Monday, December 17, 2012

Asking Questions

In the world of charter schools, asking questions is about the best thing anyone can do.

A sign of a good charter school governing board is that they ask good questions. A couple of months ago I was at a charter school board meeting and one of the board members had analyzed student academic achievement data that was in the board packet and some very good questions for the Principal. His questions all sent the message that good wasn't enough for their students. He wanted to know why the scores weren't even higher than "good."

It's good for a charter school authorizer to ask questions, too. Making assumptions, or being reticent to ask tough questions, doesn't help anyone, much less the students at the charter school. Questions clarify and provide for better communication.

Most of the time, getting responses to questions in writing is the most helpful. In verbal conversations, there is body language and distractions, but in writing the material can be reviewed repeatedly and serves as a record  for future reference. Oftentimes, people communicate more clearly in writing since what they write stands as record.

Asking questions in the charter school-authorizer relationship increases the transparency. Think about using questions as a way to enhance the relationship!