HoneyFern has quite a to-do list. Some of it is less urgent than others, but it all needs to be done by just one person at this point.
This is causing a bit of stress, as you could imagine.
Here it is, in black and white, and not in order:
1. Recruit a board. A real board. Not the board I have currently, which gives advice and ideas but does not give substantial philanthropic support (read: either contribute funds or locate and cultivate relationships for fundraising purposes) and are not particularly invested in future vision and expansion. This was not a problem at all when HoneyFern started; they did exactly what they were supposed to do, which is help in building a foundation and being a sounding board for me as I developed programs. Now, I need a board that is more invested in the school, literally and figuratively.
2. Grantwriting. Lots of grantwriting. This step comes after we successfully receive 501 (c)3 status, and must happen before step #3.
3. Location, location, location. Time for HoneyFern to move off the farm, onto the, well, farm. To expand to 50 students, we need to move, and I'd like to find a similar set-up: acreage with a farmhouse. Living where we do, we will eventually recruit a student who is horse- or animal-crazy, enough to want to study them, and we need to have space (and zoning) to do so. I have a vision of a student getting a four-year-old horse and training and showing that horse as their curriculum for the year. Think of it: physics, anatomy, literature, phys ed, art - everything in one glorious beast.
But I digress. Back to the list.
4. Marketing. Hard to market what you do not have (money and a location), but it is time to blitz metro Atlanta with the glory of HoneyFern. The marketing department is hoping to recruit a board member with this area of expertise, too.
5. Recruit teachers. I have several teachers in mind, but it will take a certain kind of person to teach at HoneyFern. They need to believe deeply in the mission and vision and be willing to work harder than they ever have before. The payoff, though, is that everything revolves around educating the students. There is no superfluous fluff that takes time and energy away from what is important. Teachers also have equal input into the development of the school, just as students do. I would like to add at least four teachers.
6. Recruit students and families. We are, literally, nothing without them. Really, we are recruiting visionaries and innovators. There is nothing like HoneyFern in Atlanta; there is no school that encourages students to so fully embrace the idea of developing their own path and then matches that vision with rigorous academics to have a full curriculum that is project-based, rooted in application and fully accredited. On top of this, tuition is lower than the spending-per-pupil of all local school systems, the student-to-teacher ration will never be more than 10:1, and students will have a lifelong relationship with a mentor who cares as much about their success as their own families. To me, this is a slam dunk.
Is that all, you say? Realistically, each one of these can be broken down into a million mini-steps, but those are the big ones, as I see them. Ultimately, I will need help, so it all starts with the board and volunteers.
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