Central to the Institute’s system of academic oversight are periodic visits to each SUNY charter school. The SUNY Renewal Benchmarks, in particular whether the school is making adequate progress toward being a viable organization and an academic success, assist school visit teams in their assessment.
School visits may result in letters or reports that provide information to school leadership, parents and the public about the progress of each school.
The visit teams may interview school leaders, board members, staff and students, observe classroom instruction, and review school documents, databases, and student work to determine the effectiveness of the school in certain areas.
The team evaluates schools in areas as they relate the SUNY Renewal Benchmarks with particular emphasis on the quality of curriculum and instruction, the system of assessment and feedback, fidelity to the school charter and mission, and the culture of the school.
For spring 2021, the Institute will conduct its school evaluation visits virtually. The Institute has notified schools that will receive an evaluation review for the 2020-21 school year.
NOTE: The Institute has suspended in person visits until further notice but the accompanying School Visit Evaluation Guide document contains information regarding the general conduct and frame for visits.)
First Year School Visits
All SUNY charter schools receive a visit by the Institute in their first year of operation that results in a letter to the board of trustees for the school.
First year school visits are less extensive than visits conducted later in the charter term. The Institute recognizes that a school is still establishing its systems and culture. The team seeks evidence that the school is making adequate progress toward meeting its goals.
During a visit the team may interview school leaders, board members staff and students, observe classroom instruction, and review school documents and student work. The quality of curriculum and instruction, the system of assessment and feedback, fidelity to the school charter and mission, and school culture are all evaluated by the team.
In spring 2020, the Institute did not conduct its typical first year visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures. For spring 2021, the Institute will have a touchpoint with schools currently in their first year and with schools that opened in 2020-21.
School Renewal Visits
In order to continue operating, a charter school must apply to renew its contract or charter at the end of each charter term. To be renewed every SUNY authorized charter school must demonstrate with evidence to the State University of New York Board of Trustees that it met the benchmarks and accountability goals.
A renewal visit is conducted in the last year of the charter term. These visits are typically in the fall and are more intensive than other school visits. The cumulative evidence collected during school visits throughout the charter term, along with the renewal year visit, becomes part of the record that informs the Institute’s renewal recommendations to the SUNY Trustees. Additional information is available on the Renewal page.