Creating an islamic school
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Creating An Islamic School. Kathy Ahmed. PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT. 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

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Phases of development

  • Phase I – Research and Planning

  • Phase II – Creating the Foundation

Phase i research and planning
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

First school communities
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

  • Presentations

    • Show results of other existing schools

    • Identify school’s purpose that they can relate to

Multiple school areas
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

Phase ii creating the foundation
PHASE II – Creating the Foundation

  • Legal

  • Financial

  • Academic

  • Marketing Community Continued

A legalities
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 communications

      • Early, thorough planning can reduce power struggles later

B financial
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
Some Major Expenses

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
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

Fiscal serenity invest
Fiscal Serenity - INVEST

  • Invest in Academics

    • Increases student enrollment

    • Rippling affect

  • Invest in Growing Markets

    • Create a 10% rule

    • Create and Endowment Fund

Location general
Location - General

  • Defined goals, entity type and budget constraints, will reflect on the location of school

    • 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
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), etc

      Muslim or Not – Create legally binding contracts

      (Make No Assumptions – things change!)

Location identity related
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
    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
    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
    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 orientation

    • Headmaster

      • Compare qualifications to your school needs

      • Know their educational and religious philosophies

    Academics continued
    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 Development)

    Academic continued
    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 continued1
    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
    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
    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 individual

    • Create an annual checklist calendar for recurring projects and deadlines

      • Curriculum review, inspections, staff interviews, governmental forms and applications…

    Final notes
    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 Planner

      • 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!