Running a Private School

Get help and guidance on running a private school. Find guidance and resources related to administration, fundraising and marketing. Explore strategic plan development, creative fundraising ideas and the latest technology uses in marketing.
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I have been interviewing applicants for employment for many years now. I used to be fooled by a certain type of applicant who presented extremely well at the interview. Unfortunately a few months after hiring the applicant, things did not go as well as we had hoped. With my experiences in mind and knowing that many of you are operating your schools with very small staffs and also knowing that you do not do many teacher interviews in any given year, let's look at a couple of simple ways which will protect you from hiring a teacher who is not a good fit.
How not to be fooled
"First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes." Elliott Abrams
I agree wholeheartedly with Elliott Abrams. You and I are accustomed to sizing people up in a very short time. Essentially we are using the same skill set which we use in the classroom. As we teach, we are constantly assessing how our students are absorbing and understanding the material, right? We have honed that skill set very finely. So bring it into play when you first meet an applicant.
Trust your instincts
You have to trust your instincts and your experience when you are interviewing teachers for your school. I put that at the top of my list for interviewing anybody, but even more so when interviewing teachers. Something on a resume or an answer to one of your questions might trigger a doubt
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How sustainable is your school? This article is written with small to medium-sized schools in mind. Larger schools are able to plan and use professional resources of all kinds in order to ensure their sustainability for the future. On the other hand small schools typically have limited resources to begin with. So with this in mind I want to look at three aspects of how your school runs and offer some suggestions as to how we can make sure it will be running for many years to come. In other words let’s make sure that your school is sustainable and will continue to be sustainable for many more years.

We are going to look at two types of day schools: for profit schools and not for profit schools. A large number of primary schools are what we would describe as for profit schools. These are the kinds of schools which a well-intentioned, visionary educator has established because she believes in a certain style of teaching and wants to reach certain kind of clientele in her local area. I use the description of well-intentioned advisedly because many of these wonderful people have great pedagogical ideas but lack the business experience to make their school become an ongoing reality. Here are some practical steps that the owner of a small primary school to take to make sure that her school stays viable.

Develop a business plan

When you started your school, you knew that it was not enough to simply think that you could
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This article originally started out as an overview of the top private school Facebook pages. However, as I began my research, I discovered that the Facebook private school landscape was in worse shape than I had first thought. What am I getting at? Simply that apparently many private schools are not implementing the measures necessary to create an effective Facebook presence. That is a shame because creating an effective Facebook presence is something which can scale to match your resources of both time and money. Put another way I literally cannot think of one good reason why even the smallest private school shouldn't be taking advantage of all that Facebook can do to help market your school.
Build brand awareness
Am I beginning to sound like a marketing professor? If so, I will plead guilty on the one count: my thrust is very definitely marketing. But, no, I am not a professor nor have I ever been. The closest I ever got to that august title in academia was Adjunct Instructor. But I digress. This short video gives you an idea of what is involved.
Marketing is critical for any small business. Every school has to pay attention to marketing. Marketing comes in many forms. Which ones you use depends largely on your and your budget. Marketing informs current and future parents of your existence.
Marketing drives your future intake of students. For many private schools even five or ten empty seats can have a huge impact on
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Some school administrators understand social media and its power as part of their marketing strategy. Others think it is merely an adjunct to their other marketing tools. Still others think they know how to use social media and clearly have no clue how to use it effectively. This short article is aimed squarely at the small to medium sized private schools which cannot afford marketing staff and expensive marketing programs. My observations and suggestions are rooted in many years of observing how the small to medium sized private schools manage their marketing. Some do very well. Others don't seem to understand how to manage it.
Successful marketing at any level requires persistence and consistency. Professionals know that. Indeed that is what you are buying when you hire a professional marketing firm to design your web site or handle your social media strategy. With this as our backdrop let's explore a couple of low cost yet effective ways in which we can make your YouTube Channel more effective
Control it
My training and education both as a classical musician and as a technology professional have taught me to be a control freak. I would never have dreamed of letting my choirs wander all over the place musically. I had a vision of how I wanted a piece of music to sound. I controlled all aspects of my choristers' performance to produce the result I wanted. That is essentially what you have to do with your school's YouTube channel. You will receive much free
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In the first article in this series, Marketing the Small Private School: The First Steps, we looked at the resources available for marketing the small private school. The assumption which we made in that article was that your school probably couldn't afford a full-time marketing professional. Instead you would assign an existing member of your staff the additional responsibility of handling your marketing. That assumption still stands for purposes of this article. Now we will look at how to use the various resources and tools at our disposal.
The best strategy for successful marketing is to control your message. That means that you have to know who you are speaking to and through what means you can best communicate with them.  Let's use the proven journalist's approach to understanding our communications strategy.
  • Who are we trying to reach?
  • Why are we trying to reach them?
  • What are we trying to communicate?
  • How can we reach them most effectively?
  • When should we communicate our message?

This structured approach ensures that your message will be unified and on message as it progresses from your keyboard to the recipients. Let's look at examples of how we can reach each segment of our school community. My suggestions are merely suggestions deigned to get you thinking in a structured manner. Adapt my suggestions to suit your particular requirements.
Communicating with your community
Let's start at the top. 

Who are we trying to reach? Everybody in our community as well as everybody outside it.
Why are we trying to reach them? Because
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Running a Private School


Here you'll find information on the administrative side of running a private school. We'll cover strategic plan development, state regulations, human resources and school safety. Learn more about the obstacles of taking over a struggling school, get tips on hiring a headmaster, and receive expert advice on dealing with bad press.


Private schools often need to be creative when it comes to funding. This section provides tools, tips and resources on fundraising. Learn more about supporting your school, how to handle major gifts, and why keeping in touch with graduates can benefit your budget.

Marketing and Technology

Advances in technology have changed the way businesses market themselves. This section provides tips on social media marketing, information on the latest technology being used and SEO basics for private schools.