E-news Spring 2013



Message from the Director


On Monday, January 14, Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released an independent report on the performance of Michigan charter schools. The report, the most rigorous yet on Michigan charter schools, was exceedingly complimentary of the Michigan charter school sector. In summary, the report found Michigan charter school students gain two additional months of learning relative to their peers in traditional public schools in reading and math; gains were even more pronounced for charter schools serving Detroit students.

While the report does not identify specific schools, we can safely infer that GVSU schools are a significant component of the success as GVSU charter schools serve nearly 25% of the state’s students enrolled in charter schools and nearly 30% of students enrolled in Detroit area charter schools. Additionally, GVSU has the highest academic performing portfolio of charter schools in Michigan.

CREDO has conducted similar studies across the nation, and Michigan’s charter schools demonstrate much greater and, importantly, persistent learning gains than national peers.

We anticipate this positive report will shed a favorable spotlight on Michigan’s charter school model, specifically university authorizing. As a leader in charter school enrollment and performance in Michigan, GVSU’s investment in charter schools will likely be held up as a model for other states to emulate.

GVSU greatly appreciates your commitment and ongoing support to furthering choice and quality within Michigan’s K-12 public education system.


Timothy H. Wood, Ph.D.

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GVSU Board Symposium

The GVSU Charter Schools Office is committed to the boards that run their charter schools.  In February, a board symposium/networking event will be held at three different locations throughout the state.

February 4, 2013 - Augusta, MI

February 6, 2013 - Detroit, MI

February 13, 2013 - Grand Rapids, MI

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Online Tuition Reimbursement

The GVSU Charter Schools Office has begun a new process of submission for tuition reimbursement for Masters of Education students who teach at a GVSU charter school.  They now use a simple online form that can be found here.  This new process has already been used by over 120 students and has been met with great response from the users.  The CSO strives to continually improve to provide great service to its schools, teachers and administrators. 

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Campus Visits

The Charter Schools Office is continuing its Campus Visit program.  This spring, eighth graders will visit GVSU's campus.  Each group of students will be matched up with a campus ambassador, a GVSU student who will provide a current student prospective and an honest and positive image to the visiting students.  The day will consist of:

  • Workshop on the importance of education 
  • Tour of campus
  • Lunch
  • Admissions information

All slots for visits for the spring are full, but if your school would still like to visit, you may register to be placed on a waiting list or contact the GVSU Admissions Office here to set up a classic campus tour.


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NWEA Transition to Common Core State Standards

Starting in this Fall 2013, GVSU authorized charter schools will be transitioning to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) version of the NWEA’s computer adaptive test. A number of schools have already transitioned in the 2012-2013 school year.  CCSS questions are aligned to the same equal-interval RIT scale as was used for the MI-Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE) version, and both DesCartes and Primary Grades Instructional Data resources will be available in new CCSS versions.  Teachers and parents can utilize these tools to foster growth by identifying the skills/concepts at their student’s instructional level.  To help aid teachers and parents in connecting skills/concepts to hands on ideas/activities, the GVSU Charter Schools Office has begun developing CCSS Descartes and CCSS Instructional Data Pinterest boards, which will continue to grow and develop in the future. 

GVSU charter schools are required to test students in grades 2-8 in the areas of Reading, Math, and Language Usage.  Optional tests include K-1 in Reading and Math, 9-10 in Reading, Math, and Language Usage, and all grades in Science. GVSU will continue to provide NWEA professional development opportunities.  You can register here for our remaining Winter 2013 NWEA workshops.

For more information on CCSS and NWEA, go to NWEA’s website. .

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Photo Contest

The deadline to submit photos for the 2012-13 photo contest has passed and we have received many fantastic entries.  The winning photo will be displayed in the summer (May) edition of the e-newsletter.  Thank you to all schools who submitted photos!

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Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI)

The GVSU Charter Schools Office has partnered with  Evidence Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI) and its founder, Nora Chahbazi.  In early January, Chahbazi made a visit to the CSO to observe Wendy Miller, an official EBLI trainer and Reading Intervention Supervisor at the CSO as Miller conducted a 3-day EBLI training. Jill Weber, a Reading Intervention Specialist for the CSO is finishing her requirements to become a full EBLI trainer also trained teachers in EBLI during the sessions. 

Twelve teachers from Walker Charter Academy, Byron Center Charter Academy, Excel Charter Academy and William C. Abney Academy Middle School who attended the sessions are among the first teachers trained by anyone other than instructors from EBLI.  These teachers are part of a continuation of a program that began in August of 2012.  After the training, the teachers now have a set of research-based literacy strategies; they are closing the literacy gap with their at-risk students while challenging all students to reach their highest potential in fluency, comprehension, spelling and writing.  

GVSU will continue to partner with schools and train their staff in EBLI throughout the next school year. 

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Stay Connected

"Like" the GVSU Charter Schools Office on Facebook to always stay up to date on news, events, and programs offered!

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Page last modified March 4, 2014