June 2016 CEO Message

June 27, 2016

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As another school year draws to a close, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on how far our movement has come and where we are headed.

Member Council Updated CCSA's Accountability Framework
Working with our Member Council, we updated our Accountability Framework aligned to Common Core and postsecondary readiness measures in order to continue to provide all charter schools with tools to examine their individual performance, and to also help present a clear picture of the performance continuum across the entire sector.

Last spring, schools were given opportunities to review their 2015-16 Academic Accountability Report Cards and provide feedback on CCSA's 2016-17 draft Accountability Framework which was then incorporated into an updated framework. As we shared recently in a message from Malka Borrego, Chair of CCSA's Member Council and Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Equitas Academy Charter School, an updated Accountability Framework and associated Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria was approved and is now set for full implementation beginning in the 2016-17 school year. You can learn more about the development and components of this framework at www.ccsa.org/accountability.

Currently, the State Board of Education (SBE) is working towards adopting its own accountability framework, set to launch in 2017-18 in accordance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), that brings together local, state and federal accountability requirements. We will remain agile to consider future adjustments to our framework. And we will be as aligned as possible to what the state is developing, while considering the impacts on charter renewal, intended and unintended.

In the meantime, the state will continue administering the SBAC assessments aligned to the Common Core standards. Next fall we will once again assess the statewide results, including performance by the charter sector. 2015 results showed charter schools performing slightly better than the statewide averages on Math and ELA, and we look forward to these trends continuing as outcomes improve for charter students.

Charters Help Increase College Access for Historically Disadvantaged Youth in CA
A recent study by CCSA revealed charter schools are helping to increase access to college for thousands of historically disadvantaged youth in California, including minority, low income and first-generation college-going students. Students who attend charter schools are more likely to be prepared for college, more likely to apply to college, more likely to be accepted to college, and more likely to attend college.

We join you in celebrating the hard won efforts of this year's charter students graduating high school and college. Like many charter school students in California, AnZhane Burrell was well-prepared for success in her post-secondary education. AnZhane graduated last month from Hampton University in Virginia with a bachelor's degree in Business Management and she credits St. HOPE Public Schools in Sacramento for her success.

Gaining political support for charters will help ensure more students like AnZhane realize their dreams after high school. 2016 is the Year of the Education Election, and our sister organization CCSA Advocates has been very busy working to elect to the state legislature and local school boards candidates who are passionate about improving public education for all students. And their work paid off, with enormous success electing or advancing candidates to office in the June election. Now they turn their attention to the November General Election, where they will work to support even more candidates who understand what it takes to create high-quality education for all children, regardless of their zip code.

2016-17 State Budget Provides $20 Million in Charter School Start-Up Funding
Your commitment and advocacy efforts helped on the legislative front to successfully ensure the final State Budget included $20 million in charter school start-up funding. On Wednesday, June 15, the State Legislature approved the final budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year which begins on July 1. Governor Brown now has until June 30 to sign the budget. Be on the lookout for a full Budget Brief in the coming days.

If this year is an indicator of future success, the charter sector is only going to continue to get stronger as it grows to meet the needs of families and students - particularly historically underserved students.

Next Year Will Require Collective Energy and Advocacy at Even Higher Levels
Next year we will continue to focus our collective energy to advocate for the needs of charter leaders, teachers, families and students. In Oakland, we are taking action to ensure charter students are successfully included in Measure G, a proposed parcel tax for the November 2016 ballot. In Chico, we are pursuing equitable access to facilities for charter students through a November bond measure. In San Diego, we are focusing on strengthening authorizing accountability. And we are very focused on increasing growth of high quality charter schools across the state and excited about the momentum that we see in particular in Orange County, Los Angeles and the Central Valley.

While it may seem far off, registration is already open for the 24th Annual California Charter Schools Conference taking place March 20-24, 2017 in Sacramento. The Summer Registration Deadline ends August 12 and offers a flat rate of $350. Reserve your spot by visiting www.charterconference.org for our annual event, attended by thousands of charter leaders and supporters. I look forward to seeing you in Sacramento.

Have a wonderful summer.

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association