Charter Contracting and Renewal
DPS is the sole authorizer for the charter schools operating within the City and County of Denver. All charter schools operate under a contract between a charter's board of directors and the DPS Board of Education. During the fall of their final year of their contract term, charter schools undergo a rigorous renewal process led by PMT. Recommendations are made based upon a body of evidence of the school’s academic and organization performance, with academic performance being the primary consideration for contract renewal.
The body of evidence that informs a renewal decision includes:
- A comprehensive analysis of student academic outcomes as well as parent and student satisfaction through the SPF.
- A renewal application;
- A renewal site visit that includes classroom observations, teacher and leader interviews, and student and family focus groups; and
- An examination of school governance and financial sustainability, including a board meeting visit, board leader interviews, and a financial analysis.
The most important criterion in renewal decisions is student outcomes, as measured by the SPF.
The charter renewal process gives charter schools an opportunity to present clear and compelling evidence regarding how well they are serving their students. It also provides the school an occasion to examine progress towards meeting its mission, assess its strengths and needs, and plan a strategy for continuous improvement.
For information on charter school contracting and renewals at DPS, please contact Matt Meyer, Manager of Accountability.
The charter contract is negotiated the year prior to opening and then again at each renewal. The contract lays out roles and responsibilities of each party as well as charter school waivers. Contracts for individual schools can be found by searching for the school name on BoardDocs.
School Quality Framework (SQF)
The School Quality Framework (SQF) is a matrix of research-based indicators outlining the factors that typically contribute to successful autonomous schools. It was developed to ensure a common understanding of quality and help guide PMT’s renewal, quality assurance and new school processes. The associated rubric outlines the criteria for both reviewers and school participants in these processes in the following domains: Teaching, Leadership, Educational Program, School Culture and Governance.
The SQF is designed to be model neutral, allowing it to be used to evaluate a range of school models while honoring autonomy.
Although all schools must go through renewal, there are a few ways in which the process is differentiated:
- For schools operating with a CMO (Charter Management Organization) or EMO (Educational Management Organization), the renewal process will also include an assessment of the CMO/EMO organizational capacity as it applies to the school(s) up for renewal.
- Consistently high-performing schools can expect a shorter site visit and a more streamlined renewal application.