Growing the number of high-quality public charter schools in Nevada.
Great Schools for Nevada Charter School Program
Great Schools for Nevada is a federal Charter School Program (CSP) Grant facilitated by Opportunity 180 to lead the launch and expansion of high-quality public charter schools across our state. As a public education champion and advocacy organization based in Southern Nevada, one key portion of our work is to seek out, vet, and support innovative leaders and high-performing school models.
What is the Charter Schools Program Grant?
Charter School Program (CSP) provides financial assistance to State Entities to support charter schools that serve elementary and secondary schools in a given state. Under the program, the grant recipient (Opportunity 180) makes subgrants to eligible applicants for the purpose of opening new public charter schools, replicating or expanding high-quality public charter schools. Grant funds may also be used to provide technical assistance to eligible applicants and authorized public chartering agencies in opening new charter schools and replicating and expanding high-quality charter schools, and to work with authorized public chartering agencies to improve authorizing quality, including developing capacity for, and conducting, fiscal oversight and auditing of charter schools.
The Great Schools for Nevada CSP, awarded to Opportunity 180 as Nevada’s State entity, is a competitive grant process. To ensure alignment of efforts and avoid duplication of work for maximum impact, Opportunity 180 will consult quarterly with an Advisory Committee including the Nevada Department of Education, the Charter School Association of Nevada (CSAN), and the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA). Opportunity 180 will fund only high-quality public charter school plans, and subgrant determinations will be made through a rigorous third-party peer review process. There is no guarantee that submitting a proposal will result in funding, or funding at the required levels. Proposals that do not meet a minimum score will not be funded. If you are interested in learning more, explore our “apply for a Federal Charter School Start-Up Grant” section below.
Apply for a Federal Charter School Start-Up Grant
Great Schools for Nevada Federal CSP represents significant funds available to help Nevada expand opportunities for students to attend excellent public charter schools that prepare them for college and career. The Great Schools for Nevada project has three objectives:
- Increase the number of high-quality new, replicated, or expanded public charter schools serving the most at-risk student populations; Position
- Establish Nevada’s charter sector as a leader in authorizing quality and academic performance;
- Evaluate, collect, and widely disseminate the successes and lessons of highly-quality charter schools to impact the broader public education system.
Great Schools for Nevada Federal CSP will provide sub-grants to qualified public charter schools to provide financial support for the initial implementation of expanding, replicating, or opening a public charter school. Expand is defined as an increase in the student count of an existing school by a significant amount. Replicate means to open a new charter school, or a new campus of a high-quality charter school, based on the educational model of an existing high-quality charter school under an additional charter. A new public charter school is either a new start-up school that did not previously exist or a charter school that has substantially changed its model and/or staff in order to increase academic performance as part of a turnaround process.
Great Schools for Nevada CSP subgrants are designed to be for a period of up to 18 months for planning and 24 consecutive months for implementation activities leading up to and following the opening of a new school, replication school, or expansion projects.
The process to apply begins with a letter of intent and eligibility review. Applications will be sent by invite after a review of the letter of intent and eligibility requirements.
Eligible applicants must have an approved Charter application from a Nevada authorizer in order to receive Federal CSP dollars under this program. This will be a condition of any subgrantee award if not already met. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate the following:
- An effective, clear school model to meet the needs of students in greatest need;
- Agree to be both incorporated in the State of Nevada as a non-profit entity and have received tax-exempt status (501c3) from the IRS (or proof of 1023 submission for IRS status) before funding is received
- Demonstrated need for start-up funding for either an 18 month planning period (year 0) and/or the first two years of operation (Year 1 and Year 2)
- An enrollment policy that meets the state and federal statutes
- Meet the federal definition of a public charter school in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to be eligible for grant funds under the CSP.
- If replication or expansion, provide academic data showing scores higher than the state averages for ELA and Math for growth and proficiency, as defined by ESSA or show approval to open an additional campus granted by an authorizer
In Addition to the technical requirements, applicants will need to meet the following criteria
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
For those seeking approval from an eligible Nevada authorizer, the Great Schools for Nevada CSP rigorous Request for Proposal (RFP) application for vetting exemplary applications for funding will constitute the first step. The RFP seeks to identify qualified, high-quality eligible applicants that have the capacity to meet the objective of the grant to serve more students, especially those who are disadvantaged and rural students. In order to demonstrate its ability to create a high-quality charter school, the eligible applicant will submit a complete application and any supplemental information necessary to demonstrate completion of the requirements outlined in Opportunity 180’s application process (below).
The work to grow Nevada’s high-quality, public charter school sector builds on lessons learned from across the country. The seven lessons that we will apply to the review of Great Schools for Nevada applicants to include:
- A committed board of trustees that own the charter school process, demonstrate responsibility for the school’s success or failure and understand their roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis that of the school management.
- Quality instructional leader(s) who are either experienced and proven in running a high-performing school and/or has received first-class charter specific training.
- Demonstrated ability to attract, recruit, retain, and develop top talent.
- A sustainable business plan that includes appropriate start-up dollars and support.
- Market Demand and demonstrable need for the school in the selected community.
- Innovative and effective learning model(s) that will meet the needs of educationally disadvantaged and/or rural students.
- Well conceived facility plan.
These seven lessons are the components – along with federal requirements for reporting, accounting, and serving students with special needs – that Opportunity 180 will ask eligible subgrantees to describe, demonstrate, and commit to in their applications for CSP subgrants.
Peer Review Panel
To ensure subgrants are awarded to the most capable applicants, each proposal for a CSP subgrant will be reviewed by an external Peer Review panel. The Nevada Independent Peer Review Panel will be comprised of teams of reviewers, selected through an application process. These reviewers will receive training on the effective use of a Peer Review Rubric to rate sub-grant proposals. Individuals selected as peer reviewers must be well informed regarding education, education policy, evaluation, and operations of public charter schools.
If you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The first competition for funding, will launch January 15th, 2021 and close March 1st, 2021. For the winter 2021 cycle, “current eligible schools” in the Request for Applications document refers to those that have an authorizer-approved charter to open in 2021 or plan to provide an authorizer-approved charter for opening in 2022. Below outlines the stages of our application process:
- Eligibility and Letter of Intent Stage - Schools should submit an eligibility review and letter of intent by January 29th, 2021. Schools that do not submit a letter of intent and eligibility review by January 29th, 2021 will not be eligible to apply for CSP funds in this cycle. Schools will be notified if they can proceed to apply on February 5th, 2021.
- Application Stage - Schools that have been invited to submit an application will be notified on February 5th, 2021. The application will be available for schools to edit and upload documents through March 1st, 2021. All elements of the application should be submitted by March 1st, 2021 5:00pm Pacific Time.
- Review Stage - Applications will be in review from March 2nd, 2021 through March 28th, 2021
- Notification - Schools will be notified if they have received the award on March 29th, 2021.
Winter 2021 Grant Application Timeline
- Eligibility review and Letter of Intent due: January 29th, 2021
- Great Schools for Nevada CSP application invites go out: February 5th, 2021
- Great Schools for Nevada CSP grant webinar: February 11th, 2021
- Great Schools for Nevada CSP applications due: March 1st, 2021
- Great Schools for Nevada CSP notice of Awards: March 29th, 2021