Everything you need to start a school in NJ
Starting and a school in New Jersey is definitely not easy. Besides all the legal requirements and regulations, there are a plethora of things you will have to deal with in order to make your school function properly. So, let’s not dilly dally, and let’s get right into all the necessary steps that you’ll need to take in order to start a school in NJ.
State regulations for starting a school
First and foremost, let’s deal with New Jersey state regulations necessary for opening a school. To keep this article short and sweet, we are only going to focus on nonpublic schools in New Jersey. These are elementary or secondary schools within NJ that are not affiliated with a public school that comer education from kindergarten through 12. Therefore, they do not include homeschooling or upper levels of education. For nonpublic schools, you only need to have a registration issued from the New Jersey Department of Education. While having licensing, accreditation and approval is recommended, it will not be a requirement for you to start a school in NJ.
What you’ll need to tackle in order to start a school in NJ
Once you have the necessary paperwork, you can start organizing your school. Now, as you will soon learn, there are numerous aspects that you need to consider in order to set up a well-functioning school. So, while we go through each of them, try to see how they connect with one another and how you’ll sometimes need to tackle multiple at the same time.
Develop a school identity
The first thing you should define in order to start a school in NJ is its identity. Your school needs to have a core idea behind it that will seep into every other aspect. This can be an emphasis on discipline, strong values regarding tolerance or even a high emphasis on physical education. Whatever you believe will make your school stand out and give kids a better education, that should be your school identity.
Once you have your school identity squared out, you can set out to organize your curriculum. Although there is no state policy about the length of the school year, there are certain limitations to the curriculum. So, you’ll have to figure out how to implement your school identity with the given curriculum.
As we mentioned before, the state of New Jersey doesn’t place many legal requirements for starting a school. But, keep in mind that if you are looking for state funding, there might be certain extra requirements that you’ll have to fill. So, the more independent your funding is, the more freedom you will have to put your education ideas into practice.
Dealing with funding and finance
One of the most difficult aspects of starting a school in NJ is dealing with funding and finance. With your initial funding you will have to cover:
- Down payment for school’s facility
- Necessary technology
- Classroom supplies
- Staff requirements and first-month salaries
You will also have to factor in professional assistance with transportation of classroom furniture and installation of technology and utilities. Most of your funding will come through tuition fees. These should cover your school entirely. But, as a tip, try to have a full year’s worth of tuitions as saved funding before you start a school in New Jersey.
Picking the right facilities
The school identity that you come up with, and the core idea behind it, need to be shown in your school facilities. So, if you plan on having a school that has focuses on creativity, make sure to have enough room for kids to be creative in. If, on the other hand, you focus on more applied knowledge, you can choose to run your school next to an office. Also, you’d be smart to visit sites like movingofamerica.com and to learn how to easily find and properly move into new commercial space. Overall, keep in mind that the surroundings play a big role in the way your students will develop. So, the better you can plan an organize it, the easier it will be to teach.
Finding and managing staff is, arguably, the most difficult aspect of starting a school. In order to make your school function properly, your entire staff needs to be on the same page. So, when interviewing your future staff, make sure that they are truly on board and that they fit in. Keep in mind that a well-running team will function heavenly. But, only a single bad staff member can easily throw a wrench into your whole system. So, be very careful when hiring staff for your school.
Deciding on policies
Having a core idea and a school identity is necessary, but it is not enough. In order to actually promote and use these ideas, you need to implement policies. These serve to minimize confusion about what your school is doing. They can even save you from lawsuits as parents will be well informed on what to expect from your school. Therefore, once you start a school in NJ sit down with your staff and formulate a set of policies that will represent what your school is all about.
Last but not least, we come to marketing. In order for people to find out about your school and get a good idea of what it is about, you need to deal with marketing. This includes online marketing as well as local posting. Keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo it as you may come off as a school that only cares about tuitions. Instead, try to formulate a well managed, sophisticated marketing strategy that will help people understand your school identity. Keep in mind that actions speak louder than words. So, do your best at providing kids with a good education. After that, your kids and parents will pretty much do the marketing for you.