A Year of Renewal

Last year, during our first year of a leadership transition, it was a year in review.  With fresh eyes and new perspectives, our staff and new leader carefully examined the mission, curricular framework, instructional practices, safety procedures, recruitment strategies, and family engagement practices.  There were two reasons for this purpose.  First, with a leadership transition, it was a perfect time to reexamine our efforts and effectiveness.  Secondly, we were nearing the end of our charter term with the New York State Board of Regents and wanted to prepare for our charter renewal application.


You may be wondering what it means to be “renewing” our charter?  Charter schools are held accountable to the New York State Board of Regents and have to show their fidelity to the mission and key design elements that was set in the charter.  During each charter term our authorizers, The New York State Education Department, monitor our progress and ability to be sustainable for our students and families.  Since our opening in 2001, we have had three successful 5-year charter term renewals and are hoping for another 5-year renewal in the spring.


During the renewal application year, the authorizers gather information to learn as much as they can about the current status of the organization.  They do this through carefully reading the renewal application and corresponding documents (these were submitted in August), conducting surveys with staff and families (this happened last spring), and visiting the school (this will happen in early November).  The New York State Education Department will bring their recommendation to the Board of Regents in the spring and we will find out about our renewal.  As a high-performing and nationally known, progressive charter school, we are not concerned about being renewed, but know that charter schools are in the political spotlight and our term may be a different length due to factors beyond our control and in conflict with our long-standing philosophies about what is best for children.


On another renewal note, our school was recognized by EL Education as a Re-Credentialed School!  This means that our school continues to be deeply aligned with the core EL Education philosophy and practices and our student performance reveals this achievement.


Please contact Shannon Hillman, the School Leader, if you have any questions or would like to know more information about this important year of renewal: shillman@gccschool.org.