Charter Application Evaluation

The charter application process assesses applicants on qualities that have been demonstrated to contribute most significantly to school success. Each submission is narrowly tailored to focus on specific qualifications:


In addition to providing applicants with an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership capacity, Phase 3 will also provide applicants with an opportunity to clarify, in an in-person interview, information presented in their application documents. Applicants will receive feedback on Phases 1 and 2 of their application prior to Phase 3 so that they are better equipped to address areas of need and prepare to present a clear and comprehensive plan. Only applicants that approach or meet the standard for the majority of the sections outlined in the RFP will be invited to the Capacity Interview phase.

All submissions will be evaluated by an independent Evaluation Team that includes both national charter school experts as well as community members and employees of the Tennessee Department of Education and/or Achievement School District. All evaluators will have demonstrable expertise in academics, operations, and/or finance. Evaluators will receive training on best practices in application evaluation and applying the evaluation criteria in their reviews. Evaluation Teams will use standardized forms and reports to support consistency and transparency. ASD staff will also observe the evaluation and interview processes.

Evaluation Teams and the ASD serve different roles in the charter evaluation process:

  • Evaluation Teams evaluate each proposal on its own merits and develop recommendations to the ASD based on written application materials and interviews, due diligence, performance tasks and, potentially, site visits. In developing their recommendations, the Evaluation Teams will consider only the application packet as submitted by the deadline, the applicant’s capacity interview, performance during a practical exercise, and objective information (such as past school performance data).
  • The duty of the Evaluation Teams is to recommend approval or denial of each application based on its merits, the responsibility of the ASD is to decide. The ASD is responsible for considering all information in making the most informed decisions possible. In addition to the input and data considered by the independent review teams, the ASD’s decision also considers external factors, such as an applicant’s overall alignment with the ASD (spirit of collaboration, ambitious goals, serving the highest need). The Superintendent will make qualification decisions based on Evaluation Team recommendations. Please note that, by law, all Achievement School District authorization decisions are final and may not be appealed.