March 15, 2013
I remember when many schools raised their collective eyebrows at social media a few years ago. You could almost hearing them saying under their breath "Over my dead body!" That was probably because few people understood social media and what to do with it.
Decades ago your beautiful school brochures and catalogs were the way you got the word out. They were expensive and time-consuming to produce. But that's all we had. Then along came the Internet. Schools built Web sites. Pretty basic ones at first. But as the technology advanced and professional graphic designers got their hands on those school Web sites, the result was a product just as elegant and compelling as those brochures and catalogs we used to have lithographed. In truth most schools still produce brochures and catalogs but now do them in house in most cases.
It seemed that you had barely got your Web site tweaked to dazzling perfection, replete with online applications, inquiries, video tours and all the bells and whistles 21st century Web designers could cram into them, when along came Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. Social media was suddenly socially acceptable.
Let's look at social media and see how best to use it to promote your school and its mission.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Essentially you need to post pictures to grab your readers' interest. Remember: absorbing information from the Internet is like drinking from a fire hydrant these days. There's just so much of it. We scan. We only read in...read more
August 14, 2012
Who in their right mind starts a private school? Parents and teachers do. Why do they start a school? Because they are passionate about teaching a certain way or adhering to a certain philosophy or sometimes because they simply want to run their own school and do things their way.read more
No matter what the genesis of the idea might be, the recipe for bringing a school into existence is straight-forward enough. It requires equal parts persistence, business acumen and patience. To those basic ingredients you add huge lashings of money. Mix thoroughly. As you do, you discover that you will have to add more money regularly as the other ingredients soak up gobs of money.
Here is a template for planning and opening your own school. Good luck! I did it. Lived through the experience. I still recall it as one of the best things I ever did.
24 months before your projected opening date
Most school academic years begin in September or thereabouts. So you want to start the project at least 2 years out. You may need an extra year or two. The size and scope of the project and the funding resources at your disposal will determine how early you should start.
Determine what kind of school the local market needs. You may know what you want. But does the market affirm your vision of the kind of school you are planning?
Form a small steering committee of talented supporters to begin the preliminary work. Include parents with financial, legal and...
July 15, 2012
Most of us like to start a project and see it through from start to finish. Signing on to run a going concern is a pretty safe bet too. But what about tackling something which is going to make enormous demands on your abilities, energy and experience but which has a lot of risk? Such as taking over a struggling school?
Actually, taking over anything which is struggling entails a lot of risk. Anyway, you have talent and experience. So let's examine what's involved in investigating a head of school position in a struggling school before you sign on.
First of all, let's agree to define the struggling school as a school which is having financial difficulties. Once you understand that you are going to have to do some very heavy lifting raising money, that will help you focus on what has to be done. The truth is that most struggling schools didn't arrive in their present condition overnight. This is train wreck which the previous head of school and the board saw coming for several years before now.
Let's look at some of the reasons why a school finds itself facing difficult times.
- Its business model is flawed.
- It didn't market itself effectively.
- It wasn't managed properly.
- It didn't invest in the future.
These four reasons cover most of the more common situations. But there are others.
When you interview for the position, be sure to ask tough questions of the board. Was it a matter of the previous head of school staying on after his sell...
June 12, 2012
"Popular teacher murdered"read more
"Accusations of sex abuse at prestigious private school"
"Lavish expenditures on headmaster's house renovations"
These are examples of incidents which have actually taken place at private schools.
It's a headmaster's worst nightmare to read a story about something which happened at his school.
It's a parent's worst nightmare to read a story about something which happened in the school her children are attending.
It's a teacher's worst nightmare to be in the midst of the maelstrom which is the evolving story with all its investigations.
21st century heads of school know that they cannot simply circle the wagons and deny the existence of the story. A couple of decades ago when communications such as Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs and smartphones didn't exist, the fortress mentality was how many heads handled bad press. You expelled a few students, fired some staff and hopefully the matter was put to rest permanently. Not any more.
Now when bad press appears, it takes on a life of its own. It is bad enough to see a column or two in a respected national journal such as the New York Times or the Washington Post, but an article which is continued on several pages? Well, that's pretty serious stuff. Stonewalling, in any form, will not do. The 21st century version of stonewalling is the spin a good public relations agent can and should put on a tough story. But "No comment" will not work either. Go that route at your peril.
Bad press is the acid test of your...
May 13, 2012
Have you ever thought about starting your own private school? There are a couple of reasons why you might be pondering a major project such as starting a private school. Perhaps you are discouraged by the lack of education options in your area. Maybe you have a vision and philosophy which is ahead of the curve. Also, no school in your area is doing what you know is necessary and beneficial for young people. These are but a few of the reasons why private schools get their start.
Separation of Church and State
Historically this has been one of the major reasons why private schools were established. Public schools cannot teach faith-based religion. So if you are a devout follower of your religion, you will probably want your children to have a thorough grounding in their faith. That's why 22,731 private schools are affiliated with a religion according to the 2009 data available from the Private School Universe Survey
of the National Center for Educational Statistics. To put that number of schools in context the PSS shows that there were 33,366 private schools in the United States in 2009. Based on those statistics religious private schools constitute 68% of the total.
The largest number of religious schools are Roman Catholic with 22,731 schools. Coming in at a distant second place are Christian (non-denominational) schools with 4,602 institutions under that grouping. So, as you can see from the data, parents want their children to be brought up in their religion's...
April 15, 2013
Here are a dozen or so girls' schools' public thoughts about themselves and their missions.
Why Private School,
High School Issues,
Running a Private School:
Why Would Anybody Want to Establish a Private School?
Why would anybody want to found a private school? Through the years civic-minded people and parents with a vision have done just that. In most cases done it successfully too.
A safe school does not happen. A safe school is the result of a concerted effort on the part of your school community to have a safe school.
Issues relating to your back office
Help and guidance with raising money for your school.
Raising Money for Your School
Raising money for the newer, small private school is a job for professionals. We examine the three major components of private school fund-raising.
5 Ways to Support Your School
Supporting your school is more important now than ever. Here are five ways to lend a financial hand.
Major Gifts to Private Schools
The only way private schools can build their financial security is through gifts. Major gifts offer proof of how deeply many donors feel about their private schools. Their munificence is a wonderful example to others.
- Read more articles (4)
Marketing and Technology
Ideas and solutions for reaching your market
Top Roman Catholic Boarding Schools
These Roman Catholic boarding schools offer good value, great educations and a faith-based community experience.
Seattle Area Schools
The Seattle area is home to many fine private schools as well as to major companies such as Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks.
5 Facts About Montessori Schools
Here are five facts about Montessori schools to bear in mind when exploring preschools and primary schools for your child.
Choosing a School: 5 Must Haves
Whether you are just beginning the process of choosing a private school or several months into it, make sure that you keep these five 'must haves' front and center in your thinking.
Private School May Be Free If You Make Less Than $75,000
Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth set the pace. Now several top private schools are offering free or greatly reduced tuition for children from families making less than $75,000.
- More articles:
Getting into Private School,
Paying For It,
Running a Private School,
Note: Data has been gathered from the Dept. of Education, schools, and commercial data sources.