WA Charter
Public School System

Oversight & Accountability

Charter public schools have additional requirements beyond those of traditional public schools in that they are held accountable for showing improved student achievement according to the terms of a contract (their “charter”). To best meet the needs of their community and their student population, charter public schools may customize the curriculum.

The elements of accountability for a charter public school are:

The Contract

A charter contract is a fixed term, renewable contract between a qualified non-profit organization and the Commission that outlines the roles, powers, responsibilities, and performance expectations for each party of the contract. Depending on a charter public school’s performance, the charter contract can be renewed, revoked, or terminated. All Commission authorized charter schools must sign a five-year contract that contains clear expectations regarding the school’s performance. In addition to the terms of its charter contract, each charter public school is subject to the same certification requirements and state and national standards as traditional public schools.

The Performance Framework

An Authorized charter public school adheres to a performance framework, which clearly states the expectations of the Washington State Charter School Commission and the charter’s School Board, and is also monitored for compliance with state and federal laws and a variety of state agencies including the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Auditor’s Office.

Compliance Calendar

Commission staff monitor performance through site visits, Quarterly School Reviews, quarterly Board observations, and a compliance calendar detailing dozens of specific documents that schools must submit to the Commission throughout the year.

First Year Site Visits

Authorized charter public schools host formal in-person reviews that last 2-2.5 days during their first year of operations to ensure the Commission is thoroughly familiar with and able to hold each school accountable, and its staff answerable, for any aspect of what is observed and/or reported.  The Commission will formally visit all schools during their first year of operation.

Performance Framework

An Authorized charter public school adheres to a performance framework, which clearly states the expectations of the Washington State Charter School Commission and the charter’s School Board, and is also monitored for compliance with state and federal laws and a variety of state agencies including the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Auditor’s Office. The Commission uses the framework as a tool to “ensure the highest standards of accountability and oversight” [RCW 28A.710.180 (1)]

There are three performance frameworks the Commission uses to assess a charter public school’s performance:

The APF is designed to allow the Commission to evaluate a school’s academic performance and answer the question “is the charter school’s academic program a success?”. The APF includes indicators and measures related to academic performance standards to ensure that a school is implementing its academic program effectively, and that student learning is taking place. These standards include:

  • State and Federal Accountability (Washington School Improvement Framework)
  • Geographic Comparisons (Assigned School Comparisons)
    – Proficiency
    – Growth
    – Graduation Rate
    – EL Progress
    – Regular Attendance
    – 9th Graders on Track
    – Dual Credit
  • School Specific Goals
    – Goals and measures developed in collaboration between the charter public school and the Commission that is specific to the student population and the school academic programming

APF Resources
Below are links to the APF, the overview of the APF and the methodology document.

Previously adopted APF:

The FPF is a monitoring tool that provides the Commission with key data to assess the financial health and viability of charter schools in their portfolio and to determine whether deeper analysis or monitoring is required. The FPF summarizes the charter school’s current financial health while taking into account the school’s financial trends over a period of three years. The measures are designed to be complementary, as no single measure gives a full picture of the financial situation of a school. Together they provide a comprehensive assessment of the school’s financial health based on a school’s historic trends, near-term financial situation, and future viability. These measures include:

  • Current Ratio
  • Days Cash
  • Debt Default
  • Total Margin
  • Debt to Asset Ratio
  • Cash Flow
  • Enrollment Variance (Informational Only)

FPF Resources

The OPF is designed to monitor the charter schools on the compliance-related standards that they must meet. The OPF is intended to create all charter public schools as though they are the same only in terms of meeting minimum legal and ethical requirements. This enables charter public schools to retain the flexibility and autonomy to be different in the ways that matter most for a school’s mission, vision and educational program. The expectations set out in the OPF derive from state and federal law, as well as the operating terms in the charter application and is most closely aligned with the charter contract for documenting operational expectations. Indicators and measures include:

  • Educational Program
  • Financial Management and Oversight
  • Governance and Reporting
  • Students, Parents and Employees
  • School Environment
  • School Specific Goals (Non-Academic)

OPF Resources

Other Resources

Reports

An Authorized charter public school adheres to a performance framework, which clearly states the expectations of the Washington State Charter School Commission and the charter’s School Board, and is also monitored for compliance with state and federal laws and a variety of state agencies including the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Auditor’s Office. The Commission, in its oversight role, regularly issues reports on its authorized charter public schools based on the performance framework established for each school.

Performance Framework Reports

Catalyst Academic | Financial | Organizational

Impact | Puget Sound Elementary Academic | Financial | Organizational

Impact | SSE Academic | Financial  | Organizational

Innovation Academic  | Financial | Organizational

Rainier Prep Academic  | Financial  | Organizational

Rainier Valley Leadership Academy Academic | Financial  | Organizational

Spokane International Academy Academic  | Financial  | Organizational

Summit: Atlas Academic  | Financial |Organizational

Summit: Olympus Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Sierra Academic  | Financial  | Organizational 

Impact | Puget Sound Elementary  Academic | Financial | Organizational

Rainier Prep Academic | Financial | Organizational

Rainier Valley Leadership Academy Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Atlas  Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Olympus Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Sierra  Academic | Financial | Organizational

Willow  Academic | Financial | Organizational

Green Dot: Destiny Academic | Financial | Organizational

Green Dot: Excel Academic | Financial | Organizational

Green Dot: Rainier Valley Leadership Academy Academic | Financial | Organizational

Impact | Puget Sound Elementary Academic | Financial | Organizational

Rainier Prep  Academic | Financial | Organizational

SOAR Academy Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Atlas Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Olympus Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Sierra Academic | Financial | Organizational

Willow Academic | Financial | Organizational

Green Dot: Destiny Academic | Financial | Organizational

Green Dot: Excel Academic | Financial Organizational

Green Dot: Rainier Valley Leadership Academy Academic | Financial Organizational

Rainier Prep  Academic | Financial | Organizational

SOAR Academy Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Atlas Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Olympus Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Sierra Academic | Financial | Organizational

Green Dot: Destiny Academic | Financial | Organizational

Green Dot: Excel  Academic Financial | Organizational

Rainier Prep Academic | Financial | Organizational

SOAR Academy Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Olympus Academic | Financial | Organizational

Summit: Sierra Academic | Financial | Organizational

Site Visits

Authorized charter public schools host formal in-person reviews that last 2-2.5 days during their first year of operations to ensure the Commission is thoroughly familiar with and able to hold each school accountable, and its staff answerable, for any aspect of what is observed and/or reported.  The Commission will formally visit all schools during their first year of operation. 

Transparency

Charter public schools are subject to the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act, just like traditional public schools. An authorized charter public school in Washington has committed to and responded to questions from their community as public forums are part of the application process to earn authorization. An authorized Charter Public School must operate with transparency about all aspects of its operation and student outcomes and this commitment is available for public review in a five-year contract.

The Washington State Charter School Commission’s website contains annual reports for each of its operational charter schools and these reports can be found on the Commission’s website.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has a “report card” for every public school and those report cards are found on that agency’s website.