Charter Schools and Military Communities: A Toolkit

National Charter School Resource Center
18 Nov, 2014

Charter Schools and Military Communities: A Toolkit features information on charter schools serving the needs of military families and tools to help additional military communities strengthen their local school options with new charter schools. Over the past decade, a variety of charter schools have opened to serve military-connected children and families in diverse locations and for a multitude of reasons.  The toolkit highlights a number of those schools and their stories, while also offering resources to improve other military communities’ ability to benefit from charter school opportunities.

While establishing a new school is never an easy task, establishing a charter school on military installations, in particular, brings with it a unique set of challenges.  Reducing the barriers to entry of opening a new charter school can allow military families to stay together geographically or remain in the military when educational opportunity is a main concern cited by military-connected families.

The charter schools profiled in this toolkit have successfully navigated the terrain, clarifying the competencies and tools that are needed to design and implement charter schools on military installations and the policies and supports that are essential to success. Their experiences serve to illuminate the path for charter school developers and other stakeholders who are considering the establishment of charter schools on military installations. This toolkit provides critical keys to understanding the process, methods, and attitudes required to be effective. The toolkit contains information about:

  • Charter school basics
  • Meeting the needs of military-connected children
  • Establishing strong governance structures for charter schools
  • Creating an enrollment plan that includes outreach and monitoring
  • Understanding the charter-authorizer landscape
  • Writing a successful charter-school application
  • Locating the right facilities
  • Developing a sound financial plan
  • Selecting a strong founding head of school, and
  • Additional resources

Charter schools for military families represent a tiny niche in the charter school landscape, but they serve a population that plays a crucial role in the life of our country and that makes special sacrifices on its behalf. With the right support and leadership, charter schools on military installations can help ensure that these sacrifices do not preclude access to quality education.