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NewSchools Venture Fund: Charter Management Best Practices

Case Overview

FSG worked with the NewSchools Venture Fund (NewSchools) and fourteen of its portfolio ventures to research and write case studies on best practices for Charter Management Organizations (CMOs).

The Challenge

NewSchools fuels the creation and growth of dozens of CMOs around the nation. While this work was supporting CMO ventures to develop many innovations in a short period of time, very few best practices had been documented or disseminated. FSG was charged with creating a mechanism for sharing information among, and potentially beyond NewSchools’ portfolio ventures, to enable other CMOs to adopt and implement best practices, which, in turn, would build stronger, more effective charter schools.

Approach & Solutions

FSG began by analyzing internal venture documents and interviewing NewSchools’ partners on the most notable practices to be written up as case studies. Fourteen CMO best practices were identified and then FSG interviewed multiple staff members from each CMO, school-based staff (teachers and principals) who were either implementing or receiving benefits from the practice, and the staff of relevant partner organizations. To complement the interviews, FSG collected, analyzed, and in some cases created or adapted materials that could help other CMOs understand and adopt the best practice.

Case studies were written for fourteen best practices, highlighting the components of the best practice, how to replicate or adapt it, and the tools needed to succeed with the practice. Case study topics included teacher recruitment, board management, union contracts, social/emotional curriculum, and school opening procedures. The case studies were designed to positively impact the operations and outcomes of the organizations across the NewSchools Venture Fund portfolio, and to spur those organizations to document their own best practices.

In addition to developing the case studies, FSG found significant potential for additional cases both inside and outside the portfolio in areas such as parent involvement, facilities, expansion, or math and reading instruction. FSG provided NewSchools with a template for documenting best practices and led a discussion on how the practices might be shared and replicated across its ventures.

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that seeks to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children – especially those in underserved communities – have the opportunity to succeed.

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