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Solar Power Purchase Agreements
by Sam Todd
Executive Director of Operations at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
What is a Solar PPA?

A solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a financial arrangement in which a third-party investor owns and maintains the photo-voltaic (PV) system, and the host customer agrees to host the system on its roof or elsewhere on its property, and then purchases the electricity generated from the solar services provider for a specified period of time.  This financial arrangement allows the host customer to receive renewable, and usually lower cost electricity, while the investor acquires financial benefits such as tax credits and income generated from the sale of electricity to the host customer.

 

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Read the full article in Charter Focus, a publication developed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools. (Article begins on page 12.)



Continuous Becoming: Moving toward Mastery
by Megan Freeman
Director of The Center for Professional Development at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
I never imagined myself here, a school administrator at a successful K-12 charter school in suburban Colorado.  I sometimes see cowboys riding horses on my way to work. Meadowlarks sing from the fence posts next to the soccer field.  Occasionally, when the wind blows from the north, we can smell the stockyards from Greeley.  My 25-year career in education has produced one unexpected opportunity after another.  Teaching has taken me from Master of Fine Arts and Alternative Teacher Licensure programs, through K-12 classrooms and university lecture halls, to private boarding schools and public charter schools.  While working with students from kindergarten to graduate school, I dedicated myself to understanding and mastering the art and craft of teaching.  Now, as an administrator in charge of professional development, I collaborate with faculties of passionate teachers as they craft their own journeys toward mastery.  Here are my best recommendations for any teacher driven to succeed. 

 

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Read the full article in the National Council of Teachers of English's September 2013 volume of the English Journal.



Playground Change-Up...
Interview with Noelle Roni
Elementary School Principal at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
When kids are asked what their favorite part of their school day is, many usually say recess or PE.  Noelle Roni, Principal at Peak to Peak Charter School in Boulder and newly certified Gurian Institute Trainer, share with us what happened when she took the next step and asked her students WHY? 

 

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Read the full article in the Gurian Institute's September 4th, 2013 issue of Gender & Education News.


An Effective Volunteer System
By Traci Schoeneweis
Director of the Executive Office at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
The ground roots of a charter school’s volunteer system must be strong. Charter schools are built on the premise of a common mission and vision, and it is imperative for volunteers to be included in setting and helping to fulfill that mission and vision. In order to be successful, charter schools depend on volunteers; as such, there must be a coordinated and specific path for success. Peak to Peak Charter School has been successful because the volunteer system put in place is part of the key foundation of the school. Peak to Peak volunteers pour their hearts and souls into a focused and unique vision of a successful school for their kids.
 
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Read the full article in Charter Focus, a publication developed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools. (Article begins on page 14.)



PACE - National School Choice Week Panel
 
Elementary School Assistant Principal and Center for Professional Development consultant, Melissa Christensen, will participate as a panelist for the Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE) as a part of their National School Choice Week Celebration.  The question posed of panelists, "What is it like to teach in a virtual or charter school?", is intended to give community members an opportunity to better understand school choice and to help all teachers better understand the various choices available for pursuing their career in teaching. 


The event will be held Wednesday, January 30th, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. at the Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT) location in Denver.  Register here.




How to Implement the Financial Transparency Act
By Sam Todd
Executive Director of Operations at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
Financial Transparency Law
The Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 10-1036 in the spring of 2010, commonly known as the "Public School Financial Transparency Act."  The Bill requires public school districts and charter schools to post financial information online, in a downloadable format, for free public access.
 
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Read the full article in Charter Focus, a publication developed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools. (Article begins on page 4.)




Professional Development Center Benefits Charter School and Greater Community

By Megan Freeman
Director of The Center for Professional Development at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
In 2010, Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, Colorado, launched its Center for Professional Development (CPD), an office dedicated to creating collaborative educational partnerships designed to maximize student achievement. As a nationally recognized charter school (the high school is consistently ranked among the top 100 high schools by Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report), Peak to Peak regularly receives requests for advice, support, or resources from other schools and educational institutions. Because the school recognizes its responsibility as an educational leader, the CPD was designed to respond to those requests.
 
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Read the full blog post on the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools website.




Educational Partnerships: How One Charter School Meets Internal Professional Development Needs with External Opportunities for Partnerships & Collaboration

By Megan Freeman
Director of The Center for Professional Development at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
Read the full entry in the Directory of Best Practices on the Best Cooperative Practices Charter & Traditional Public Schools website.
 



Education Nation - Teacher Effectiveness Panel
 
Center for Professional Development Director, Megan Freeman, participated as a panelist in an in-depth conversation about local education issues. Education Nation is NBC's initiative to engage the country in a solution-focused dialogue. Education Nation is reaching out across the country in the 2012 Tour for a series of local events and town halls about the state of education in America. As a kick-off for the national tour, Education Nation brought the Teacher Town Hall format to Denver on April 15th, 2012. 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Teacher Effectiveness Panel begins at minute 27:59.  The video above is the second half of a two-hour program.  The entire program can be viewed on NBC's Education Nation website under the 2012 Tour: Teacher Town Hall.
 



Building the Board-Finance Relationship
By Jen Dauzvardis
Program Coordinator at The Center for Professional Development at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
Of all the resources and technical assistance available to charter schools in need of help with financial oversight, there is little that addresses the unique challenges presented by the existence of a volunteer governing board.
 
Business managers have a wide range of resources when seeking "how to" information for financial management at a charter school.  What isn't readily available is a toolkit for developing and maintaining a strong working relationship with the charter school governing board.
 
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Read the full article in Charter Focus, a publication developed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools. (Article begins on page 6.)
 



Temp to Hire: A Great Option When You’re in a Pinch
By Sam Todd
Executive Director of Operations at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
Imagine being in the middle of transitioning all accounting functions from your home school district to local control at your charter school, and then a key member of your accounting staff resigns. This was the very situation we found ourselves in at Peak to Peak Charter School this past year. We were on the fast track with the accounting transition when one of our key staff members departed, leaving us in a difficult spot that required an immediate replacement. This situation can affect any charter school where resources are scarce, everything is urgent, and critical skills are needed now.
 
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Read the full article in Charter Focus, a publication developed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools. (Article begins on page 2.)


 

Leveraging Technology for School and Student Success
Featuring Adam DiGiacomo
Director of Instructional Data & Technology at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
In an era of education when students are tweeting and texting with staggering regularity, and a growing contingent of them carry elaborate smart phones, it's only natural charter schools find using new forms of technology essential in reaching students.  With the charter school movement gaining traction nationwide, technology plays a big role in attracting students and partents.  Of course, charter schools often face uphill battles in having the funds to purchase the latest software, gadgets and gizmos, but that doesn't stop them from striving to compete with or exceed traditional public schools and private schools when it comes to leveraging technology in instruction and operations.
  
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Read the full article in Charter School Insider (Article begins on page 9.)
 



An Investment in Faculty Retention & Student Achievement
By Megan Freeman
Director of Professional Development at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
By design and necessity, successful charter schools have to be innovative and entrepreneurial.
 
They pride themselves on marching to a different drummer than their surrounding districts. Depending on a school’s mission and contract with their authorizer, charter schools may independently create their own curriculum, operate their own facilities, manage their own budgets, and hire their own teaching staff. However, when schools choose to hire certified teachers, there are certain state licensure requirements that all schools – charters or otherwise – need to address.
 
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Read the full article in Charter Focus, a publication developed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools. (Article begins on page 2.)
 



The Importance of a Healthy Annual Gift Campaign
By Carolyn Jannsen, M.ED.
Advancement Director at Peak to Peak Charter School
 
A measure of Peak to Peak’s success comes from wise decisions made early in the life of the school. The idea to conduct an Annual Gift Campaign is one great example. S chool leaders understood the financial need and wanted to enlist the support of families and the community to help bridge the funding gap and make sure we provided the highest quality college preparatory education possible. Instead of having our children go door to door selling candy or gift wrap, they looked for a solution that maximized financial support for the school, respected family time and allowed school administrators a healthy amount of flexible operating income to put where it would benefit the students the most. The Annual Gift Campaign was the perfect solution.
 
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Read the full article in Charter Focus, a publication developed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools. (Article begins on page 10.)