The Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office (GVSU CSO) operates under the governance and leadership of the eight, gubernatorially appointed and Senate confirmed Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees. Each trustee serves an eight-year term. The director of the GVSU CSO, the Special Assistant to the President for Charter Schools, reports to the University Counsel who reports directly to the President of the University. This close reporting relationship provides the GVSU CSO with a great deal of autonomy and contact with GVSU senior management. Charter school action items are routine action items on the agendas of the Trustee’s quarterly, public meetings. Dr. Tim Wood, Special Assistant to the President for Charter Schools, addresses each charter school related action item at the Trustee’s public board meeting; additionally, the charter schools office is regularly sought to inform the trustees at retreats and special committee meetings. Despite the trustee’s keen interest in charter schools, trustees have yielded, historically, a great deal of autonomy to the charter schools office as evidenced by the approval of 100% of charter school recommendations brought before the trustees for their consideration. Moreover, the GVSU CSO allocates its annual budget internally, without university control.
University-wide support for the charter school mission is visible throughout the targeted initiatives within each stakeholder group. These initiatives are generated from the GVSU CSO cyclical strategic planning initiative. The current strategic plan initiated a number of current efforts that have experienced great success and wide-support across the stakeholder groups, internal and external to GVSU. These initiatives are supported by on-going professional learning for members of the GVSU CSO team, where staff are encouraged to question current practice and propose new strategies for the consistent improvement of the portfolio of GVSU chartered schools.
In summary, the GVSU CSO exemplifies the highest standards of effectiveness in Standard 2. The University has prioritized charter school efforts while providing an intentional blend of stability and autonomy to facilitate organizational innovation and rapid response to evolving stakeholder needs.