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Community Schools

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About Us

Our Mission:  The ESCLEW Community Schools Center is a student-centered authorizer of charter schools, advancing quality educational opportunities throughout the state of Ohio.

The Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West (ESCLEW) has been sponsoring community (charter) schools in Ohio since 1998 and was one of the original pilot program sponsors. Today, ESCLEW provides responsible oversight, monitoring, and technical assistance to 53 community schools statewide. The staff in our Community Schools Center helps to provide a focus on academic, operational, and fiscal integrity. The Community Schools Center is accepting applications for new schools and replication or transfer of sponsorship for the 2025-26 school year. 

Community schools attract students because of the uniqueness of their particular educational approach and program offerings. Community schools prioritize developmentally appropriate instruction, educational effectiveness, and academic achievement. Schools sponsored by the ESC of Lake Erie West include 22 special needs schools, two autism schools, a gifted school, and an e-school. We also sponsor schools that focus on STEM education, college preparatory classes, career and technical education, and character development.

The promise community schools hold for educational reform lies in a thoughtful combination of freedom and accountability. Underwritten with public funds but run independently, community schools are held accountable by their sponsors for academic and fiscal performance and must meet the same rigorous standards as traditional school districts. 


Sponsor Annual Report

Overall Sponsor Rating

The ESC of Lake Erie West Community Schools Center is proud to announce its 2018-2019 Overall Sponsor Rating is “Exemplary”.  The Department of Education and Workforce annually evaluates community school sponsors on three components:  Academic Performance, Compliance, and Quality Practices.

The Academic Performance component looks at several important measures of student success in sponsors’ schools including academic achievement, student growth, early literacy, graduation, and how well students are prepared for college, careers, and life.  The ESC of Lake Erie West received a “2” or “C” rating for this component.

The Compliance component asks whether sponsors are compliant with all relevant laws and rules and whether sponsors are monitoring their schools’ compliance with laws and rules.  The ESC of Lake Erie West received a “4” or “Exemplary” rating for this component.

The Quality Practices component compares sponsors’ processes against best practices such as strategic planning, staff capacity, contract development, and oversight of schools.  The ESC of Lake Erie West received a “4” or “Exceeds Standards” rating for this component.

Focused on its mission, the ESCLEW Community Schools Center considers the “Exemplary” Overall Sponsor Rating to be a distinction which complements its commitment to all sponsored schools.