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The Institute’s Accountability department conducts Data Meetings twice a year with each school to review new academic data and formulate plans for the schools. Meetings are held both virtually and in-person, as well as onsite and at the Institute’s office, at no additional charge to the schools.
After coming to the Institute and presenting to the staff on their charter school experience, Ainsley Crowe, Jaron Levi, Elizabeth Sligh, and Brooke Tranum were selected as the inaugural group of Charter School Ambassadors. The Charter School Ambassadors serve as student representatives for the Charter Institute at Erskine and advocate on behalf of charter schools in South Carolina.
The first of its kind in South Carolina authorizer history, the Data Dashboard is an integration of data from multiple departments throughout the Institute. While each department is an entity of its own, the dashboard allows for an examination of multiple data points across departments to give a complete picture of the school’s health.
Organizational finance policies are critical to clarify roles, authority, and responsibilities for financial management and function. The Charter Institute at Erskine maintains framework finance policies that are designed from industry best practices. The Finance Office at the Institute annually reviews our policies to ensure that they meet the current needs of the Institute and our schools. The Institute also requires that all schools under our sponsorship maintain policies that mirror the best practices outlined in the Institute’s own framework policies. Read more here.
Unlike other districts, the Institute has a team member devoted to monitoring and assisting school boards in their roles. This team member monitors and occasionally attends school board meetings in order to build relationships between the Institute and the schools’ boards. Records are maintained to help the boards meet their responsibilities in accordance with their bylaws and the school’s charter.
The Charter Institute at Erskine facilitated a partnership with American Red Cross to provide schools with Adult and Pediatric First Aid, AED, and CPR certification. This certification is provided in order to support safe and healthy schools and students.
Continuing on its path of innovation, the Charter Institute at Erskine has launched its Leadership Program for the 2020-2021 school year. With the ever-growing needs of charter schools, it is imperative that a pipeline of efficient leaders is created. The program is built to provide needed training and support for new and emerging charter school leaders within the Institute. Through a partnership with an experienced charter school leader, Dr. Tim Gott, new leaders will share in tools to become outstanding managers and educational leaders. Read more about the program here.
Reaching Opportunities Together, the first-ever conference hosted by the Institute Federal Programs department, was a one-day professional development event that focused on strengthening programs and schools by working together. The conference featured keynote speakers, SC Department of Education staff, and break out sessions covering a variety of topics.
The Institute has partnered with College of Charleston to support teachers in obtaining ESOL K-12 Certification. This innovative initiative allows teachers in schools across the Institute to improve their instructional skills and knowledge when working with EL students, which ultimately will lead to increased student achievement of EL students.
Because many responsibilities in programming and operations rest at the individual charter school level, rather than with a traditional district office, the demands on the local school can often feel burdensome. In response to these increased burdens, the Institute created the “Dear Paperwork” project. This initiative allows schools to appeal paperwork requirements as a way to challenge any requirements that may be seen as redundant or unnecessary.
The Charter Institute worked with our schools that use NWEA MAP Assessments to create one district-wide account. One account means our schools will receive detailed analytics of their student data in a shorter time frame. The data is used to help schools to identify students who need additional instruction or who may need enrichment. The Institute is also able to use this information to potentially identify students who are gifted and talented.
In order to decrease the financial burden on schools, the Institute has created the Shared Service Model. A successful example of the Shared Service Model is The Institute’s MTSS(Multi-Tiered System of Supports) program. This Shared Service Model designates one person to oversee MTSS across all schools. The Institute ensures that this person understands the uniqueness and autonomy of each charter school and helps facilitate the MTSS program to meet the individual needs of the schools. Because of this program, services to schools have been improved and there is more money in the classroom.
In the 2019-2020 school year, the Institute began tracking our trainings (both in-person at the Institute and online) and site visits (both for training and for compliance). This allows for a heightened sense of accountability for both our schools and the Institute’s staff. As you can see below, Institute staff members log their trainings and site visits via this Formstack. We are able to see which schools are receiving the most, or least, attention, when the majority of our visits/trainings are occurring, what form they take most often, and more. This data allows the Institute to better access its schools performance and their relationship.
The Autonomy Document details the roles and responsibilities of different aspects of operating a charter school in South Carolina. Often times, the roles are blurry, and this document clearly defines it. The document was created by collaborating with school leaders, the SC Public Charter School Alliance, and the South Carolina Department of Education. This document is a work in progress. As new questions arise, the document will be updated. View the document here.
Board retreats serve an important role in board development. This is a time for board members to be together in a non-typical setting where they may learn how to improve board performance, begin or improve strategic planning, update goals, and perform self-evaluations. Retreats give board members a chance to determine the priorities of the board as well as develop an understanding of what role they play as a board member.
The Institute’s Performance Management tool is anchored to the Charter Institute at Erskine’s Philosophy where core values and goals are outlined in accordance with each position’s role requirements. These requirements inform employees of expectations to ensure continued success and ensure that the Institute provides high-quality service to its schools. The results of this process enhance customer service and are used to make informed decisions for both the individual employee and the organization in areas such as compensation, promotion, employee development, staffing, and succession planning.
The Charter Institute at Erskine’s Communications department features an innovative, charter-specific model for content production, distribution, and tracking, including video production, social media, trainings, and press relations.The Communications Department also completes a unique yearly planning process. Learn more here.
The Charter Institute at Erskine’s Onboarding process was developed to ensure onboarding information and updates are shared in “real-time” with all stakeholders and include the new hire in the process for an optimally smooth transition to becoming a productive member of the team. The process also allows for a smooth exit process if and when the employee decides to leave the Institute.
The Fraud Prevention Policy and Procedures serve to guide the conduct of all Relevant Parties associated with Charter Institute at Erskine or any of its sponsored South Carolina charter schools. The policies are centered around avoidance of fraud, corruption, and management of situations, which may be regarded as unethical conduct or behavior. The policies also demonstrate that the Institute and its sponsored South Carolina charter schools are committed to the detection and investigation of any such occurrences.
The Charter Institute at Erskine is excited to offer Institute schools an innovative program to support Induction teachers. Fifty-four Induction teachers from Institute schools join monthly virtual meetings featuring guest speakers and phenomenal educational leaders. Topics include school and classroom culture, social-emotional learning, serving special education students in the general education classroom, curriculum mapping, teaching through alternative certification pathways, and fine-tuning your mission as an educator. Each session, educators have the opportunity to share success stories, learn something new, receive support, and connect with the Institute community.