Congratulations! You will join parents and teachers around the world who want to reinvent education by starting their own schools. Starting a school and sharing your vision of education with the world can be one of the most satisfying career choices you can make. But where to start? A little planning is essential in every step of the process, but there are also many sources of support available to you.
Step 1. Start by researching the laws in your country
Laws vary from country to country and can have a significant impact on the requirements you will need to open your school. These laws can usually be found on the website of the ministry of education. In general, it is much more difficult to open a preschool than it is to open a school for children 6 years and older.
Part 1 of 3: Developing a Curriculum
Step 1. Develop a compelling educational vision
A compelling vision is essential to guide you through the startup phase and beyond. The vision will drive decisions and actions in the short and long term. Visualize the school. Consider the following questions:
- What are your values?
- Who do you want to serve?
- What kind of education does this community need?
- What will your school provide that other schools cannot?
- What kind of social, intellectual and emotional experience do you want to give your students?
- Where do you want your school to be in 5 years, 25 years and 100 years?
- What kind of school do you want to start? For-profit or non-profit? Nonprofits are extremely difficult to establish, but they have long-term benefits. If you want to start on a smaller scale, you might consider starting with a few after-school classes, a part-time cooperative homeschooling group, or a playgroup.
Step 2. Write a study plan
When writing a curriculum, you will need to consider both the practical organizational issues of day-to-day operations, as well as the scope and sequence of learning that you hope the school will accomplish. A well-written curriculum should address the following categories of information:
- Daily operations
- How long are the classes?
- How many classes are there a day?
- When will the day begin and end?
- How will lunches be organized?
- How will teachers be scheduled?
- Learning Assessment
- What do your students need?
- What is the student's learning objective?
- What criteria will be used to assess learning?
- How will students be tested?
- What constitutes graduation from school?
Step 3. Write a teaching statement
Articulate the pedagogy that you would like your future teachers to use, understand and develop in the classroom. Will the school have challenging assessments? Will the teaching be based on writing? Will teaching focus on discussion? It describes the ways in which teachers will be responsible for their students' learning and the ways in which they can lead the classroom.
To make a teaching statement, try to say things in a way that attracts the best-qualified, brightest, and most enthusiastic young teachers to make the school the best it can be. Can the teacher select his own texts, or select based on approved books? Consider the ways you can make school an attractive alternative for creative teachers
Step 4. Get the syllabus approved
In order to be certified by the appropriate body, and for the school to be eligible for state money, you need to get the School Board in your region to approve the curriculum, which will likely involve an audit of the curriculum, and the incorporation documents. The process is somewhat slow, but it is not difficult if you have planned and followed the proper steps. Contact your country's Ministry of Education to find out exactly what you need to do to schedule an audit, and how you can prepare for it.
Step 5. Consider the option of using a pre-existing curriculum such as Montessori or Waldorf
If you are interested in forming a school with a pre-established ideology or pedagogy, contact the legislative body of the organization you would like to join and get additional help and guidance in getting the school to adopt the appropriate code, depending on the organization.
Part 2 of 3: Founding a Corporation
Step 1. Prepare a business plan
There are many business plan templates you can work with, from a single page "lean canvas" to 100 pages of complex questions. You will have to find out which type works best for you! The business plan will describe the goals for the school, the reasons they are achievable, and how you plan to achieve them financially. A business plan will be necessary to begin fundraising and complete the necessary steps to start a school.
Consider conducting a feasibility study to determine whether or not opening a school will be a viable option. Early in the startup process, it is essential to take a look at the vision and determine the best way to proceed. You will need to determine how many students are likely to enroll, budget costs, operating costs, grounds maintenance, and all other facets of the school's operation to determine if you are likely to be successful. You may also need to interview people in your community about whether there is a need for this type of school
Step 2. Assemble a board of directors
You won't be able to do it yourself, so one of the first steps in starting a school should be to appoint like-minded administrators to form a board of directors that makes all financial and operational decisions together, hires teachers, and oversees the school.
While a growing number of microschools are run by a single teacher, in general, no school is run by a single "leader." While it is important to establish good leadership as a group, a school is more about a corporation than a dictatorship. To find a good board of directors, consider recruiting local members of the educational community who may be dissatisfied with local options and interested in a more progressive school, such as yours
Step 3. Apply for the formation of a corporation in the region where you live.
The board of directors needs to carefully fill out the articles of incorporation in the region in which the school will be located and register the school as a non-profit educational organization. Often there is a corporate filing office or business office with which you can complete the documents. Typically, if you live in the United States, there is a fee of several hundred dollars associated with the forms.
Step 4. Register the school as a non-profit organization
By presenting the school as a non-profit organization, you will be able to receive grants, donations and other types of funds which would not normally be available to a for-profit organization. To obtain non-profit organization status, the organization must be organized and function exclusively for religious, educational, scientific or other charitable purposes and meet the following requirements:
- Net earnings may not benefit any individual or shareholder.
- No substantial part of the activity can attempt to influence legislation and cannot intervene in political campaigns.
- The purposes and activities of the organization cannot be illegal or violate fundamental public policies.
Step 5. Obtain an EIN (Employee Identification Number) and file a tax exemption application, if you live in the United States
If you live in the United States, visit the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) website, or a local office to request an employee identification number (EIN). In simple terms, this works like a corporate social security number. It sets you apart as a non-profit educational corporation from the IRS, including tax-exempt status. To register your employee identification number, fill out the IRS form found here.
If you live in the United States, receiving tax-exempt status may take some time, and you may need to consult with an attorney to review the documentation with you to make sure you interpret and complete it correctly. To request tax exemption status, fill out IRS Form 1023 that you can find here
Part 3 of 3: Open the school
Step 1. You can choose between operating the school on earned income or securing funding for the school
Depending on how you've set up your business model, you may be collecting tuition, working with grants and other state funds for nonprofits, or participating in other types of fundraising campaigns. Whatever the case, you're going to have to start raising as much money as possible to give your grand design the grand opening and first year it deserves.
Apply for the appropriate school grant and use the money to implement your vision
Step 2. Upgrade the facilities
Whether you are renting an existing space or building a new campus, the acquisition and development of facilities is an important task. It begins with finding a location with enough space to accommodate students, or planning the renovation and construction of new buildings.
Start early. The leasing, renovation and construction processes tend to take longer than expected. Also, if possible, design the physical space to facilitate the mission of the school
Step 3. Hire excellent management
If school leaders are not among the founding group on the board of directors, do a search to find a strong leader with experience in the field and a vision that matches yours. Top leadership is essential for all schools and essential for new schools.
Step 4. Hire excellent teachers
The faculty will determine the quality of the school. Nothing can be closer. Teachers will be the most important factor in the quality of school education. That quality will determine the success of the school. Attract and retain top-notch teachers who are passionate about education and compassionate towards students.
Step 5. Market the school
Post announcements to local parent groups. Ask your friends to spread the word. If you already have parents who are excited about school, you can ask them to organize open house meetings and invite your friends. While it may be tempting to bring anyone who wants to enroll in school, it is very important that prospective parents fully agree with your vision or there could be serious problems later. If you have a large school to fill, you might consider implementing a high-impact branding, marketing, and public relations plan and be prepared to gladly carry it out, or you might choose to list the school in a school market. to take over much of the marketing work. Draw attention to the new school. There are many creative and profitable ways to market your school. Good marketing doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. The important thing is to know the market and what you need to do to be successful in attracting the number and type of students who wish to enroll.
Step 6. Recruit and enroll students
Ask the parents to sign a contract and make a down payment. There are many large organizations that can go to the trouble of processing tuition payments for you. Look for students who are enthusiastic and willing to appreciate your school. When you've solved the entire legal problem, you can start sharing your vision with enthusiastic parents, teachers, and students to facilitate a learning exchange. Start organizing open house meetings and enroll students in your school to make your dream come true.