High-quality charter and magnet schools are uniquely positioned to deliver positive learning outcomes, particularly for underserved students.
Through our work, we help leaders create the conditions needed to improve school quality and provide access to school choice options. Establishing strong partnerships and sharing ownership with families and communities is another vital part of our work to ensure school choice options are accessible and accountable to all students.
WestEd partners with a wide range of organizations to enhance capacity to develop and implement policies, systems, and strategies that catalyze academic growth and support the health of charter and magnet school programs. Our team also leverages robust WestEd expertise in the areas of School Improvement, Resource Planning, English Learner & Migrant Education, and Special Education.
Our work includes direct technical assistance and support as well as research and evaluation services. Let us help you strengthen supports for all students and create and sustain impactful programming.
WestEd is currently a partner on the National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC), funded by the U.S. Department of Education and managed by Manhattan Strategy Group. The NCSRC provides technical assistance and resources to Charter School Program grantees and develops resources, such as case studies, webinars, and toolkits for charter sector stakeholders.
WestEd is home to the Data Collection and Monitoring Services for the U.S. Department of Education for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) grants. To date, WestEd has monitored all of the State Educational Agencies (SEAs) and State Entity (SE) grant recipients as well as dozens of Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) and Developer grantees.
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- Sara AllenderSara Allender is a Senior Research Associate at WestEd who leads monitoring and evaluation projects that provide stakeholders and policymakers with key program implementation information. She directed WestEd’s Voluntary Public School Choice (VPSC) and Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) monitoring projects and currently leads the Charter School Program (CSP) monitoring project, each for the U.S Department of Education.View Full Bio
- Steve CanaveroSteve Canavero, Ph.D., is a Senior Advisor at WestEd. Most recently, he served as the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Nevada where he led the state’s education system serving nearly 450,000 students. Steve previously was appointed to serve as the first director of Nevada’s newly created State Public Charter School Authority. His work there resulted in Nevada’s charter school policy becoming one of the highest rated in the nation.View Full Bio
- Robin ChaitRobin Chait brings more than 15 years of experience to her role at WestEd. Previously, she led policy, communications, and fundraising for Center City Public Charter Schools in Washington D.C. She also led teacher and leader effectiveness initiatives within the Race to the Top grant at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and developed state and federal policy recommendations at the Center for American Progress. She also served as a third-grade teacher.View Full Bio
- Aimee EvanAimee Evan, Ph.D., provides integrated solutions for WestEd partners and has led numerous research, evaluation, technical assistance, and professional learning projects and written on topics of school improvement, systems design, and college and career readiness. She is currently leading the systemic improvement strategy of charter schools, which includes frameworks and capacity building to prevent and address charter school improvement needs.View Full Bio
- John Flaherty, Jr.John Flaherty, Jr., directs evaluation projects that ultimately provide policymakers and practitioners with the information they need to improve education services. Mr. Flaherty’s work ranges from large-scale national policy and program evaluations to local community-based projects, encompassing a variety of evaluation designs as well as content areas.View Full Bio
- Heather WendlingHeather Wendling has extensive knowledge of regional and national charter school landscapes. Currently, she leads New York State’s first technical assistance center (NY-RISE) to provide professional development to its 351 charter schools. Wendling previously served the National Association of Charter School Authorizers as an authorizing field expert to develop and facilitate customized learning solutions that addressed specific client challenges.View Full Bio
Stay up to date with the latest WestEd news, events, research, and leading voices to support your commitment to improving learning, healthy development, and equity in schools and communities.
Our Work in Action
WestEd collaborated with the Colorado Association of Charter Authorizers (CACSA), the Florida Association of Charter Authorizers (FACSA), and the California Charter Authorizing Professionals (CCAP) to design training, tools, and resources for district authorizers. We worked with CACSA and FACSA to support charter authorizers by providing guidance, best practices, and other resources to successfully execute charter school renewals. WestEd also worked with CCAP to develop guidance documents to guide authorizers in reviewing new charter petitions. View the CACSA Renewal Package, FACSA Renewal Toolkit, and CCAP Petition Toolkit.
Indicators of Distress for the New York State Education Department (NYSED)
WestEd is working with New York State Education Department’s Board of Regents, a statewide authorizer, to improve the quality of the state’s charter sector by creating an Early Warning System (EWS) to identify characteristics of schools prior to decline. By determining the “indicators of distress” in schools, stakeholders can prioritize limited resources of time, funding and talent to focus on the indicators of decline and get schools back on track.
Illinois Invest in Kids Act Evaluation
Under the Invest in Kids Act the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), WestEd reports annually on the efficacy of this policy to improve learning outcomes for students receiving scholarships on a statewide basis. Evaluations include comparisons with public school students with socioeconomic backgrounds similar to those of students receiving scholarships.