Editor's note: This is the second article in a two-part series on school startup lessons. Read part one here.
As communities in every part of the nation are being reshaped by such forces as urbanization, gentrification, and immigration, the creation of new public schools is vital. When done right, the startup of new schools fosters innovation, engages parents, empowers educators, unlocks community resources, and creates new options for learners and families with differing needs and preferences.
Between the three of us, we have started ten new public charter schools in three regions of the country, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and the Mid-South. Building on part one in this two-part series, here are six more lessons that we believe are key to engineering a successful school start:
1. Available cash flow and financial strength matter. One of the biggest impediments to quality school startups today is a lack of flexible funding. If everything falls into place, it is possible to pull off a strong school opening on limited resources. But considering the high cost of failure or consequences of subpar school performance for students, families, and the community, it simply isn’t worth the risk. As access to free...