Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cleveland Compact?

In more than twenty cities nationwide, charter schools and districts have signed Compacts. In these documents they pledge to improve collaboration and work toward shared goals. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is currently supporting this work in Cleveland.

What is the goal of the Compact?

The ultimate goal is to ensure that every school-age child in Cleveland has access to the high quality education he/she deserves regardless of whether they attend a district or charter school.

What is the focus for the collaboration?

Those participating in the Compact will decide the areas that hold the most promise for successful district/charter collaboration. Initially, there is a need to open communication channels, both between the district and charters and amongst charters. In addition, preliminary discussions have identified the following areas where the district and charters may find collaboration beneficial: policy and advocacy, professional development, special education, enrollment and record sharing, support for low-performing schools, shared services, human capital, etc.

Who was involved in the initial planning?

The Gates Foundation, National Alliance for Charter School Authorizers, The Cleveland Foundation and CMSD were involved in the start-up of the Compact. In early 2015, a Steering Committee was formed with the strategic goal of bringing together a diverse and representative group of Cleveland’s charter school organizations. The six charter organizations involved were Constellation Schools, I CAN SCHOOLS, Breakthrough Schools, Ohio Connections Academy, Virtual Schoolhouse, and HBCU Preparatory Schools. Six representatives from CMSD rounded out the Steering Committee.

What is the timeline for this work?

Fall/Winter 2015

- The Compact Steering Committee drafted the Compact document and will held informational sessions.

- The Compact document was finalized and submitted for approval.

- CMOs/EMOs and charter schools submitted Board Resolutions to join the Compact.


- Subcommittees were formed to begin the real work of the Compact.

- Subcommittees worked on deliverables.

- Executive Committee met monthly.


- Continued collaboration.

- Efforts toward sustainability.

How can I contribute?

CMO/EMO Leaders

- Sign-on as a participating organization after obtaining approval from your Board

- Recruit folks from within your organization to join a subcommittee

- Positively engage in Compact events, communication, and outreach

Charter School Leaders

- Discuss your interest in the Compact with your CMO (if applicable)

- Sign-on as a participating organization after obtaining approval from your Board

- Join a subcommittee, encourage others in your organization to do the same

- Positively engage in Compact events, communication, and outreach


- Depending on your role in Cleveland’s public school landscape, you may need to contact your administrator to inquire about participation

- As a community member or other interested party, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Compact at

What does it mean to “be a member of the Compact?”

Members of the Compact are committed to improving education in Cleveland for all children. They are inspired by the idea that we are stronger together than we are apart. And that an “us vs. them” mentality does not benefit the children that we serve.

When a school’s Board signs on to the Compact it means it has committed to sending people to participate on subcommittees. In other words, school leaders or individual teachers do not sign on as members of the Compact, but rather their parent organizations do. For a sustainable Compact, CMOs/EMOs, school Boards, and individual school leaders will help recruit motivated participants for the subcommittees. It is the subcommittees that will tackle the ongoing work of shaping timelines and deliverables for the issues it identifies.

Is there a connection between this and the Cleveland Plan/Transformation Alliance?

No. The Gates Compact initiative and the Cleveland Plan are not related, although both initiatives seek to improve education in Cleveland. Any Cleveland charter school can participate in the Compact by just signing up. Additionally, for the Compact, there will be multiple opportunities for membership. If signing on right now is not an option, there will be other openings in the near future (June 2017).

Where can I find out more information?

Any questions and communications can be sent to