Charter System OVERVIEW
Barrow County School System became the 4th largest charter system in April 2011. The primary rationale for pursuit of charter system status was to improve student performance through greater flexibility with appropriate levels of accountability. The charter system is a governance framework that supports the district's Strategic Plan. Charter system status allows Barrow County School System flexibility from many one-size-fits-all state education requirements and allows our district to invest in innovative instructional practices and opportunities to best meet the needs of our students. All of our schools operate under the charter model, which is characterized by two major components:
- Establishment of a School Governance Team
- Development and implementation of a School Strategic Plan
School Governance Teams are an integral component of Barrow's charter system. School Governance Teams (SGTs) are responsible for setting and monitoring the strategic direction of the schools. SGT responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Approve of the school's Strategic Plan
- Approve the school's budget recommendations
- Participate in the hiring process when hiring a new principal
- Provide feedback on the principal's performance
- Interface with the school's Title I committee (where applicable)
School Governance Teams are comprised of parents/guardians, teachers, community members, and school employees. The principal serves on all SGTs as a non-voting member. Students also serve as non-voting members.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: A charter system is a local school system that is operating under the terms of a contract between the local Board of Education and the State Board of Education as provided for by the Charter Systems Act. A Charter System contract provides broad flexibility from certain burdensome state mandates, allowing communities to determine the educational needs of students within their district through academic and organizational innovation in exchange for increased accountability and student achievement.
A: The leaders of the Barrow County Charter School System which include the Board of Education, the Superintendent and Executive Cabinet, School Principals and other district leaders, believe in shared governance and recognize the importance and value of involving parents, teachers, community members, and students in the governance of a school. Each of these “shareholder” groups brings a different perspective to the table which provides for healthy collaboration and a more comprehensive review of ideas and issues resulting in better decisions being made at the local school level. The charter system contract outlines how some decision-making authority is granted to local school governance teams in the areas of personnel, finance, curriculum and instruction, school operations, and most importantly, in the area of school improvement. This shared governance process builds a culture of flexibility, empowerment, and accountability at the school level.
A: The leaders of the Barrow County Charter School System believe that the flexibility and innovation achieved through a charter system contract will help us meet our goals of:
- Increasing the high school graduation rate.
- Improving the college and career readiness of Barrow County School System graduates.
- Successfully managing the continued growth of the Barrow County School System student population both in raw numbers and in increasing diversity.
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