The Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office (GVSU CSO) employs a strong communication system, keeping all staff accountable and aware of office operations. Mandatory staff meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of every month. Each staff member provides an update of their area of responsibility while other members have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. If new programs or ideas are brought forth, a committee is formed to research and potentially implement the program. This collaborative method enhances staff commitment to practices and holds programs, services, and staff accountable.
Prior to each staff meeting, all GVSU CSO Field Service Representatives meet with the Deputy Director of Charter Schools, Director of Governance and Compliance, Project Coordinator, and Data Analyst to discuss updates on GVSU’s portfolio of schools. Also, prior to each staff meeting, the Manager of Programs and Marketing meets with the Detroit Center Coordinator, Project Coordinator, Office Assistant, and Communications and Technology Specialist to provide specific office updates which help to maintain a smooth and efficient front office support system.
In addition to a strong internal communication system, the GVSU CSO maintains constant contact with every school as a Field Service Representative attends all charter school board meeting throughout the year. Each school board agenda allows GVSU CSO Field Service Representatives to provide information on GVSU contract standards through the Contract Performance Review, communicate GVSU programs and services, and provide authorizer updates. Board Members and school principals are updated on relevant topics at annual board receptions and bi-annual principals’ meetings.
Every GVSU CSO staff member is encouraged to grow professionally through annual attendance of a national conference, seminars, and workshops offered throughout the state. In addition to program offerings to school leaders, the GVSU CSO also sponsors the registration fees for GVSU charter school teachers and leaders to attend the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) conference as well as the GVSU College of Education Wildly Exciting Conference.
Annual publications are produced and distributed to all GSVU stakeholders showcasing programs, portfolio snapshots, and school data. These publications include the Annual Report, Academic Achievement Analysis, and GVSU CSO By the Numbers brochure. In-school support brochures are also created and distributed to all GVSU CSO schools.
The mission and purpose outlined in the GVSU CSO strategic plan continually directs the actions of all office staff. The GVSU CSO strategic plan was developed collaboratively and is comprised of staff serving on goal committees. Committee chairs provide updates on the progress of each goal at staff meetings throughout the year. The strategic plan is a “living” document that is constantly visited. Programs and progress are evaluated through the analysis of: 1) school data reflected on Contract Performance Reviews; 2) surveys (stakeholder feedback diagnostic); and 3) qualitative data retrieved at board meetings, in-school workshops, and training.
The GVSU CSO always seeks innovative ways to grow. The EdLabs program is an applicable example of the GVSU CSO seeking to provide more clearly aligned data outcomes to determine the development of future programming. Board Rountables are being discussed as another opportunity to obtain feedback from charter school boards, and the GVSU CSO continues to investigate the feasibility of offering student climate surveys to teachers, students, and parents in every school.
The authorizer’s leadership and staff at all levels commit to a culture that is based on shared values and beliefs that include oversight of relevant and targeted educational programs and services, equitable support, active engagement in learning, application of knowledge and skills and high expectations for professional practice.