Road to Success or Destruction of a Charter School

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Road To Success or Destruction for A Charter School
Jean M. Smith
MGT 330: Management for Organizations
Instructor Sheila Fry
November 19, 2012

Working in education is very interesting and also rewarding. Education is the backbone to society, yet is often taken for granted and underappreciated. School districts are just like a big organization or conglomerate, and are run like a business. Charter schools are slightly different than independent school districts, in that they are usually much smaller. However, one can really see the five functions of management at work in a charter school; planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling. Of the five functions of management, planning is the single most important function of management that affects the outcome of any organization. Charter schools are required to have their goals and how they plan to achieve those goals, written out and presented to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in order to be granted a charter to start the school. Therefore, planning is the key. Koinonia Community Learning Academy (KCLA), is a fairly new charter school in the heart of Third ward in Houston, Texas. This is its third school year and I just came aboard in July. Immediately I could tell that the planning function was not well thought out or executed; as a matter of fact, it appeared non-existent. When starting a school you must consider the demographics of the chosen location, what’s to be accomplished and how to accomplish the goal. The church that started the charter school didn’t map out exactly how to achieve the particular goal (Cliffnotes.com, 2012). They did not go through the steps of planning such as examining the internal and external environment to discover the strengths and weaknesses; determining which goals to pursue; choose strategies to achieve the goals; allocating organizational resources to pursue the goals (Reilly, Minnick, Baack, 2011). The church did not take those necessary steps to develop a plan for the success of the charter school. The school is struggling through the effects of poor planning. The first year it was open the enrollment numbers were small, however due to some type of marketing strategies the enrollment numbers doubled for the next school year. There was not a plan in place for the accommodation of such an increase, which caused dissatisfied parents, or the customer/consumer so to speak. There was no space for the fourth grade class, who had to be taught in a gymnasium all school year long. This school year the fourth graders are still being taught in the gymnasium and the cafeteria. We’re waiting on a portable building to arrive to house the fourth and fifth grades. The enrollment numbers have dropped from what they were at the end of last school year, however the school is in a house-cleaning mode. The new Superintendent/Principal is trying to save and revive the school. She has to fight through two years of poor planning and mismanagement. This poor planning also speaks to disorganization and without a proper plan in place it is hard to move to the next function. The second function of management is organizing, or establishing a task and authority relationships that allow people to work together to achieve the organization’s goals (Reilly, et.al, 2011). According to Cliffnotes.com(2012), after a plan is in place, a manager needs to organize their team and materials according to their plan; and also assigning work and granting authority, which are two important elements in organizing. In this function, the board of directors failed to put in place a manager who could carry out the task. The priorities were not based on the goals. Buying nice furniture has little to do with providing quality education to low income families, yet they were not using their allocation of funds for the fundamental needs of the students. However, the office is very beautiful with nice leather furniture and expensive desk; all the while...
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