New School Development Workshop Series

Do you have a passion for educating kids? Do you dream of opening a new, innovative school that will meet the educational needs of the families in your community? The New School Development Workshop Series can help you turn that dream into a reality!

The New School Development Workshop Series is optional training for school founders. It will help you develop the idea behind your school and walk you through the first steps of creating a thorough and compelling charter school application. Throughout the series, some of the state’s leading experts on charter schools will help you clarify your vision, provide advice on how to build your team, help you plan for operational soundness, and put it all together into a charter application. This will help you develop an application that stands out from the rest.

At the end of the series, participants will have the opportunity to submit their newly completed charter school application to GVSU before the winter application deadline (Feb 2, 2019).

Session Details

The six sessions in the series will guide participants through every important part of developing a charter school, starting from when it is simply an idea to the moment that the charter application is submitted. Through the course of the series, each session will focus on specific topics while building upon topics discusses in preceding sessions. The list below details what will be covered in each workshop.

SESSION 1: Turning Dreams into Reality - Planning and Preparing to Start a Charter Schools

  • Overview of charters and the chartering process
  • Michigan's legal and regulatory environment
  • GVSU's charter application process

SESSION 2: Building Your Team and Organizing for Success

  • Developing a Vision, Mission, and Values
  • Governance and management, instruction and support
  • Attracting students and fulfilling community needs

SESSION 3: Preparing Students for Success in College, Work and Life

  • Educational philosophy and approach
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Assessing and evaluating student achievement

SESSION 4: Locating, Housing and Financing the School

  • Strategic location; facilities and occupancy requirements
  • Legal and financial considerations
  • Transportation and food service

SESSION 5: Making the Money Work: Funding Planning, Start-Up and Operations

  • Local, state and federal funding
  • Budgeting, cash flow and key assumptions
  • Gifts, grants and credit

SESSION 6: Pulling It All Together: Clear, Aligned and Compelling

  • GVSU submission requirements and review process
  • Authorizers and finding the right match
  • Anticipating and preparing for the next steps

Workshop Dates, Locations and Registration

Grand Rapids

All Grand Rapids sessions will be held at the GVSU Charter Schools Office in downtown Grand Rapids from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

  • Session 1 - July 20, 2018 - REGISTER
  • Session 2 - August 29, 2018
  • Session 3 - September 26, 2018
  • Session 4 - October 31, 2018
  • Session 5 - November 28, 2018
  • Session 6 - January 16, 2019


All Detroit workshops will be held at the GVSU Detroit Center from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

  • Session 1 - July 25, 2018 - REGISTER
  • Session 2 - August 31, 2018
  • Session 3 - September 28, 2018
  • Session 4 - October 30, 2018
  • Session 5 - November 30, 2018
  • Session 6 - January 18, 2019 


head shot of Jim Goenner

Jim Goenner, Ph.D.

Jim Goenner, Ph.D.

Jim Goenner serves as President and CEO of the National Charter Schools Institute. Jim joined the charter schools movement in 1995, and has played a prominent role in developing and strengthening the performance of the charter schools sector in Michigan and across the nation ever since. In 2010, Jim’s pioneering efforts and commitment to excellence earned him an induction into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame.

Prior to joining the Institute, Jim served as the Executive Director of The Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University, where he led the first and largest university authorizer of charter public schools in the nation. Under Jim’s leadership, CMU became known as the “gold standard” for charter school authorizing. Jim currently serves on the board of directors of the Charter Schools Development Corporation. He helped found the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and chaired its board of directors (2007-2010). He also helped found and chaired the board of directors of the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers (2002-2010), and served as the first President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (1996-1998).

Jim earned his Doctorate in Educational Administration from Michigan State University, Master of Arts from Central Michigan University and Bachelor of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University.


head shot of Mark Weinberg

Mark Weinberg

Mark Weinberg

As the Vice President for Leadership and Learning,  Mark leads all National Charter Schools Institute initiatives focused on measuring, supporting and helping people achieve breakthrough performance in the areas of leadership and learning. Mark has been an advocate and leader in the charter and larger public education community for over 20 years.

Before joining the Institute, Mark was charged with leading U.S. operations for an international educational management company, served as the Director of Improvement and Accountability for a Michigan-based management company, and launched a virtual school. Prior to that, Mark worked at The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University for 10 years, leading their academic performance and accountability team, and serving as a school leader and teacher, nationally and internationally, prior to becoming an authorizer.

Mark has played a key role in broadening the charter sector’s capacity to influence practice and advance public education, impacting the educational opportunities for students in Michigan and throughout the nation. Mark earned his Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Central Michigan University and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Western Ontario and Brock University.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I guaranteed to have my charter school application approved if I complete the series?

No. This series is designed to help school founders clarify their vision so they can submit a compelling application.

Must I participate in this workshop to be able to apply to GVSU?

No. Participation in this series is optional. All applications are judged through a competitive process, taking into account aspects like the applicant’s experience, available resources, and student population to be served. Choosing to participate or not to participate in this series will not affect this process.  

Must I apply to GVSU for a charter upon completion of the series?

No. Should a participant choose to submit a charter application, it may be submitted to any authorizer.

Who should attend the workshops?

Anybody who is curious about applying for a charter or anybody who has already started the initial application process.

What does it cost to attend?

Nothing! This workshop is free to all attendees.

I can't make it to one of the sessions. Does this mean I can't continue to participate in the series?

No. While participants are encouraged to register for each session so they are present to learn all key information, missing a session will not impact your ability to attend  the others.

Page last modified June 25, 2018