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									Creating An Islamic School
Kathy Ahmed
 Phase I – Research and Planning
 Phase II – Creating the Foundation
Phase I – Research and Planning
The School Planning Committee
  Diverse Members
     Ethnic, demographic
     Fields of professions
        Ex: Educators strive for academic excellence but need
         realistic budget, while financial officers need to be
         reminded of high academic standards = BALANCE!
 Establish the mission statement
     Reminds us of the purpose – today and future
School Planning Committee

                       Possible Constituents

  Parents      Community Leaders     Professionals         Educators
 Visionaries       Religious       Marketing and Sales   Academic Focus
                 Organizational        Attorneys             Islamic
                    Political       Business owners         Secular
Marketing in the Community
                                   Selling the Concept

                                  Community Identifying

           First School in Area                          Multiple Schools in Area

 Selling the Purpose of an Islamic School        Selling Specific School Philosophy

Greater Metro Area     "One Masjid Town"
First School Communities
Question whether community will support the idea
Seek support from key leaders
Utilize various statistical information
(i.e. surveys, local Masajid community lists)
   Use information that will help further marketing
    strategies, such as community needs and demographics
   Show results of other existing schools
   Identify school’s purpose that they can relate to
Multiple School Areas
  Why do we need another school?
  How is this school different?
  Identify possible conflicts with other
  schools and be proactive by creating
  supporting relationships
Creating the Foundation
  Marketing Community Continued
A: Legalities
 Organizational Options
    State Dept. Non-Profit Corporation or Education Corp.
    Tax-Exemption Status
    Charter Schools in your state
       Religious education – is it an option?
    Non-Public School State Affiliation
 Drafting By-laws
    Seek ISNA Education Dept and other school’s support
    Seek attorney with appropriate background
 Define and Redefine
   Committees (ad hoc and standing)

   Executive (Shura), School Board & Administration
       Define departments, responsibilities, lines of
       Early, thorough planning can reduce power struggles later
B: Financial
  Plan Fiscal Structure
     RESEARCH –
        What does it take to open
        What does it take to keep it open
     Identify Expenses (Mission guided)
     Identify Realistic Income Sources
        % Tuition Coverage
        % Donation Dependent
     Fiscal research may restructure original goals
          Long term planning
          Locations
          Investments
          Grade level limitations
  Some Major Expenses
    General Expenses         Operating Expenses
    -Payroll & Benefits      -Building and Maintenance
    -Legal Fees & Taxes      -Equipment
    -Tuition Assistance      -Transportation

   Budgets can be created using percentages per category:
        Ex: payroll + fringe benefits = 65% of expenses
Allocated numbers reflect school’s Fiscal AND Academic planning
Budget Planning
 Initial Budget – What you need to open
 Create Tuition Fee Schedule
     Other fees – registrations, books, transportation
 Decide on the minimum # of students needed
 to open
 Ensure reinforced $ support regardless of
 student # but the #’s must get better with
 time and support must continue until it does
     Goal: Fiscal Independence
       Donations: A dollar given is a dollar spent
        UNLESS investments made

                          1   2     3    4
Fiscal Serenity - INVEST
                                Invest in Academics
          1000                     Increases student
                                   Rippling affect

          500                   Invest in Growing
                                   Create a 10% rule
            0                      Create and Endowment
                 0          5       Fund
Location - General
  Defined goals, entity type and budget
  constraints, will reflect on the location of
     Mission Statement
        Targeting specific area, independent, co-ed, affiliations…
     District (LEA)
        Various support levels with varying districts
        Incentive and services – transportation, books…
     Fiscal Standing
        Most influential variable in choosing location
Location – Fiscal Related
Building Purchase vs. Lease
    Leasing negotiations, contracts and terms
     must be clear
    Purchases depend on funds, building
     availability, renovations (meets bldg. codes),

 Muslim or Not – Create legally binding contracts
   (Make No Assumptions – things change!)
Location – Identity Related
  Masjid Affiliations
     Part of Masjid entity –
             Pros – Legal status differs (ex. already tax-exempt),
              same funds targeted for whole organization
             Cons – Political struggles, focus on high academic
              structure may be blurred by other community/Masjid
              related factors
     In Masjid building, separate entity-
             Pros – Independence, focus on higher academic
              standards, political struggles can be avoided through
              clear policies ands terms
             Cons – competing funds and unshared mission
              provides supporting constraints
  No Affiliations – Independent School
Long Term Planning
  Provides a recurring goal: a reminder of
  where you are and where you want to be
  Focuses on ensuring original mission, vision
  and philosophy do not get lost
  Gives opportunity for learning and growth
  Shows the community school aims to build a
  strong foundation and provide stability
Fiscal Summary
 Step 1
    Donations are necessary - fundraise
    Don’t fall into the trap of making it your backbone
    Extra effort in early planning and marketing
 Step 2
    Increase enrollment every year
       More students = more tuition
       More students = more parental involvement
       Parents are donors too!
 Step 3
    Create an endowment fund, make business
     purchase, invest 10% funds
C: Academics
  Based on the Mission Statement
  Comprehend education law & national standards
     Important especially if planning on competing for
      academic excellence
  Board of Directors – Founders/New members
     Interview new members, avoid conflicts of interest if
      with other organizations and provide thorough
     Compare qualifications to your school needs
     Know their educational and religious philosophies
Academics continued
  Seek other educational advise
     Create mentor relationships with
      professional educators with experience
     Discuss possible academic structures
  Decide academic focus or “specialties”
     Create curriculum committee
        (see Dr. Tasneema Qazi paper on Curriculum
Academic continued
  Create the Academic Program
     Assumption: Board/Admin defined structure
        Religious aspects
        Board Expectations Clear
        Administration Expectations (Contracts)
     Administration Lead Program Development
        Staff contract developing
        Staff and Parental Handbooks
             Ensure abiding local, state and federal laws
Academics continued
  Creating Administrative Office
     Office Management –
        establishment of day to day operations
              Bookkeeping and record keeping of Attendance, fiscal,
               student records, and correspondences
     Hiring Teachers
        Muslims vs. Non-Muslims vs. Certified
        Advertise – Mosques, Job Banks, Papers
        Interviews –
              Do not settle
              Background checks
        Provide clear expectations
        Support through training
D: Community Outreach
     Continued Community Outreach
throughout Legal, Financial and Academic
             stages provide:
     Easier recruitment of students
     Reinforces donors support
     Develops ties for long lasting relationships
     Can jump start an active PTA
Get Better With Time
 Keep records of each year’s accomplishments
 Timelines – Keep you on track
    Be realistic – much depends on time put in per
 Create an annual checklist calendar for recurring
 projects and deadlines
    Curriculum review, inspections, staff interviews,
     governmental forms and applications…
Final Notes
 Logistics and Tawakeel
     A school’s purpose is to serve Allah (SWT). Do not be
      pessimistic and afraid to start – better to have tried
      and failed (actually you don’t fail – if you count the
      blessings) than to not have struggled at all.
     Do not base the school’s success entirely on the
      numbers – plan well, but remember: He is the best
     ALL committee members must truly believe in the
      common mission if they are to work as a team – not
      just a group
     There are obstacles undoubtedly – but as long as the
      struggle is for solely for Him – Tawakil!

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