Who Is Imagine Schools?
Imagine Foundations at Morningside is a member of Imagine Schools, a national family of public charter schools that empowers educators in partnership with parents to prepare students for lives of leadership, accomplishment, and character. Imagine operates 75 public charter schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia. We serve 40,000 students nationwide by providing them with a challenging, effective program of academic study and strong moral development in a safe, nurturing environment. All Imagine schools are tuition-free public schools of choice.
Each school is uniquely tailored to its community, both in curriculum and structure. Locally, Imagine Schools operates schools in Prince George’s County and Baltimore County, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, with plans to open more schools, in other areas, soon.
Imagine Schools is dedicated to helping parents and guardians fulfill the important responsibility for the education of their children. We operate Imagine charter school campuses where we teach, love, set examples, and have fun! Talented teachers and leaders join Imagine Schools because they sense the hope and energy of those who are driven, passionate, and determined. Parents recognize the special spirit of our campuses and students are excited to be part of schools where they are encouraged to take on new challenges, to explore new concepts, and to become people of character.
At Imagine Schools we celebrate the creativity, tenacity, and courage to take something good and commit to making it great. We are not afraid to try new things, to evaluate ourselves, to remedy and improve. We want students to share the excitement of creating and building something beautiful and enduring. We commit to love with abandon, teach virtue, and help our students to flourish in imagination and hope.
Measures of Excellence
Transparency and accountability are at the forefront of all that we do at Imagine Schools. The same level of transparency and accountability that is expected of Imagine Schools Non-Profit is expected of each of the schools operated by Imagine.
These two indicators are driven by the Six Measures of Excellence. We use these measures each year to grade our Imagine Schools based on several inputs provided by each school. Several data collection methods are used throughout the year to provide indicators of progress toward adhering to the Measures of Excellence.
Below are the Six Measures of Excellence and the methods used to collect the data that are employed to assign a grade in each:
STAR ASSESSMENT — Computer adaptive assessment for screening and progress monitoring.
PARCC ASSESSMENT — The PARCC states’ high quality assessments will allow parents and educators to see how children are progressing in school and whether they are on track for postsecondary success. The PARCC assessment also provides teachers with the ability to identify students who may be falling behind and need extra help. To learn more about the assessment click here.
Annual parent choice survey — This survey is administered in the spring of each school year to all families. The results are used to determine the level of satisfaction that our families have with the schools we operate.
New student enrollment and eligible returning student re-enrollment rates — Parents who are satisfied with the school will generally re-enroll their children for the following school year. In addition, successful schools will generally have a high number of new student enrollments and wait lists.
Successful implementation of a Character Education Program — Teaching character education is required in all Imagine Schools. Twice a year, we conduct school-wide surveys to monitor the effectiveness of these programs.
Shared values of Integrity, Justice, and Fun are at the forefront of the Imagine Schools’ operating philosophy of “Joy at Work.” Ensuring that our schools and their respected leaders adhere to and teach these values to their staff is critical to our overall success. Each year we conduct a shared values survey with each staff member. This gives us feedback on how their school is operating under this philosophy.
In simple terms, our schools are required to live within their means by financially breaking even each year. Receiving a high grade under this measure is conducive to operating a fiscally sustainable school. In order to do this, all school stakeholders need to understand the budget and do everything in their control to spend in alignment with this budget.
Although existing schools aren’t directly responsible for developing new schools, they are expected to operate high-quality programs that will provide Imagine Schools with the ability to open and develop additional programs.
What is a Charter School?
A charter school is a public school that has a specific mission. The school is funded through taxpayer dollars and is tuition-free to the students that attend.
According to the Maryland State Department of Education, and in accordance with state law, a charter school is defined as:
- Nonsectarian and nondiscriminatory in its programs, policies and operations
- A school of choice, open to all students on a space available basis
- A program of elementary or secondary education or both
- Tuition-free for all eligible students
- In compliance with health, safety, state, and local laws
Charter schools must meet the same academic requirements as traditional public schools but are also directly accountable to parents and their authorizer.