Performance Framework Summary
In public education, charter schools embody the belief that the outcomes of their efforts are what matter the most to the families and communities they serve. For Washington state charter schools, outcomes are measured in comparison to schools across the state, within the school district that the charter school is located and legal standards established by the state and federal government.
Washington state charter schools are held to high standards and strive to exceed those standards so that every child in Washington can achieve at the highest level and realize their dreams. Every year, charter school outcomes are gathered and published in reports titled “Performance Framework.”
So what are these Performance Framework reports and what do they tell us? The reports provide information on the academic, financial and operational performance of each charter school. They tell us how the charter school is doing in:
- Educating the students it serves;
- Stewardship of public funds; and
- Compliance with established legal standards.
The framework reports are analytical, comparative, and (like student report cards) they provide a performance outcome snapshot over time. Often the quality of any outcome is reflective of the resources necessary for all outcomes: people, time and money. It is no different here.
Now if we think about an ideal outcome or performance, we can easily articulate what we would like to see; most of us would say we would really relish seeing the play “Hamilton.” Specifically, the hi-powered Broadway version with the star studded cast with years of Broadway experience, the lavish costumes and the awesome stage. But the story of Hamilton is the same whether it is performed by a Broadway cast, a local theater troupe or a high school drama class. But it is likely the resources that will tell the tale behind the quality of performance you see. Sure there may be some eye-popping, jaw dropping surprises from the high school or community troupe, but most of the performers aren’t able to give you a “Broadway-caliber” performance … at least not in the first year.
What is important here is the recognition of talent and growth that give hope to the promise and potential. By recognizing the promise and potential, the chances of charter school performance continuing to improve significantly increases.
With that said, we welcome you to review the performance reports of Washington charter schools. Understand that it is a young sector … the oldest schools are only in their second year of operation. Some of the results are to be expected given the focus of the schools and the population they serve. Some of the results are not what we or the schools want to see. And some of the results are meeting expectations, while some are knocking it out of the park.
What each of them have done is set the stage for continuous improvement, even in the midst of the sector’s potential uncertainty.
Joshua Halsey, Executive Director – Charter School Commission
Paula Kitzke, Deputy Director – Charter School Commission
The performance framework is the most important tool that the Commission and charter schools utilize as they collectively strive to create student-centered, academically rigorous, fiscally sound, and organizationally vibrant public charter schools. The purpose of the performance framework is to provide guidelines for charter school planning, implementation, self-evaluation, authorizer monitoring, and continuing improvement.
The Commission uses the framework as a tool to “ensure the highest standards of accountability and oversight” [RCW 28A.710.180 (1)] and engage in continuous learning and compliance conversations with charter schools. Charter schools view the framework as a critical self-evaluation tool for both continuous improvement and compliance.
The Commission has finalized and adopted the Academic Performance Framework (APF). The APF is designed to allow the Commission to evaluate a charter school’s academic performance and answer the question “is the charter school’s academic program a success?” The Commission has worked with National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and Public Impact in the development of the APF.
Below are links to the APF, the overview of the APF and the methodology document.