2.3 Develop capacity to create and grow schools and programs


 

+ As with Lever 1, you don't need a full team to start the work - identify a project lead first and then focus on building capacity.

Fully built, you should expect to see a dedicated team of individuals running two distinct but connected workstreams. First, there is the annual process of identifying and encouraging entrepreneurial school leaders (in-district or out) to launch new schools. The work does not end here. Once identified, these leaders need support on all fronts - leadership development, hiring and teacher development, academics, and operations. Look for a diverse range of skillsets and do not hesitate to pull in team members from other departments to provide integrated support for new schools.

Focus on the following skills required to successfully implement Lever 2:

Program Management – Organize and track work plans, create the appropriate working and decision-making processes, ensuring stakeholders are engaged, and supporting the work itself.

Analytics – Aggregate and integrate data from multiple functions and systems including your school performance framework, talent and evaluation data, and operations data to ensure new schools are progressing as planned and that they are getting the supports they need.

Change Management – Navigate the process of converting to a school creation and support model internally, communicating the “why” and the “what” to other central office teams and enlisting their support. Work with school leaders to make the case for these new policies.

Problem Solving – Create solutions for the system and process by adapting to feedback and other constraints, such as limited data, community voice, phrasing, etc.

Communications – Convey complex, technical information to a wide audience, while balancing rigor and credibility with ease of understanding.

Customer Service Orientation – View principals as the customers; work with them to eliminate barriers to providing a high-level of customization and pay attention to the needs of specific school communities as they launch.

It is most important to name a leader with the practical experience and organizational knowledge to get started in this work. As with other levers, start with what you have and build from there.

+ Some possible roles are outlined below, with the understanding that these will vary based on your district’s context. Consider these a guide to frame your thinking about how to build out your office.

Role: Ownership of New Schools

Position: Chief of New Schools, Chief Academic Officer

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Visible leader overseeing innovation in the district, including managing the new school application process and ongoing support for new schools.

  • Develops buy-in for new school concepts among internal and external stakeholders, including liaising with senior stakeholders.

  • Ensures senior leadership visibility and support of the new school process.

Role: Execution of the New Schools Process

Position: Executive Director; 2 levels from the superintendent, reporting to Chief

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Serves as the primary point of contact for the new school application process.

  • Oversees the development of the new school application process including criteria, applications, timeline, and review process.

  • Leads the development and execution of processes and policies related to new school creation.

  • Manages the new schools approval processes, including replications of existing schools and recruitment of external school providers, including charter schools.

  • Liaises with priority stakeholders to garner support for new schools.

  • Supervises new schools application office staff.

Role: New School Process Support Team Staff

Position: Analyst, Senior Analyst, or Manager; 3-4 levels down from the superintendent

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Works with the Executive Director to develop new school application process.
  • Manages the new school application process on an annual basis.
  • Acts as the first point of contact with principals and new school leaders expressing interest to apply for the creation of a new school or program.
  • Markets the new school application process internally and externally to generate applications.

Role: Execution of the School Support Process

Position: Executive Director; 2 levels from the superintendent, reporting to Chief

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Serves as the primary point of contact for the school support process.
  • Oversees the development of training and professional development, ongoing support for newly created schools in the launch years.
  • Works with a cross-functional team of Academics, Operations, Finance and other district functions to clear barriers and ensure principals are receiving integrated support.
  • Manages the new schools support process annually.
  • Supervises new schools support staff.

Role: School Support Team Leader

Position: Senior Manager or Director; 2-3 levels from the superintendent, reporting to the Executive Director or Chief

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Plans, implements, supervises support for schools - includes managing a team of functional area leads in Talent, Academics, and Operations to provide specific support to principals.
  • Collects and manages the data inputs.
  • Communicates with school leaders.
  • Interfaces with other district staff to provide support to principals.

Role: School Support Team Staff (functional expertise in Academics, Operations, and Talent)

Position: Analyst, Senior Analyst, or Manager; 3-4 levels down from the superintendent

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Works with school support team leader to provide training and other support to new school leaders.
  • Develops and delivers specific trainings and ongoing support in the three key areas of Academics, Talent, and Operations.
  • Serves as the first point of contact with principals.

Role: Data Analysis / Process Support

Position: Analyst, Senior Analyst, or Manager; 3-4 levels down from the superintendent

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Works as the primary data analyst to support the office of new schools.
  • Organizes input files to capture required data for the analysis.
  • Prepares data visuals for managers.

Output

An organizational chart and clear roles and responsibilities for district staff charged with a new school strategy


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