Latest Charter Sector Updates
New York Charter Schools Association Authorizer Webinars

Join the Institute every Tuesday as we discuss the latest sector news and answer questions from school leaders.

Best Practices & Critical Information
SUNY Charter Schools Institute Webinars

The Institute hosts webinars throughout the year intended to educate and engage SUNY charter school leaders on a variety of issues and topics.

All About Authorizing
More Great Seats 4 Kids Podcast

Season 1 of the Institute’s podcast series dives deep into the SUNY authorization process and the high standards and best practices that make New York’s charter schools so successful.


Institute Insights

How Can Schools Know If Their Services and Supports Are Actually Driving Meaningful Student Learning? The ‘Active Ingredients’ Project Has Some Answers

“We have a partnership with a regional food bank,” a principal once told me on a school visit. “Each Friday, every eligible student gets a red backpack full of food for the weekend. … And when the parents show up (to refill the backpack each week), a reading specialist leads a 20-minute program on tactics for oral reading fluency and comprehension … and provides them with both a take home cheat sheet and additional materials.”

I was intrigued. This was an innovative approach to tackling food insecurity — a chronic problem in schools that serve economically disadvantaged students — but also to engaging parents in their children’s education. “What improvement in student reading are you seeing?” I asked.

Read the full op-ed on The 74…

‘More Great Seats for Kids’ Newsletter: Mitigating Missed Learning

By Susie Miller Carello 

Dear School Leader,

Last year was a monumental achievement. We know that. You, as leaders and as educators, did all you could in the wake of so much ambiguity, so much uncertainty, to maintain not just educational continuity but academic excellence.

But we also know the reality of the situation as we grapple with a third consecutive year of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity & ambiguity). This VUCA?  The disruption to instruction and learning (and ‘regular’ growing up too) have combined to leave students in many areas without predictable, consistent supports for academic success. The data is there. Missed learning and the social and emotional toll of the past year and a half is real. Students across the country, especially those from vulnerable populations, have experienced a significant setback in terms of both their academic achievement and SEL compared their counterparts from years past, in many cases by a substantial amount.

This year we will be tested on our ability to mitigate this missed learning among our own students and set them up for success this year and for the years to come.  It won’t be easy. But our experiences over the past year plus provide a roadmap.  (more…)

‘More Great Seats for Kids’ Newsletter: Parent Perspective on Reopening

Dear School Leader,

labThroughout this past year we’ve talked at length about (and celebrated) the herculean efforts by our school leaders to ensure continuity of learning amid a historic crisis. The transition to remote learning last spring. Technology and meal distribution. Reopening plans. New health and safety practices. Flexibility in the face of rolling mandated school closures, ever changing rules and regs and so, so much uncertainty.

What we haven’t touched upon enough though to this point is how all these efforts are being reflected in the perceptions of those parents and student communities we serve. Through the parent and student focus groups held this charter renewal season though we are starting to get a glimpse – and they offer critical insights for where we can go from here. Four big themes:

  • A Successful Transition to Remote/Hybrid: Despite the immense challenges presented last spring after New York went on PAUSE and schools closed, parents of students throughout our renewal schools expressed satisfaction generally in how quickly schools were able to distribute technology and other devices, deliver meals, and adapt their in person instruction to a virtual environment. City School of the Arts parents cited how the schools provided students with materials, including pianos (!) to ensure they could continue arts education remotely.


‘More Great Seats for Kids’ Newsletter: Future of Schooling

Dear School Leader,

Eleven challenging months. Those glimmers of hope and optimism we’ve been looking for? We see them. Vaccination eligibility is expanding, cases are dropping, and more school buildings are on the cusp of reopening in NYC. While there are still areas of concern around variants and the process and pace of vaccinations, many in the educational space are beginning to ever so turn attention to what life – or at least school – looks like in a post pandemic world.

Fortunately, the myriad of approaches to COVID employed both by our very own charter leaders and peers across the country offer an opportunity to mine new knowledge. I find myself thinking, which of these changes should become common (best) practice and which fade away?

Here are a few things I am thinking about:

    • Online Learning – After a year of Zoom calls (lets me honest, should any of us see our own faces hours and hours each day? Well…not me.), what role will online learning play moving forward, whether as a stop gap measure in the face of an emergency closure or as an integrated part of a high quality curriculum? And how can schools integrate technology in a manner that supports rather than supplants strong pedagogical practice? Can we construct creative and flexible learning environments and scheduling that meet the personalized needs of ALL students (and their families)? Can we stay true to our sector’s guiding star: student learning success drives charter success?