Running a school smoothly and effectively is not a walk in the park – especially not in its earliest stages. Parents want to choose a school that provides wholesome growth for their children, and rest assured in their decision. As a school owner, you want to ensure you are achieving the goals you set for yourself when you started. Matching these expectations can be tough on the entire school community.
That said, there are a few key factors to keep in mind when starting and running a successful school.
The School’s Niche
Assess the community where you plan on starting your school and take into consideration the needs, wants, and resources of the families who live there. This will help you determine if your mission and vision are realistic. Will the socio-economic realities of the area support your school structure? You also have to think about what programs will be best suited for your prospective families.
Your Mission, Vision, & Values
Creating mission and vision statements for your school is one of the very first things you must do. These will lay a foundation for all that comes next.
Your mission statement explains why your school does what it does an should be written as though the school is already open. Your vision statement is aspirational; it is what you are striving for at your school. Your values set the culture of your school community; they are the fundamental beliefs upon which your school and its behavior will be based.
Choose Staff Wisely
To maximize your school’s potential, it is essential that you appoint teachers who are intelligent, skilled, and experienced. Teachers must also have leadership qualities and a wholesome understanding of the minds and behavior patterns of the children. They have to be patient and sympathetic towards them, but at the same time, they also have to know when and how to discipline the kids. A skilled staff enhances the school’s capabilities and ensures its success.
The School’s Finances
Starting a school requires developing a detailed budget that shows projected expenses and income. To maximize your success, you should engage the services of a financial professional, projecting income conservatively, and allowing for the unexpected.
Initial expenses may include purchase or rental of a property, construction, renovations, architect, contractor, legal and financial services, classroom furnishings, learning materials, outdoor play spaces, office equipment, technology, and marketing materials. Also be sure to be sure to project your faculty and staff salaries.
Income sources primarily include school tuition and application fees. It helps to consider other forms of income such as extended care and/or summer activities, and fundraising.
Physical Space & Materials
You need to think about what kind of facility your school will require. You will need to consider land and building needs and whether you will lease, buy, build, or renovate the space. Are suitable properties available, ideally with access to the outdoors? Carefully examine each space’s accessibility—including public transportation, major roads, traffic patterns, parking, and traffic flow during drop-off and pick-up. Also plan for potential expansions in the future.
Furnishings, resource materials, and teaching aids, are a few of the materials you will need to take into consideration. Learning materials are integral to quality implementation at every level of education.
As you can see, running a school involves a lot of planning. These factors are the foundation for any solid school. Before you even begin to break ground, you should have the answers to these questions clearly stated so you never lose sight of your goals.
Until next time.