How to Create a Charter School Improvement Plan

A school improvement plan plays a critical role in setting out the changes a school needs to make to improve the effectiveness of administrative tasks as well as the level of student achievement. You may wonder why some charter schools fail while others flourish. But the truth is, even with comparable resources and factors like demographics coming into play, you’ll still find two different sets of outcomes in similar school systems.

Despite this, achieving remarkable improvement is within reach for any charter school—provided that the right strategies are used. Charter schools face numerous challenges that keep them from being as effective as they could be –– and those challenges extend beyond charter school financing. These obstacles can only be overcome by developing a concrete charter school improvement plan that addresses the primary challenges that they’re facing and what needs to be done to bring about lasting change.

Develop a Plan for Success

You can only be successful if you have a detailed plan that is entirely based on your school’s needs. Your first priority is to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment that offers deeper insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Make use of tools or resources like student achievement data, surveys of students, teachers, parents, and administrators and classroom walkthrough information to help you assess your needs.

Once you have a clear picture of where you stand, you can start planning for where you want to be. Your improvement plan should be based on clear, measurable, and easily achievable goals that will lead your team to success.

For instance, if your assessment determined that some of your students were struggling with performance because they were overwhelmed by the pace of instruction, bored, or frustrated, you could address these issues by taking these steps:

  • Implement a more personalized teaching and learning model.
  • Connect what students are being taught with real-world tasks or experiences.
  • Use a number of proven, formative assessment strategies to test student understanding.

As you develop your charter school improvement plan, keep these additional tips in mind:

Seek Hard Facts Many charter school administrators are afraid to confront the hard realities that they face. You can never make sound decisions without having a clear picture of what you’re dealing with. You need to infuse your entire planning and discussion process with hard facts so you can have an unbiased review and examination of your improvement efforts.

Take One Step at a Time One of the biggest mistakes that most charter school administrators make is trying to focus on too many goals at a time. Take it a step at a time if you want to yield better results, faster. Considering that time and resources are quite limited, you should first focus on core goals that are going to have the greatest impact. By narrowing your focus, you can devote your energy to that area of improvement that’s going to bring about lasting change.

Have a Process to Execute Your Plan

With a charter school improvement plan alone, you can’t quite achieve anything. You need to establish a process to implement that plan. This process will be your roadmap for defining strategies that you’ll use to execute your improvement plan. This process should:

  • Define and assign roles, responsibilities, and timelines for completion, with clear responsibility and accountability measures for each step.
  • Include frequent classroom observations, followed up with instructional development that is geared toward improving teaching and learning skills for teachers.

When establishing a school improvement process to execute your plan, consider these steps:

Embrace a Collaborative Culture by Involving all Stakeholders Research has shown that strategies developed and implemented collaboratively as a team are more widely supported and adopted. Involving all stakeholders is a critical step when it comes to creating a reliable process to execute your charter school improvement plan. By allowing debate and dialogue, everyone can participate in developing an implementation model that is geared for success.

Be Realistic When Assigning Roles Almost every charter school will have staff members who perform work that goes well above and beyond their given responsibilities. While it may seem like a norm, it’s important to respect people’s time. Be realistic when assigning roles and focus on a new change initiative to ensure a sustainable model for success.

Have an Effective Staff Support System If you want your staff to accomplish your objectives with zeal, you need to have an effective support system. All staff must understand exactly what their roles are and see the value in the improvement plan. Provide the necessary resources, motivation, coaching, and instructional training needed to support your staff.

Invest in Technology to Support Your Plan & Measure Results

While you don’t have to invest in a costly technology platform to help you implement or support your charter school improvement plan, it’s perhaps your best bet at ensuring maximum efficiency. With the right online platform, your teachers can easily deliver lessons, instructional videos, and other learning resources. What you want is a simple but efficient way to support teacher development on demand. Technology can help you access student skills, personalize learning, and connect students with content that’s tailored to their specific needs.

A great online platform will provide you with comprehensive and actionable data that you can use to measure results and progress, assess your efforts to know what is working and what is not, uncover key learning trends, and help you make better decisions. In the past, tracking progress in school performance was time-consuming and challenging. But with advances in technology, it’s easier to collect, analyze, and share data automatically.

When choosing a technology to support your school improvement efforts, keep these things in mind:

  • The technology should align with your improvement plan goals and help you achieve them. Make sure that the features offered suit your needs.
  • It should be intuitive and easy to use and serve as your go-to option for managing your entire charter school improvement plan.

Commit to Long-Term Implementation of the Plan

Even with the best plans and intentions, it’s easy for charter school administrators to find themselves off-track. Constant focus, open communication, and long-term commitment to the implementation of the plan are critical. Make sure you have an open, clear, and honest system of communication that frequently reinforces your core agenda. Get feedback, ensure staff understand your plan and process, request status updates on progress made, and find out if there are challenges standing in the way.

Keeping in mind that staff morale is key to achieving success, ensure you recognize everyone’s accomplishments, however small. To ensure successful follow-through after developing and implementing your charter school improvement plan, take these steps:

  • Stick to your main priorities and focus your time and resources on them.
  • Assess your progress, analyze your processes, and make the necessary adjustments to achieve your goals.

Get Fast Funding for Charter School Development

The biggest challenge facing charter schools across the U.S. is limited funding to push growth and development agendas. At Charter Asset Management, we provide affordable and fast financial support to charter schools looking to actualize their improvement plans and development strategies throughout the U.S. To learn more about our financing options, don’t hesitate to contact our professional support team today or apply for funding today!