5 Ingredients for a Strong School Environment

Why do some private or independent schools grow, and some others decline over time? The issue is in the quality and commitment of the leadership. Even if schools increase enrollment and raise funds, underlying problems can force a school to rapidly decline and even close. Educational leaders must maintain five key elements for a strong environment and healthy tomorrow.

Strong Vision /// School leaders must know their educational product and environment today, and where they the school community to be in the next five years. They have an action plan that will lead them to success in terms of student enrollment, donor giving, academic programs and extracurricular activities. The vision is shared by board members, administrators, faculty, parents, students, alumni and other stakeholders.

Ethical Leadership /// School leaders do what is right and just. They must practice integrity, honesty, and fairness. They avoid conflicts of interest and steer clear of moral wrongs. It is imperative that school leaders are held accountable to both educational and nonprofit standards. Ethical leaders are responsible for their actions and put the greater good ahead of their own.

Approachable Leadership /// Everyone from the office secretary to school leader is approachable. All individuals make the school environment inviting, visitors feel welcomed. All team members have strong customer service skills – a helpful attitude and willingness to solve problems. Remember the first contact in your school’s building makes the first, and maybe last, impression.

Professional Development /// Small classes with mediocre teachers may not lead to modern day success. Parents desire administrators, teachers and others must constantly hone their craft. Private and independent schools must promote faculty growth and encourage faculty and staff members to pursuit informal and professional opportunities.

Open Door Policy /// Parents, both prospective and current, should not be limited to visits during specific times. Prospective parents are able to get a complete picture and observe instructional practices and talk with individuals without a scripted tour. Current parents are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom and common areas. Simple, the ability for current and prospective parents to walk in and out of the building encourages problems to be resolved quickly.