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Charter Board Partners

Our Approach

We help public charter school boards raise their game, focus on
their mission, and hold schools accountable for student success.

Effective boards

We help charter school boards understand what effective governing boards do—and we help them do it.

Set Standards

Our Standards for Effective Charter School Board Governance represent the best thinking of charter school leaders, governance experts, researchers, and practitioners on the most important responsibilities of charter school boards.

Assess Progress

In partnership with BoardSource, we help boards assess how effective they are, compared to best governance practice. We help them not just understand the results, but use them to improve board effectiveness going forward.

Reach Goals

We help our boards set realistic goals that focus on improving the quality of both the board and the school, with an emphasis on scoping and sequencing goals to foster a cycle of continuous improvement.

The Right People

A great board, just like any human capital enterprise, begins with the people. At the heart of our work is our commitment to helping charter schools recruit top talent to serve as board members while providing individuals with the opportunity to impact public education through meaningful, skills-based volunteerism.

Recruit

We recruit talented, community-minded professionals with the skills that public charter school boards need. Our comprehensive recruiting strategy spans sectors—corporate, nonprofit, education, policy—to reach candidates who bring diverse perspectives, skill sets, and areas of expertise. We partner with companies to tap into a pipeline of talent with those high-priority skills; form relationships with affinity groups, alumni associations, and community-based organizations to provide board service opportunities to their members; and identify other individuals with the right experience for our boards.

Train

We host both in-person and online trainings throughout the year, most notably through our signature Governance Intensive—a full-day training open to our recruited board candidates and the board members of our partner schools. The Intensive covers what charter schools are and how they function; the local education reform landscape and where charter schools fit in; and the role of charter school boards and how to be an effective board member.

Match

We are not in the “warm body” business—we do not fill open board seats with the next board candidate waiting in line. Based on the information we gather about our boards' needs and our recruits' skills and preferences, we strategically match each prospective board member to the best possible board for a good fit on both sides. We then turn the process over to the board and the candidate to make the final call on whether the match is right. We stay involved to keep the match process moving and serve as a resource for boards and candidates.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

In 2017 we launched a major push to support boards in having these conversations. We believe it is critical to our mission of ensuring that every public charter school has a strong, strategic, and effective board.

Addressing Inequality

Many communities see public charter schools as an important way to help combat the legacy of inequality in public education, increase access to high-quality options, and improve outcomes for marginalized and underserved students. Boards should have conversations about and deepen their knowledge in the area of race, bias, power, and oppression in order to be sure that their boards are exercising leadership that does not perpetuate bias and inequality.

We believe that focusing on this part of governance work is critical to our mission of ensuring that every public charter school has a strong, strategic, and effective board. Most boards tell us they need guidance and support in addressing these sensitive subjects; many board members fear opening up uncomfortable and even painful conversations. We believe boards should have access to support and resources to help them tackle this essential work.

Our work in this area includes: convening board members, school leaders, and other stakeholders to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion on boards; expanding diversity on charter school boards by prioritizing it in our board recruiting; encouraging boards to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations; providing training, tools, and resources to support them in doing so and in making tangible progress to become more diverse and inclusive; and engaging our own staff and board in deep training.

Tough Questions

Here are a few examples of the kinds of questions we explore with school and education nonprofit boards:

• How much diversity is “enough” diversity? According to whom?
• The people of color on a board shouldn’t be the only ones raising issues of diversity, power, race, and equity – yet they usually are. How can that dynamic be altered?
• Your board may appear to be diverse, but are all of your board members included in the conversation? And what is your board’s strategy for diversity, equity and inclusion?
• How can board members manage the perception in some communities that charter schools boards are all white and conservative?
• How should boards bring the lens of race to discussions about discipline, and ask how discipline policies impact school culture?

Resources

Diversity, equity, and inclusion resources
From NewSchools Venture Fund


Unrealized Impact: The Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

DEI in our blog Updates on our work, and guest posts from board members in our network.

Join our email list focused on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness; email us at diversity@charterboards.org

Governance Support

Getting the right people around the table is just the first step to building an effective board. We provide training, coaching, and tools to make sure board members have the resources they need to be effective.

Tailored Coaching

We provide regular coaching to partner boards and school leaders grounded in best practice and focused on reaching the goals of the board. Our board coaches suggest strategies for addressing challenges; support boards in using CBP tools and templates; and provide advice on real-time challenges.

Tools and Resources

Being a board member isn't easy or intuitive. Our top-quality tools, webinars, and other governance resources support boards in continuously improving their effectiveness. These tools and resources are available through our partnership with BoardSource. With a BoardSource/CBP membership, boards get the help they need in a simple, straightforward, and user-friendly format.

Targeted Training

We provide targeted group trainings to help board members understand their role, address governance challenges, and learn to be more effective through a community of practice with their peers from other boards. For instance, we help our partner boards develop and use academic data dashboards to understand student performance, how that performance compares to other local schools, and analyze performance trends over time. Academic committee chairs then meet regularly as a group to learn how to use the dashboards and share successes and challenges.

A Board Member Community

With an estimated 35,000+ people serving on charter school boards nationwide, board members are a powerful force working to support school quality. We facilitate connections across this community around best governance practice.

Building Diverse Boards and
Deepening Support for Equity

We believe strongly that education-related boards must be diverse, and include members from different backgrounds, networks, and communities. In our recruiting work, we focus especially on finding Black and Latino board candidates who bring relevant skills, experience, and networks. We believe that boards offer an opportunity for community members to be genuinely engaged in improving the quality of schools, and that boards have a significant role to play in addressing educational inequities in this country. Serving on a charter school board gives board members the chance to build their own networks, meet others who have different life experiences, and understand in a very personal way the gaps in educational opportunity. Board members become advocates for greater equity in education, and bring that experience with them as they decide how to vote, give, and engage. We want to empower past, current, and prospective board members to become passionate advocates for educational equity, so that one day every child can attend a great school.

Networking

Meeting other people is an important, rewarding, and fun part of board service. We host regular social events to give our network members a chance to expand their personal and professional networks and meet others in the charter sector—fellow board members, school leaders, authorizers, funders, charter support organizations, and advocates.

Connecting and Informing

Charter school board members can and should be each other’s best resources. We foster connections and collaboration—both within and across schools—so board members are able to learn from one another, share their strategies, and feel a part of the education reform movement. Through in-person training events, an online discussion forum, regular email newsletters and updates, and social media, we help board members draw on each other for advice, share strategies for success, and stay informed about charter school and governance trends.

Our Services

We provide board recruiting and governance support to partners and clients around the country who want to improve the effectiveness of charter school governance.

How We Can Help

We work with many kinds of organizations, not just schools:
• Individual charter school boards
• CMO boards
• Authorizers
• Funders
• State departments of education
• Networks of charter schools
• Charter support organizations
• Organizations focused on improving
school quality and equity

We offer programs and services to meet individual needs:
• Help boards understand strategic board composition
• Raise awareness of charter board service
• Develop a recruiting strategy
• Build a pipeline of board candidates
• Provide training prior to joining a board
• Support boards, authorizers, and support organizations
in understanding good governance practices
• Advise policymakers, authorizers, and other decision-makers on how to promote, incentivize, and inspire strong governance
• Develop special programs to support the needs of
charter school sectors and support organizations


We specialize in increasing the diversity of charter school boards. We strongly believe that diverse boards are critical to effective governance. Our board recruiting emphasizes building a diverse pipeline of board candidates. In addition, we work with boards to help ensure they are inclusive as well as diverse.

“It’s no surprise that diversity at the top
promotes diversity throughout an organization.”

Harvard Business Review

Conferences & Events

Conferences & Speaking Events CBP governance and recruiting experts are available for speaking engagements at conferences and convenings nationwide.

Contact cirvin@charterboards.org for more information.

Contact Us About Services

Contact Emily Gauthier at egauthier@charterboards.org to learn more about our programs and services.

"We always know if the board we are meeting with is a CBP board. They ask thoughtful questions, bring a sense of professionalism to the table, and are focused on student outcomes. CBP boards understand their responsibility, as stewards of taxpayer dollars, for ensuring that the students at their schools are getting a high-quality education. We can spot a CBP board a mile away, and it’s a sign of an increasingly accountable and responsible charter school sector."

— Naomi Rubin DeVeaux

Deputy Director, DC Public Charter School Board