Identify general needs (2a) and then specific list of schools (2b) for restart
Why Does This Matter?
- Restarts require significant investments of financial resources, political capital, and opportunity costs—so the stakes are high for picking the “right” schools for a restart intervention.
- Authorizers should carefully compare a restart to other interventions that may provide better options for students in failing schools—including school closure, consolidation, or internal turnaround.
- Once schools are identified for restart intervention, school communities are placed in a temporary state of uncertainty. Done well, the identification step will move community conversations expediently through the stages of anger and frustration to the stages of inquiry and support for the new restart operator.
Profiles of Restart Authorization Practices
Role of Charter Boards to Self-Identify Restart as a Turnaround Intervention
A report from the NewSchools Venture Fund and Public Impact on charter-to-charter restarts highlights examples where the governing boards of low-performing charter schools have voluntarily identified themselves as needing to go through a restart. Charter restarts should not be last-ditch efforts to avoid closure, but should be a strategy that responsible boards and authorizers initiate when needed. The boards’ decisions to pursue restarts were motivated by the desire to preserve school assets and better serve their students and families. For this to be a viable approach to school identification, authorizers must establish strong, transparent accountability frameworks that provide governing boards with an incentive to choose a restart when school performance clearly puts them at risk for closure and non-renewal. It also requires the authorizer to develop systems to effectively evaluate and approve restart decisions. For more information about charter school self-identification for restart and the role of the authorizer, see the report here.
Recovery School District (RSD) Criteria and Decision Process for Restarts and Closures
Between 2010 and 2014, the Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD) made decisions to close or restart 34 New Orleans schools that were under RSD jurisdiction—including charter schools and schools directly operated by the RSD. The RSD used a two-step process to identify schools for restart, which aligns with this guide’s recommendations. The Step 1: Envision threshold criteria is based on the state’s A–F school grading system, and Step 2 is based on criteria to determine the optional intervention strategy (closure, restart, internal turnaround) based on factors such as the relative performance of schools, capacity of public schools to meet student enrollment levels, student access to other high-quality schools, and supply of willing and qualified operators. Based on experience, the RSD has determined that outright school closure—in addition to restarts—can be an effective and positive strategy for improving school options, as long it pays adequate attention to transparency and equity, and in situations where the authorizer can offer priority enrollment for students into higher-performing schools. Learn more about the RSD’s school identification and intervention decision process here.
Denver School Performance Compact
Qualitative Site Review Guide
RSD Closure Strategy Overview
Renaissance Schools Community Presentation 2013
Camden Neighborhood Meeting Presentation
The Role of Charter Restarts in School Reform