Insight Online

 May 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links
Ohio Alliance for Public
Charter Schools
33 N Third St. Ste. 600
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 744-2266
Fax: (614) 744-2255 
A Message from Dr. Darlene Chambers, president & CEO 


As graduations and class milestones take place in the next few weeks, we salute our teachers, leaders and students for their hard work this school year. May is a month for celebrations, and the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools was proud to partner with our charter school community to celebrate National Charter Schools Week. Raising awareness and honoring those who work so tirelessly for quality and choice made the week memorable. 


One outstanding highlight was joining students from Performance Academies and the Arts and College Preparatory Academy as they stood in the House and Senate chambers to receive state resolutions recognizing May 3-9 as National Charter Schools Week. For some of these students, it was their first opportunity to tour the Capitol and see state government in action. For OAPCS, it was a proud moment to have legislators formally acknowledge the contributions charter schools make to enriching educational choice in Ohio. The presentations were featured on social media sites statewide and shared by several popular twitter feeds, including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In this issue of Insight Online, we continue to celebrate our students, our members and our community partners.

May has also brought legislative hearings on the charter school reform bills and the budget bill. OAPCS provided testimony twice before the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education this month. Please read Trint Hatt's Legislative Update below for complete details. Our legislative team will continue to assess progress on the bills and share significant developments.

Before closing the school books for the summer, we urge OAPCS members to renew their memberships now to benefit from a full year of services. A strong membership base is crucial as we continue to respond to reform legislation, school funding proposals and charter expansion needs. We continually assess ways to improve our advocacy for members and we welcome your ideas and feedback in this endeavor. Three OAPCS members speak to the value of a unified voice in this issue of Insight Online, sharing their views about why membership matters. Our priority continues to be representing a united community in which all Ohio charter schools are active members of the Alliance.    

Su mmer is always an optimum time to participate in professional development and networking.  Registration is open for the June 19th  School Leaders Symposium at the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin, Ohio.

Looking ahead, we also encourage school leaders and staff to register now for the 9th  Annual State Conference to be held at the Ohio Union on Ohio State's campus November 12-13, 2015. Early bird registration rates are in effect until June 30. Further, consider submitting a session proposal by the deadline (next Monday, June 1). See details below, including opportunities that are available to become a conference sponsor or exhibitor.  Please stay connected to OAPCS during the summer and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Share or retweet information important to the charter school community and we will do the same. We look forward to seeing many members at the June workshop and the fall statewide OAPCS conference. 
Trint Hatt's April Legislative Update: The 131st General Assembly

May has been busy at the Statehouse as the 131st General Assembly moves to act on legislation by the end of the fiscal year and summer recess. The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education has been meeting twice a week on House Bill 64 (the budget bill) and both charter school reform bills (House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 148). To date, there have been no changes to any legislation because the subcommittee cannot introduce amendments. Subcommittee members can only send recommendations to the Senate Finance Committee regarding modifications to the bills. As we move through the legislative process, OAPCS has been a vital resource for policy makers. Testimony has been presented by Dr. Darlene Chambers twice this month at the subcommittee hearings. On May 6, Dr. Chambers testified on provisions in the reform bills and urged the subcommittee to use House Bill 2 as the main bill for the charter school reform package. You can read her testimony here.

On May 13, OAPCS presented testimony jointly with four member schools to address provisions in the budget related to the $25M facilities grant and the increase in per-pupil funding from $100 - $200 for facilities. Tony Gatto, principal of the Arts and College Preparatory Academy, Lyman Millard, director of communications for Friends of Breakthrough Schools, Dr. Judy Hennessey, CEO and superintendent of the Dayton Early College Academy and Greg Brown, CEO and co-superintendent of the Graham Family of Schools, all provided testimony. They urged the Senate to retain the $25 million fund for charter schools to pursue public improvements. Members stressed to the subcommittee that charter schools often face formidable obstacles in borrowing capital to renovate buildings and modify older structures to meet the needs of modern classrooms. You can read their testimonies in full  here.

(left to right) Trint Hatt, Richard Albeit, Tony Gatto, Dr. Judy Hennessey, Dr. Darlene Chambers and Lyman Millard

OAPCS and member schools also celebrated National Charter Schools Week at the Statehouse May 6. School groups from Performance Academies and the Arts and College Preparatory Academy traveled to the Capitol to be part of House and Senate presentations. Representative Andrew Brenner (R- Powell) and Senator Kris Jordan (R-Delaware) introduced resolutions

Dr. Chambers with ACPA

recognizing May 3-9, 2015, as National Charter Schools Week
in Ohio. OAPCS was honored to have these two supporters of school choice present the resolutions.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and ideas on how we can better advocate on your behalf. It is always helpful to hear from our members on how these changes affect you. Please contact Trint, Director of Government Relations, to discuss any issues you may have with the proposed legislation by emailing  or calling 614-744-2266 ext. 210.
National Charter Schools Week: Celebrating Students and Choice
Students and leaders from Performance Academies
receive a resolution from Representative Brenner
From essay contests to government proclamations, Ohio's charter school community focused on students and school choice May 3-9 during National Charter Schools Week. Social media across the state featured events, activities and heart-felt student essays about why charter schools make a difference for so many families. A popular tweet-up organized by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools on May 6 had thousands of participants sharing messages about the value of community schools.


At the Ohio Statehouse May 6, Representative Andrew Brenner (R- Powell) and Senator Kris
Jordan (R-Delaware) introduced resolutions recognizing May 3-9, 2015 as National Charter
ACPA receives a resolution from Senator Jordan
Schools  Week in  Ohio. Tony Gatto, principal of ACPA, 
and several  students were recognized on the Senate floor by Senator Jordan. In the House chambers, students from Performance Academies and Dr. Myrrha Satow, founder and president, accepted the resolution and recognition from Representative Brenner. The students were also able to tour the Capitol and speak with legislative staff during their Statehouse visit.


Dr. Darlene Chambers

On May 8, Dr. Darlene Chambers, president and CEO of OAPCS, was the opening keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual Day Ketterer Community School Law Update in Dublin, Ohio. Her presentation was titled "Until Death Do Us Part: Why Are They Called Charter Schools Anyway?" During an interactive one-hour session she focused on the key elements of executing effective contracts between school boards and authorizers. Best practices and common pitfalls in contract development were also highlighted. The Day Ketterer education law team closed the workshop with a panel discussion covering legal and legislative initiatives in Ohio affecting charter school operations and management. 

Spotlight on OAPCS Membership: Celebrating Unity

May and June are membership renewal months for the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools and we encourage all current and prospective members to renew or join now to benefit from a full year of programming, advocacy and services.


In the view of three OAPCS members, being part of the Alliance helps bring a collective voice to educate and inform stakeholders and the public about the value of the charter school movement.

Dr. Myrrha Satow

For Dr. Myrrha Satow, founder and president of Performance Academies and a member of OAPCS since its inception, the advocacy of a statewide alliance is critical to a vibrant community school movement. "The primary function should be advocacy and OAPCS does that like no other organization," she noted. "Membership with OAPCS is a wonderful two-way partnership," she added. "Our board members have done board training with OAPCS and loved it," she said. "We send our staff for professional development and to the state conference and OAPCS always comes to our schools and events to see our students in action."


According to Dr. Satow, it is important to parents and families that within Ohio there is a united voice for charter schools. "We want to share our academic successes and be able to get out the positive messages and dispel the myths," she added. "OAPCS is a main venue to help with that."


Peggy Young
Peggy Young, director of the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, sees membership in OAPCS as a collaboration to achieve unity and school success. "We think it's important to support Ohio's charter school movement and to provide a forum for schools to access resources and share best practices," she said. "In an environment in which critics can be very vocal about charter schools, unity is so important," she added.


Advocacy is key, she noted, and OAPCS is the public voice at the Statehouse for charter schools. "It is essential that charters be well-represented and OAPCS works to correct misperceptions and inaccurate information, setting the record straight among policy makers," she said.

Of the many reasons to join OAPCS, Young said, membership provides tangible benefits as well as being a way to give back to Ohio's charter school community.

In 2014, Imagine Schools made the decision that all 17 Imagine School campuses in Ohio would become members of OAPCS, according to Amy Buttke, executive vice president for Imagine.  

"Being a member of OAPCS provides greater collaboration and connection with Ohio's charter

Amy Buttke
school community," Buttke said. "OAPCS is the hub that keeps charters working together in ways that are purposeful and organized in bringing effective educational choices and options to Ohio's students and families," she noted. The advocacy and voice at the Ohio Capitol that OAPCS provides is a key benefit, she noted, particularly at a time when there is vocal opposition to community schools across the state.


"We can and should be absolutely united in speaking with one voice in protecting and promoting the effective educational choice our schools provide for Ohio's families," Buttke said. "It's true that it takes a village to educate and advocate for a child and OAPCS creates that village where community schools can work together," she said.

For more information on OAPCS membership benefits and resources, contact Tisha Reynolds, Director of Membership and Development, at or call 614-744-2255 ext. 215.

School Leaders Symposium Registration Now Open

Join us at the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin, Ohio June 19th for a professional development event designed for charter school principals, deans, superintendents and executive directors. The School Leaders Symposium will address timely issues and will offer interactive sessions for participants to share best practices and learn about successful programs and methods. Topics include:

  • Legislative Updates;
  • School Vision and Mission;
  • Building Upon Priorities;
  • Collaborative and Supportive Team Building;
  • Testing and Data Tools; and,
  • The Impact of Student Attendance and Truancy on Performance.

Registration is now openSymposium details and the agenda can be found here.

The Ohio Alliance of Public Charter Schools is offering a robust series of workshops and summits throughout the year aimed at supporting teachers, administrators and other key stakeholders in Ohio's charter school movement. View all our upcoming events here.

OAPCS is Seeking Conference Presenters
June 1 is the Deadline for Proposal Submissions

OAPCS is now accepting proposals for conference presentations from individuals or panels of up to four presenters. The deadline is June 1, 2015 for proposal submissions. Please consider sharing your innovative & successful initiatives with your fellow charter school colleagues in the following topic areas: Leadership, Teaching/Student Achievement, Charter Accountability/Finance and Legislative Advocacy/Communications.


The Leadership track is designed to address the many challenges facing those who work within the charter movement as a school leader, oversight partner, or service provider. Potential topics include replication, succession planning, school culture and team-building. The Teaching/Student Achievement track provides content in instructional strategies, technology, classroom management, curriculum, teacher training, intervention and other classroom-specific topics.  


Since the political landscape affects charter schools, we have created a Legislative and Advocacy/Communications track specifically for stakeholders who want to be kept abreast of the latest developments in district, state, and federal legislation. The Charter Accountability/Finance track will provide authorizers, management companies, and school leaders with the necessary tools and resources to achieve long-term viability.


Submit a Presentation Proposal to be a part of Ohio's premier charter school networking and professional development event.

Early Bird Registration Now Available for the 9th Annual
Ohio Charter  Schools Conference
November 12-13, 2015 at Ohio State University's Ohio Union

Join your charter school colleagues and advocates from across the state at the 9th Annual Ohio Charter Schools Conference scheduled for November 12-13, 2015 on Ohio State's campus. Low early bird registration rates are now available for those who register by June 30. 

We are excited to bring this event back to Columbus for the state's largest gathering of charter school stakeholders. All activities and sessions will be held at the Ohio Union. Special conference hotel rates are also available at two locations and shuttle transportation will be provided. Make your reservations at nearby conference hotels.

The Thursday general session for the conference will feature
a panel presentation with Greg Richmond of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), Kenneth Campbell, founding board member and former president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and Dr. Darlene Chambers, president and CEO of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools (OAPCS). 

The Friday keynote speaker will be Ember Reichgott Junge, a former Minnesota state senator and author of the first charter school law in Minnesota and the nation. She is the author of Zero Chance of Passage: the Pioneering Charter School Story, and is a national leadership and education policy coach, presenter and trainer.


This year's conference will feature an expanded exhibit hall. For details on sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, click herePlease also visit the conference website for continual updates on programming and activities.

Plan to attend the conference. 
REGISTER NOW and bring a school team to get the most out of your conference experience.


If you have general conference questions, email the conference team at or call our conference coordinator, Bretta Beveridge, at 206-235-8249.

Toledo's L. Hollingworth School Building Wins Design Award

Congratulations to the L. Hollingworth School for the Talented and Gifted on its recent award from the American Institute of Architects Toledo (AIAT). The school was honored by AIAT for its design and repurposing of the former Jobst Company facility in East Toledo and turning a former problem location in the city into a vibrant hub of educational excellence. Toledo architectural firm Munger Munger + Associates and general contractor the Spieker Company were recognized for their design and restoration work on the project.


"We entered this project looking to meet the growing needs of our school to serve the community's students and families," noted Terrence Franklin, head of school for L. Hollingworth.  "This award truly shows what can happen when everybody comes together to create something that is in the best interest of the students and the community," he said. 

The L. Hollingworth project received the Design Award for Newly Completed Buildings, Additions, Remodelings, Renovations and Restorations. The jury that judged the competition noted that the building now offers both functional use and community benefits. Jury members commented that despite a tight budget and schedule, the reuse of the factory achieved commendable societal goals for the school community and the surrounding neighborhood.

New Charter School Studies Focus on Charter School Authorizers, Wait Lists and Charter School Closures

Two recent studies released by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) highlight the impact of authorizer accountability and lengthy waiting lists for charter school students in urban areas. A study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute examines the impact of charter school closures on students and parents.


NAPCS issued a brief this month outlining policy recommendations on holding public charter school authorizers accountable. The research also summarized experiences and lessons from four states: Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and Ohio.  Drawing from the state experiences, the brief offers recommendations to strengthen state policies on authorizer accountability. Click here to download a PDF of  Holding Public Charter School Authorizers Accountable: State Experiences and Policy Recommendations.

Further, in  Waiting for their Chance: A Closer Look at Wait Lists in Urban Public Charter Schools,
NAPCS examined factors shaping charter school formation in ten urban districts that have large wait lists for their public charter schools, including Cleveland. All have thousands of students waiting for a chance to attend a charter school, from 163,000 in New York City, to 1,300 in Cleveland. The research links academic achievement rates in the traditional public schools in these ten districts with the demand for enrollment in charter schools. In Cleveland, according to the report, the significant funding disparity between public charter schools and district schools is a deterrent to expansion. Cleveland has the largest funding discrepancy in the state, with public charter schools receiving about half as much funding as traditional public schools. Read the full report  here.  

In the Thomas B. Fordham Institute study on charter school closures released in April, researchers examined the academic performance impact on displaced students after school transfers. The study focused on 120 traditional public schools and 78 charter schools in the Ohio "Big Eight" urban areas that were closed between 2006 and 2012. Nearly 23,000 students were affected by the closures in grades 3 to 8.  According to the study, a majority of students made gains after enrolling in a new school. Students who transferred to a higher-quality school after closure showed academic progress in days of learning in reading and math. To download the report, School Closures and Student Achievement: An Analysis of Ohio's Urban District and Charter Schools, click here.
Science in Action: Celebrating Discovery  

The Ohio Statehouse and the Columbus Center for Science and Industry (COSI) provided exciting venues this month for charter school students to display science projects and research.


Students from Horizon Science Academy Toledo participate at the STEM Expo
 On May 18, STEM students from 14 Horizon Schools in Ohio brought science projects and displays to the atrium at the Capitol.  Legislators, government staff, parents and State Auditor David Yost toured the exhibits, which included a life sized hover craft powered by leaf blowers and a 3-D printing demonstration. Dr. Darlene Chambers, CEO of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, also toured the exhibits and congratulated the students on their innovative projects.  Elementary, middle and high school students from Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Cleveland and Youngstown participated in the STEM Fair.

"This is our second year at the Statehouse and we've found that legislators really enjoy getting to know our kids and seeing their work," said Kristin Sony, Columbus area communications manager for Horizon.


Student from Cesar Chavez Preparatory School at COSI

At COSI on May 22, the Educational Solutions Management Company held its annual Academic and Science Fair for students from Cesar Chavez, Midnimo and the Educational Academy for Boys and Girls. Students presented science project posters and participated in math and spelling competitions during the day-long event.  Lindsey Blackburn, senior director of curriculum and assessment at OAPCS, was a guest judge for the poster competition.

"The Academic and Science Fair is an ideal situation for students to create meaningful work that is shared with a public audience," Blackburn said. "It is also a great way to expose students and families to an educational fun space where they can learn and explore."

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