The Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office (GVSU CSO) believes strongly in its mission to provide educational services and programs to all authorized schools. Providing effective oversight and compliance is critical to authorizing, however, the GVSU CSO believes the key to school success is rooted in the educational programs and services that build the capacity for schools to positively impact overall student achievement. This focus drives and shapes how the GVSU CSO is staffed and is embedded in office job responsibilities. Maintaining a commitment to providing highly effective training that impacts student learning is a mission- driven goal for all office personnel. The professional development training and embedded instructional programs provided by the GVSU CSO are paramount to continued school growth and success.
The majority of students enter GVSU CSO charter schools behind in grade level learner skills, especially in reading. The GVSU CSO employs three full time Reading Specialists to provide intensive Evidenced Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI) and reading improvement strategies for its schools. These specialists also provide individualized and embedded literacy programs throughout the GVSU CSO portfolio of schools. The specialists utilize interventions, research- based strategies, and highly collaborative teacher training sessions in order to help all students reach their highest potential in reading, writing and spelling.
With a strong focus on student yearly academic growth, the GVSU CSO requires schools to administer the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Assessment in grades 2-8 in math and reading. The GVSU CSO hired two full-time Assessment Specialists to assist the GVSU Charter Schools in the administration of this assessment along with helping teachers and administrators analyze the reports. The Assessment Specialists provide training for teachers and administrators to assist in using student MAP data to drive classroom instruction. The Assessment Specialists also customize workshops to the needs of the schools by request.
The GVSU CSO Field Service Representative’s primary role is to attend all charter school board meetings and provide effective training and support for these boards. Each of the Field Service Representatives provide specific training for schools in the areas of technology tools for learning, school leadership, classroom management, Nonviolent Crisis Prevention training, strategic planning and school marketing. Field Service Representatives facilitate the GVSU College of Education Masters Program involving partial tuition reimbursement for participants working in GVSU CSO authorized schools.
The GVSU CSO annually provides over 100 teaching and learning professional development workshops, with the majority of these trainings facilitated by GVSU CSO staff. The GVSU CSO assists schools through financing support services such as Curriculum Crafter and specialized consultant training. The GVSU CSO believes in connecting schools with best educational practices through the Learning Network conducted by Dr. Richard Lemons, with the Connecticut Center for School Change. Knowing that school leadership is essential to effective schools, the GVSU CSO provides schools with Leadership Coaching from Duke University’s Dr. Greg Dale and Mark Thomas, a highly successful high school principal for Grand Rapids’s Northview Public Schools.
Providing a wide range of services and programs allows the GVSU CSO to connect with schools on a professional level beyond compliance. Through these relationships the GVSU CSO is able to collaborate with school stakeholders regarding the impact and effectiveness of the training opportunities provided. Feedback from schools helps the GVSU CSO strengthen professional development and training offerings. Most importantly, stakeholder feedback guides the GVSU CSO to align training programs to best enhance overall student achievement.