by: Aasimah Navlakhi

 

Traditionally, the BES Annual Report is a careful consolidation of the past year: we distill data, pin new schools to our map, and try to capture the essence of each of our programs.

This year, we’ve done things a little differently. It is reflective, with eyes towards the future. For 2018-2019, we have made some changes, and we are excited to share them with you.

The most obvious change is the transition of Founder Linda Brown from the position of Chief Executive Officer. BES is making program changes as well, refining our leadership development offerings to better suit the needs of burgeoning charter schools. It takes a lot to create an excellent school and to keep that school excellent, and we want to be there to support leaders and their teams every step of the way.

 

Follow On Support

A leader’s work is never done– for Fellows, it does not stop after you get your charter application approved, after your school opens its doors, or even after three, four, or five years of operation. Leading a school is an ongoing process full of challenges, tough calls, and important decisions.

That was why BES created Follow On Support in the first place; to provide support to Fellows long after the training wheels had come off. This program has proven invaluable to numerous leaders and their schools, which is why it is now a part of the four-year commitment through The Fellowship.

Leaders and schools in Follow On Support receive unparalleled coaching and guidance on leadership, academics, hiring, and more to navigate their school from charter approval to open to operating.

 

Weekend Warriors

We know that a leader’s time is precious. Since the beginning, Weekend Warriors has been dedicated to skill-building in a tight time frame for greater impact and greater results.

At its core, the program remains the same: two days, with a half day dedicated to school observation and down-to-the-details thin slicing, followed by training sessions focused on skill building where participants need it most. This year, we’ve used participants’ feedback to refine Weekend Warriors. Here’s what to expect:

  • Weekend Warriors will now take place on a Thursday and a Friday, kicking off with an impactful school observation period on day one, followed by a day and a half of rigorous training.
  • Training opens with a group-wide session, with the next day organized into four separate tracks, each dedicated to skill building relevant to participants’ everyday and long-term goals:
    • School Leadership
    • Elementary Leadership
    • Middle School Leadership
    • Operations

Registration for October Weekend Warriors opens in August, with a cost of $1500 per participant. We look forward to the upcoming year of high-impact trainings, kicking off in Nashville.

 

Anchoring Excellence

The 2018-2019 school marks the introduction of our first-ever Anchoring Excellence cohort. Led by director Luke Van de Walle, Anchoring Excellence is devoted to supporting and developing leaders as they strive for rigorous instruction and high academic results.

In addition to personalized one-on-one coaching, members of the cohort develop a variety of tools to support their school’s culture, coaching, talent, board, and instruction. For full details on this BES offering, please consult the Anchoring Excellence one pager.

 

As I write this, 2017 Fellows have embarked on Follow On Support, and are working to establish their schools, finding facilities, selecting staff, and recruiting students. Photos and anecdotes are flooding in as 2015 and 2016 Fellows open schools around the country. And already-established schools are wrapping up professional development days, ready to welcome students back and take on the school year.

It’s the next step in a long journey to change outcomes for and offer opportunities to hundreds of students nationwide. BES is here to support them, at every step of the way.