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Charter Schools Never Take, They Earn

charter schools Nov 18, 2019

North Carolina’s 196 public charter schools have one thing in common: Parents enroll their child in a charter because they believe it is the best school for their child. Recent statements by charter opponents perpetuate a myth that charter schools “take” funds from school districts. These statements simply have no merit. 

Charter schools make a commitment to their community, building hope. When they keep these commitments by creating safe, engaging school environments, they build trust. 

Despite having some flexibility, public charter schools must follow the same laws as public district schools in these three critical trust-building areas:

1. Serving students with disabilities;

2. Student accountability; and,

3. Health and safety standards. 

Serving Students With Disabilities: Charter schools must serve all students who enroll. Whether this student requires a one-on-one assistant, full-day specialized instruction, or private transportation services,...

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100,000 Public Charter School Students Do Not Walk to School

The majority of charter school opponents have one simple message, “charter schools do not have to provide transportation or feed children.”

However, the truth is this: Charters must meet the same legal requirements as district public schools. 

For any public school, district or charter, there is no provision in public school law that states any entity must provide transportation. Instead, the law states that each district has the “authority to acquire, own, lease and operate buses.” Public charter schools follow NC General Statute 115C-218.40: “The charter school shall develop a transportation plan so that transportation is not a barrier to any student who resides in the local school administrative unit in which the school is located.”

As a result, 98 public charter schools currently provide school bus transportation as an option for their students (NC Office of Charter Schools, 2019), exactly 50% of all operating charter schools.

This...

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How to Hold Effective Board Meetings

As a governance coach and consultant the question I get most often is, how do we keep our board meetings on track? The answer is the pretty simple.

Focus on what is most important. 

I have learned the hard way, as a consultant and a board chair, that if you do not prepare on the front end you will be repairing on the back end.

One of the keys to facilitating an effective and purposeful board meeting begins with the setting of the monthly agenda.   

Who Sets the agenda?

The agenda is a collaborative process set by the head of the school and the board chair. 

When is the agenda set?

The development of the next months agenda begins at the end of the previous board meeting. At At the close of the meeting the board chair should:

  1. Ask who is taking minutes to state the discussion items from this meeting that will need to be action items next month.  
  2. Review the school’s Strategic Outcomes Based Calendar and note any reports or items due next...
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Three Critical Tasks You Never Write Down To Do: But Should

 

If you are like me you like lists. You cannot start your day without writing down some sort of plan, some list of items that you aim to accomplish that day. Now, if you are even more like me that list is probably filled with items that are either not the most important tasks you should be focused on that day. Working with school leaders across the country I have learned there is one major difference between the good and the great. The great are relentless when it comes to how they can best utilize their time and develop their team. 

Watch the video or read below to learn three three items that should be on your “to do” list every single day as a leader that you are probably overlooking!

Develop your top people: Leadership author Liz Wiseman stated, “Leaders who are multipliers increase intelligence in people and in organizations. The people on the team actually get smarter and more capable thanks to the people around them.” As a leader you need to spend...

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Start of the School Year Resources: Law of Priorities

The Law of Priorities states leaders never advance to a point where they no longer need to prioritize.

Great leaders know that activity is not necessarily accomplishment. Some of you have already started your school year, others are days away from inservice, the rest of you may still have a week or two of vacation before staff arrive.

To quote the great John Snow from Game of Thrones, "Winter is Coming".

Well, in your case, "The first day is coming" and you and your team must be prepared. (See our best resources at the end of this blog).

As a former teacher, principal, executive director and board chair you know what I have realized is most important when it comes to that first day? That first work day, first open house, first school day? 

EVERYTHING IS IMPORTANT!

My challenge to you is to be intentional about identifying the most important activities that need to be accomplished in order to have the best "first day" experience for staff, parents and students. For your team to...

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Five Strategies for Charter School Financial Success

Budgets are plans that help you to prioritize where your money should be spent. By building a budget, it minimizes frivolous spending and creates a uniformed plan that everyone should follow. Public charter schools receive millions of dollars annually in public taxpayer money. Since we know that the number one cause of charter school closings is based on fiscal mismanagement, I want to share with you five strategies for fiscal success in charter schools.  What I learned from Jon Schwartz’s Charter Growth Fund, was instrumental in helping me meet my goals. We utilized Jon’s strategies to turn around the fiscal standing of two public charter schools. One school had over $500,000 in previous year’s debt. We used these strategies to not only pay off all debt, by carry a $100,000 surplus.

 Tip #1: Start budgeting in the First Quarter, Not the Last: If you’re reading this in the Spring, that’s ok; just begin planning differently moving forward. Once...

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Five Characteristics of Effective Charter Schools

My journey into public charter schools, and learning about the characteristics of effective schools, began in 2008 when I was an Exceptional Children’s teacher. I later became the director of a rural charter middle school in Brunswick County at Charter Day School. It was during this time that my “leadership lid” was lifted as I spent time in five high performing K-8 public charter schools in North Carolina during my dissertation study, The Characteristics of Effective K-8 Charter Schools in North Carolina. The leaders and community stakeholders from the schools that I served as a Principal, have helped shape my understanding of what makes an effective school.  According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, this week is National School Choice Week. As we celebrate National School Choice Week, let’s also discuss five characteristics of effective charter schools.

Research and Strategy Application

The five...

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Leading Through Change

Leading through change is what separates the good from the great. Right now, thousands of school leaders across the nation are saying, “I cannot wait until next year. Next year will be different.”

My question to them is, “How do you know?”

When leading through change, it is all right for leaders to be uncertain about their process to get there, but it is not all right for leaders to be unclear about their overall vision. It is in time of change when people need their leaders the most. When people lack hope, the leader needs to provide hope. When people lack answers, the leader needs to have a vision and clearly communicate that vision.

A time of uncertainty is the hardest time to lead. Most people tend to freeze when the future is uncertain; unfortunately, this is when many leaders decide to take a step back rather than being at the forefront. When I was a principal, in times of change or adversity, I did not want to have to answer everyone’s questions...

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