Rising School Inc.’s (Lengthy) Charter Application
On June 24, Rising Schools Inc. (RSI) submitted to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (ASBCS) its application for a charter to open The Rising School. Applying for a charter is a rigorous process. The ASBCS requires each charter applicant to explain in detail how it plans to open and run a school. Consequently, our charter application for The Rising School was over 300 pages long!
The charter application included three main sections: Education Plan, Organization Description, and Business Plan. First, the Education Plan consisted of several parts: Educational Philosophy, Targeted Student Population, Program of Instruction, Requirements for Mastery and Promotion, Course Offerings, Graduation Requirements, Yearly School Calendar, Weekly Schedule, Performance Management Plans for math and for reading, and 23 Curriculum Samples: seven each for math, reading and writing, and two for science. Each curriculum sample contained a week’s worth of lesson plans that addressed the instruction, student activities, and assessments of a state content standard.
Second, the Organization Description also had several parts, which described the Applicant Organization (RSI), the Governing Body, Management & Operation, and Contracted Services.
Finally, the Business Plan contained several parts: the Process for Facilities Acquisition, a detailed Layout of Space required for the School, Advertising and Promotion, Personnel, a detailed Start-Up Budget, and detailed Budgets for the First Three Years of Operation.
RSI’s Charter Application Passes its First Hurdle!
On August 14, RSI learned that its charter application for The Rising School had passed the first phase of the ASBCS’s review process! ASBCS’s staff meticulously reviewed the entire application and deemed it “administratively complete.” This stage of the review process is crucial: the ASBCS has strict rules for complying with its application process, and so many applicants are weeded out at this point. Needless to say, we were had been nervously awaiting the outcome for six weeks and were ecstatic when we got the good news.
The Next (and Final) Stage of the Application Process
The charter application for The Rising School has been forwarded to ASBCS’s Technical Review Panel (TRP) for scoring. The application package will be automatically forwarded to the ASBCS’s Board for consideration in January if the TRP determines that:
No evaluation area receives a Falls Below the Expectation; and
No more than one evaluation area in each section is scored as Approaching; and
95% of all evaluated sections score at the Meets level; and
All necessary information is provided for completing a Background, Fingerprint, and Credit Check report
An interview with the applicant demonstrates sufficient qualifications to operate a charter school
However, it is rare for preliminary application packages to meet the scoring requirements. Therefore, applications that don’t meet these standards will have an opportunity to be revised and resubmitted.
The First Meeting of the Governing Board of RSI/The Rising School
On May 14, Rising Schools Inc. (RSI) held its first Governing Board meeting. The Corporate Board of RSI (a 501c3 nonprofit corporation) is comprised of the same members as the Governing Board of The Rising School: George Rising (who also serves as Board President), Gregory Berger, J.D. (Treasurer), and Rosie Garcia, M.Ed. (Secretary).
At the May 14 meeting, Board members approved several agenda items. First, they reviewed, discussed, and approved (by 3-0 vote), the Bylaws of Rising Schools, Inc. Second, they reviewed, discussed, and approved (by a 3-0 vote), the Board Policies of Rising Schools, Inc. Third, they reviewed, discussed, and approved (by a 3-0 vote) the First Amendment to Articles of Incorporation of Rising Schools, Inc., which added Mr. Berger and Ms. Garcia to the Governing Board. Fourth, they reviewed, discussed, and approved (by a 3-0 vote) Board Resolution No. 2, which selected the Board’s officers: George Rising as President, Greg Berger as Treasurer, and Rosie Garcia as Secretary. Fifth, the Board reviewed, discussed, and approved (by a 3-0 vote) Rising Schools, Inc.’s application for a charter for The Rising School from the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. The board also agreed to approach qualified candidates to apply for positions on the Governing Board.
RSI/Rising School board meetings are open to the public. The next board meeting will occur in winter 2012-13. Its date, time, and place will be announced in advance on our Facebook page.
Timeline for Rising Schools Inc. and The Rising School
July 2011: George and Stephanie Rising decide to combine their years of experience in education and business to open a charter school. They chose the name “The Rising School” in homage to George’s high school, The Roeper School, one of the top college-prep schools in Michigan. The charter management organization is named “Rising Schools, Inc.”
August 2011, George and Stephanie participate in the Arizona Charter Schools Association’s “How to Start a Charter School” introductory webinar.
September 2011: RSI apply to the ACSA’s New School Development (aka, “Charter Starter”) training program.
November 2011: After two rounds of interviews, RSI is accepted in to the ACSA’s training program.
August 2011-June 2012: RSI develops its business plan. Several advisors separately reviewed and commented on the plan, including Ann Hopman, Marian C. Abram, attorney, Dante DeWitt, Steve Kirkpatrick, Donna M. Cotlow, Sean P. Murray, and Jeremy Sharpe. In June 2012, Mr. Murray of Wells Fargo secures financing for RSI.
January 2012: The Rising School starts its Facebook page.
January 2012: RSI’s attorney, Marian C. Abram, J.D., of the law firm Karp & Weiss, helped RSI secure a business license as a nonprofit corporation by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
March 2012: RSI’s corporate bylaws and board policies were finalized based on drafts by Ms. Abram.
April 2012: RSI’s Governing Board approved Board Resolution No. 1, which added Gregory J. Berger, J.D., and Rosie Garcia, M.Ed., to the Governing Board.
April 2012: The Rising School had its first community meeting, attended by twenty advisors and supporters. Supporters signed up for marketing, fundraising, facilities, and curriculum committees. The participants also brainstormed a list of possible schools mascots. Afterwards, the school had an online vote on Facebook. Over 50 people voted, and the overwhelming choice was The Storm!
May 2012: RSI and The Rising School held its first Governing Board meeting.
January-June 2012, the RSI team wrote its charter application for The Rising School.
January-May 2012: Writing the charter application was facilitated by RSI’s participation in the Arizona Charter Schools Association’s New School Developer (“Charter Starter”) program.
Future Timeline for RSI and The Rising School
August-September 2012: Technical Review Panel scores RSI’s application package.
October 2012: The Technical Review Panel informs RSI of the results of the scoring for its application.
November 2012: Applicants who submitted revised applications for ASBCS staff review are notified of the results.
November/December 2012: The ASBCS Board interviews applicants who are moving forward to consideration.
January 2013: ASBCS Board approves RSI’s applicant package.
January 2013: RSI applies for Arizona Charter Schools Program (AZ CSP), a competitive start-up grant.
February 2013: The Rising School’s website starts.
April 2013: RSI is notified whether it was awarded AZ CSP grant.
April 2013: The Rising School begins recruiting students and parents.
April-July 2013: CEO/Principal George Rising hires teachers and staff.
May 2012-July 2013: RSI, working with realtor, secures a facility in central Tucson.
August 2013: The Rising School opens with 100 students in grades 6-9!
You can download a PDF version of this Rising School newsletter here.