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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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Creating An Islamic School

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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 continued23
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!