School on Campus

INTRODUCTION:

The following thoughts are for churches who are hosts to schools on a church campus.

LEADERSHIP:

Church:
The church eldership team should take a position of “ownership” of the school by: 1. having a faith filled reason and vision for a school on campus 2. choosing the right man to lead the school
It is most beneficial to school and church if the principal is also an elder of the church.
Finances of the school and church are run autonomously with different cost centers.
School:
It is most beneficial to school and church if the principal is also an elder of the host church. The principal must have a local church heart first, from which he takes his reference. It would be wiser if the principal was a trained educationist or at least had a few years experience in a school environment.
The principal needs to be able to choose and build his own management and staff team.
The Lead Elder and Elder/Principal need to have a trust relationship – vision/finances/staffing.
The Lead Elder and his team needs to choose the Principal
The principal must lead with authority and use the strengths of the management team around him, the board as a legal reference and the eldership team as the directional/strategic/spiritual/governing arm.
School Board:
A school board if the school is registered as a non-profit organization (as it should be) is a legal requirement. An “owner” run school on a church property is not a good idea.
Choose members of your board wisely.
The board only fulfills the legal requirements and can be a point of ratifying and reference for the Principal and Management team
A board can give parents a sense of security.
A principal needs to offer feedback to a board, but must lead.
Choose a chairman wisely.
TYPE OF SCHOOL:
For us, a Christian school as protected by the SA constitution.
Open to anyone who could pay the fees and subscribe to the vision/mandate/declaration/goals/faith statement etc
A school for the community of Pietermaritzburg and surrounds not just the local neighbourhood.
A competitive school in town standing its ground with integrity as an academic/sporting/uplifting environment.
School is school – It’s important not to become a religious institution.
CAMPUS DYNAMICS:
Adequate planning and communication regarding shared facilities and staff.
Mutual respect regarding facilities and staff.
SCHOOL STAFF:
Should model Christianity for the children.
Should belong to a local church and should be “Deacon Material”.
Should be adequately qualified as a teacher.
Should be fed the mandate / vision of the school and heart of the church as a regular diet.
Should be hired with character in mind first. Choose very wisely.
Mentor the younger ones and include them as much as the older ones.
Pay staff well
SCHOOL CURRICULUM:
Curriculum should not only be method-based
Real and not religious.
Character is modeled not taught.
Relevant
CHILDREN:
The school should offer grades and classes based on campus size and facilities available.
A child for a school and a school for a child – should be good policy on application process and annual intake. Note that you are taking the parents as much, if not more than you are taking the children, upon application.
Children are not what make the school a Christian school.
Families do not have to be Christian to attend the school but must sign the declaration and agreement and everything that goes with it in order to be accepted and enrolled at the school.
QUALITY ASSURANCE AND GOVERNMENT:
The school should be licensed with the relevant authorities as an educational provider.
The school should follow quality assurance protocol relating to government and private providers of education.
Adequate policies and procedures should cover the running of the school.

PARENTS:

Parents should not run the school.

Parents should be present on a board (not more than is needed – as this could create a very emotive environment).

The Eldership team should govern the school (the Elder/Principal).
The parents must be given adequate information and should be clearly communicated with. A feedback survey once a year is adequate.
Share the vision at least once a year. Make every gathering of parents a visional moment.
Make training available to parents.
Choose your parents wisely (application process).
Have a Christian core of parents.
VISION:
Make sure the parents/children/staff/church know what the school is aiming at.
Tell the community who you are (Web/Newspapers/social media etc)
Be visible
Pray
ATTITUDE:
Serve the city.
Serve the church.
Grateful for the privilege of serving children and parents.
Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t make the “minors” into “majors” and the “majors” into “minors”.
Don’t get fixated on names, religious stuff etc. Be moved in everything by a love for Jesus but be aware of slipping into religious tradition and religious language. School remains school, but can be used as a tool to share the love of Jesus.
Be real, especially with the kids, as they see through any religiosity.
Have a proactive positive stance, not a negative reactive one.
Always build – not just buildings. Build for others.
A professional manner, always.
Be generous, to staff, children, church, and parents.
Be filled with faith
Keep an eye on the “fruit” that your work is producing, and don’t be afraid to change the way you doing something in order to produce “good fruit”.
FINANCES:
Employ an honest bursar
Have an efficient finance system
Annual audits are mandatory
Register as a non-profit organization
Have a finance team
Have a year-to-year budget
Requisitions for finances need to be put in place and 2 signatures for everything that is purchased is required to keep a tab on spending.
Don’t kill your staff, children and parents with “cake sales!” Just ask for some money and tell them what you want to do with it. When collecting for the poor ask for “donations” and do not compel people to give.
Don’t serve money.
Be willing to say yes, no or wait for money.
Spend with return in mind – don’t just give to the loudest voice. (return doesn’t just mean money)