Greetings Charter School Leader,
I’m excited to announce that the Charter Support Unit has been officially approved to continue to provide support to charter schools throughout the state of Florida as part of the Charter Schools Program. As a result we have a whole new slate of services we will be offering over the next several months at no cost to charter schools. Following this email are summaries of some of the services that we’ve agreed to provide to schools this year, and we would encourage you to consider and take advantage of these services moving forward. If you have any questions about any of the items listed, please feel free to reach out to Curtis Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do have a request for you as well. As we work to roll out some of the services we are offering, we would greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions about what types of training, webinars, and other services would be most beneficial to you as a leader in the charter school movement. We ask that you please take a moment to complete a brief survey which is available at csu.li/2021survey by Wednesday, March 31, 2021.
And finally, in case you haven’t heard, please remember we are hosting the first ever Charter School Governance Conference online this Saturday (March 27) from 9am - 4pm. Please consider signing up, and also please share this information with all of the Governing Board members at your school. You can register for free at http://csu.li/govconf21. In addition to all of the great information you will receive from over 20 different presenters, a few lucky winners will win cash prizes for their schools thanks to our generous sponsors.
We look forward to working with you, and receiving your feedback on the survey. Thank you.
Charter Support Unit
Support and Consultations
- Support Hotline - If you have a question you need help with, or just need to talk through an issue, call our support hotline at (727) 286-3185 or (877) 444-5656.
- Consultations - Need more than just a phone call? We’re available to meet with school leaders or governing boards to help work through more complex operational or financial issues you may be facing. Email or call to schedule an appointment.
Planning & Launching A Charter
- Charter Application Training - We have created an online course to help those who are looking to apply to start a new charter school. The training covers basics of charter school laws in Florida and walks through each section of the charter application and issues to consider while developing a charter application. The course is available at: https://moodle.charter.support/course/view.php?id=4.
- New School Institute - This is a training specifically geared towards schools opening in August, 2021. The online course posts weekly videos about timely topics you should be considering along your journey to open your school, and hosts monthly live calls to brainstorm and discuss issues with other people also opening schools in coming months. The course is available at: https://moodle.charter.support/course/view.php?id=5.
- New Operator Training - The CSU will be collaborating with the Florida Department of Education and experts in the field to make the statutorily mandated training for new operators available online in May, 2021. If you are opening a school in 2021, watch for more information next month.
- New School Collaboration Sessions - We will soon be starting online sessions for school leaders at recently opened schools to collaborate with your colleagues and discuss challenges and successes you’ve experienced in opening your schools. Expand your networks and share ideas with other school leaders from around the state. Complete the survey mentioned above to express interest in the sessions (http://csu.li/2021survey).
Boards & Governance Support
- Charter School Governance Conference - The first ever Charter School Governance Conference will be held online on March 27 from 9am-4pm. We’ve intentionally scheduled this on a Saturday to make it more easily accessible by Board members from around the state! Register for free at: http://csu.li/govconf21.
- Governing Board Presentations - The CSU is available to do presentations to Governing Boards for schools who are in their first charter contract on a variety of topics. If your board could benefit from Professional Development, please reach out to the CSU to learn more.
- Board Attendance - The CSU is available to attend the Governing Board Meetings of first year charter schools. We are able to attend virtually for now, and in person once COVID vaccines are more prevalent, and can offer suggestions on things your Board may wish to consider to help improve efficiency, or to be a resource for your leadership and Board Members during the meetings. To schedule our attendance, please contact Curtis Fuller (email@example.com).
- Strategic Planning Facilitation - A new service we are offering this year for schools near the first charter renewal is to assist the Board with the development of a strategic plan. Through a series of interviews or surveys with key stakeholders, and two Board workshops, we will guide the school through a discussion of it’s core vision, mission, values and hopes for the future with the ultimate goal of completing a 5- to 10-year strategic plan with specific benchmarks and objectives. Contact Curtis Fuller to learn more (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Community Data Analysis - We have access to a significant amount of data about communities and public schools throughout the state. We are able to quickly create demographic reports for specific locations for groups who may be looking to move a school to a new location or looking to open a new school. Request a report by visiting https://charter.support/demoreport/.
- Facilities Planning - We have experts available who have guided numerous schools through the process of planning, budgeting, and implementing effective options for facilities. Our staff can meet with you to help guide you down the path to a long-range facilities plan including examining your current financial circumstances, setting financial goals, and action steps you need to consider to make your plan a reality.
- Review of Documents - Facilities discussions involve numerous documents and projections while planning your future home. From long range plans, lease agreements, and more, we are available to review documents and offer suggestions as you try to negotiate the best options available for your school.
Finance and Budgeting
- Budget Templates - Many schools and districts have long utilized the Budget Template tool available from the Charter Support Unit. We will continue to support and expand upon the existing tool. In addition, we will be creating additional templates and tools to help existing schools with developing future budgets, and to assist schools during their launch year with projecting actual expenses and budgets through the school opening. Watch for more later in the year.
Grant Administration & Compliance
- Quote Databasse - To assist schools who are looking to make future purchases, especially those who are participating in the CSP grant, to receive multiple quotes for use of grant funds, the CSU will be soon rolling out a “Quote Database” whereby schools can ask the CSU to reach out to vendors and obtain quotes on specific items. The quotes will be uploaded to a database available to all schools. The database will be incorporated into Charters.Link in the coming months. If you would like to get started, please contract Trisha Leitem (email@example.com).
- Vendor Database - In addition to quotes, the database described above will also allow vendors to include their information to provide a one-stop-shop for charter schools to find vendors around specific items you may be looking for, whether it be insurance services, training opportunities, or technology vendors. Watch for more information to be released later this year!
- Webinars - As we have since 2012, we will continue to provide regularly scheduled webinars covering a variety of topics related to running a charter school. A schedule of all of our upcoming webinars is available at: https://charter.support/upcoming-webinars/. We’re always looking for additional ideas on future topics, please complete the survey mentioned above to provide your ideas on topics (csu.li/2021survey). We also have a library of over 220 recorded webinars we’ve done in the past, which is available at: https://charter.support/webinar-library/.
- Sample Documents - Our website is home to over 180 free resources and sample documents that charter schools can use as they see fit. Just visit https://charter.support/document-library/ to find the library, and let us know if there are additional resources you would like to see added.
- Document Review - To schools in their first charter contract, we are able to review operating documents at no cost to schools to provide feedback or suggestions. Whether you are developing an employee handbook, a parent guide, employment documents or forms for your staff, we’re here to help. Reach out to Trisha Leitem (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a complementary review.
- Online Courses - We will be working to develop curated content around specific operational components of operating a charter school. The courses will be posted to our online learning platform in the coming months. If you have topics you think would be beneficial to you or others on your staff, please let us know using the survey discussed above (csu.li/2021survey).
- Charters.Link - If your district is not already using an online management platform to help organize the myriad of documents and items which you need to submit to the district, please encourage the district to contact Curtis Fuller (email@example.com) regarding Charters.Link a free compliance tool we make available to districts and schools statewide.