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September 2016 - Epicenter

16 Sep

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SEPT: Meet Our Newest Members

September 16, 2016 | By |

We would like to welcome the following organizations to Epicenter!

We are excited about these new partnerships and look forward to sharing our passion for improving the quality of education for all children.

Indiana Charter School Board

The Indiana Charter School Board’s mission is to authorize and hold accountable a portfolio of high-performing charter schools in which students achieve high levels of growth and graduate prepared for college and careers.

The Board reviews proposals to establish charter schools, makes a decision on the proposal, and monitors the charter schools they sponsor.  Currently, the Indiana Charter School Board oversees 19 charter schools in Indiana.

Bardwell Group

The Bardwell Group is an educational management company located in Redford, Michigan.  Its mission is to provide administrative services to public school academies and private or parochial schools to allow them to better focus on educating students.  Currently, the Bardwell Group provides services to two charter schools located in Michigan.

16 Sep

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Thomas B. Fordham Institute Focuses on Quality

September 16, 2016 | By |

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As one of the nation’s leading advocates for educational excellence, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute is actively involved in promoting and improving the charter school experience.  The Fordham Institute not only conducts research and analysis on education, but also charters eleven charter schools that serve 3,400 students in Ohio.  Fordham’s mission is that every child deserves educational excellence, and Fordham uses data and research to help provide that.

“We are focused on increasing the number of high-quality educational options for students in Ohio,” said Theda Sampson, the Director of Applications and Contracts for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  “And by authorizing charters in Ohio, we are directly helping improve the lives of children every day.”

The Fordham Institute is known for rigorous research and publishing numerous works, including recent publications on the common core, urban education, and improving school leadership.  They also work to build broad, pro-charter and pro-education reform coalitions that advocate strengthening education nationwide.  And their direct work in authorizing charter schools is proof of their success.

“Epicenter is great for us and our schools,” Sampson said.  “We make sure every one of our schools has someone who knows how to use Epicenter.  The Ohio Department of Education also uses Epicenter, so the school documents we collect can be aligned to their requirements for monitoring and compliance.”

Sampson directs the application, contract accountability, performance and renewal process for the schools Fordham authorizes.  Sampson finds that using Epicenter keeps everyone involved in the process on the same page and allows for better communication and data sharing.  It also makes it easier for the individual schools to stay on track, share documents, and know when projects are due.  “Epicenter makes life better for our individual schools because instead of chasing paper all day, they can focus on actually educating kids,” Sampson said.

Fordham’s schools not only provide a quality education to students throughout Ohio, but they are also award winning.  The Columbus Collegiate Academy, Dayton Leadership Academy, and KIPP Columbus won 2015 Momentum Awards from the Ohio Department of Education.

16 Sep

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The Entire Lifecycle of a School

September 16, 2016 | By |

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As an authorizer, imagine being able to track and store the first piece of paper generated when a school is in the process of applying.  Next, think of the documents needed at the time of reauthorization. Then imagine if the school closes in 10, 20 or even 30 years and having to track and store all the documents that need to be completed during the closure process.  This can all happen with Epicenter!

Epicenter provides a single location managing documents and records during the application, startup, operating, reauthorization and closure of a school.  When using the application features of Epicenter, your organization can store every letter of intent and determine when to give access to Epicenter to those who will be submitting an application.  Once the application has been uploaded, it can then be routed to an individual at the authorizing office for a completeness check.

Next, your internal and external reviewers can receive and review the application and upload their completed evaluations.  These evaluations are then routed to the lead reviewer.  If the applicant is awarded authorization then the school can easily be transitioned to the contract, startup and operating requirements.   If the school is denied, then you can remove the applicant from the active list but still have quick access to any of those applicants’ documents.

By leveraging Epicenter from the day you receive the school’s letter of intent, you can rest assured that all of your information is in one location, and give the applicant immediate access to Epicenter.  This can streamline your process, greatly reduce the learning curve of the system and set everyone up for long-term success!

View more at about the Charter School Life Cycle

16 Sep

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Work Seamlessly With Other Organizations

September 16, 2016 | By |

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More is achieved when schools, boards, authorizers, and support organizations are aligned and working together.  That is why Epicenter is designed to allow collaboration within and across organizations.  By sharing a common platform, everyone has access to the documents and information they need to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.  Over the years we have seen more and more Epicenter subscribers grant access to third parties.  Some examples are: auditors, state and national associations, application reviewers, daily compliance reviewers, state superintendents, and commissioners.

Oversight shouldn’t be a tug-of-war.  When schools, boards, authorizers, and support organizations share Epicenter, everyone’s role is defined.  Working from a common calendar, it is easy to see what’s coming and to align for success.  Epicenter’s flexible framework allows you to provide access to certain areas or even certain documents to the users you choose.

If you have any questions or are interested in inviting third parties to your Epicenter account so you can work seamlessly with other organizations, please contact the Epicenter Support Team at support@epicenternow.org or 1-855-889-1624 for more information.