Case Study: Golden Charter Academy

Charter School Triumph: How Golden Charter Academy Streamlined Operations with School Pathways’ SIS

Starting and operating a brand new charter school is quite the challenge. Add on a pandemic, and you truly have a unique situation.  

Yet this is precisely when the Golden Charter Academy was founded and welcomed their first group of students. The school’s purpose has been to nurture expert learners who aspire to experience and engage with the natural world, both as community ambassadors and global citizens. Since 2021, they’ve continued to grow and stick to their mission of “Inspiring Powerful Young Minds.” 

We recently had a chance to chat with the founding principal, Mandy Breuer, to discuss their charter school journey and what it’s like working with School Pathways to:

  • Improve accessibility and engagement with families
  • Digitize and streamline their operations
  • Support their overall mission in Fresno, CA 

The Story of the Golden Charter Academy

The Golden Charter Academy (GCA) was founded by Robert Golden, a former NFL player with a vision of creating an innovative school in the underserved areas of Fresno, CA. Their primary focus is empowering students to become leaders and advocates for the environment and social justice. 

“We’re trying to be a paradigm shift in education. We’re really rooted in this concept of equity, stewardship, and access, and we see our students as leaders,” says Mandy Breuer, founding principal at GCA. 

Golden Charter Academy leverages a relationship with founding partner, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and the wider community to bolster these pillars with a place-based learning and interdisciplinary approach.

“Our second graders were looking at tree equity,” Breuer cites as one example. “They were learning about these superhero trees that clean your air, water, and soil…and the students were asking, ‘Why don’t we have trees in our neighborhood?’”

So the students advocated for a big tree project at new affordable housing units in the area and got to see the city carry out their idea which will have resounding benefits for years to come. It’s projects like this that represent the engaging and impactful approach that Golden Charter Academy is spearheading.

Yet in order to support these endeavors and accomplish their goals, GCA needed a solid system for managing start-to-finish operations from enrollment to student and classroom information to reporting. For that, Golden Charter sought a modern and flexible Student Information System that could really match their ambitious needs. 

Finding School Pathways for Charter School Success

When it came to choosing an SIS partner, Golden Charter Academy sought a solution that would align with their innovative vision and help promote equity and access. 

School Pathways emerged as Golden Charter Academy’s ideal partner due to our timely and personalized customer support and flexible SIS platform including CALPADS reporting, online registration, and enrollment management. 

“School Pathways’ solution was really synchronous, especially for managing enrollment,” explains Breuer. “It felt like they wanted us to really see our dreams come to fruition. Now we feel like we have partners for when we’re ready to enter into that next layer of potential—that we’ll be able to do that really well and really quickly with School Pathways.”

Deciding to collaborate with School Pathways enabled GCA to streamline operations, improve access for staff, students, and families, and ultimately get more time back to focus on their core objectives. 

Implementation and Results

It’s evident to see the positive impact of School Pathways on GCA’s operations. With time savings, improved communication with families, and the ability to embrace digital workflows, the charter school has ushered in a better communal experience.

But with a new team, launching an unfamiliar SIS was always going to be a bit daunting. So what was the differentiator they hadn’t seen elsewhere?

You answered the phone when we called on the first day,” says Breuer. “Unlike other companies where you’re treated like a ticket number and will hear back in three to six weeks. That’s just unacceptable when we need to quickly respond to students’ or family needs.” 

Especially since launching, GCA appreciates the ease of accessing important information—saving time and resources—plus reducing major headaches around CALPADS submissions.

“We track notes and services in the SIS, and I can’t get over how easy it is to find information with School Pathways,” explains Breuer. With School Pathways, GCA has been able to enhance and improve their processes so they can focus on what the future holds for students and their parents.

“With the ease of the enrollment portal, we’re able to get new families onboarded quickly. It’s ultimately about making sure our grades and attendance are clearly communicated to the families, and School Pathways allows us to customize the reporting in an authentic way,” says Breuer.

Looking Toward the Future

As GCA looks to the future, they have plans to expand their grade levels and implement an online lottery using School Pathways’ Lottery Management System in the coming year. “I’m very excited to see how this new enrollment process goes with the lottery and then how that information transfers into the system,” says Breuer. 

With our software solution for lottery and enrollment management, Golden Charter Academy will be equipped with an efficient lottery system enabling them to:

  • Accept online student applications
  • Run an equitable and compliant lottery
  • Create and manage waitlists
  • Email applications about lottery results
  • Invite lottery winners to an integrated registration portal

School Pathways has proven ready to support GCA’s vision and growth, providing the necessary tools and ongoing partnership they need to meet their long-term goals.

Final Thoughts

Golden Charter Academy’s journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of their three-pillar approach to education. By partnering with School Pathways, this newly founded charter school has been able to realize their vision of fostering environmental stewardship, equity, and access for students and their families. 

If you’re starting a charter school or seeking a new SIS solution, take inspiration from GCA’s story and consider the seamless integration, personalized support, and flexible platform offered by School Pathways.

Want to Learn More?

School Pathways Case Study - Visions In Education