Thank you for your interest in charter school sponsorship (i.e., authorizing) with the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. We currently sponsor thirteen schools in five Ohio cities that collectively serve over 5,000 students. This page provides information for new school applicants, existing schools seeking to switch sponsors (i.e., assignment), and applicants that qualify for our expedited application process - renewal applicants or high quality school replications or expansions of schools we currently sponsor. The following documents provide additional detail. Please feel free to contact our Dayton office at 937-227-3368 with any questions.

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation's charter school sponsorship application must be completed via our online application management system, EpiCenter. Hardcopy and/or email applications will not be accepted. To obtain a login code for your application, please contact Theda Sampson at [email protected].

New School Applicants

To open in fall 2018, the online application for new schools is available August 21 through October 15, 2017.

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation considers the following factors when evaluating a charter school developer’s application for a new, start-up charter school:

1) The developer’s application, as submitted to the Fordham Foundation’s online application management system, Epicenter; and

2) Due diligence information relevant to the application.

The application template including the application evaluation rubric is included in the online application system and are linked below in available resources.


The above information is reviewed by a team of individuals comprised of Fordham Foundation staff and external experts. Based on the team’s analysis, staff identifies which application to recommend for approval. Applicants not recommended for approval are notified of the decision. Staff then makes a recommendation on to a committee of the Fordham Foundation’s board. The committee discusses the merits of the recommendation, and makes recommendations to the Fordham Foundation’s board of directors. If the Fordham Foundation’s board of directors approves the committee’s recommendation, a contract for sponsorship is drafted and executed.

2017 Application Cycle

  • Citizen's Leadership Academy - East - Approved
  • Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) - Approved
  • AIM Charter Academy - Not Approved
  • Auglaize County Educational Academy - Not Approved
  • Marvin L Winans Academy of Performing Arts - Not Approved
  • Mound Street Health Careers Academy - Not Approved
  • Mound Street IT Careers Academy - Not Approved
  • Mound Street Military Careers Academy - Not Approved

Available resources: Sample Application and Evaluation Rubric.

Application Timeline - Fall 2018 Opening

Timeline for New School Applicants

New to Fordham Sponsorship

June 2018 TBF Board Approval

Changes in effect  July 2018

New School Applicants

February 2018 TBF Board Approval

Opening Fall 2018

Online application available in EpiCenter application management system.



Deadline to submit application.



Fordham staff and external reviewers evaluate application. The process includes:

Content review. Applications that are incomplete or poorly drafted will not be considered.

Individual evaluator review. Applications are reviewed by a team of Fordham staff and external application evaluators.

Evaluation team debrief meeting. The evaluation team convenes to discuss the application’s strengths and weaknesses, and decide whether to approve an applicant for an interview.







Interviews conducted, lead summaries finalized.

Applicants are interviewed by the evaluation team. Interviews are in-person at Fordham’s Dayton office. Prior to the interview, applicants will receive an agenda of topics to be covered.

Following the interview, the team convenes to reach consensus on the application. The team leader subsequently drafts the team’s analysis and submits it to Fordham’s senior sponsorship staff. 

1/01 – 1/30/2018

12/01 – 12/30/2017

Developers whose applications are not recommended to move forward are notified in writing.

Developers whose applications are recommended to move forward are notified by phone or email.



Fordham senior staff notifies the Fordham board’s Ohio committee of applications that are recommended for a sponsorship contract.



Fordham board vote on new school contracts. Applicants are notified as to whether the Fordham board approved or did not approve the applicant for a sponsorship contract





Contracts are drafted and sent to school. Note: New school contracts must be submitted to ODE by 3/15/2018 for a new school fall open.

Preliminary contract drafted 4/15/2018 for governing authority feedback.

3/01/2018 for new start-up applicants


Existing Schools

The online application for existing schools new to Fordham sponsorship is available through November 15, 2017 for the 2018-2019 school year. Existing schools seeking Fordham sponsorship will be evaluated initially based on the following rubric. The rubric represents primary indicators of Fordham’s accountability plan. Schools should contact our Dayton office to begin the application process.


[1] The PI percentage is calculated as follows: school’s PI score divided by 120 (the highest possible PI score).

[2] A value-added score is a statistical estimate intended to convey how much a school has contributed to student learning. A higher value-added score conveys greater confidence that, on average, the school has contributed more than one standard year of academic growth; a lower value-added score conveys greater confidence that the school has, on average, not contributed more than one standard year of academic growth.

[3] “Local market” includes other charter schools (excluding virtual and dropout-recovery charter schools, as designated by the ODE) in the county in which a school is located, as well as comparable district schools in the charter school’s serving district, as designated by the ODE.

[4] The enrollment variance depicts actual enrollment divided by enrollment projection in the charter school’s board-approved budget.

[5] Represents the percentage of records reviewed that were accurate and complete during the school year.

[6] The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) requires that state education agencies make annual determinations regarding the performance of special education programs operated by local education agencies (LEAs) that receive federal IDEA Part-B funding. In Ohio, individual charter schools are considered LEAs.

Renewal Applicants

To renew in fall 2018, the online application will be open September 1 through November 1, 2017.
Please contact our Dayton office at 937-227-3368 for details and a custom timeline.

Expedited Application Process

To open in fall 2018, existing schools sponsored by Fordham that qualify for our expedited application must apply by November 30, 2017.
Please contact the Dayton office at 937-227-3368 for details and a custom timeline.