So, now I'm on my way home from the national conference. I didn't get to many sessions because of omy own presentations and having a booth to set up and take care of. That, combined with the fact that work doesn't stop just because I am away from home, means that I also didn't get to see much of the wonderful city of Chicago.
I did manage to get dinner by the Chicago River and walk down to the Navy Pier in on my last night. It was a beautiful night and we lucked out at saw the fireworks just before we went back to our hotel to crash.
It's clear from our presentation on organizational life cycles and charter schools that many schools, even those that have been around for a while, still struggle with life cycle issues. There appear to be two reasons that they struggle.
One is that they don't think in terms of life cycles. The second is that they do not ever really get to a stable stage and so they often skip stability and go straigh to stagnation or even decline.
Successfully negotiating the stages of the life cycle is so important to any organization, but it's especially important for charter schools. As they grow their educational program, they also need to grow and make their administrative processes more professional. As they hit stability, they need to recognize the oncoming signs of stagnation and hopefully begin renewing their school and processes before they enter decline, but at least before they are forced to restart or close.
Our attendees from both start up schools and mature schools (one attendee was from a school that has ten campuses and has been around for about 14 years). All found something interesting to comment on or ask questions about.
We enjoyed that session almost as much as our strategic compensation session, but more on that tomorrow.