or her term expires or until his or her resignation or removal. The Local Governing Council will be comprised of seven members. Election, Term of Office, and Qualification: GCEF Board and LGC members shall be elected annually by the affirmative vote of a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members of the Board, at the annual meeting of the Directors of the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation and LGC of HCA, to hold office until the next annual meeting or until their successors are elected and take office or until their earlier resignation or removal. Members may be re-elected without restriction. Resignation: A member may resign at any time by tendering a resignation in writing to the Board, which resignation shall become effective upon the date specified therein, or if no date is specified, upon receipt by the Board at its principal place of business. Removal: Any member may be removed at any time, with or without cause, by a two-thirds majority vote of the other sitting Directors at any regular meeting or at any special meeting called for that purpose. Vacancies: Vacancies occurring in an elected Directorship/membership, however caused, shall be filled as soon as practicable by election in accordance with above. Except for a Director/member elected due to the natural expiration of his predecessor‘s one-year term, a Director/member so elected to fill a vacancy shall hold office of the remainder of his predecessor‘s term. Georgia Charter Educational Foundation Members: The collective qualifications of the GCEF board are rich in personal, professional, educational, advocacy, and philanthropic experience in the greater Atlanta area and across the state of Georgia. The board possess a combined experience-set of 150+ years ranging in developing public policy, facilitating education reform seminars, and teaching at the school level to grass roots advocacy for youth, faith-based change initiatives, and higher education administration with a track record of civic responsibility, involvement, and fiscal responsibility along the way. Please see Appendix 9 for resumes of the GCEF governing board. Members: Lyn Carden, Chairperson, (2010) is the owner of Tri-M Consultants, a boutique marketing firm handling local direct and internet marketing for small business clients across the state. She retired as a 20year broadcaster in 2001, co-hosting morning radio shows as well as managing radio station marketing and promotions departments. After retirement, Ms. Carden launched an event management company in Savannah specializing in non-profit fund raising for organizations such as The Boy Scouts of America, Goodwill Industries and the Pet Assistance League. Ms. Carden has organized hundreds of community events including concerts and relief efforts, as well as directing Savannah‘s Miss St. Patrick‘s Day pageants, and was selected as Savannah air talent of the year four years in a row.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
Bob Young, Vice Chair (2012) is the former mayor of the City of Augusta and senior executive in the cabinet of President George W. Bush. Bob Young is the President/CEO of the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy. His public service followed 26 years as an award-winning broadcast journalist. Last year, Bob retired as business manager for the Department of Defense Schools in Beaufort, SC. Bob is the owner and president of Eagle Veterans Services LLC, an industrial supply brokerage. His first novel, The Treasure Train, was published earlier this year, and he has appeared as an extra in a number of movies. As a member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Bob created the Preserve America Communities Program for The White House and was recognized with the national leadership award in preservation from the History Channel. Bob attended Wofford College and Augusta State University. He is an air force veteran of the Vietnam War. He is active in a number of organizations, including the Augusta Kiwanis Club. Danny Dukes, Treasurer, (2010) is currently the founder and president of Danny F. Dukes and Associates, a financial management and CFO outsourcing firm in Canton. He has spent most of his career managing many aspects of the financial institution and mortgage industries in the areas of financial management, accounting management, risk management, audit, compliance, investment management, consulting, investment banking, treasury management, shareholder relations and bank operations. He has served as a chief financial officer and chief operations officer for community banks in Georgia as well as an adjunct college professor of accounting at Clayton State College and University and Keller Graduate School. Additionally, Danny is actively involved in many professional and civic organizations, such as the Rotary Club of Cherokee County, the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Georgia Charter Educational Foundation Board, Cherokee County Republican Party, the Georgia College Alumni Board, Mercer University Alumni Association and serves as a member of the County Property Tax Equalization Board. Marian Parker, Esq., (2008) is a skilled attorney with extensive experience litigating in state and federal courts. Her expertise in law extends to such areas as business, nonprofit, estate planning, and civil and criminal litigation. She is licensed to practice in Georgia, Illinois and Louisiana. She has served as a board member for several profit and non-profit organizations in Metropolitan Atlanta. She is an experienced and successful grant writer and has managed relationships with corporate partners, such as Bank of New York. She is an excellent teacher and communicator capable of building a solid, highly motivated team. Frederick Black (2008) is retired from a 30 plus year career as an educator and administrator for several prestigious preparatory academies in Atlanta and Athens. He brings a breadth of experience in the education industry, including student discipline, school operations management, development of diversity programs, curriculum design, and statewide competitive athletic programs. He is a resident and native Georgian with a BA in History and a MEd from Georgia State University. After his academic career he created a construction company that built a restaurant/bar in the Seaside, FL area and a luxury country home in Walton Co., GA. He presently serves as the Head Coach of the nationally ranked wheelchair basketball teams at Shepherd Spinal Center. John W. McIntyre, Jr. (2008) is currently the Executive Director at Morgan Stanley & Co., Private Wealth Management Division based in Atlanta. Prior to this, he was a partner in Highland Associates, an Investment Consulting Firm. Mr. McIntyre has a BA in Economics from Washington & Lee University and a MBA from Harvard University. He is a valued member of his community, serving on the Trinity Community Ministries Board of Associates, a member of Northside United Methodist Church, on the Capital Campaign Committee of Woodruff Arts Center, and a former Board member of the Emory Board of Visitors.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Christine Ries (2012) is a professor and Chair of the School of Economics at Georgia Tech. She has previously taught at The Harvard Business School, The Fuqua School of Business at Duke, the Peter Drucker Graduate Management Center at Claremont, and at Stanford University. She is a specialist in International Finance, Markets and Organizations, and Economics of the Firm in the School of Economics. Her articles include publications in The Journal of International Business Studies, The Harvard Business Review, Euromoney, and The Financial Analysts' Journal, among others. Her books address the policies of international corporations and the politics and economics of emerging markets. She is the author of over 20 case studies that have been published by the Harvard Business School. Several appear in her co-authored book of case studies and many are printed and reprinted in other case books and textbooks. She has served on the Board of HCA of International Business and on the editorial boards and as referee of several major professional and academic journals. Service on advisory councils includes service to several foreign universities and governments and U.S. companies. Ernest Taylor (2008) is president of Beech Hill Group, an executive search firm in Atlanta. He has been in executive search for 20 plus years after being a banker for 10 years. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Honduras Outreach for over 15 years, based in Decatur, Georgia. This organization runs 5 schools, 5 clinics and 40 kindergartens in the mountains of Honduras. Mr. Taylor holds a BA in Marketing from the University of Tennessee and a MBA in Finance & International Business from Georgia State University. As a businessman in Atlanta for 36 years, Mr. Taylor‘s contacts throughout Atlanta are quite extensive. He recently hosted a luncheon for Steve Forbes last October and had over 400 Atlanta CEOs in attendance in his role as Atlanta Committee Chair for the Washington based Heritage Foundation, as well as hosting a meeting at the Atlanta History Center for over 250 top executives in Atlanta, with the Honorable Ed Meese, the former Attorney General of the United States as the speaker. Additionally, Mr. Taylor has facilitate numerous discussion around policy with Governor Sonny Perdue, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Saxby Chambliss, and Congressman Tom Price as well as facilitating education seminars with Dr. Tom Meredith, former Chancellor, University of Georgia System, Atlanta; Dr. Terrence Moore, Principal, The Ridgeview Charter School, Fort Collins, CO; Mrs. Jeanne Allen, President, The Center for Education Reform, Washington, DC. As an example of many philanthropic endeavors, Mr. Taylor, as a member of Georgia State University Foundation Board, successfully chaired a $32 million campaign for the $84 million Life Sciences Building to teach science teachers (The State of Georgia provided the additional $52 million). Other affiliations include: Member of the Board of Directors, Honduras Outreach, Inc.; Chairman of the Atlanta Committee, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC; Chairman of the Board, Awakening, Inc.; Chairman of the Board, Le Reveil, Inc.; Former Member of the Board of the Georgia State University Foundation; Former Member of the Board of the Georgia Family Council; Former Member of the Board of Ward Howell International; Former Member of the Board of Southside National Bank; and Former Member of the Board of Boyden International. Clifford D. Hayes, Jr. (2013) - Educator, administrator, motivational speaker, consultant, and a highly recognized public school leader with 20 years educational experience including Regional Superintendent for the Cleveland Municipal School District and the current Executive Director for the John H. Harland Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. As Principal, Mr. Hayes moved all of his schools‘ academic ranking from ―Academic Emergency‖ to ―Continuous Improvement‖ or better. Mr. Hayes served as Head of School at the legendary Ginn Academy High School, the only all boys urban public school for at-risk students in Ohio where, thanks to his work over 90% of students graduate and enroll in colleges throughout the country. He received his Bachelor‘s Degree in Elementary Education from Central State University, a Master‘s Degree in Education Administration from Cambridge College, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Urban Studies at Walden University. Mr. Hayes‘ professional affiliations include National Association of Secondary Principals, National Association of Teachers, Cleveland Council of Administration & Supervision, President of The Haley School Board Committee and serves as a Governing Board Member for Kidz-R-People-2, LLC, Youth Services Organization.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
Hephzibah Local Governing Council Members: Robert J. Buchwitz: Mr. Buchwitz is a 1984 graduate of Hephzibah High School and is currently serving as the Chairman of the Hephzibah City Commission (a position he has held since 2006). Mr. Buchwitz has served as an elected member if the Hephzibah City Commission since 1995 and also is a business owner of multiple businesses in Hephzibah. He has been with Unimin Corp at Hephzibah Mine since 1986 and serves as Purchasing Supervisor, responsible for Purchasing, Human Resources, Payroll, and Accounts Payable. In addition, Mr. Buchwitz is Certified Firefighter State and Licensed Real Estate Agent State in Georgia. Mr. Buchwitz is an active member at Bath Presbyterian Church, is married with four children, and includes hunting, fishing, and gardening as his hobbies. Bob Young: Mr. Young is the former mayor of the City of Augusta and senior executive in the cabinet of President George W. Bush. Bob Young is the President/CEO of the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy. His public service followed 26 years as an award-winning broadcast journalist. Last year, Bob retired as business manager for the Department of Defense Schools in Beaufort, SC. Bob is the owner and president of Eagle Veterans Services LLC, an industrial supply brokerage. His first novel, The Treasure Train, was published earlier this year, and he has appeared as an extra in a number of movies. As a member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Bob created the Preserve America Communities Program for The White House and was recognized with the national leadership award in preservation from the History Channel. Bob attended Wofford College and Augusta State University. He is an air force veteran of the Vietnam War. He is active in a number of organizations, including the Augusta Kiwanis Club as well as serving as Vice-Chairman for the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation. William “Brent” Weir: Brent is the Branch Manager at Ferguson Heating & Cooling in Augusta, Georgia, where he has been employed since 1994. Born in 1972, he grew up in Hephzibah, Georgia and graduated from Hephzibah Comprehensive High School in 1991. He received his Bachelor of Science and Business ―Management and Leadership‖ from Pamplin College of Business in 2006. Brent is a member of Hephzibah Baptist Church. He was appointed to Augusta-Richmond County Planning and Zoning Commission in 2011 and currently holds the seat of Vice Chairman. He enjoys running, hunting and spending time boating on the lake. He currently resides in Blythe, Georgia with his wife Valerie of 18 years and son Aiden. Jody Boulineau: Mr. Boulineau has led two churches through successful building programs as well as successfully retired the debt of two churches and continued to run them debt -free. Mr. Boulineau was elected in 2005 to the Hephzibah City Council and continues to serve as police commissioner for the City of Hephzibah. Jody has started and maintained a successful youth & children‘s program within a local church; served six years on the North Georgia Church of God State Youth Board; served as head counselor for the North Georgia Church of God Youth Camp; and helped expand an outreach ministry to the children and teens of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. He received his B.S in Pastoral Ministries from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennes see and currently serves as Senior Pastor at the Hephzibah Church of God. Wright McLeod: Mr. McLeod is the Managing Partner of a 4-office, 40 member law firm specializing in real estate and estate planning. He also has served as a Municipal Judge in Hephzibah, GA since 2010. Mr. McLeod is a retired Navy Veteran with experience including: Executive Officer, Carrier Group Two (aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman); Operations Officer, Carrier Group Two; Headquarters, Fighter Wing; Virginia Beach, VA, F-14 Tomcat Weapons Officer; Fighter Squadron ONE FIVE FOUR; Atsugi, Japan; Operations Officer. 1,700 flight hours; 350 carrier arrested landings; Intern, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Washington, D.C.; Fighter Squadron ONE; San Diego, CA; Scheduling Officer. Fighter Strike Lead. 53 combat missions Operation DESERT STORM; and F-14 Tomcat Training; San Diego, CA.
Hephzibah Charter Academy
Mr. McLeod is a graduate of the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA SCHOOL OF LAW with a Juris Doctorate, Real Estate Management and Litigation. He also received a Master of Arts, Walsh School of Foreign Policy, National Security Studies at GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY; studied British Military History of the Twentieth Century at ST. EDMUND HALL, OXFORD UNIVERSITY; and earned a Bachelor of Science; Political Science at the UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY. He is married with 3 children and is an active member of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Jennifer Leigh Allen: Jennifer is a Georgia certified early childhood educator. She is a former elementary school teacher of the Effingham county and Richmond county school systems. She is the owner and main teacher of It Clicks Tutoring, a tutoring service providing before and after school tutoring for elementary and middle school students in the Hephzibah area. She is a preschool teacher at Reid Memorial Mother‘s Day Out school. She is the nursery director at her church, Hephzibah United Methodist. She was born and raised in Hephzibah, Ga. She is a graduate of one of the top one hundred high schools in the country, Davidson Fine Arts school, and she received her bachelor‘s in education from Augusta State University. She and her college sweetheart, Sam, built their home in Hephzibah in 2009, and live there happily today with their beautiful two year old daughter, Lily and precious one year old son Jackson. 46. List any proposed business arrangements or partnerships with existing schools, educational programs, businesses, or nonprofit organizations and disclose any potential conflicts of interest. The Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, HCA, and the HCA Local Governing Council will partner with Charter Schools USA to provide comprehensive education management services and manage the day-to-day operations of HCA. Additionally, as outlined above, the City of Hephzibah has committed property, financial support, and other resources to ensure the success of Hephzibah Charter Academy. No conflicts of interest will exist between the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, HCA, the Local Governing Council and/or any of its partners or contractors. 47. Disclose any potential conflicts of interest of the founding board members. There are no potential conflicts of interest to disclose. The Board has adopted and enforces a Conflicts of Interest policy. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations. 48. Describe how the governing board will ensure that current and future board members avoid conflicts of interest. The Governing Board and Local Governing Council hold meetings at regularly scheduled intervals (monthly with the exception of December and July), during which they are presented information regarding the school‘s monthly financial expenditures, enrollment, personnel issues and changes, facility updates, and any additional issues related to HCA. HCA‘s education service provider, CSUSA, and other staff/consultants provide support at the meetings by preparing agendas, providing data, researching issues, ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal laws, negotiating contract services, and providing solutions to problems that may arise. To ensure board members are effective in their role, Georgia Charter Educational Foundation board members and the Local Governing Council have been trained through Georgia Charter Schools
Hephzibah Charter Academy Association's CharterStart Program, as well as ongoing professional development through a variety of providers and legal counsel. Topics discussed have and continue include: Roles of the Board Review of Open Meeting law Models of Governance and Leadership Reading a Financial Statement Charter School Law Guided Questions for Mission Statement and Strategic Planning Review of By-Laws Drafting Board Policies Basic Understanding of Parliamentary Procedures Each board member receives a comprehensive binder containing copies of the board by-laws, charter contract, management agreement, minutes for the previous year, contact information and other pertinent information. Additionally, each member signs a conflict-of-interest agreement prior to joining the board. 49. Describe how the governing board will ensure effective organizational planning and financial stability. Georgia Charter Educational Foundation has a proven track record and framework as outlined above. Additionally, GCEF has undertaken a rigorous Strategic Planning and Board Development Process over the last ten months that has extended into summer of 2013 as GCEF expands. This process, in collaboration with industry experts and consultants, includes the following: The development/revision of GCEF Strategic Plan, Resource Development Plan, and other key planning documents Facilitation of necessary strategic partner-building and stakeholder engagement activities Identification and recommendation of new board members Facilitation of resource development and grant-writing strategies as it relates to supporting the development of the board infrastructure and its governance and planning responsibilities Procurement of financial contributions, grant funds, and contribution of materials, goods, and/or services direct and in-kind on behalf of GCEF and/or its schools, partners, and stakeholders Identification of school funding beyond state, and federal allocations and/or formulaic grants and/or operating support The GCEF Board Development Process is a continuous process and characterized by the following components: Appointment of Board Development Task Force Strategy and Components of the Board Development and Recruitment Plan Evaluation of Board Membership and Commitments Identification of Potential Members Active Recruitment Nomination and Election Orientation and Committee Appointments The Board Development Task Force will adopt a Board Development and Recruitment Plan as well as developing its Long-Range Strategic Plan and Long-Range Resource Development Plan with knowledge of the renewal window. Local Governing Board Training, Guidance, and Support Continued Member Recruitment and Visibility As a result of the Board Development Task Force, lines of communication and responsibility are explicitly drawn between all GCEF Committees and appropriate committees, boards and individuals at
Hephzibah Charter Academy the schools (Principal and LGCs, School Advisory Councils and other relevant school governing bodies) and appropriate individuals at CSUSA. These committees include: Operations, Facilities, and Technology Educational Achievement Trustees/Board Development External Relations/Development Finance and Budgeting Staff Planning, Professional Development and Evaluation. Legal and Compliance Committee Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee All committees will report on regular schedule to the GCEF Board including interim monthly reports and an annual report. Additionally, the board has adopted several amended by-laws aimed to institutionalize best practices and authorizer expectations. These can be found in Appendix 8. Ultimately, the financial viability of a charter school is interdependent on all of the following factors: Academic Performance – As a school of choice, parents won‘t choose to attend if HCA does not provide strong academic results School Culture – The school must have an environment of openness and teamwork that encourages parental involvement Safe & Orderly Environment – the facility must be well maintained to create a conducive learning environment Enrollment – Enrollment is the lifeblood of a charter school and must be managed at all times. Sound Financial Management – Charter schools receive less funding than the traditional public school system, even at full enrollment, and must be proactive in developing budgets, controlling costs, and developing solutions to the inevitable unforeseen issues that affect all charter schools Balance of the critical success factors to ensure an outcome that is in the best interests of children. 50. Describe the method that the local board and the charter school plan to utilize for resolving conflicts. HCA and its governing board(s) will work with State Board of Education to develop a mutually agreeable method for resolving conflicts. The following method will be recommended for HCA: Step 1. Have an informal discussion between representatives of the school and the state school board regarding the particular issue in question. Step 2. Written notice by the state school board or the school outlining the nature of the identified problem in performance or operation not being met or completed to the satisfaction of either party. Step 3. Meeting between the school (or its designee) and the state staff or representative to discuss the issue(s) and any modification or amendments to the Charter terms and conditions. Step 4. The use of an alternative dispute resolution procedure found in law for those items within the legal purview of that section. Neither the state school board nor the school waives any of their rights pursuant to this section and reserves all its authority and jurisdiction as granted to it pursuant to law.
Hephzibah Charter Academy Step 5. If all efforts at agreement within a reasonable time are unsuccessful, the parties may have recourse to their available legal remedies.
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. GCEF intends to contract with a professional education service provider, Charter Schools USA, to provide necessary management and professional expertise. Charter Schools USA will provide partnership in developing, planning, and marketing HCA, as well as finance, human resources, curricula and school operations. The management agreement (a draft can be found at Appendix 10) will be in the best educational and financial interests of HCA because it will be performance-based. The agreement will serve to support the governing board‘s mission and to assist the board in meeting all compliance requirements in the charter. The board will provide oversight of the ESP on compliance requirements through routine monitoring of school operations. The Board will evaluate the effectiveness of the ESP based on HCA‘s performance relative to annual goals. The ESP will submit periodic reports to the board on school performance (e.g., benchmark test results, survey data, and financial reports) and will provide the board with all compliance reports required by the charter contract. Regular board meetings will require the ESP to provide status reports of HCA‘s operations. If any concerns over compliance occur, then the Board would require the ESP to provide additional reporting to demonstrate compliance. The ESP will receive compensation for its services in the form of a management fee. However, should there be insufficient funds in the Academy‘s operating account to pay a management fee to the EMO, then the Academy will not be obligated to pay a management fee in that fiscal year and that fee will not be carried over to a future year. The management fee must be approved by the Board each year during the annual budgeting process. 52. Describe the decision-making process and due diligence exercised by the founding/governing board in choosing to contract with the educational management organization. GCEF selected CSUSA because of their desire to work with an ESP with the capacity - in terms of experience, infrastructure, human capital, technology, facility expertise and capacity, and financial resources - to serve as many students as possible without sacrificing quality, over a large geographic area. CSUSA is an education service provider with a nationally proven track record of success, currently operating 48 schools in five states, including Georgia. CSUSA offers students a high-quality education to prepare them for success in future academic endeavors or professional skills training. CSUSA was the first education service provider to earn district accreditation from AdvancED. Recently, CSUSA entered the Indianapolis market with the Indiana State Department of Education‘s selection of CSUSA as one of three Turnaround School Operators for three of the State‘s chronically failing schools. CSUSA‘s corporate staff of approximately 200 employees will dedicate hands-on guidance and support for all aspects of operations for the Academy. CSUSA already works with the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation managing two schools in Cherokee County and Coweta County; both are high performing and have been recently renewed with five year charter contracts..
Hephzibah Charter Academy Collectively, CSUSA‘s schools perform favorably against its peers (with an ―A‖ rating in the State of Florida). Several individual schools are the highest rated school in their respective district and many schools have received high awards of distinction including the National Blue Ribbon Award. A key differentiating factor of CSUSA is its Corporate Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Accreditation from AdvancED. In 2010, CSUSA was the first to earn District Accreditation from AdvancED. Therefore, the Academy will be able to apply for full SACS accreditation in its first year. This was important to the Board and it will also be important to parents seeking better educational alternatives for their children. Additional factors leading to the Board‘s selection: High Academic Achievement – Collectively, their schools perform favorably against their peers. Several individual schools are the highest rated schools in their district and many schools have received high awards of distinction including the National Blue Ribbon Award. Financial Health - All schools carry a positive fund balance. Customer Satisfaction – Annually more than 90% of students re-commit to return and parent satisfaction measures also exceed 90%. Durability – CSUSA has been a pioneer in the charter school movement, opening its first charter school in 1998 and experiencing steady growth ever since. Diversity – operates successful charter schools in inner city, suburban, and rural communities. The majority of students enrolled are of minority status; ~47% qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch; and the rate of students designated as English Language Learners and/or ESE equals or exceeds comparable district averages. CSUSA is firmly committed to continue offering high-quality education options to all students in Georgia in the years to come. After the schools are open, the Foundation‘s network of schools will be a change agent in Georgia offering high-quality charter schools for all students. Each of the Foundation‘s schools will implement its mission through a learning environment where student safety and success is incorporated with individualized research-based instruction, integrated character education, project-based learning opportunities, and community engagement.
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. It is the intent that the HCA will be a newly constructed facility that meets the needs of the intended student population and meets all commercial and safety codes for a school. The City of Hephzibah is committed to providing an appropriate school site and will play an active role, in partnership with stakeholders/partners, in all aspects of the programming, site selection and due-diligence, conceptual design, architectural planning, construction administration, and the procurement of resources. The City of Hephzibah has several large parcels of property on which it intends to assist with the building of Hephzibah Charter Academy if approved. The preferable sight is 27 acres and has new sport facilities with $1,000,000.00 of capital improvements already in place, which would allow for a sports program for this school from day one. If this site does not allow full build-out of the school or presents other challenges, the City has other property to offer as well. The facility identification, development, and implementation process of HCA will be facilitated in unison with the GCEF, the Local Governing Council, Charter Schools USA and the Georgia Department of Education. CSUSA is a national leader in the design and development of charter schools and through its
Hephzibah Charter Academy team of project managers coordinates the creation, implementation, and adherence to school opening milestones and benchmarks. Progress in the development of the facility is a component of the project plan and project managers will work closely with the facility development team to ensure a timely completion of school and facility projects. All project related schedules are tracked and accessible via the internet to ensure the most up-to-date information is available at all times. The Charter Schools USA team will guide the project to successful completion by leading: weekly project reviews, benchmark/milestone tracking, contractor relations, and budget management. The school site plan will also include a logical layout of academic learning environments as well as resources for enrichment programs, common areas for gathering, and a space for school administration. Additionally, this will account for appropriate outdoor recreational areas, designated pick-up and drop-off zones, and parking for staff and visitors. A core value of the school is community involvement; therefore, HCA will establish, through stakeholder input, policy and procedure for use of the facility for community organizations and/or rental to other groups and organizations. This policy will be adopted prior to the schools‘ opening and will be shared on the timeline determined by the local and state board(s) of education. 54. Describe any modifications necessary for utilizing the space for educational purposes. As it is the intent of the HCA to be a newly constructed facility, this question is not applicable. 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. Progress in the development of the facility is a component of the project plan and project managers will work closely with the facility development team to ensure a timely completion of school and facility projects. All project related schedules are tracked and accessible via the internet to ensure the most up-todate information is available at all times. The Development team will guide the project to successful completion by leading: weekly project reviews, benchmark/milestone tracking, contractor relations, and budget management. Please see Appendix 11 for the facility timeline. The following model assumes a 14-month project cycle based upon an approval, at the earliest, by the Georgia Department of Education in October 2013. 56. Provide a Certificate of Occupancy, or a timeline for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, prior to students occupying the proposed facility. A Certificate of Occupancy is planned for July 2014, which allows time for installation of furniture, classroom set-up, and open houses prior to school opening. Under no circumstance will students occupy the facility prior to the receipt of a Certificate of Occupancy. A model project timeline for an August 2014 school opening includes, but is not limited to, certain milestones/benchmarks. Each represents broad areas of activity. Detailed project plans will be built for each phase of the project Please see Appendix 11 for the facility timeline. 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. GCEF and HCA acknowledge that it will be required to develop and submit an emergency safety plan in compliance with Georgia §20-2-1185, School Safety Plans to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) for approval. HCA anticipates submission the Georgia Emergency Management Agency by May 15, 2014.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.