HR Strategy

4 Key Challenges for Charter Schools to Ace Now

By

Brie Hobbs

| Mar 16, 2015

A cultural shift exists in the education arena, in which schools are looking to integrate technology with everyday practices. This shift challenges the existing practices of how labor is allocated, how hiring is managed, how talent is evaluated and how teachers are empowered. It is a plea to fix current problems, so instead of constantly jumping through hoops, leaders of charter schools can focus on reaching academic excellence.

Before charter schools can reach academic excellence, a strong effort to overcome current challenges will be required. Not sure where to start? Here are ways you can overcome these obstacles and make the grade.

How labor is allocated

Charter schools operate very differently than its traditional public school counterparts, especially when it comes to labor allocation. Aside from hiring the same certified teachers as traditional public schools, charter schools can hire qualified individuals that often have significant professional experience in their subject area, but may not be traditionally credentialed. The different levels make labor allocation a more concentrated process.

New technologies have made it possible for charter schools to allocate labor for both its certified and classified positions. Faculty can clock into multiple positions within the school and allocate varying pay rates by position. Labor allocation, prior to new technology, was a fully manual process. Now, specific HR and payroll providers can work with any general ledger system, automating reporting. Charter schools can pull reports at any time to see the breakdown of their expenses in real-time.

How hiring is managed

Charter school leaders are deeply committed to their school’s mission, but often struggle with the “extras” of leading a charter school; for instance managing the hiring process. Each year schools do a mass onboarding to bring on new hires and the entire faculty that comes back from summer break. Without the right tool, onboarding can be a tedious process.

The right tool; however, can help with signing contracts and updating policies with the new school year. Depending on scalability, an applicant tracking system  can accommodate large scale hiring and schools that may have multiple locations.

How talent is evaluated

As it turns out, the education sector is highly competitive. Both charter schools and public schools are pulling from the same talent pool. Top talent is a high commodity and schools can’t afford to lose the good ones. Research has shown that losing an employee is 1.5 times their salary and losing a great employee is 3 times their salary. Considering the importance talent plays in keeping a charter school successful, turnover is cause for concern.

Schools need tools to track and evaluate teacher performance which is directly correlated to compensation plans and becoming tenured.

How teachers are empowered     

Many charter schools have or are going to make the commitment to integrate technology in k-12 education to help create a new level of cooperation between students and teachers. This same promise should be made between teachers and administration. Empowerment is the whole purpose behind the move to technology and that’s exactly what teachers need. In a National Charter School Research project, 40 percent of charter school leaders reported that managing facilities is a problem and not too far behind in the list of struggles comes managing personnel.

Employee Self-Service products can eliminate the burden leaders are feeling and empower teachers; allowing them access to the information they need when they need it.

Operating on a very lean back office, charter schools need to make the move to better and more improved technology to help streamline existing processes. Running a charter school can be difficult, but the right technology can help in acing these four challenges.

About the Author

Brie Hobbs

For more than eight years, Brie has been writing to both job seekers and business leaders about human resources and the challenges facing today’s workforce. Her articles have appeared on award-winning career and HR blogs, as well as on the International Franchise Association’s SmartBrief and other notable publications. With a background in franchising, Brie focuses on helping franchise organizations understand how Paycom’s human capital management technology can benefit their business.

See more posts by Brie Hobbs