RUSSELLVILLE CITY SCHOOLS
Request for Proposals (RFP)
For Public Charter Schools
November 1, 2023
Russellville City Board of Education
1945 Waterloo Road
Russellville, AL 35653
Phone (256) 331-2000 • Fax (256) 332-7323
Impacting the lives of our students, our community, our world”
RCS will be recognized as a leader in our state for excellence in academic growth. We will reach all students through relationships, character building, and strong community involvement, while providing first class facilities, technologies, and engaging educational experiences.
With the passage of the Alabama School Choice and Opportunity Act, Act 2015-3, on March 19, 2015, public charter schools may be established in Alabama in accordance with the Act. Under this law, a charter school is a public school that operates according to the terms of a charter, or contract, that has been approved by a local board of education and the State Board of Education or the Alabama Charter Schools Commission. Locally approved conversion charter schools operate under the control and management of the local board of education. The local board is required to ensure that a locally approved conversion charter school is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local rules, regulations, court orders, and statutes as well as meets the performance objectives identified in the contract.
This RFP from the Russellville City Board of Education (RCBOE), an approved charter schools authorizer, seeks proposals for a high quality public charter school that would operate in this school district.
Any public charter school approved in Russellville City Schools through this process will be subject to the legal requirements set forth in the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act, Ala. Code §16-6-6F-1, et seg, Act 2015-3.
Characteristics of the Schools the District is Most Interested in Authorizing
Russellville City Board of Education (RCBOE) is committed to receiving applications for charter schools for any and all ideas. We encourage new and innovative approaches to help us reach our mission and strategic goals. In order to assist you in your application, we are providing you with specific information about the types of charter applications we are most interested in receiving.
Through our research and experiences, RCBOE has identified a specific category of charter schools that we are most interested in authorizing based on the specific needs of our district. RCBOE is seeking proposals for the development of a multilingual charter school focused on Dual Language Immersion. The development of such a charter school would utilize a dual language approach to serving populations who do not speak English as their primary language. English-speaking students would have the opportunity to attend and participate in acquiring an additional language.
Dual language immersion programs help children become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural by learning Spanish and English together. Once English is introduced, students spend approximately half of their day learning various subjects in English and half of their day learning subjects in Spanish. Dual-language immersion programs facilitate biliteracy – the ability to speak, listen, read and write proficiently in two languages. In essence, our strategic vision for charter schools is to enhance our ability to develop multilingual students upon graduation. Our vision for charter schools further aligns with the research and benefits for individuals in obtaining the Alabama Seal of Biliteracy. As stated in the “Alabama Seal of Biliteracy Overview and Guidelines for Public Schools”, an increased awareness is needed surrounding the importance of bilingual individuals in our communities, state, nation. “Moreover, the Alabama Seal of Biliteracy emphasizes the importance of both bilingualism, which facilitates improved communication and boosts the local economy and cultural understanding that promotes social acceptance”. We wish for a charter school to mimic the purposes outline by the Alabama Seal of Biliteracy:
To encourage students to study multiple languages.
To certify attainment of biliteracy.
To provide employers with a method of identifying individuals proficient in language and biliteracy skills.
To provide institutions of higher education with a method to recognize and give academic credit to applicants seeking admission.
To prepare students with 21st Century skills.
To recognize and promote world language instruction in Alabama public schools.
To strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages of a community.
We are seeking a charter school that will
Decrease the achievement gap between English learners and native English speakers.
Increase academic opportunities provided through a dual language approach.
Applications are available at the Russellville City Board of Education or may be requested digitally by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Complete petitions for charter schools proposing to open for the 2024 – 2025 academic year must be submitted to the Russellville City Schools Board of Education no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, November 30, 2023. All requested content must be included and all formatting guidelines must be followed in order for an application to be considered complete. The evaluation process will include four steps of review and are summarized as follows:
Initial Review of Charter Application
An evaluation team will complete the initial review of the charter application to determine if the applicant has met all the requirements to be considered for full review. Incomplete petitions will not be considered for 2024-2025 and must be resubmitted in a subsequent annual application round. If the application is determined to be complete, the charter application will move on to Step 2. If the application is not complete, the review process will terminate, and the applicant will be issued a denial letter with the reason and area of incompleteness noted.
Academic, Financial and Operational Review of Charter Application
This review will be completed by review team members specific to each area of the application. The applications will be reviewed for program innovation, a demonstrably effective curriculum and academic plan, cultural responsiveness, solid financial planning, depth and breadth of community support, evidence of strong academic leadership and an effective board, and carefully designed accountability measures.
If determined necessary, additional persons with particular expertise may be invited to review specific areas of the application to assist in creating a thorough application process review.
Capacity Interview and Public Hearing
A Capacity Interview will be scheduled for each applicant where the review team will ask clarifying questions. The number of people to be interviewed and to be present at the capacity interview is determined by the applicant group. Please limit the number of face-to-face members to no more than ten, if possible. In addition to a capacity interview, a public hearing will be held where the applicant will make a presentation to the Board and the public concerning the proposed charter school.
Please be mindful that during the course of the review process, there may be requests to provide clarifying information via email, virtual, or face-to-face meetings.
Board Review as Authorizer
The team will then submit the application(s), completed scored rubric, and details of the discussions from the full review to the Superintendent for final review. The Superintendent will then present the application to the Russellville City Board of Education for final review and approval or denial.
The board may, pursuant to Alabama Act 2015-03, approve or deny the application within 60 days of the submission of a complete application, by a resolution adopted at a public meeting of the Board. Should the petition be approved, a charter contract will be drafted and executed. This performance contract will be based upon the criteria established in the performance management framework as well as any school-specific criteria agreed upon by the petitioner and the district. Should the petition be approved conditionally, all conditions must be met by the petitioner before a contract may be drafted. Should the petition be denied, RCS will clearly state, for public record, the reason for denial.
Applicant Code of Conduct
The Superintendent and members of the Russellville City Board of Education are obligated by state law to make decisions in the best interests of children, free from personal or political influences. Similarly, charter school applicants have the responsibility of respecting and upholding the integrity of the charter school application process.
Specifically, charter school applicants shall not
Initiate, or attempt to initiate, any activity with the Superintendent or Russellville City Board of Education member that is prohibited by the Code of Governmental Ethics;
Direct any communications, including application documents, to the superintendent or the RCBOE Authorizers’ Charter Liaison and team members at any point during the application submission and evaluation process.
It is the responsibility of the charter applicant to ensure proper citation and acknowledgement of any sources included within the application. Any charter application that is found to be plagiarized will be submitted for disqualification. Charter school applicants in violation of these requirements may be deemed ineligible for consideration of charter school approval.
All charter school proposals submitted to RCBOE are considered public records and are subject to public release. Redaction of personal information is an applicant's responsibility. Applicants are requested to provide redacted submissions of any file that includes personal information.
In addition, applicants are advised that neither School Board members, the Superintendent, nor district staff will comment on the contents of any application submission during the review and evaluation period, outside of the established public processes for this purpose (School Board meetings, Public Hearing); in the event of media inquiries, the district will refer individuals to an applicant’s primary contact using the information included in this application.
Dr. Jason Goodwin
RCBOE Authorizer Charter School Liaison