New Designs Charter School is a small college preparatory charter school focused on math, science and technology. Based in Southern Los Angeles, the school ensures that students meet and exceed California’s grade-level academic requirements and are ready for entry into a four-year university. The incredible part – most students who enroll at the school test at two to three years below grade level when they first arrive.
To get students up to grade level, the school has implemented an internal testing system that measures a student’s progress each month. These benchmark tests are used to help teachers and administrators measure progress, learn a student’s strengths and make changes as necessary for each individual child.
“Our focus is to not to give them work like everybody else but give them work at their level,” explains Paul Okaiteye, director of business services at New Designs. “We differentiate. We group them and give them work at their level to move them up.”
The personalized attention is designed to protect students from falling through the cracks, and it works. New Designs’ had a 100% graduation rate with the most recent senior class and all went on to pursue opportunities in college or the military.
Given the school’s success, New Designs has sought to grow the number of students they are able to serve. Adding new students, however, presented a challenge given the state’s charter school funding model of determining dollars available based off of the previous school year’s enrollment. Coupled with payment deferrals in California and banks unlikeliness to loan to charters, the school’s administrators didn’t have the cash flow necessary to expand.
New Designs first approached Charter School Capital when time was critical and the school was facing the potential inability to meet its financial obligations. Charter School Capital provided financial budgeting guidance and the funds necessary to get the school to where it needed to go, forming a solid partnership along the way.
“Charter School Capital has been very personal,” says Okaiteye. “They’ve given us various options, introduced us to the funding options that they have, and we get to relate to them in a way that for me is a little bit different from the banks that I’ve worked with. They have gone beyond just giving us money into making sure that we can stay in business. They’re also interested in the education aspect of what we do and not just in the financial aspect, and for that I think of Charter School Capital as a partner.”
Without Charter School Capital, “I don’t know what else could have happened,” finishes Okaiteye. “But I can confidently say that it would have been extremely difficult, next to impossible, to run the business.”
“Anytime I have a question, anything regarding financing with the state, or even with any transaction, I’ve had an exceptional response. They’re very professional; they want to get you what you need. They have been a lifeline because they have come through for us at times when we have needed them most. They have done things in a certain timing that other institutions have not been able to do, and so they have been making sure that the blood keeps flowing through our veins.”
That’s high praise from a school that could easily be described as a “lifeline” itself.
Hear more of what Paul Okaiteye at New Designs has to say about working with Charter School Capital in our video interview.
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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!