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Charter School Support Initiative


Historically, the Charter School Support Initiative (CSSI) Evaluative Rubric had mirrored the Colorado Title I School Support evaluation process and recommendations, which were based on the Colorado Department of Education's Ten Standards of Continuous Improvement, encompassing areas such as academic performance, school culture, finance, and governance. In keeping, the CSSI evaluative rubric was revised in December 2022 for Domains 1-4 and in August 2023 for Domains 5 and 6 to again align with the state’s improvement efforts through their adaptation of the Four Domains of Rapid School Improvement from the Center of School Turnaround.  It is now called the CSSI Four Domains of Rapid School Improvement Rubric Plus Governance and Finance, or simply, the CSSI Four Domains + Rubric.


The CSSI Four Domains + Rubric was adapted from Colorado's Four Domains of Rapid School Improvement. The CSSI Four Domains + Rubric is a research-proven framework to help facilitate rapid improvement in schools by creating domains and practices that apply across the systems implemented in your charter school. The four domains outlined within the framework are Leadership for Rapid Improvement, Talent Management, Instructional Transformation, and Culture and Climate Shift. For each domain, practices describe the role of charter school leadership and governance members, providing examples of their roles in successful school improvement efforts. The framework is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of activities within each practice or even of all methods. Instead, it offers examples, considerations, and practical applications of what it takes to successfully lead systemic efforts to achieve rapid school improvement. The CSSI Team will use a Four Plus Domains model to incorporate evaluative measures aligned with governance board oversight and charter school financial practices. 


CCSP sub-grantees were expected to participate in a CSSI site visit during implementation year two of their grant cycle. Engaging in this process aims to set a course for self-improvement in the early years of development. The CSSI process begins with an intensive three-day site visit, after which the school receives a detailed report based on the CSSI Four Domains + Rubric ​, with recommendations for research-based steps to improve school performance. Grant funds may be used to cover the costs associated with the site visit and subsequent implementation of the improvement plan developed by the charter school based on the CSSI team's report. The cost of the site visit will depend on the size of the school and the site visit team. 

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CSSI Review Criteria


Domain 1 - Leadership for Rapid Improvement

School leadership focuses strongly on instruction, implements a mission-driven cycle of continuous improvement, and ensures the school functions as an equitable and agile learning organization.

Domain 1 Rubric (XLS)

Domain 2 - Talent Management

School leadership sustains a diverse and high-quality professional staff through inclusive and equitable talent development structures and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Domain 2 Rubric (XLS)

Domain 3 - Instructional Transformation

The school implements a curriculum that is aligned to Colorado Academic Standards, provides evidenced-based instruction that engages students cognitively, uses multiple assessments and analysis cycles to measure student progress toward mastery of grade-level expectations continuously, and implements a comprehensive system of tiered academic and behavioral support to enable students to master grade-level expectations.

Domain 3 Rubric (XLS)

Domain 4 - Culture and Climate Shift

The school establishes and sustains a mission-driven, inclusive, and highly effective culture and climate that promotes belonging and shared ownership

Domain 4 Rubric (XLS)

Because the CSSI visit is customized for charter schools, it includes a diagnostic review of organizational effectiveness. The primary instruments for evaluating organizational effectiveness are Domain 5: Strong Board Governance and Domain 6: Strong Fiscal Management from the CDE’s 10 Standards for Continuous Improvement. These standards cover statute regulations and best practices for charter governance and finance.

Domain 5 - Strong Board Governance

The school board demonstrates strong leadership through its procedure to promote the school’s mission, strategic planning, current knowledge of legislative issues, policy development, commitment to professional development, provision of resources, oversight/support of administrator, ability to build effective committees, and establishing networked community relationships.

Domain 5 Rubric (XLS)

Domain 6 - Sound Fiscal Management

The school board demonstrates strong fiscal management, and the school’s practices demonstrate current and future financial health.

Domain 6 Rubric (XLS)

CSSI Rating System

To provide detailed school-level information, the CSSI team evaluates the degree to which sub-indicators exist and the level of implementation. The rating system is explained below. The CSSI team provides synthesized and high-level evidence to support the score of each sub-indicator. 

Level 4

Exemplary: Exemplar implementation throughout the school (above and beyond proficiency) 

Level 3

Proficient: Developed and generally implemented throughout the school

Level 2

Developing: Partial development and/or partially implemented

Level 1

Below Standard: Initial development and/or minimal implementation