The next generation of charter school leaders must possess a diverse set of knowledge and skills. They must be strong instructional leaders capable of developing teacher talent, while also overseeing operational systems and budgets to make sure learning time is maximized and the organization is sustainable.
This combination of skills is rare.
The Association and its partners – Teach For America and the Arizona Department of Education – created a program to help aspiring leaders develop those skills and expertise to start their own high-performing schools to serve low-income students, the Aspiring Leaders Fellowship.
Over the weekend, Fellows from the program’s first cohort visited three high performing charter schools in Denver: STRIVE Preparatory, Denver School of Science and Technology, and University Preparatory. Fellows saw firsthand that a culture of consistent high expectations for all students — no matter their background — is the backbone to a successful school. Fellows witnessed quality instruction in the classroom, positive school culture and smoothly run facilities and school operations.
Our Fellows are passionate about closing the achievement gap in Arizona and have diverse backgrounds in education. Over the next few months, the Fellows will continue to travel the nation to learn the best practices of top performing schools.
At the end of the program, only those Fellows who demonstrated the necessary diverse leadership skills and a clear vision for a quality school are invited to apply for the second phase of the full two-year incubation process – Charter Starter. Charter Starter is an intense program which prepares leaders to open a charter school.
The ultimate goal is for these Fellows to open a quality charter school that holds students to high expectations, is founded on proven practices, and is aimed at closing the achievement gap in Arizona.
Next month, the Fellows are headed to Houston to visit KIPP Houston and YES Prep. Both organizations manage some of the highest performing schools in Texas, despite serving a traditionally challenging population.