Starting your own school is a dream many of us have had but few of us have actually realized. A private school is a business. It has to be planned like a business, capitalized like a business, marketed like a business and run like a business. Each one of those steps requires expertise and determination.
In 1994 Senator Elliston Rahming and I co-founded R-E-S-P-E-C-T Academy in Nassau, Bahamas. Our tiny school served 120 students in grades 7 through 10. I was the Deputy Director of the school. (In the U.S. I would have been a Vice-principal). As such, I had responsibility for the academic side of things including scheduling and most of the day-to-day running of the school, disciplinary matters and interactions with parents. I share what I learned from that exciting time.
Doug Halladay is an expert in the business of starting private schools. He weighs in on the topic with sound advice and step by step guidance.
My colleague, Joanne Fritz, About.com's Nonprofit Guide, shares her expertise on starting a nonprofit. Since about 90% of you will be starting a private school as a nonprofit, Joanne's advice will save you lots of time in those initial planning stages.
Whether you plan to operate your new private school as a nonprofit or a for profit enterprise, there are certain things each type of operation has in common. Darrell Zahorsky, my colleague who is the Small Business Information Guide for About.com, offers expert advice so that you can avoid common mistakes as you plan your new school.
First impressions of your school are lasting ones. How does your school present to visitors? How about your website? Here are some tips on how to make a great first impression.
Your school has a website which has been professionally designed. It's a wonderful complement to your catalog and video. They are public relations masterpieces. Now all you have to do is just wait for the admissions inquiries and referrals from consultants to roll in, right? Not exactly. There are several things you can do to optimize your marketing efforts and your website.
When you are starting a new school, probably the last thing on your mind is accreditation. Yet it makes great sense to do things correctly at the beginning so that accreditation is a logical next step a few years down the road. If you carefully plan your curriculum and all the other things the accrediting organization will put under their microscope five years from now, you will have less to fix.
Dr. John Friedrick writes about his experiences in starting The Conserve School. There's a lesson to be learned here. In the spring of 2009 the trustees, citing financial difficulties, decided to turn the school into a semester school.
You'll be inspired by Brockton Prep's story. Imagine deciding to start a school and getting it done in less than a year. Why did they do it? Because they wanted the best education for their children delivered in the most efficient manner.
Ilana Debare offers her insight and experiences starting The Julia Morgan School for Girls in the San Francisco Bay area. You need to read and reread Ilana's book. Her advice is right on the money. This book will save you and your committee countless hours of wasted efforts and trips down dead end roads.