Focus Areas

Authorizing organizations are responsible for approving, monitoring, renewing and closing charter schools, and therefore play a fundamental role in the quality and accountability of charter schools. The National Charter School Resource Center provides easy access to high-quality resources to help the charter school community understand the role of authorization, best practices, key issues and research.
Operating a charter school is a challenging and complex enterprise that requires sophisticated knowledge of K-12 education and the day-to-day workings of a business with diverse stakeholders. The National Charter School Resource Center provides easy access to high-quality resources to help people running charter schools understand and execute their responsibilities when it comes to such issues as governance, compliance with laws and regulations, and fundraising.
Federal, state, and district policies can create barriers for charter schools or they can encourage an environment in which all charter schools provide students with high-quality educational options, have the opportunity to expand, and are sustainable over the long-term. The National Charter School Resource Center provides easy access to useful resources that will help the charter school community understand the role of policy and how effective policies can support the growth of high-quality charter schools.
For many years, districts and charter schools have operated mostly independently of one another. However, collaborations have increased steadily over the last several years, bringing together districts and charter schools in communities across the nation under the promise of better serving students. Substantial funding in recent years from the federal government and philanthropic organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has furthered this momentum. The National Charter School Resource Center highlights examples of collaboration efforts and offers stakeholders examples of collaboration compacts, summaries of programs, interviews with participants, and research reports.
Charter schools face unique challenges in helping English learners (ELs) concurrently learn grade-level academic content and increase their proficiency in English. The National Charter School Resource Center provides the charter school community with high-quality resources that describe federal laws and policies related to ELs, highlight key research findings, and outline supports that educators can provide for ELs. View the archived webinars from our EL series.
Charter schools face unique and challenging needs related to facilities. The National Charter School Resource Center provides the charter school community with easy access to high-quality resources about the facilities planning process and financing options.
To be successful, charter schools must actively recruit, retain, and develop effective teachers and leaders. The National Charter School Resource Center provides easy access to high-quality resources to help the charter school community understand the critical role of human capital at each level of the school system.
U.S. armed forces personnel with highly mobile and stressful careers struggle to provide excellence and continuity in the education of their children. The National Charter School Resource Center develops and provides easy access to high-quality resources and information that facilitate understanding and integration of charter schools as an option for military families.
Successful charter models and practices can play a key role in turning around low-performing schools, one of the most persistent challenges in public education. The National Charter School Resource Center provides easy access to high-quality resources that offer context and background on school improvement and best practices for actions such as charter school start-ups, conversions and school transformations.
Charter schools face unique challenges in providing special education services that fulfill their responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and strengthen achievement for all students. The National Charter School Resource Center provides easy access to high-quality resources to help charter school communities understand the law and effective ways of meeting its requirements, as well as case studies and research. This section of the Resource Center website contains several special content areas. Included in the resource library are Primers on special education developed by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education and a matrix that provides a snapshot of critical issues related to special education in charter schools in every state that has a charter school law.
Charter schools are publicly funded, independently operated schools that are allowed to operate with more autonomy than traditional public schools in exchange for increased accountability. In 1991, Minnesota became the first state to pass a charter school law. Today, 42 states and the District of Columbia have similar laws. The National Charter School Resource Center is committed to providing high-quality and balanced resources for the charter school community. The Understanding Charter Schools focus area provides a range of resources that outline the basics about charter schools, review the findings from rigorous studies about charter school performance, and highlight profiles of successful charter schools.