Quick look: Charter schools must create an HR plan as unique as the students they nurture each day. Here are 10 challenges to consider this year and how a professional employer organization (PEO) can help administrators overcome them.
Midnight welcomed the new year, and many charter schools are beginning to kickstart operations for the new semester. Reevaluating human resource (HR) processes, however, should also be considered since the challenges behind these functions evolve on an annual basis. Keep on reading to discover 10 HR challenges affecting charter schools in 2024 and how a PEO partner can provide expert guidance and streamlined solutions to navigate these pain-points effectively.
1. Teacher retention
Quality, certified teachers are at the heart of student success. Knowing this, charter schools put in great effort to attract and retain top educators. Despite having more flexibility in the hiring process than traditional public schools, it can still be challenging to hold onto exceptional teachers.
Shortages for teachers in the job market play a pivotal role in this challenge. To safeguard their commitment to support students, teachers are left to divide core curriculum responsibilities among themselves. Adding these tasks to their pre-existing duties can increase burnout, which 59% of teachers claim to be experiencing. Not only does this pressure compromise teachers’ abilities to give students proper one-to-one attention, but it is also leading 55% of educators to consider leaving the profession earlier than expected.
2. Diverse and inclusive hiring practices
A classroom enriched with students from diverse backgrounds brings a multitude of perspectives. This diversity in thought and experience fosters creativity and innovation, as students learn to approach problems and concepts from different angles. Though educational leaders strive to have the same diversity and inclusivity exist in their own faculty, many charter schools consider this one of their top HR challenges.
It can be difficult attracting diverse candidates, especially since the National Center for Education Statistics reported that only about 20% of teachers identified as nonwhite. Additionally, it’s hard to retain diverse teachers since educators of color have an 18.9% turnover rate. Instructors with experience in inclusive learning such as special education and bilingual teaching are also difficult to compete for within today’s job market. Since diverse staffs make inclusive learning and support more available to students, charter schools need to make concerted efforts to create an inclusive environment that values different perspectives and backgrounds.
3. Professional development and training
Students aren’t the only ones continually upgrading their learning skills. The teaching profession requires instructors to complete in-depth trainings to successfully do their job. On a base level, 50% of public charter school teachersearned a Bachelor’s degree while 39% also earned a Master’s degree. Most educators are also expected to hold a state license that verifies their authority to teach either standard, subject-specific, or advanced education.
Even if a teacher has a highly decorated background, they need access to advanced career training to stay ahead of academic standards and expectations. Charter schools must find ways to offer such access to effective professional development programs without overextending their limited budgets.
4. Performance management
Communication fuels progress. In the classroom, students rely on grading systems to see if their work is exceptional, satisfactory, or in need of additional assistance. Educators also appreciate performance feedback from their charter school. Generally, 75% of employees view receiving feedback to be valuable. Performance reviews also drive high engagement among staff, encouraging a rise in productivity and efficiency. Best of all, reviews help charter schools improve retention since investing in regular employee feedback lowers turnover rates by 14.9%.
Developing and implementing fair and effective performance evaluation systems for teachers and staff is a critical HR challenge to solve. However, these systems depend on the effectiveness of its performance management strategy. That’s why charter schools need to balance accountability with supportive development opportunities for their staff.
5. Compliance with regulations
Classroom instructors create rules to help students foster a safe and collaborative learning environment. The same logic applies within the education sector. The U.S. Department of Education continuously introduces and updates regulations to ensure the highest academic practices are upheld across the country. Simultaneously, state and local governments develop additional compliance laws to give guidance to active schools and their districts. These various guidelines are mandatory, which means schools unable to abide by set standards can risk facing fines and even a forced shutdown.
While charter schools have more independence compared to traditional public schools, they still need to comply with various federal, state, and local regulations. However, it can be tough to navigate these legal requirements and thoroughly monitor any changes they undergo when a charter school’s administrative staff has minimal compliance expertise and limited schedules.
6. Compensation and employee benefits
Top educators positively influence the betterment of students. In exchange, these teachers expect their charter school employer to help support the livelihood of themselves and their family. This support is given through competitive pay and employee benefits, which have become imperative for charter schools to provide to maintain retention. In fact, 78% of teachers state achieving higher pay would encourage them to stay in the teaching field. Despite charter schools adamant desire to give their teachers improved compensation and benefits, their reliance on funding limits their budget’s flexibility.
7. Work culture and morale
The mission of a charter school reflects the academic goals and aspirations it hopes their students achieve. An engaged and loyal teaching staff is one core way this mission is brought to life. Building and maintaining a positive work culture influences employee satisfaction and retention. One study found that workplace culture impacts job satisfaction by 42%. Teachers who are exceptionally satisfied with their job are more likely to be productive in the classroom, actively collaborate with fellow staff members, and openly advocate their school to others.
Charter schools often require a collaborative approach and a high level of commitment to foster a positive work culture and encourage staff morale. However, this HR feat can become a challenge if a strategy is not agreed upon and if administration doesn’t have the bandwidth to ensure these efforts are upkept.
8. Staff autonomy vs. school policies
Educators are held to a high professional standard, especially since they are the driving force behind students’ success. Their effectiveness, however, often correlates with how a school handles its policies. Schools with little to no formal policies can cause teachers to feel pressured to develop best teaching practices from scratch. On the other hand, overly strict and excessive policies can stunt a teacher’s independence with formulating lesson plans that incorporate different learning styles and opportunities. Lack of autonomy also affects non-teaching staff members’ capabilities to make innovative decisions that can improve their school’s internal operations.
Though a delicate task, charter schools need to balance the autonomy of teachers and staff with the need to adhere to school policies and educational philosophy. Achieving this balance with the help of HR processes can make a significant difference in the school’s performance and job satisfaction rating.
9. Change management
Like education, charter schools evolve at a rapid pace. Newfound teaching techniques, scholarly discoveries, and even faculty employment updates are just some details that can alter a school’s organization. However, understanding that charter schools can undergo significant changes more frequently than traditional schools is only step one in facing these adjustments. Change management defines a school’s competence with preparing for, addressing, and implementing changes in a timely fashion. Maintaining this procedure attributes to the success of transformation goals. In fact, integrating change management leads to a 47% higher likelihood of meeting desired objectives.
By adapting a practical change management strategy, schools can better ensure stability and continuity throughout the year. It can be difficult to perfect such a strategy, however, without having proper experience or the bandwidth to dedication an ample amount of time to this plan.
10. Resource allocation
Students couldn’t pass a test without utilizing appropriate resources. Circumstances like having improper study time and lacking writing utensils can kickstart a delay in their academic progress. Similarly, educators and administration’s efforts to better their charter school can fall short without the correct resources. Unfortunately, a school’s resource allocation is dependent on their financial flexibility. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, national schools spend an average of $14,347 per student. These investments are put into key resources making a student’s education possible including classroom learning tools, busing services, afterschool care, and faculty salaries.
Charter schools are significantly struggling to efficiently manage their resources, including HR, within set budgetary constraints. Without a compromise, tough decisions are often forced to be made about staff levels, class sizes, and student program offerings.
Overcome annual HR challenges with ExtensisHR
Just like a seasoned teacher prepping for a new school year, charter schools must equip themselves with the right tools and strategies to tackle these challenges head-on.
That’s where a PEO partner like ExtensisHR steps in, making HR as easy as ABC. Here’s a glimpse at how we personalize our services to your charter school’s unique needs.
Tailored HR management: Like a skilled teacher organizing a cluttered classroom, ExtensisHR brings order and efficiency to the often-chaotic world of human resources. By managing HR, payroll, employee benefits, and compliance, we relieve school leaders of these time-consuming tasks—allowing charter schools to focus more on their core mission of education and less on the intricacies of employment law and HR administration.
Customer-first support: We also know the importance of having a reliable partner in the educational sector. Each charter school is given their very own School Account Manager (SAM), HR Manager, Payroll Specialist, Implementation Manager, and access to ExtensisHR’s Employee Solution Center (ESC), ready to handle your HR tasks with precision, speed, and care.
A+ technology: Backed by exceptional customer support is our SchoolCloud™ Portal, a tech platform crafted with the needs of charter schools in mind. It features advanced training modules, incident reporting, continuing education programs, and other intuitive functionalities, ensuring that managing your HR tasks is as straightforward and effective as possible.
We at ExtensisHR work to reduce your HR workload, akin to how an extra set of hands elevates classroom management. With us, educators enjoy more time to plan lessons and engage students. Contact us to learn how we can turn your school’s HR challenges into a success story. Let’s work together to create an environment where educators and students alike can thrive.