2.1 Develop policies and practices to create and grow schools and programs


+ Increasing high quality seats requires cultivation of many different school options. Creating and expanding new schools and programs requires an intentional effort to encourage innovation.

Focus on three main actions to expand high-quality seats in your district. Create new schools, expand existing good schools, and reset struggling schools.

For district schools, focus on creating space and structures to encourage development of new and innovative schools and school models, empowering entrepreneurial school leaders to design and manage their schools to best meet the needs of their students, identifying schools that generate good learning outcomes for students and are most in demand by families, and making an intentional effort to grow the number and size of these schools.

For charter schools, districts should specifically focus on forming partnerships with high-quality operators – a successful charter expansion strategy may involve:

Local Authorization: This work includes setting out a clear application process and timeline connected to district needs, outlining authorization criteria, creating performance contracts with charters, and managing an annual process to open new charters on an as-needed basis.

Partnership with the State: For smaller districts, working with the TEA to authorize and manage charters may be a more efficient use of resources in lieu of building out a local process.

+ A successful new schools strategy will lead to a vibrant community of high-quality schools, with talented school leaders and operators prepared to step-in and create new quality options or expand existing ones.

For district schools and school leaders: You will see increased opportunities for autonomy and newly created paths to develop diverse and innovative school models that will improve student outcomes. Successful school leaders will have the ability to expand their reach.

For charter schools and networks: You will see established trust in a strong authorizer focused on quality authorizing and removing unnecessary barriers that impede new school development and growth.

For the central office: You will see that new seats are opened based on academic performance, family demand, and neighborhood needs. The new school strategy provides clear and transparent processes and criteria to open and grow new schools or programs.

+ Begin taking action to expand access to high-quality schools by identifying someone to lead this work, assess your needs, and focus on quick wins such as expanding seats at already high-performing schools to get started.

For district-run schools: Identify a central office staff person or team to lead this work and refer to Sublever 2.2 for more information on what this work looks like in the district.

For charter schools: Determine whether a local or partner supported authorizer strategy is the best fit for your district. Refer to the charter authorizer tools for more information.