Local charter sponsors rated low; still above state average

Local charter sponsor ratings

Effective: St. Aloysius Orphanage (9 points of 12), Fordham Foundation (8), Buckeye Community Hope Foundation (8)

Ineffective: Ohio Council of Community Schools (7 points), Ohio Office of School Sponsorship (7), ESC of Lake Erie West (6), Fairborn City Schools (6), Miamisburg City Schools (6), Montgomery County ESC (6), Northmont City Schools (6), West Carrollton City Schools (6), Dayton Public Schools (4), Educational Resource Consultants of Ohio (4), Warren County ESC (4), Kids Count of Dayton (3).

Most of the sponsors that oversee Dayton-area charter schools received subpar marks this week on the state’s new evaluation system, but they did perform better than the state average.

Ohio had 65 sponsors that oversaw 373 charter schools in 2015-16. Almost a third of the sponsors (21 of 65) received the lowest rating of “poor,” meaning the state can revoke their sponsorship authority unless they successfully appeal. But none of those sponsors oversees a Dayton-area school.

At the other end of the spectrum, zero sponsors earned the top rating of “exemplary,” and only five were rated “effective.” But three of those five “effective” sponsors — Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, St. Aloysius Orphanage and the Fordham Foundation — do oversee local charter schools.

Charter school sponsors make site visits, provide oversight of school management officials, and decide whether to open or close schools. The state’s evaluation system measured the sponsors on three things — the academic performance of their schools, compliance with laws, and adherence to best practices.

Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy at Fordham, called the new sponsor evaluations “a critical step forward in Ohio’s goal to improve its charter sector.” Fordham sponsors DECA Prep and two Dayton Leadership Academy charters in Dayton.

Aldis said there’s still room for improvement in how the state tracks academic performance.

“Given that charter schools are mostly located in economically challenged communities, we would like to see student growth weighed more evenly alongside achievement,” Aldis said.

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools echoed Aldis’ call for a tweak to the academic formula. The Ohio Coalition for Quality Education took a harder stance, saying the state wanted “large numbers of failing scores to place additional pressure on … Ohio’s school choice movement.”

The “effective” sponsors that have Dayton-area schools all got D’s on academic performance, but scored high on compliance with laws and best practices. St. Aloysius Orphanage got the state’s highest score, with 9 points out of 12. It sponsors Klepinger Community School and Life Skills Center of Dayton.

Buckeye Community Hope Foundation and Fordham each got 8 points on the state rating. Buckeye oversees two local Horizon Science Academies (HSA Downtown and HSA Dayton High School).

A majority of sponsors (39 of 65) were rated “ineffective,” the third step in the four-level system.

The highest score at that level was 7 points for the Ohio Council of Community Schools, which sponsors Dayton SMART Elementary, STEAM Academy and Trotwood Prep and Fitness. The lowest was 3 points for Kids Count of Dayton, which sponsor Miami Valley Academies and Summit Academy Transition High School.

“Ineffective” sponsors cannot sponsor new community schools. They are subject to an improvement plan, and can lose all sponsorship authority if they are rated ineffective three straight years.

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