Innovative Quality Schools

Application Process for New Schools

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IQS will use the calendar outlined below as a guideline for soliciting, reviewing and approving new charter school applications. 

New school information will be disseminated throughout the year utilizing a variety of communication strategies including:

a. The use of the IQS website to develop and issue Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) for school models that are new and/or innovative in their entirety, or schools that have a research or best-practice base. IQS will consider both, although all proposals to be considered by IQS must have some aspect which is innovative and which is being further researched as a part of the school design.
b. Engagement in on-going discussions with communities and other interested parties that have missions consistent with IQS. The intent of these ongoing discussions is to generate and/or support interest in new school creation to better serve the children and youth.
c. Requests to be included on the website of the Minnesota Association of Charter School Authorizers (MACSA) and other professional organizations interested in the formation of new schools.

Step Function Timeline
1. The Board of IQS will determine how many new and/or transfer schools it will consider authorizing during the year. This decision will be made after the MDE makes approval decisions on the schools submitted in the previous July. The IQS Board will consider a variety of options and models for authorizing. Summer/Fall
2. The Board of IQS will consider a variety of designs and models; the Board will also solicit applications for some specific models as well and will use its website to disseminate a Request for Proposals (RFP) regarding the models of schools it is soliciting for consideration during the year. Fall
3. IQS will conduct discussions with organizations and potential operators regarding the IQS application process, RFP, and any other models under consideration by potential operators that may be different than that in the RFP. October-November

Letters of Intent are due to IQS. This is an optional step. The purpose of the “Letter of Intent” is threefold fold:
a. To provide IQS with an idea of the kinds and numbers of applications under consideration so that preparation can be made for application review
b. To review the IQS authorizing processes and rigorous expectations so the applicant has a thorough understanding of the IQS process including the requirement for innovation; and,
c. To discourage applicants who either are interested in developing models which are not likely to gain IQS authorization
However, if submitted, it will be suggested that the letter of intent consist of a 4-6 page document that includes a general description of the kind of school the applicant is considering. At a minimum, this description would include:
a. Statutory purpose(s) of the school
b. School mission, the general learning model
c. The innovation aspect of the school
d. Goals and evaluation summary
e. Governance structure
f. Operations summary including general location
g. The individuals involved in the development of the application and in the future operation of the school. This must include at least one licensed teacher
h. Financing of the application development process

December 1
5. Screening of the “Letter of Intent” according to clearly defined evaluative rubric. Following this review, applicants will be informed as to whether IQS will invite a full application. Although the “Letter of Intent” is optional, it does provide the applicant useful information which will be of use as it considers its full proposal. December
6. Applicants will complete the application with on-going discussion and assistance from IQS as deemed necessary. December-mid-February
7. Applications will be due to IQS. [Note: This date is intended to be two months prior to the date that IQS must submit and affidavit to the MDE. All subsequent dates are adjusted based upon the submission date established by the MDE. February 15
8. Applications will be reviewed by IQS. The review team will include professionals with expertise in the instructional model proposed by the applicant school. The IQS review team will use the IQS designed rubrics for application evaluation. Based upon the results of the Cadre member reviews, IQS Leadership will make a final recommendation (to approve or not approve) the school application to the IQS Board. February 15-March 10
10. The IQS Board will approve/not approve the recommendation of each application. Should the Board of IQS decide to approve the application, it will authorize the IQS Leadership to complete and submit an affidavit to the Commissioner stating its intent to charter one or more schools. A separate affidavit will be filed for each school and the affidavit will include the required provisions as defined in Minnesota Statute. March 15 - April 1
11. An affidavit for each approved application will be completed collaboratively between IQS and the applicant and submitted to the MDE for approval. May 1
12. Within 60 days of receipt of the affidavit from IQS, the Commissioner must approve or disapprove the affidavit. If the affidavit is disapproved, the Commissioner will inform IQS of the deficiencies in the submittal and IQS will have 20 business days to address the deficiencies. If the deficiencies are addressed to the satisfaction of the Commissioner, IQS will have the authority to charter the school that was the subject of the affidavit.