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FAQs 2011 Cyber Charter School Applicants

 Subject: Evidence of insurability and a Management Agreement must be provided.

Q. Does the requirement for finalized copies of management agreements rather the Memorandums of Understanding apply to other contracts as well or just to the school management agreement?

A. If a cyber charter school is to be managed by an outside entity, the cyber charter school must provide a finalized management agreement in its cyber charter application. PDE will review the management agreement to ensure that the charter school’s Board of Trustees maintains ultimate control of the cyber charter school. See, West Chester Area School District v. Collegium Charter School, 571 Pa. 503, 812 A.2d 1172 (2002); School District of the City of York v. Lincoln-Edison Charter School, 772 A.2d 1045 (Pa. Commw. 2001). A cyber charter school may contract with other for-profit entity for the provision of professional and/or non-professional services to the cyber charter school. PDE is not presently asking for copies of contracts other than the finalized management agreement.

 Subject: Curriculum must be complete and aligned to the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards.

Q.  In review of the curriculum, ACT Academy CCS showed no evidence in any of the subject areas of a complete curriculum framework that clearly describes content and planned instruction.  They did not include curriculum maps delineating course to be offered and how it meets the requirements of 22 Pa. Code Ch4. (relating to academic Standards and assessment) or subsequent regulations promulgated to replace 22 Pa. Code Ch4.  ACT Academy did not articulate how planned instruction aligned with academic standards shall be provided at all grade levels. The application did not address courses in all thirteen PA Standard Areas.

A. Planned instruction must be submitted for all courses taught and identify where and what standards are being addressed. The following information is annotated and not all-inclusive.  Please refer to the complete school code for
 more detailed information relating to each discipline (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/022/chapter4/chap4toc.html ) The following sections do not preclude the teaching of other planned instruction designed to achieve a school entity’s mission, goals and academic standards. Examples of Curriculum maps can be found on  www.pdesas.org..  Other resources include Intermediate Units.

Please use the following to submit a complete curriculum for review

Criterion 1.3--Education Program:

Evidence that the educational program is aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards as well as a curriculum that is outlined according to the Chapter 4 regulations contained in the PA School Code.

• Complete description of educational program that clearly describes content in all subject areas.  Detailed description of planned instruction for educational program for all 13 subject areas. 

• Research basis for educational program. Research supported by 4 or more nationally accredited educational sources is cited, clearly documented and appropriate.

• Accounts for the number of courses required for elementary and secondary students and the amount of online time required for each group.  School curriculum plan is developed in such a way that it clearly describes what is necessary to meet proficiency for each standard area addressed in Chapter 4. Required Planned Instruction in all areas at the specified grade levels as outlined in Chapter 4 under Curriculum and Instruction (§4.20 - §4.28)

• Evidence that teaching methods and assessments will enhance student performance. At least 4 formative and 4 summative assessment processes are embedded in the instructional plan; the results are clearly communicated to stakeholders and are regularly used to inform instruction; teaching methods are innovative and are driven by research-based best practices.

• Detailed explanations of any cooperative learning opportunities, meetings with students and parent/guardian, field trips or study sessions.  Learning opportunities are varied and appropriate to the content; they demonstrate a clear connection to increased student achievement; opportunities are made available through multimedia resources for virtual field experiences and follow-up.

• Manner in which teachers will deliver instruction, assess academic progress and communicate with students to provide assistance. Materials and resources are current, accurate, relevant and accessible by all students; instruction is differentiated to meet all student needs. Work for students is varied and multiple strategies are used. Interaction among and between teacher and students is frequent with weekly feedback.  Differentiated instruction is evident for all sub-populations addressed in federal law.

Curriculum Review Check List:
 
§ 4.11. Purpose of public education.
(h)  Public education provides planned instruction to enable students to attain academic standards under §  4.12. Planned instruction consists of at least the following elements:
   (1)  Objectives of a planned course, instructional unit or interdisciplinary studies to be achieved by all students.
   (2)  Content, including materials and activities, and estimated instructional time to be devoted to achieving the academic standards. Courses, instructional units or interdisciplinary studies of varying lengths of time may be taught.
   (3)  The relationship between the objectives of a planned course, instructional unit or interdisciplinary studies and academic standards specified under §  4.12 and to those determined in the school district’s (including charter schools) or AVTS’s strategic plan under §  4.13.
   (4)  Procedures for measurement of the objectives of a planned course, instructional unit or interdisciplinary studies.

Primary K-3 (5-8 yrs. of age):
Intermediate 4-6 (9-11 yrs of age):

Planned instruction aligned with academic standards in the following areas shall be provided to every student every year. Planned instruction may be provided as separate course or other interdisciplinary activity.

Language Arts
Mathematics
Science & Technology Education
Technology Education, computer applications and science are separate curricular areas. Meeting standards should be approached as a collaborative effort among all curricular areas (Academic Standards for Science and Technology pg. 1).
Environment & Ecology
           
Social Studies (Civics & Government, economics, geography, history)
The following shall be provided to every student at least once by the end of elementary school: civics, geography, history of the U.S., history of the Commonwealth.
Health, Safety and Physical Education
Fine Arts: art, music, dance, theatre

§ 4.22. Middle level education.  (11-14 yrs old)
Planned instruction aligned with academic standards in the following areas shall be provided to every student [at least once] in the middle level program.
Language Arts: reading, writing, speaking, listening, literature, grammar.
Mathematics: including algebra
Science & Technology
Environment & Ecology
Information skills
Social Studies: civics & government, economics, geography, history
Health, Safety and Physical Education
Fine Arts: art, music, dance, theatre
Career education
Technology education
Family and consumer science

§ 4.23. High school education.
Planned instruction aligned with academic standards in the following areas shall be provided to every student [at least once] in the high school program.

Language Arts: reading, writing, speaking, listening, literature, grammar.
Mathematics: including algebra, geometry and concepts of calculus.
Science & Technology including participation in hands-on experiments and at least
one laboratory science chosen from life sciences, earth and space sciences, chemical sciences, physical sciences and agricultural sciences.
Environment & Ecology
Social Studies: civics & government, economics, geography, history
Health, Safety and Physical Education
Fine Arts: art, music, dance, theatre (music appreciation)
Use of applications of microcomputers and software
Family and consumer science

The following shall be made available (electives)

Vocational-technical education
Business education
World languages
Technology education
College level advanced placement