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Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

What Do Successful Schools Look Like and How Are They Run?

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 30, 2017 1:31 PM

Did you know that in 2017 50.2 million children in America will attend public elementary and secondary schools? Furthermore, approximately 5.2 million children are expected to attend private elementary and secondary school. Education is, therefore, a core societal need in America and the world over. With such a high demand for learning services, stakeholders need to know what constitutes a good school and how to run one. 

Attributes of A Good School

Some of the markers of a good school include:


Like any other organization, a school performs as well or as poorly as the quality of its leadership. The disposition of the topmost leader, the principal, is critical in setting the culture of the school. A principal who can best lead a top performing school needs to be student-centric. Any decisions that inform their strategy ought to be geared toward improving service delivery for the students.

A school with teachers who provide more than the bare minimum required of them regarding student duties excels in its objectives. This is because such teachers take ownership of the institution's goals and seek to go above and beyond their duties with the students under their care.

Vision and Mission

A school that performs well is one that is continually cognizant of its vision and mission. When teachers, students and support staff understand the vision and mission of the school, its operations become cohesive. The leadership ought to communicate the vision and mission widely and frequently to consistently keep it top of mind for everyone in the school community. 

A Robust Teaching Staff

Teachers are the backbone of the school, and therefore a high-performing school can't exist without good teachers. A mixture of experience and fresh energy is what makes for an excellent teaching staff. Experienced teachers provide wisdom& skill gained over the years in the classroom, e.g., in how to manage a class, how to engage with various student personalities, etc. New teachers, on the other hand, bring in a fresh approach and innovation which helps the school grow.

How to Run a Good School

Here are some pointers on how to run a school well.

Embrace Technology

Any school that looks to go into the 21st era and beyond must evaluate how it will integrate technology into its operations to enhance its service delivery. A school can use 3D printing technology in a technical class to create prototypes in real time. Students can tweak their ideas to create better projects and learn in a much more visceral way. 

Remote learning is a useful tool that a school can utilize to bring expertise that may have previously not been accessible to them. All that is necessary for this is a computer, headphones for school testing and an internet connection. That is a feasible cost to achieve higher student success rates.

Closer Collaboration with Parents

What happens at home significantly impacts a student's performance, and ultimately, the school's performance. Focus on integrating the parents into the academic program more. When parents regularly participate in school programs geared towards their children they can better enforce policies that buttress the lessons at home. 

School and home then dovetail in a meeting of the minds which can only result in greater student empowerment and support. Learners will ultimately do better leading to overall school performance. 

Foster A Conducive Culture

The culture of an organization affects its overall productivity and schools are no exception. It is crucial that the leadership creates an enabling environment for education to take place. As such a culture that promotes safety, security and performance are imperative for a school to excel. 

If students continually feel threatened or unsafe, they will not focus on studying and performing well. Enrollment will dip as parents will keep withdrawing their children from such an environment. Teachers will not give their best if the school lacks a culture that encourages performance. 


Education is a core need in today's society more than ever before. Parents, teachers and various stakeholders need to identify the markers of a good school. They also need to know how to manage a school for it to become successful. An excellent school centers around the students, staff (teaching and non-teaching), leadership and organizational culture.

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