Managing a charter school involves more than securing funds, developing policies and hiring a staff. While the initial implementation of a charter school may be successful, diligent management must continue if the school is to remain successful and show continued improvement.
- Off to a Good Start-Obviously, a charter school's success can be traced back to its creators. A strong committee must be developed and comprised of a good representation of concerned people, including the superintendent, school board members, administration, teachers, politicians, staff, parents and concerned citizens. Once an interested, informed and educated committee has been established, policies can be developed and the creation of the charter school can begin.
- Form a Mission-Every successful school has a strong mission statement at its core, and this is essential for the management of a charter school. The mission statement should echo a strong, philosophical and educational statement that governs the educational goals of every student regardless of his or her socioeconomic status or learning level. The mission statement should be displayed in various areas of the school, dispersed to every member of the faculty and staff, and offered to every parent, student and concerned citizen.
- Be Innovative-Managing a charter school is more than developing policies. Innovation should be seen in a variety of areas, including organization, scheduling, curriculum and instruction. Those in charge of management should study and review other charter school models which have continuously displayed success in every area of management.
- Find Help-Those who have already been involved in the creation of a charter school realize that it pays to look for help from outside sources. This help may come from federal grants, finance programs and other successful charter schools. For some, the management of a charter school may also include contracting specific services, such as accounting or maintenance.
- Create a Positive Environment-Not only is it necessary to create a positive environment for students, but it is also essential that a positive, working environment be created for faculty and staff. Those in charge of management should pay special attention to the appearance of the building and the facilities and include as much as possible an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere that encourages peaceful learning and teaching opportunities.
- Hire Qualified Staff-Every school's success relies heavily on its administration and teaching staff. Educators should be encouraged to further their own professional development. Workshops and stimulating inservice days should be provided throughout the school year. Incentives such as bonuses and other plans may also be offered for those continuing their professional education. Administration should seek to hire highly qualified instructors.
The management of a charter school will continue throughout the year, even when school isn't in session. As always, administration should continue to see that policies and regulations are enforced and followed. While there may need to be some adjustments, the original mission or vision should continue to be the focus of the school.