Our evolution

The Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC), as it is known today, is the merged product and evolved impact of two of Tennessee’s previous charter school support organizations. Since 2013, TCSC has served as the primary charter support organization to the growing charter sector in Tennessee, but the work has actually been happening for much longer.


The Tennessee Charter Schools Association (TCSA) was established to focus efforts and resources on creating a local and statewide policy environment that enables the creation and growth of high-quality public charter schools. The Association was instrumental in helping to get a charter law passed in 2002 and played a key role in enacting significant improvements to the law over the past decade.


Inspired by the success of high-quality public charter schools in other parts of the country, the Tennessee Charter School Incubator (TCSI) was launched and modeled after the New York City Charter Center and New Schools for New Orleans. The work of the Incubator centered on systematically identifying and training new charter leaders and managing school launch and early support activities.


The Tennessee Charter School Incubator and the Tennessee Charter Schools Association announced the formation of the Tennessee Charter School Center in 2013. This new organization merges the resources and functions of both groups and leverages the strengths of both organizations (charter school incubation and support and policy and advocacy) to respond to the strong demand for high-quality public charter schools across the state. Establishing an entity that can provide ongoing, comprehensive support to the growing charter sector in Tennessee while also creating a unified voice among charter organizations is a primary focus of the Center as it is known today.


Legislation passed to allow the State Board of Education to act as an authorizer upon appeal for charter applicants in school districts with a priority school in their area.


TCSC collaborates with TN Dept. of Ed. to secure a federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant to support the launch of new high-quality charter schools in TN


Legislation is passed that modernizes and strengthens the 2002 Tennessee Charter School Act. This law clarifies rules on everything from the application process to closure. Enables local districts to charge an authorizer fee to cover the cost of charter oversight. Established fund of up to $6 million per year for facilities.


The Memphis Charter Compact was approved. The Compact will help to Provide facility support for charters, Establish a School Performance Framework, Formalize School Closure Procedures for charters, Establish a District Shared Services Standard Operating Procedure and a more collaborative agreement for unified relations with a focus on quality schools regardless of model or operator type.


TCSC awarded a federal credit enhancement grant to support charter school facilities in TN


Legislation to ensure public charter schools are included in reimbursements for high-cost special needs students was passed.


The Public Charter School Commission-- an independent commission with the authority to hear charter school appeals and authorize schools following successful appeal anywhere in Tennessee-- was established. The State Board of Education was established as a formal accountability body for charter school authorizers, including the requirement for evaluation of authorizer compliance with state law and the Tennessee Quality Authorizing Standards, as well as the power to enforce compliance.


The Charter School Facilities Fund is established as a recurring budget item in the Tennessee State Budget, better ensuring stable access to vital facilities funds for public charter schools in Tennessee

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