The benefits of a private school are many. A private school is often able to offer smaller classes, a more individualized curriculum, and frequent parent/teacher interaction. Starting one can seem a daunting task, but those who endeavor to take on the challenge will find many advantages along the way.
These tips will help you learn how to start a school.
- Gather a Committee-One person can't do it alone. A planning committee should be formed and composed of community leaders, teachers, parents and concerned citizens. This committee may need to form subcommittees to focus on individual areas, such as school budgets, employment, enrollment, facilities, etc. Once the committee has been formed, members can then meet periodically to discuss goals and accomplishments along the way. If you want to have one of the top private schools, the committee should continue to meet after the school has been opened.
- Decide on the Type of School-Before a private school can be started, a goal or vision must be set. What type are people interested in? Will the school house kindergarten through twelfth grade, or will it only focus on the elementary grades? Will the school be affiliated with an educational philosophy, such as Montessori, or will it be associated with a church denomination? Will the school be a day school or a boarding school? These questions must be answered before any more planning can begin because these decisions will determine how the school environment is developed.
- Look at Other Schools-One of the best ways to start a private school is to look at other schools with similar goals and student bodies. Committee members should study several other private school models, paying close attention to the areas of success and the areas of failure. Take a look at how the school administration is set up as well. Members can then report back to the rest of the group on their findings. Ideas may be formed based on this research.
- Develop a Plan-Once the type of school has been decided upon and model schools have been reviewed, it's time to develop a plan for the implementation and management. This plan should include many areas, including a school budget, facility, faculty and staff and student body. Special attention must be paid to the budget, keeping in mind that there will always be hidden expenses that will pop up at any given time. It's imperative that an effective school management system be in place as soon as possible.
- Check State Regulations-Those in charge of developing and managing a private school must be in constant contact with various state organizations. The state department of education should be notified, and there may be incorporation laws that must be followed as well. The organization or committee should hire a law office to handle the legal questions that will continue to arise.
- Solicit Funds-Starting a private school can be extremely expensive. However, in many cases, there are federal funds available to help with the costs. Private industries may also be willing to adopt the school, providing extra equipment and supplies and donating money for various needs as well.
- Recruit Students-Once the school has been established, students must be made aware that its doors will soon open. Advertising and word of mouth are great ways to spread the word. The school should also consider hosting an open house and invite the community to tour the facilities and meet the staff. Ads should be placed in and around the community, in local newspapers and in other media as well. These ads can showcase why students should consider attending private schools -- particularly this one.
Finally, before the school is ready to open its doors, the faculty and staff must be ready to meet the students and present a positive and creative attitude that should carry throughout the existence of the school and into the community.