Rutherford Choice & Charter Schools » Charter Schools - General Information

Charter Schools - General Information

About Charter Schools

A public charter school is a publicly funded school that is typically governed by a group or organization under a legislative contract- a charter- with the district, Rutherford County Schools. 

The charter exempts the school from certain state or local rules and regulations. In return for flexibility and autonomy, the charter school must meet the accountability standards outlined in its charter. A school’s charter is reviewed periodically by RCS and can be revoked if guidelines on curriculum and management are not followed or if the accountability standards are not met.

Applications for new charter schools can be made annually. There is a state-defined process for applying and the Rutherford County school board members vote to approve or deny the application. This page contains information for current charter schools, applying charter schools, and parents seeking school choice options.


Guidance for Potential Charter School Applicants

Rutherford County Schools seeks charter school applications that emphasize high-quality academic instruction and opportunities for all students. The mission of Rutherford County Schools is to empower today’s students to grasp tomorrow’s opportunities. The purpose of authorizing charter schools in Rutherford County is to offer innovative, high-quality, and diverse school choice options that meet the needs of a rapidly growing district.

The Request for Proposals document linked below serves to provide guidance for potential charter school applicants, to clearly articulate the priorities of Rutherford County Schools, and to outline the process for application review.


Performance Framework

Rutherford County Schools has adopted a performance framework aligned with the TN Department of Education model framework, which includes concrete evaluation criteria for the schools. Beginning in 2025 (upon completion of the first year of operation for the district's two authorized charter schools), RCS will release an annual report detailing the performance of each school.

In accordance with Tennessee charter law and the state’s quality authorizing standards, the performance framework accomplishes the following:


  • Establishes the performance standards under which each charter school will be evaluated, using objective and verifiable measures of student achievement as the primary measure of school quality;
  • Defines clear, measurable, and attainable academic, financial, and organizational performance standards and targets that the school must meet as a condition of renewal, including but not limited to state and federal measures;
  • Includes expectations for appropriate access, education, support services and outcomes for students with disabilities;
  • Defines the source of academic data that will form the basis for ongoing and renewal evaluation, including state-mandated and other standardized assessments, student academic growth measures, and performance comparisons with other public schools in the district and state; and
  • Defines sources of organizational data that will form the evidence basis for ongoing and renewal evaluation, focusing on fulfillment of legal obligations, fiduciary duties, operational goals that support the attainment of academic benchmarks, and sound stewardship of public dollars.

Charter School Handbook

It is our hope that the guidance found in the RCS Charter Handbook will provide helpful information to our charter schools as they educate the students of Rutherford County.