Opening a school is not for the faint at heart. Between the big things like applying for authorization and hiring the right team to the little things that you assume are just taken care of like ensuring there’s hand soap in the bathrooms and working internet, there’s a lot of things to consider and plan for. Once you’ve done the hard work, you have the harder work of running the school. It can be easy to settle into the routine once your charter school has been established. It’s safe in your little bubble.
Why on earth would anyone want to do it over again?
Provide access to high quality schools
Students need options, and charter schools exist to provide options. Access to high quality schools is especially hard to get especially for the most underserved and least advantaged members of our society. It’s our responsibility to grow our reach, so that more students can benefit from the quality program you offer. High caliber charter schools have shown that they make the greatest positive impact on the achievement rates of minorities, underserved subgroups, and low socioeconomic families who have limited school choices in their neighborhood. According to studies from Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) across several years, “the primary beneficiaries of charter schools in California are historically disadvantaged populations.” Charter schools have met the needs of underserved students where traditional public schools could not. The expansion of high-quality schools with proven programs for success allows more students to access rigorous programs that may not exist in the school districts where they live.
Be the Disruptor
The pandemic taught us all that there are other ways to do things, nontraditional ways to learn and operate a school. While many districts have gone back to their old ways of operating, charters have found new niches to create something new and disrupt the status quo. Disruptors in any industry challenge tradition and promote innovation even in traditional spaces. David Nielsen, senior fellow and chairman at American Center for Transforming Education, writes “Monopolies rarely perform well, and our K-12 public schools are no exception. If we are serious about the effective education of our children, we need to break down these monopolies plaguing our K-12 public education system.” Charter expansion creates competition that promotes innovation for all schools. It forces all schools to reevaluate their norms and leads to a better education for all students.
You Believe In Your School
Lastly, but likely most important, is your genuine belief that your school can provide something to students that others cannot. As a school leader at Method Schools, I have seen the student lives change course because they found us. Charter expansion, though an arduous road, means your team can extend the reach of a proven program that has already helped others, that you can bring an option to students searching for a solution.