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.
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Some applicants can fool you when they interview. Here is some advice on how to prevent that while at the same time keeping the interview process simple and efficient.
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. . .read more
How sustainable is your school and its business model? We examine some of the elements of a sustainable school.
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. . .read more
Becoming accredited involves a rigorous process of internal self-evaluation and external review. Is it worth it?
I believe that accreditation is necessary for any educational institution. Simply put, accreditation is to a school or college what an academic diploma or degree is to an individual. That objective stamp of approval is earned by meeting a prescribed set of standards. The assessment of whether the school has met those standards is made by independent members of the accrediting organization.
Why is accreditation necessary for a school? Because it confirms that the school is committed to obtaining the best possible outcomes for its students. Parents want to know that they are making the right decision in choosing a private school for their children. Accreditation reassures parents that the school's programs have been evaluated and have met the standards required for accreditation.
Accreditation is typically administered by regional associations which have specific areas of the country under their purview.
Here is a list of the associations together with the states and areas which they cover:
Covers: MSA: Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Overseas
Covers: Utah, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Montana and Costa Rica
Covers: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming
Thinking about starting your own school? Here's an outline of what's involved.
Who in their right mind starts a private school? Starting any enterprise is a daunting project. Yet many parents and teachers are the impetus behind the dozen or so new private schools which appear on the scene each fall. Some schools begin modestly with a grade or two and grow by adding one grade a year. Other schools have much more elaborate plans. Why do these brave parents and teachers start a school? The main reason seems to be that they are passionate about teaching a certain way or adhering to a certain philosophy. Sometimes they do it simply because they want to run their own school and do things their way.
No matter what the genesis of the idea might be, the recipe for bringing a school into existence is straight-forward enough, although there are many ingredients. Staring a school requires equal parts persistence, business acumen and vast amounts of 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.
This video offers an overview of starting a nonprofit organization like your school.
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.
36 months before your projected opening date
Most school academic years begin in the fall.. . .read more
First of a series of articles on managing struggling schools. In this article we discuss what you need to do before you sign on.
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. 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 private 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 at a struggling school before you sign on. Here are eight keys to a successful business turnaround.
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. Things have unfortunately gotten to the point that either the school gets turned around or it closes its doors for good.
Let's look at some of the reasons why a school finds itself facing difficult times.
Its business model is flawed.
A flawed business model usually is the result of the trustees and administration implementing programs and structures which do not. . .read more