Have a Good Idea

Monday, 03 January 2011 16:00


By: Maurice Gibbons

Walkabout: Searching for the Right Passage from Childhood and School was published in May, 1974, and became the blueprint for a network of schools that were based on the idea that we need a process for guiding our adolescents into adulthood. In Walkabout, adolescents set several challenges for themselves and then work to achieve them. Jefferson County Open School is a fine example of the schools based on that idea.

My work is developing educational programs so you can understand why I think you should begin by making sure you have a good idea, an idea that will make your school special in the minds of students, parents, and officials who you must win over.

Starting a school is a mighty challenge. Be ready to be strong and to sell your idea, and that means having an idea that helps the sale. Start with a good image and story that people can connect with right away. Think of Outward Bound, The Open School, Mastery Learning, and Walkabout. Provide the mechanics that make your idea workable, but first get everyone on board.

It will help if your idea meets a real need or offers an advantage that regular schools do not or cannot offer. Put the strengths of your program at the forefront of your presentations. Think through what all of the different stakeholders are concerned about and make sure that your presentations of your idea show how the program meets those concerns. Be strategic and make the sale.

Tell the story of how the students you want to attract will thrive in your program. If you can arrange a focus group to hear your idea and respond to it, you can learn a lot that will help you to decide how to present your idea and win the support you need. Start with an idea that encourages people to talk to each other about your program--and buy into it.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 10:04