Charters & Choice

WestEd works nationwide to improve quality and access for all students in public charter schools and schools of choice.



WestEd is home to the monitoring services for the U.S. Department of Education for Charter Schools Program (CSP) grants

Public charter schools and schools of choice are a key feature of today’s educational landscape. High-perfoming schools of choice bring options and innovations to millions of students–often those previously underserved–in states and communities across the country.

WestEd partners with states, authorizers, governing bodies, and school operators to improve access to quality schools by ensuring strong leadership, promoting achievement for all schools and all students, and encouraging positive family engagement.


Supporting Resources


Charters & Choice Services

We Support: Federal agencies, State education agencies, Charter school governing bodies, Authorizing agencies, Networks of charter schools

WestEd provides evidence-based support designed to help our partners meet the needs of the communities they serve.

State education agencies rely on WestEd to help assess school choice policies and implement changes that improve access to high-quality school options statewide. WestEd also partners with charter networks throughout the country to evaluate programming and support school improvement.

Research, Evaluation, and Policy

WestEd provides services pertaining to charter schools and school choice for a variety of federal, state, and local organizations. These services include rigorous evaluations, policy analyses, best practices research, and formative evaluations that inform program impacts and improvements.

As home to the monitoring services for the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) grants, WestEd helps states and charter networks across the nation ensure fiscal and programmatic accountability to improve their charter programs.

Wested also conducts mixed method, impact and implementation evaluations for various school choice grants, including Breakthrough Schools, Perry Street Preparatory Public Charter School, and magnet programs in Baltimore County and Clark County.

Technical Assistance

WestEd enhances the capacity of our partners to create high-quality systems of school choice that provide equitable access to all students. For example, through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center, WestEd develops solutions for facilitating district-charter collaboration, supports state education agencies in reviewing their school choice policies and practices, and provides policy-relevant recommendations.

WestEd also works directly with charter networks and individual schools to provide academic and leadership support. For example, WestEd has worked with Honors Academy of Literature and Delta Academy in Nevada and Skyline Education in Arizona on instructional and leadership coaching, curriculum alignment, and assessment review.

Service Highlights

  • Program and formative evaluations
  • Policy analyses and research
  • Best practices research
  • Charter authorization
  • Management and operations
  • Data-informed decision making
  • Leadership, collaboration, and sustainability

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WestEd brings research-informed expertise to help build capacity, ensure fiscal and programmatic accountability, and support continuous improvement for our partners. Our work in school improvement, special education, instructional transformation, school culture, and talent management allows us to serve our partners with a holistic approach to improving quality and access for all students.

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Meet Our Experts

  • Sara AllenderSara 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 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 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 EvanAimee Evan brings 20 years of multidisciplinary experience in education to provide integrated solutions for WestEd partners in areas related to research, evaluation, technical assistance, and professional learning. Previously, Ms. Evan led the research department for Charter Management Organization, the SEED Foundation. She is currently leading the documentation and evaluation for school turnaround efforts at Perry Street Charter School.View Full Bio
  • John FlahertyJohn FlahertyJohn 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
  • Lauren OutlawLauren OutlawLauren Outlaw is a Senior Policy Specialist for WestEd. She currently analyzes program, federal, and state compliance requirements to develop policies and protocols to support system productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Throughout her work, Ms. Outlaw interprets and applies various state education code statutes to understand the implications for policy and practice at local levels. She also supports the effective implementation of the Charter Schools Program grant monitoring project.

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