Model Charter School Board of Trustees Certification

The New Jersey Charter Schools Association is committed to helping charter schools improve quality in every aspect of their operations. Our school services realign regularly with our members’ priorities and needs as expressed through surveys and regular interactions with the community.

In response to the demand for high quality charter school governance support, we have developed the Model Charter School Board of Trustees Certification. This program is designed to encourage and support charter school Boards of Trustees in the pursuit of excellent governance. All member schools are eligible. It provides for a robust program of professional development and establishes standards that encourage the implementation of best practices. The certification is schoolwide—it is an endorsement of the board as a whole rather than individual members.

We believe that strong school governance sustains strong schools.

Certification Criteria

These criteria represent items that reflect best practices in board operations and training, as well as items that are simply required by law or regulation. Because boards experience normal turnover of trustees, it not likely that all trustees would meet the learning criteria simultaneously; rather, the certification process will rely boards having met the Board Practices criteria organizationally, and having at least half of the trustees meet the Learning criteria at any given time. Ideally, all other trustees will be engaged in a process that will lead to completion.
Regulatory Compliance
  • Compliance with the New Jersey Department of Education’s Charter School Performance Standards for Boards of Trustees.
  • Completion of state-mandated board training provided by the New Jersey School Boards Association.
Trustee Learning
  • Half of the school’s trustees have completed at least eight modules in the NJCSA’s Charter School Governance Quality Curriculum. These modules address the following areas (each of these modules requires one to two hours of in-class or online time):
    • Education funding
    • Charter school financial management
    • Understanding the NJDOE’s Charter School Performance Framework
    • Charter renewal
    • Lead person supervision and evaluation
    • Policies and procedures important to charter schools
    • Institutionalizing essential elements of the school mission
    • Charter-school law
    • Board operations
    • Advocacy and communications
    • Use of data
    • Strategic Planning
    • Succession planning
    • Facilities development
    • Ethics and Public Integrity for Trustees
    • Leading a Charter School Board of Trustees
  • Participation in at least one NJCSA Charter Board Institute.
  • Completion of an NJCSA Board Self Evaluation.
Board Practices
  • The board meets regularly.
  • The board provides materials in advance of its meetings.
  • The board complies with all open public meeting requirements.
  • The board conducts meetings in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order or another structured methodology, and maintains meeting minutes and records.
  • The board maintains an adequate number of trustees in accordance with its bylaws.
  • The board appoints officers, committee heads, and other appointed officials in accordance with its bylaws and pertinent state regulations.
  • The board has a central online repository for all board materials, including public records.
  • The board makes its public records readily available.
  • The board has a systematic, institutionalized approach for recruiting, onboarding, and retaining trustees.
  • The board has a systematic approach for evaluating the Lead Person that is codified in policy and procedure.
  • The board regularly maintains its Policy Manual.
  • The board meets deadlines for appointing officers, completing the annual audit, establishing a budget, approving grant applications, rehiring, and approving contracts.
  • The board has the necessary policies and practices in place to support and secure its mission.
  • The board collects, analyzes, and discusses quantitative and qualitative information about mission-specific goals.
  • The board collects, analyzes, and discusses quantitative and qualitative information about the school’s academic progress and other defined strategic goals.
  • The board meets annually in a retreat to discuss school progress, school goals and objectives, and board-specific goals.
  • The board completes annual self evaluations.
  • The board engages in regular professional development.

Recognition

Board of Trustees achieving Model Charter School Board of Trustees Certification will be recognized at the NJCSA Annual Conference and will be entitled to display the certification seal on their web site and in their communications. 
 
For more information contact Rick Pressler at rpressler@njcharters.org.