Successful charter schools that incubate new schools are models of excellence

An article published by The Miami Herald on April 29, 2012 completely failed to mention that charter school incubation is a model of excellence and is helping many fledging charter school become high quality schools.

According to the report Better Choices: Charter Incubation as a Strategy for Improving the Charter School Sector by Public Impact, “…incubation is a promising strategy for creating more high- quality seats in an era of scarce funding.” Published in December 2011, the report also states that “…with targeted screening and support, many charter schools associated with an incubator get a stronger start and show stronger student outcomes than new schools left on their own.”

Examples of successful incubation or nesting include New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO). The organization has incubated the highest-performing high school and elementary school in the city’s Recovery School District, and in Colorado, eleven out of twelve schools incubated by Get Smart Schools outperformed the state of Colorado in student growth and eight of these schools have higher student proficiency rates than their districts.

A recent analysis of student performance by the Florida Department of Education shows that Florida charter schools are achieving academically and are helping students surpass their peers who attend district-run public schools. A majority of charter schools in our state are accomplishing exactly what they were intended to do…helping produce academic results, particularly with underserved communities and minorities, and spurring innovation in education – like incubation.

Born out of financial necessity and the desire to grow quality programs, charter school operators began to incubate or nest new schools within facilities of academically successful charter schools several years ago. The goal was to partner a new school leader with an experienced administrator who would provide guidance and critical support; and also keep costs down by sharing some expenses. The incubation period allows a new school time to grow and prosper with guidance while still maintaining the school’s individuality and independence. Incubating or nesting a new charter school is often cited in studies as a promising model of excellence that gives promising leaders, and programs, the time, training and tools necessary to succeed. This is just another charter school innovation that is making a positive contribution to public education today.