Seeking external support
Design teams should make a plan for seeking external support throughout the Storming stage. External support is the means by which teams secure financial support for the design phase and political support for their autonomy and school proposal.
Often, teams designate one or two members to handle these highly important responsibilities. In many cases, teams’ autonomy and school proposals have secured approval swiftly because of the political support cultivated (and pitfalls avoided) during the Storming stage. Your team should expect to educate potential supporters about teacher-powered schools and the nature of your specific proposal, listen carefully to any concerns, determine your responses to those concerns, and then educate some more.
Financial support for the start-up process
One big question on teachers’ minds as they design their school is whether they can receive compensation during the planning and start-up process. Some teams have secured start-up grants (very small to very large in size), while others have started schools without any financial support.
To our knowledge, no teams have pursued arrangements with their districts and unions/associations to plan part-time and teach part-time (with payment for both) although the Minnesota legislature considered a bill to fund teachers in this way in the 2015 legislative session. Teachers have been able to negotiate arrangements like this for other kinds of work, such as taking a part-time leave to work with a national union on a project. Perhaps your team could seek a similar arrangement with your local, state, or national union/association and your school district for the purpose of designing a teacher-powered school.
Political support for your autonomy and school proposal
In addition to seeking financial support, your team should investigate who might politically support your school proposal and your team’s quest for autonomy, including state leaders, district leaders, union and association leaders, charter authorizers, business community members, foundations, parents, universities, nonprofits, and other community organizations.
Sharing your team’s plans with these parties will help you discover connections and ideas for your proposal’s success. You might also learn about potential obstacles facing your teacher-powered school, which would give your team time to determine how to overcome them.