The benefits in starting a charter school center around the curriculum that the school will offer. Creating a curriculum that is fully developed and offers not only the core subject areas but also a strong selection of elective classes is the key to building a successful charter school.
Here is more information about how to develop a charter school curriculum:
- Creating a Curriculum Planning Committee-A planning committee should be established to develop a charter school's curriculum. This committee should consist of school administrators, faculty members, a superintendent, school board members, parents, and even a select group of students. The committee should study the curricula that are already in place within the local public school system, and they should also look at other models from systems both within the state and in other areas of the country. Charter schools which have already shown academic success should be looked at by the committee as well.
- Setting Standards-Because charter schools are typically governed under a public school system, there may already be a set of standards in place for developing the curriculum. However, one of the many positives surrounding the development of a charter school is the opportunity to build upon the existing standards with the possibility of creating even newer standards that will help students meet and exceed achievement goals. Those in charge of structuring a charter school's curriculum development should carefully study the standards that are already in place for the existing schools in the system to see if any changes would be an added benefit to the charter school.
- Assessing Current Performance and Setting Goals-Charter schools typically represent progression and change. Before any school can set attainable goals, however, there must be some form of assessment. Since developing a charter school curriculum normally applies to the creation of a new school, administrators and school board members must assess not only their own performance as leaders within the education department but also that of faculty and staff members and the current education curriculum within the system. A thorough assessment of the current programs will allow those presiding over the development of a charter school to acknowledge areas that are in need of a change and to apply those ideas to the charter school's curriculum.
- Following a Course of Study-School education is taken very seriously regardless if it is a state supported school or not. States typically have a set course of study in place for each core subject area, including, math, science, English, and history. Objectives and standards have already been established, and public schools are expected to follow these objectives for every student enrolled in the system. Charter schools are not exempt from following these mandates, and as they develop their curriculum, they must create available classes that will allow students to receive instruction in each of the required core subject areas. Core subjects aren't the only courses of study that must be established, however. Graduation requirements for charter schools in the upper grades must also follow the set course of study in regards to areas such as physical education, arts, technology, health, etc.
- Approving the Curriculum-Once the curriculum has been created, it must be approved by the state's department of education and the accreditation agency that examines and governs the area in which the school is located. Following that will be periodic curriculum evaluation and student achievement testing to be sure goals are being met.