Online learning is one step closer to being mandated

The New York Post reported today that the New York Board of Regents has approved a revision to instructional regulations regarding seat-time for high school credit. They eased the face-to-face time requirements for classroom attendance for course credit. As a result, New York schools are now encouraged to offer more online courses as well as blended learning opportunities in its schools. I find this announcement particularly interesting as online and blended learning is now being officially encouraged, if not almost mandated, at the state level. Clearly, “more kids will learn in cyberia” and it suggests, once again,  that we are proceeding down the right path as we consider online learning for a Christian high school environment.

Reference:

Campanile, C. (2011, Jul. 14). More kids will learn in cyberia. Accessed July 14 through New York Post (online edition)

The challenge of funding …

Every private school begins with a dream. The challenge for the visionaries is to realize the dream.

Marks (2006) highlights the fact that far too many potentially good private schools fail simply on account of a lack of funding. I have not studied private school finance, so his brief article provided a very cursory introduction to private school finance.  The “crib sheet” he provided highlighted categories of expenses that need to be considered in the set-up. These included:

  • determining school location and facility rental
  • necessary building renovations to serve the school population adequately
  • budgeting essential building services, such as landscaping or janitorial services, to support the facilities
  • insurance costs for running the school
  • learning supplies, including computer network, laptops, art supplies, etc.
  • library upkeep and subscriptions
  • budget line for faculty training and professional development support

In the end, the greatest budgetary expense relates to personnel. One aspect that successful new schools plan on to keep staffing costs low is to require as many employees as possible to have a regular role with students. There are no employees with limited direct contact with the students. The notion is that every adult plays a significant or contributory role to student learning, including those with administrative responsibilities. This is meant to minimize costs for solely non-instructional staff members.

Since the lion’s share of the operating budget is tuition- and donation-based, all new school planning needs to address establishing, developing and maintaining a constituency of families and alumni who remain interested in the school’s mission. New parents need to understand the call to Christian education and believe that a Christian high school is a viable education alternative for their children. Similarly, alumni need to be reminded of this call and their commitment as adults to support Christian education at their local school.

Nevertheless, on the question of funding and budget, when God whispers a dream we need the guts to respond …

He will provide.

Reference:

Marks, A., (2006, Nov. 5). Building the Next Dalton. Retrieved July 7, 2011 through New York Magazine (online).