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4 Growth Tips from Experienced Charter School Leaders

Grow Schools

May 2, 2023

4 Growth Tips For Charter Schools

Many of the challenges school leaders face share a common theme: helping your school grow while staying flexible.

Flexibility has to be more than a mindset; it also has to be a component of a strategic plan and an aspect of your school culture. The following tips come from The Charter School Growth Guide, which relies on the expertise of seasoned school leaders. These tips can help you stay focused on your mission while also growing your school in a sustainable way for the long term.

Growth Tips From Experienced Charter School Leaders
1. Nurture your school’s culture as much as you nurture your students.

Ultimately, culture is always a product of the people involved. It can be tough to retain quality leaders and teachers, especially because many charter schools have longer days and academic years than public schools. Teachers have to believe in the mission from the outset in order to put in those extra days and hours for years to come. It’s essential that the people you hire are aligned with your mission.

2. Prioritize continuous professional development and leadership training.

In order to have motivated staff committed to continuous improvement, professional development has to be front and center. This is also an investment in continuity. When people feel like they are getting better at their jobs and have room for growth, they are more likely to stay.

Teacher retention is a top concern for many charter leaders. Expert Dr. Charlotte Pullins believes
teachers stay if they are growing at your school, which means schools need to prioritize belonging,
giving proper support, and taking care of the psychological needs of teachers. For more on teacher
retention, check out the free webinar here.

Growth Tips From Experienced Charter School Leaders (3)
3. Focus on providing individualized instruction to your students and on data analysis.

These aren’t contradictory! Every educator knows that one of the best ways to improve the data is to meet each student where they are and provide them with the support necessary to improve and succeed regardless of your school’s curriculum and goals. Of course, school-wide metrics are the best evidence that individualized instruction is working. Review the metrics frequently, share them widely, and make them everyone’s responsibility.

4. Develop systems for your operations to maintain consistency and efficiency.

In the beginning, you may have outsourced certain aspects of running your school, such as accounting, custodial support, and food service. You may also have used decentralized spreadsheets and documents to manage data and keep track of all your school’s information. A patchwork of spreadsheets and vendors can quickly become tough to manage.

As you grow, invest in more sophisticated systems and easier ways to manage and access data. It may still be financially wise to outsource certain functions, and you’ll likely find that you have a combination of
in-house and external operational support. While researching, investing in, and mastering new systems is time-consuming and expensive, the efficiencies you’ll realize down the road will more than make up for the pain of adoption.

5. Embrace change, cling to your mission.

Try to embody the value of lifelong learning while maintaining high expectations and staying flexible. As you grow, you may find that your culture, mission, and vision start to fade. The founding team that started the school likely aren’t the people who are now running the school, and there may even be multiple locations in different cities. Be strategic and proactive about keeping everyone connected and focused on your school’s mission and vision.

Dr. Bishop of Elite Public Schools says it best: “We of course feel what the world is feeling. We of course understand that it is a very difficult time but we cannot get so caught in that, that we are not passing on energy to our young people for the future.”​

4 Growth Tips For Charter Schools
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