What Makes a Successful Charter School?

Despite the growing popularity of charter schools across the country, their success isn’t always certain.  Charter schools face challenges of their own, but schools that have achieved longevity and success have done so with dedication and a stern focus on their missions: offering their communities choices in education that go above and beyond test scores.  A good charter school nurtures its students with a focus on a quality education for all while changing to meet the needs of students, teachers, and the community.

The things that make a charter school successful are the very same things that parents look for when selecting a school for their children.

The Mission

When a charter school is established, it must put forth a mission that reflects its beliefs and goals for the education of its students.  This mission shouldn’t be forgotten after its establishment, as it is the code that the school is governed by, and should be communicated whenever possible―to students through teaching, with parents and families, and of course, with staff.  You’re all on the same team with the same mission.  The mission should always be clear and in the forefront.

Transparency and Accountability

Charter schools are accountable to their communities they serve and their rules for transparency are typically included in their charter.  Successful charter schools have elected governing boards that have meetings open to the public.  According to the NEA, they should be audited annually and the results should be made available to the public.

Curriculum

Charter schools can be more flexible with their curriculum than public schools because they choose their own, instead of following the curriculum set by the state board of education from their state.  Instruction should be engaging and focused on each student’s strengths and weaknesses, not age and grade level.  Each child has their own style of learning.  Successful charter schools build on the student’s strengths and create strategies for individual success.  Of course, state academic standards must be met, but how each student gets there may be different.

Staff

A strong staff starts with great leadership that is dedicated to high-quality education for all students.  Good communication is also important.  At regular staff meetings, staff should be encouraged and feel comfortable giving feedback, positive or negative, along with suggestions that can improve policies at the school.  A dedication to ongoing staff development is important for continued growth for teachers that will positively impact students and the school.

Parent Involvement

Some charter schools make parental volunteering a requirement for student admission while other successful charter schools have a consistently strong approach to volunteering. Strong family engagement saves the school money as well as creating a bond between the school and the community it serves.

A charter school’s success depends on its dedication to growth as well as being an integral  part of the community.  Whether it’s reviewing protocols, improving on the admission process, re-evaluating the curriculum, or increasing parental participation, charter schools can find success by adapting to the changing education landscape and the needs of their students and families.

At a good charter school, children can receive a world-class education taught in a supportive environment that helps them thrive.  That’s what we do best at Eagle College Preparatory Schools.  We expect academic excellence from our students and know that this only achieved through love and support for every child.  To find out more about Eagle College Preparatory Schools in the St. Louis area, visit our website at or call us at (314) 664-7627.  We’d love for you to join us!

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