Pennsylvania Charter Schools Grant

About the Charter Schools Program

On September 30, 2020, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) was awarded an Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter School Programs Grant (commonly referred to as a CSP Grant) from the US Department of Education. This grant award will total $30 million over a grant period of five years (2021-25) and will support the development, expansion and replication of 18 high-quality public schools in Pennsylvania. Each school will be a nonprofit, brick-and-mortar charter school whose model and/or track record demonstrate a strong likelihood that they will produce meaningful and sustainable student learning gains. Over the course of the grant, 90% of estimated grant funds goes directly to the subgrantees with 10% reserved for the administrative and technical assistance duties to run the grant program.

You can find all of our upcoming trainings under the Technical Assistance tab below.

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    The Pennsylvania Charter Schools Program (PACSP) represents $30 million in funds available to help Pennsylvania expand opportunities for students to attend excellent public charter schools that meet and exceed state academic standards.

    PACSP will promote two overriding outcomes:

    • increasing the number of high-quality charter schools that educate substantial at-risk student populations, and
    • improving student outcomes in PA charter schools, particularly for at-risk students. Both interim and summative performance measures have been set to achieve this long-term impact.

    Eligible applicants must have an approved charter school petition from a Pennsylvania authorizer in order to apply for Federal CSP dollars under this program. PACSP cannot fund applicants through the charter application process. Grant applicants must conform to the federal definition of a public charter school in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [P.L. 114-95, section 4310(2)] to be eligible for grant funds under the CSP.

    PACSP will follow the federal definition of high-quality charter schools:

    • shows evidence of strong academic results which may include strong student academic growth as determined by the state;
      has no significant issues in the area of student safety, financial and operational management, or statutory or regulatory compliance;
      has demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement, including graduation rates where applicable, for all students served by the charter school; and
    • has demonstrated success in increasing student academic achievement, including graduation rates where applicable, for each of the subgroups of students, as defined in section 1111(c)(2) of the ESSA, except that such demonstration is not required in a case in which the number of students in a group is insufficient to yield statistically reliable information or the results would reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student.
      Expanding or Replicating Schools

    Those who wish to expand or replicate existing charter schools must meet the ESSA SEC. 4310 (7-9) definitions of expanding, replicating and high quality. Schools that do not meet this definition are not eligible for subgrant funding.

    To ensure sub grants are awarded to the most capable applicants, each proposal for a CSP sub grant will be reviewed by an external Peer Review panel.  These reviewers will receive training on the effective use of a Peer Review Rubric to rate potential sub grant proposals. Individuals selected as peer reviewers must be well informed regarding education, education policy, evaluation, and operations of public charter schools.

    Peer Reviewers will independently read, score, and provide timely, written comments supported by the application scoring rubric and relevant laws and regulations to provide award recommendations to the CSP Co-Directors. To ensure a diverse collection of impartial reviewers who are intimately familiar with the Commonwealth’s educational and political landscape and who are well-positioned to assess whether a school will contribute to the advancement of the CSP project’s objectives, the PRT will consist of five primary members and two alternate members from the following categories:

    • a disinterested member of the PCPCS board
    • a successful charter school founder;
    • an expert in charter school business management and finance;
    • a representative from a Pennsylvania institution of higher education; and
    • a member of the PCPCS Legal Advisory Council.

    Peer reviewers will be required to self-report any conflicts of interest. Peer reviewers shall not participate in any way in actions or decisions that directly or indirectly involve their own financial interests or those of their families or business associates. If potential reviewers are directly or indirectly affiliated with a grant applicant through themselves, a family member or business interest, the individual will not be allowed to score applications where the conflict of interest exists and the application will be assigned for review by an alternate member of the PRT team.

    Some examples of allowable subgrantee expenses include:

    • Planning and program design that does not exceed 18 months
    • One-time costs for the purpose of opening, replicating, or expanding
    • Costs with preparing teachers, school leaders, and specialized instructional support personnel
    • Supplies, training, equipment, and educational materials
    • Renovations for a new school building to comply with applicable statues and regulations (construction is excluded)
    • Community engagement activities

    It is expressly prohibited to use CSP grant funds for the purchase or leasing of a facility.

    The following items CANNOT be funded under this grant. Any proposed expenditures including the following items will not be funded:

    •  Grant funds may not be used to offset or cover costs of preparing and applying for CSP grant funds
    • Capital expenses, such as remodeling, technology leases, elevators, water main valves, vans, tractors, bobcats, or permanent fixture of equipment/furniture
    •  Professional dues or memberships
    • Employee hiring/recruitment expenses such as a placement firm or travel for prospective employees
    • Non-educational/non-informative promotional/novelty items for advertising, events, or recruiting
    • Grant oversight expenses
    • Costs of continuing education credits for professional development coursework
    • Gift certificates, alcoholic beverages, school apparel for staff or students, fines and penalties, lobbying
    • Food for meetings or any other purposes

    The first competition for funding will launch February 15, 2021 and close March 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM.

    February 16, 2021: PACSP Information Webinar – How to Apply for the First Round of PACSP Funds.
    Come join the PACSP Co-Directors for an informational session on how to apply for the first year of PACSP funding. The Co-Directors will review eligibility and application components. Information will be provided on how to utilize the FedReporting.com web portal for application submission. Time will be allotted for questions! Click here to view the slides from the presentation and click here to see a recording.

    February 23, 2021: New Charter School Roundtable.
    PACSP is hosting a New Charter School Roundtable featuring the founders of Pennsylvania’s most recently approved charter schools. This session is intended for anyone considering starting a charter school. Our panelists will share their best practices that helped them get their application approved. Click here to view a recording of the session.

    APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA FEDREPORTING.COM!

    To create a fedreporting.com account, download the instructions here. You must complete all fields on the “New User” form. Please email the completed form to admin@fedreporting.com and you will receive access instructions within 24 hours of submission of a completed form.

    Question on creating an account, technical system questions, and any other inquiries, please contact admin@fedreporting.com.

    To ensure sub grants are awarded to the most capable applicants, each proposal for a CSP sub grant will be reviewed by an external Peer Review panel. Peer Reviewers will independently read, score, and provide timely, written comments supported by the application scoring rubric and relevant laws and regulations to provide award recommendations to the CSP Co-Directors. These reviewers will receive training on the effective use of the Peer Review Rubric to rate potential sub grant proposals. For more information on the Peer Review Panel, please visit the Peer Review Panel tab on this page.

    The Peer Review Rubric consists of:

    Application Narrative Rubric

    Project Specific Narrative Rubric

    Competitive Preference Priority Plan Rubric

    Track Record Rubric

    Click here for suggested evidence documentation for the track record rubric

    Expand for Upcoming Events

    May 21, 2021, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: 2021 Charter School Fundamentals: How to Start a Quality Charter School

    In an effort to continue to strengthen quality charter schools throughout the state, PCPCS is hosting an educational seminar that will address key components for planning and running a great charter school. The event will include information regarding legal issues, finances and budgeting, building issues and permits, technology cost and reimbursement, and authorization. 

    This event is free of charge and open to anybody who is considering starting a charter school, current charter school leaders and administrators, Open Record officers, staff and board members.

    THIS IS AN ONLINE EVENT! Login information will be sent with your registration confirmation.

    Click here to register for Charter School Fundamentals: How to Start a Quality Charter School

    May 27, 2021, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Finding Outstanding Nonprofit Executives and CEO’s
    Presented by: Saperde

    This session can be taken to fulfill the advanced, two-hour training required by Act 55 for experienced board members!

    Succession Planning is a process that many nonprofits don’t engage in until it is too late and sometimes the process of selecting a new CEO can be fraught with difficulty. The session will look at how CEO succession planning and selection has been handled by nonprofits and schools in the past along with the outcomes of those efforts. The session will then review pitfalls to avoid, best practices to consider, and introduce how tools like the Kolbe RightFit can help with the process.

    This session will incorporate the Kolbe-A assessment. Kolbe measures a person’s instinctive way of doing things and is the only validated assessment that measures a person’s conative strengths. While not required for attendance, completion of the Kolbe-A assessment will provide a richer learning experience. If you would like to participate in the Kolbe-A assessment, there will be a $60 fee charged as part of your registration.

    THIS IS AN ONLINE EVENT! Zoom details will be provided in the registration confirmation.

    Click here to register for Finding Outstanding Nonprofit Executives and CEO’s

    Questions? Please contact Brandie Karpew, Director of Operations and Development, at b.karpew@pacharters.org.

    June 22, 2021, 1:00-2:00 PM: Nurturing Seeds of Equity in Schools and Communities
    Presented by: Linda Williams, Urban Pathways K-5 Charter School

    This workshop will support positive change in communities by organizing educators, parents and community supporters focused on racial equity. After a brief talk on the structure and format of racial committee planning followed by group discussion, workshop participants will be able to initiate their own groups. Participants aware of the community they would like to serve who also bring general ideas about goals for the potential group to accomplish, will find that they are able to gain more from the workshop experience. Additionally, racial equity groups already in place will consider strategies relevant for continued maturity and growth. Specifically, established groups will evaluate, strengthen and expand their organization’s support of race equity work as it relates to institutional and structural racism.

    THIS IS AN ONLINE EVENT! Zoom details will be provided in the registration confirmation.

    ATTENDANCE IS FREE BUT DONATIONS ARE APPRECIATED!

    Click here to register for Nurturing Seeds of Equity in Schools and Communities.

    This session is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Charter School Program Grant.

    July 21, 2021, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Empowering Charter Schools and Cyber Charter Schools to customize Legally Sound Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
    Presented by: Nicole D. Snyder, Esq., Chair, Special Education Practice, McKenna Snyder LLC; Patricia Rosetti, CEO, PA Distance Learning Charter School; Jennifer Arevalo, CEO and Director of Education, Souderton Charter School Collaborative.

    This presentation will utilize an engaging format to discuss the latest topics and cases relevant to the challenges and opportunities associated with educating students with disabilities in charter schools & cyber charter schools. There will be specific emphasis on empowering teams by providing a framework and tools to help customize legally sound plans for students with disabilities.

    THIS IS AN ONLINE EVENT! Zoom details will be provided in the registration confirmation.

    ATTENDANCE IS FREE BUT DONATIONS ARE APPRECIATED!

    Click here to register for Empowering Charter Schools and Cyber Charter Schools to customize Legally Sound Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities

    Questions? Please contact Brandie Karpew, Director of Operations and Development, at b.karpew@pacharters.org.

    This session is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Charter School Program Grant.

    Past Events:

    PACSP Information Webinar – How to Apply for the First Round of PACSP Funds.
    Come join the PACSP Co-Directors for an informational session on how to apply for the first year of PACSP funding. The Co-Directors will review eligibility and application components. Information will be provided on how to utilize the FedReporting.com web portal for application submission. Time will be allotted for questions! Click here to view the slides from the presentation and click here to see a recording.

    February 23, 2021: New Charter School Roundtable.
    PACSP is hosting a New Charter School Roundtable featuring the founders of Pennsylvania’s most recently approved charter schools. This session is intended for anyone considering starting a charter school. Our panelists will share their best practices that helped them get their application approved. Click here to view a recording of the session.

    Expand for Technical Assistance for Schools

    The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools works with companies, individuals, and organizations throughout the Keystone State to provide services and information to charter schools. Click here to see a view the 2020-21 PCPCS Resource Guide and Directory where you can find information about these businesses.

    Expand Technical Assistance for Authorizers

    More Information Coming Soon!

    Expand for Resources for Everyone

    *The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) formed 143K Rising as a way for lawmakers in Harrisburg to hear directly from charter school families. We are guided and supported by a diverse group of educational organizations, business groups and public policy agencies that understand charter schools are the best option for many children to receive a public education that meets their needs.

    The goal is to give charter school families a voice in policy decisions that otherwise could have disastrous consequences for the education and future of their children. Click here to learn more about how to join the movement.

    *Pennsylvania has one of the most vibrant and active Charter School environments in the country. Whether you’re looking for a local option with a unique mission or a cutting edge cyber school that a student can attend from anywhere in the state, PA has the right Charter School for you and your family. Please use the PA Charter School Locator below to find the one right for you.

    Click here to download a flyer about the PACSP Grant Program.

    *The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) formed 143K Rising as a way for lawmakers in Harrisburg to hear directly from charter school families. We are guided and supported by a diverse group of educational organizations, business groups and public policy agencies that understand charter schools are the best option for many children to receive a public education that meets their needs.

    The goal is to give charter school families a voice in policy decisions that otherwise could have disastrous consequences for the education and future of their children. Click here to learn more about how to join the movement.

    *Pennsylvania has one of the most vibrant and active Charter School environments in the country. Whether you’re looking for a local option with a unique mission or a cutting edge cyber school that a student can attend from anywhere in the state, PA has the right Charter School for you and your family. Please use the PA Charter School Locator below to find the one right for you.

    For more information on the CSP Program, contact our team!

    Brandie Karpew: pacspgrant@pacharters.org for Program and RFA questions

    Abby Dubinchik: pacspfinance@pacharters.org for Fiscal and Budget questions

    Jesse Bean: pacsptechassit@pacharters.org for Technical Assistance questions

    MARCH

    ·    Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Short-Term Project | March 15 | Learn More

    ·    Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination | March 16 | Learn More

    ·    Summer Research Education Experience Program | March 17 | Learn More

    ·    Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program | March 22 | Learn More

    ·    School Garden Grant Program | March 31 | Learn More

    APRIL

    ·    ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grant | April 14 | Learn More

    ·    Amber Brown Grant | April 15 | Learn More

    ·    Educators of America Micro Grant Program | April 15 | Learn More

    ·    Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) Program | April 16 | Learn More

    ·    D’addario Music Foundation | April 17 | Learn More

    ·    Alaska Native Education Program | April 21 | Learn More

    ·    The Lawrence Foundation Grants | April 30 | Learn More

     

    MAY

    ·    Indian Education – Formula Grants to Local Education Agencies | May 14 | Learn More

    The contents of this page were developed under a Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant awarded to the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.