The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation’s application process for new charter schools for next school year just wrapped up, and we are pleased to announce that two new schools – a KIPP elementary school and a KIPP middle school – have been approved by the board of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation for sponsorship.

These two schools underwent a comprehensive application process (outlined in figure 1, below), which, in partnership with our colleagues from the Ohio Authorizer Collaborative (OAC), began in January 2012.

Nine applicants began our 2013 application cycle (which opened in January 2012), and school designs varied widely. Of the nine, three promising applications were approved to move forward during the initial review phase. After review by a team of external consultants with relevant experience in school finance, academics and governance, two were moved on to the final phase of the application process and subsequently approved by the Fordham Foundation to open. Approvals were granted based on the strength and alignment of key components of the application, including the proposed education, finance, governance and operations plans, and, the interview.

Figure 1: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation New Charter School Application Process

Both new KIPP start-ups will be governed by KIPP: Central Ohio. This is the board for the current KIPP Journey Academy in Columbus (see figure 2 for its enrollment growth). Like Journey, both schools (yet to be named) will be located in Columbus. (Exact locations will be determined at a later date.) The new middle school will open in August 2013 with grade five, and at full capacity in 2017 it will serve 320 students in grades five through eight (adding one grade per year). The elementary school will open in 2014 with kindergarten, and will ultimately serve 450 students in grades kindergarten through four (also growing one grade per year). School leaders have already been selected and are currently going through the Fisher and Miles fellowships respectively. We are pleased that KIPP: Central Ohio will be able to serve upwards of a 1,000 students in Columbus by 2017.

Figure 2: KIPP Journey Academy enrollment growth, 2008-09 to 2012-13

Source: Ohio Department of Education, Power User Report (2009 to 2011) and Ohio Department of Education, Community Schools Payment Report (2012 to 2013)

Our 2014 application cycle will open in January 2013; access to the 2014 application will be available here. Great charter operators are urged to apply!

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