Insight Online

 April 2015
In This Issue
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 the celebration of National Charter Schools Week approaches, it is a reminder of the incredible effort that unfolds every day in Ohio's community schools to give students the quality education they need and deserve.  Whether the setting is a brick and mortar school, online, or a blend of both, student success continues to be the focus for those who are dedicated to school choice. OAPCS applauds the commitment of so many who teach, inspire, innovate and motivate hearts and minds. We strive every day to exceed the expectations of our members and stakeholders across all areas of our programs and services. To that end, we are continuing to build our capacity to assist Ohio's charter schools and be a unified voice in advocacy.   

We welcomed three new directors to OAPCS this month in the areas of membership, fundraising, communications and professional development. All are vital components to helping schools with quality performance and outcomes; educating policymakers, the media and the public about charter school successes; and, developing resources and partnerships. Our team is excited to move forward and utilize the talents of Tisha Reynolds, Director of Membership and Development, Julie Conry, Director of Communications and Grants, and Ranay Nunamaker, Director of the Center for Charter School Quality. They bring deep experience, knowledge and passion to their roles and will be outstanding resources for members.

On the legislative front, OAPCS has been visible and proactive in monitoring and evaluating the House and Senate bills moving forward this spring focusing on charter school reform. In response to the introduction of Senator Peggy Lehner's Senate Bill 148 on April 15, OAPCS issued a statement calling for legislative leaders to synthesize the multiple reform bills and reach a consensus. My message to policymakers continues to focus on taking a holistic approach to preserve the autonomy that was given to charter schools in exchange for accountability. As hearings progress and testimony is given, we will clarify and correct misperceptions and myths, while advocating for positive change and meaningful reform measures.

Our commitment to delivering quality professional development and workshops for the charter school community is especially visible in this issue of Insight Online. We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 9th Annual Ohio Charter Schools Conference to be held at the Ohio Union on Ohio State's campus November 12-13, 2015. Our theme, "Coming of Age," is a tribute to the 18 years of growth and change for community schools in Ohio. To close National Charter Schools Week, I will be presenting the keynote address at Day Ketterer's 3rd Annual Community School Law Update on May 8 at the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin, Ohio. On June 19, OAPCS will present a School Leaders Symposium at the OCLC Conference Center. Updates on hot topics in education and networking with fellow school leaders will be featured during an action packed day.

Thank you to all who have responded to our request for support of our continued public relations/grassroots campaign. Please keep sending us your good news, your student stories and your updates. Thanks also to our loyal members, whose support strengthens and informs our work. We value your feedback, ideas and partnerships. For those considering membership, please let us know if there is specific information that can be helpful in making the choice to join OAPCS. Our goal is a united community in which all Ohio charter schools are active members of the Alliance.

Trint Hatt's April Legislative Update: The 131st General Assembly
As April comes to a close, we are reaching the 100th day mark of the 131 st  General Assembly, and legislation has been moving quickly to address charter school reform. There have been several legislative proposals introduced that affect community schools and the OAPCS legislative team continues to monitor their status.   

On Wednesday, April 22, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 64 (the budget bill) by a vote of 63-35.

The legislation now moves to the Ohio Senate, where members will begin deliberating the bill's different proposals and measures. The Senate Finance Committee has also initiated informal hearings on the budget, and OAPCS staff will provide alerts and updates as these committee meetings progress.

Many of the policy provisions affecting community schools were removed from the House budget bill, leaving mainly appropriations. A grant program that allows schools with an Exemplary sponsor to access a $25M fund for facilities was retained, along with the increase in per-pupil funding from $100-$200 for facilities. There was also an increase for E-schools of $25 per-pupil for facilities.

House Bill 2, which passed the House at the end of March, has been referred to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education and has received two hearings to date. The subcommittee is chaired by Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay).  


Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) introduced her version of charter school reform, Senate Bill 148, on April 15 and it has been assigned to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education. This bill has many provisions that mirror language in the House version. Among the most notable provisions in SB 148 is a requirement that every entity wishing to sponsor a community school has to enter into a contract with the Department of Education and obtain approval from ODE as well. This provision was pulled from House Bill 2 prior to the bill's passing. Here are links to analyses of House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 148.


It is important that OAPCS members see what we are doing to advocate at the Statehouse on your behalf. To that end, we have provided links to the bills we are monitoring and a list of bills that we have deemed to be a priority. This information can also be found on our website under the Legislative tab.


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 your schools. 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.

Two Community School Sponsors Rated Exemplary by the Ohio Department of Education

Two Ohio community school sponsors earned "Exemplary" designations from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) last month for their use of quality practices and the oversight and academic outcomes of their schools.

Only two sponsors in the state earned this category rating in the first round of released state ratings: the Ohio Council of Community Schools (OCCS) and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  The ODE letter to OCCS announcing the designation stated "the OCCS should be particularly proud of the learning gains made in its portfolio of brick-and-mortar K-12 charter schools. This portfolio far and away outperforms the state average for such charters and very nearly reaches the quality goal the Department has targeted for the sector for six years from now. These OCCS schools are today delivering on the promise of charter education to give every child an opportunity for an effective education and which the Department is expecting of the entire sector by 2020." 

As of January 1, 2015, Ohio law requires ODE to conduct evaluations of community school sponsors through the Sponsor Performance Review. The review was developed in collaboration with state and national charter school quality experts. The review is based on the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) principles and standards for quality charter school authorizing. In Ohio, public charter schools are subject to oversight and monitoring by sponsors, also referred to as authorizers. Sponsors must be approved by and are accountable to ODE. Currently, each sponsor evaluated receives one of four ratings specified in the current law: Exemplary, Effective, Ineffective and Developing. 

We congratulate the two "Exemplary" sponsors for their outstanding commitment to quality authorizing. Read more at OCCS' blog on their website.

Meet the New Staff

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools welcomed three new staff members this month to provide key leadership in membership, fundraising, communications and the Center for Charter School Quality (CCSQ).

Tisha Reynolds is the new Director of Development and Membership and she comes to OAPCS with a background in child development and fundraising. Tisha's experience with child development started at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus. For the past six years, she was able to grow and enhance her fundraising skills at the American Diabetes Association and the National Kidney Foundation, where she specialized in committee development, special events and strategic planning. Her passion for children and fundraising serves as the foundation for joining the charter school movement. Tisha studied at Ashland University and earned a Bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Phoenix. To reach Tisha, call 614-744-2266 ext. 215 or email

Julie Conry is serving OAPCS as Director of Communications and Grants. Prior to joining the Alliance, she held several leadership posts in advancement at the Ohio State University and in nonprofit health and education advocacy. She is a veteran of three major capital campaigns at OSU and served as Director of Foundation Relations. She led college-based communications and development programs in Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health, building strategic partnerships and increasing regional and national visibility for programs and research. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Communications at OSU and directed media and constituent relations programs in the Ohio Legislature. She received a Master's degree in Journalism from the OSU Kiplinger Fellowship Program, a Bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Chicago Graham School. To reach Julie, call 614-744-2266 ext. 203 or email

Ranay Nunamaker joins OAPCS as the Director of the Center for Charter School Quality. She has more than twenty years of experience within the areas of charter school education and educational management. Ranay's vast knowledge base has enabled her to develop and apply strategic plans that support, mobilize and increase educator, administrator and student performance. She has experience as a classroom educator, special education director and school administrator. She has also served in state and regional educational management positions. Having worked in both local and national school systems, Ranay successfully strategized and implemented action plans, educational support systems and protocols for localized groups, as well as district and statewide entities. She received a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Glenville State College and Bachelor's degrees  in Early Childhood Education and K-12 Special Education from West Virginia University. Her Master's degree in Business Policy and Management is also from West Virginia University. To reach Ranay, call 614-744-2266 ext. 205 or email

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

The 9th Annual Ohio Charter Schools Conference is now accepting registrations for two days of
dynamic learning and networking on Ohio State's campus November 12-13, 2015. 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 based at the 
Ohio Union. 

This year's theme, "Coming of Age," is a tribute to the collective efforts of so many who have dedicated their time and expertise to fostering the success of Ohio's Charter Schools over the past 18 years. The conference will include inspiring keynote speakers, quality breakout sessions and a robust exhibit hall. Please check out the 
conference website for continual updates on programming and activities.

Low Early Bird registration rates are now available to those who complete their registrations by June 30. REGISTER NOW and bring a team to get the most out of your conference experience. Special conference hotel rates are also available at two locations and shuttle transportation will be provided. Make your reservations at nearby conference hotels

The call for conference proposals and presentations has also launched. Do you have innovative and successful ideas or initiatives to share with colleagues? If so, we are now accepting proposals in the general subject areas of Leadership, Teaching/Student Achievement, Legislative Advocacy, Communications, and Charter Accountability and Finance. The Call for Proposals will remain open until June 1. Please consider 
submitting a proposal to be a part of Ohio's premier charter school networking and professional development event.

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

School Leaders Symposium Scheduled for June 19, 2015

Join us at the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin, Ohio June 19th for an action packed day filled with the latest updates on education hot topics and networking opportunities with fellow school leaders. The School Leaders Symposium is designed to be an interactive meeting for participants to share best practices and learn about successful programs and methods. Registration opens May 13, 2015. Symposium details will be posted on the website of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

OAPCS  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. To view a list of all upcoming events, click here.

National Charter Schools Week

May 3-9, 2015 is National Charter Schools Week and the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools is proud to raise awareness and advocate for school choice in Ohio. There is good news to share and many creative ways to highlight the successes and achievements of community schools across the state.


At the Ohio Statehouse, Senator Kris Jordan (R-Delaware) is sponsoring a resolution in the Senate and Representative Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) is sponsoring a resolution in the House that are visible endorsements for school choice and quality. On May 8, OAPCS CEO and President, Dr. Darlene Chambers, will provide the keynote address at Day Ketterer's 3rd Annual Community School Law Update at the Conference Center at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio. Her session is titled "Until Death Do Us Part: Why Are They Called Charter Schools Anyway?"  To register for the workshop or learn more about the full-day of sessions, go to:

For staff, students, and families looking for local visibility for charter schools, here are some ideas and activities to celebrate National Charter Schools Week:

  • Send out a local press release to news media;  
  • Create an activity at your school for parents and students to team up and share why school choice matters;  
  • Host a poster, poetry or essay contest for students on why their school is a quality place to learn;
  • Send letters and emails to your local elected officials to support school choice and charter schools or invite an official to visit your school;
  • Join the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools tweetup at 1 p.m. on May 6 to trend on Twitter.  Use #CharterSchoolsWeek and spread the message that all students deserve quality and choice; and,
  • Use your social media connections to help others learn how charter schools make a difference.  

Let OAPCS know how your students, teachers and schools are celebrating National Charter Schools Week so we can share your stories. Send your photos and news to Ben Bundy at

Spring Membership Update
Because Quality Matters... Join the Movement! 

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools exists for many reasons, but a central focus has always been to provide children with greater educational opportunities by improving school quality and fostering the growth of Ohio's public charter schools.  Choice matters and a strong membership base enables OAPCS to create unity among charter schools and present a cohesive voice for quality options for families. Whether it be advocacy, communications, training, sharing best practices, or providing cost saving services, OAPCS continually strives to connect members and strengthen schools. 


By becoming a member of OAPCS, you will enjoy these valuable benefits and resources:

  • The Ohio Charter School Directory;
  • Opportunities to showcase your school in our newsletters and social media;
  • Cost savings and discounts at OAPCS-sponsored conferences, seminars, and webinars;
  • Advocacy at the State and Federal level (Let Us Be Your Voice at the Statehouse);
  • Legislative Updates and Timely Action Alerts;
  • Networking Events;
  • Best Practices and Quality Workshops; and,
  • Performance Management and Professional Development Resources.

Because quality matters and school choice in Ohio is vital to the state's nearly 125,000 charter school students, act now to join or renew your membership.  For information on membership benefits and resources, contact Tisha Reynolds, Director of Membership and Development, at 614-744-2266 ext. 215 or email

OAPCS Facilities Initiative Completes Data Collection Phase 

Progress continues for the comprehensive charter school facilities study launched in February by the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, in partnership with U.S. Department of Education and the Colorado League of Charter Schools. OAPCS has completed the data collection phase of the initiative, which included an online facilities survey and school site visits. A final report will be released in November on the status of charter school facilities in Ohio.


Charter school funding in Ohio currently places the burden of obtaining and paying for facilities on the charter schools themselves, forcing valuable operating dollars to be diverted from the classroom. As a result, schools often struggle to find suitable and affordable facilities and charter leaders routinely identify facilities as one of their top challenges in running a school.


Across the U.S., fifteen state associations have participated in this project. Many of these states share similar issues regarding charter school access to adequate facilities, including:

  • Charter schools are spending operating revenue on facilities;
  • Charter school facilities are too small in comparison to relative standards;
  • State grant funding for public school facilities has provided insufficient benefit for charters;
  • Local and state capital funding programs are not a significant source of funding for charter school facilities;
  • Not all districts are willing to share unused land or facilities with charter schools; and,
  • Physical education and recreational options are limited for charter school students.

Because of increased facilities funding in other states that followed the publication of survey results, Ohio decided to join this facilities initiative. The results announced in November will provide valuable data to assist in policy discussions around charter school facility access and funding at the state and national level. For more information on the project, please contact Jesse Truett at 614-744-2266 ext. 212 or


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