Application for Sponsorship
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation is one of Ohio’s highest-rated authorizers of “community” schools—which is this state’s term for charter schools. In addition to the dozen charters that we currently sponsor, we are eager to work with individuals and organizations that have the capacity to start and sustain more academically strong schools in underserved communities. Ohio needs many more such schools, and our application window is wide open—but please understand that we will only authorize schools that serve kids well.
We are focused on sponsoring excellent new schools in Ohio communities that presently lack enough high‐quality options for children who need them, particularly schools that can be expected to do an exemplary job of educating disadvantaged students. We will also consider existing high-performing schools that seek (for sound reasons) to change sponsors. Both new and existing schools will be vetted via our application process. Although we are a statewide authorizer, we are particularly interested in adding and/or expanding successful schools in the Dayton area.
We will not consider applications for virtual (online) schools or dropout-recovery schools but will consider schools who use blended-learning platforms as defined in Ohio law. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are focusing on providing technical assistance and support to our schools. We will open our application cycle for new, start-up schools in August 2020.
To learn more about the application process, please click the Learn More button below to visit our sponsorship application page
To learn more about the application process, please click the Learn More button below to visit our sponsorship application page.
In 2004, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation was approved by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to serve as a statewide sponsor of community (i.e., charter) schools—making us the first nonprofit organization in the Buckeye State to acquire such a responsibility. For a decade and a half, we have sought to improve school choices for families, provide individual grants to support the creation and improvement of charter schools, and support quality schools throughout the state, particularly in our hometown of Dayton. ODE rates Fordham an “effective” charter authorizer, and we were selected by the National Association for Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) as one of five authorizers nationally to participate in NACSA’s Quality Practice Project, which examines authorizer practices associated with high-quality school portfolios.
Our approach to chartering balances school autonomy with accountability. In exchange for the freedom to operate independently, schools are responsible for producing solid results. We believe that this balance is critical to ensuring success for students and schools.
For more information on Fordham's sponsorship work, please see our Sponsorship Annual Report.
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation has actively sponsored charter schools in Ohio since 2005, and our portfolio includes some of Ohio’s highest performing and most highly regarded schools. As such, we have developed expertise in all the core areas of Ohio charter sponsorship, including charter school laws and regulations, finance, school evaluations, governance, compliance, facilities, new school start-up, school closure, managing the application process for new schools, contract management, school monitoring, and charter renewal decisions. We regularly provide technical assistance in these areas to our sponsored schools. Additional resources that may be helpful are included below.
Ohio Sponsorship’s Annual Report
In our 2019 annual report, we provide insight into our sponsorship work during the year and the performance of our sponsored schools. We are also pleased to highlight the good work of our colleagues on Fordham’s policy and research teams.
Our schools’ academic performance shows several schools doing very well on Ohio’s value-added (growth) measure this year, although other schools struggled. We are excited to continue to grow our portfolio and, in turn, serve more Ohio students; approximately 5,500 in 2018–19.
The report also draws attention to the hard work and dedication of the boards, leadership, and staff at each of our sponsored schools. We are glad that we have the opportunity to support all of them.