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U.S. Department of Education: Grants for Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools

Deadline: June 20, 2016

The purpose of the Charter Schools Program (CSP) is to increase national understanding of the charter school model by expanding the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the nation; providing financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools; and evaluating the effects of charter schools, including their effects on students, student academic achievement, staff, and parents.

The purpose of the CSP Grants for Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools competition is to award grants to eligible applicants to enable them to replicate or expand high-quality charter schools with demonstrated records of success, including success in increasing student academic achievement. Eligible applicants may use their grant funds to expand the enrollment of one or more existing charter schools by substantially increasing the number of available seats per school, or to open one or more new charter schools that are based on the charter school model for which the eligible applicant has presented evidence of success.

There are two Absolute Priorities for this competition. Applicants must meet at least one of these priorities in order to apply.

  • Absolute Priority 1—Experience Operating or Managing High-Quality Charter Schools: This priority is for projects that will provide for the replication or expansion of high-quality charter schools by applicants that currently operate or manage more than one high-quality charter school.
  • Absolute Priority 2—Low-Income Demographic: To meet this priority, an applicant must demonstrate that at least 60 percent of all students in the charter schools it currently operates or manages are individuals from low-income families.

There are three Competitive Preference Priorities for this competition, for which applicants are awarded additional points if meeting the criteria:

  • Competitive Preference Priority 1:

(a) Supporting High Need Students (0 or 5 points): Projects that are designed to improve academic outcomes, learning environments, or both, for students who are members of federally recognized Indian tribes.

(b) School Improvement (0 or 4 points): To meet this priority, an applicant must demonstrate that its proposed replication or expansion of one or more high-quality charter schools will occur in partnership with, and will be designed to assist, one or more LEAs in implementing academic or structural interventions to serve students attending schools that have been identified for improvement, corrective action, closure, or restructuring under section 1116 of the ESEA, and as described in the notice of final requirements for School Improvement Grants.

(c) Promise Zones (0 or 1 point): This priority is for projects that are designed to serve and coordinate with a federally designated Promise Zone.

  • Competitive Preference Priority 2—Promoting Diversity: This priority is for applicants that demonstrate a record of (in the schools they currently operate or manage), as well as an intent to continue (in schools that they will be creating or substantially expanding under this grant), taking active measures to:

(a) Promote student diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, or avoid racial isolation;

(b) Serve students with disabilities at a rate that is at least comparable to the rate at which these students are served in public schools in the surrounding area; and

(c) Serve English learners at a rate that is at least comparable to the rate at which these students are served in public schools in the surrounding area.

In support of this priority, applicants must provide enrollment data as well as descriptions of existing policies and activities undertaken or planned to be undertaken.

  • Competitive Preference Priority 3—Novice Applicant (0 or 2 points): This priority is for applicants that qualify as novice applicants.

There is one Invitational Priority for rigorous evaluation. The Department of Education is particularly interested in funding applications that demonstrate that the applicant is currently conducting, or will conduct, a rigorous independent evaluation of specific practices within the applicant’s charter schools (e.g., school discipline policies or professional development practices, such as teacher coaching), through a quasi-experimental design study or randomized controlled trial that will, if well implemented, meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Evidence Standards.

Amount: Up to $65,000,000 is available for 10-20 awards ranging from $500,000 to $3,000,000 per year. The project period is five years.

Eligibility: Non-profit charter management organizations and other entities that are not for-profit entities. A charter management organization is defined as a nonprofit organization that operates or manages multiple charter schools by centralizing or sharing certain functions and resources among schools. Eligible applicants also may apply as a group or consortium.

Note: A webinar will be held June 16, 2016, from 12:00-1:30 pm MST.

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