Establishing a strategic timeline lays the foundation for success in a school restart initiative. Ideally, the timeline will:
- Support ongoing authentic community conversations, so that decision-makers seek input prior to making key decisions
- Provide sufficient time to review applicants against criteria with restart-specific components
- Provide as much planning and preparation time as possible for the school operator from the moment they are confirmed as the replacement to the school’s opening
- Allow for distinctly separate steps of “identifying the school that will be restarted” and “matching a qualified school operator to the needs of the students”
- Announce the replacement school decision in advance of enrollment and/or school choice deadlines that apply to families and students
- Provide lead time and flexibility so that decision-makers are not forced to match a provider that would not be a good fit because there’s no time to find another
This recommended timeline can be adjusted to fit specific contexts. Although many of the authorizers and operators contributing to this guide have followed timelines with less time for planning, communication, and decision-making, they consistently stress the value of starting earlier and making decisions earlier in the school year in order to promote the success and sustainability of the restart initiative.