reaching out to schools for PE or after school program

Discussion in 'School Management' started by 333kenshin, Mar 4, 2020.

  1. 333kenshin

    333kenshin White Belt

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    Hi folks,
    I'm planning to open a new branch of the karate dojo where I currently teach and train, primarily targeting kids. I'm aware that enrolling students is most difficult during the first few months, since most parents are (understandably) hesitant to sign up for program when all they see is an empty class.
    As such, I've been advised to try to land a gig teaching at an elementary or middle school - either during the day as PE or as an afterschool program onsite. I'm told it's a reliable channel for enrolling new students - my sensei said in the past our dojo would reliably draw at least 5 new student enrollments per session, and their attrition rate would usually be lower. The problem is my sensei's wife, who handled the logistics of setting up the engagements, passed away a few years ago so I don't know how to do this.
    If anyone with experience in this space could share any knowledge or tips on how to reach out to schools, who to speak with, and when are rough timelines, that would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    -Dave

     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I’m guessing that in order to be a phys. ed. teacher you would need a teaching credential and/or degree in physical education.

    After school as an activity might be easier to do without those credentials.
     
  3. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    You should look at an afterschool program. Possibly at a particular school, but also look at opportunites in Boys and Girls Clubs or YMCA or something similar. I ran an afterschool program as a brown belt (gulp, 20 years ago) though I was essentially employed by a larger company/non-profit who provided services to the district. So there are definitely options out there, but it will probably be up to what the school district is comfortable with.
     
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  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Maybe an after school thing but very very much doubt you'd get any during the day slots. A lot of schools won't want fighting to be taught in schools for good reasons and second im guessing you don't have any actual teaching qualifications and may not have the appropriate child protection training
     
  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Hopefully JR will chime in on this one. He has a ton of experience here.

    I opened our first school in 1986. One of the first things I did was introduce myself to the city/county and school board leadership. I became active in local leadership organizations. We did demonstrations at school and for businesses/events and professional organizations every chance we got in our county and two adjoining counties. After about 2 years we were asked to be part of the Enrichment programs at our elementary and middle schools and eventually high school. There were three 8-week sessions/year back then. Thirty minutes/day, 5 days/week. I had to heavily modify my training model because of this schedule. I decided where I wanted the kids to be in 8-weeks and developed a curriculum (which had to be approved). We were allowed to spar with gear on, which the kids loved but kept it very light and 'fun'. Sparring was never a milestone part of the curriculum.

    Doing much of this without a core of students may be mute but it does not stop you from getting involve with the city/county and school leadership. Build your curriculum/business plan. Present this to anyone who will listen. Get involved and get yourself known in your community. Meet & greet. Meet & greet. Meet & greet.
     
  6. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    Teaching as a PE class and credentials depends on the state regulations, but I don’t think there are any states that don’t require a PE certification. Requirements for certification vary state to state, but none require less than a bachelor’s degree in PE. There are some exceptions in NYS for PE and every other subject, but those are mostly if there’s a very strong need, shortage of qualified people, and you have to be working towards the degree.

    Private schools don’t technically require a teaching certificate, although you’re most likely not going to get in without one or without very closely related experience that would qualify you for a teaching job. I’m NYS certified PE, which is grades K-12. I taught PE and science at a catholic school. My principal felt my teaching certification and my bachelor’s in biology/sports medicine along with my experience qualified me to teach science as well as PE. I wouldn’t have been able to teach anything outside of PE in a public school, outside of one class per day. PE certification requires all of the same education core classes as every other certification area; where every subject/content area split is the requirement for credits in your specific teaching subject. Ie math teachers would need 30 math credits, science would need 30 in their specific science subject, etc. I don’t know the exact number of credits, so don’t hold me to that number. Then there’s a series of general education tests, content/subject areas tests, student teaching, background and fingerprint checks, and so on.

    You could possibly get a gig as a supervised guest instructor. It would be a short term thing like 3-4 weeks per year. You’d have to be supervised by a certified teacher, wouldn’t be allowed to leave their sight in class/around students, be background vetted somehow, etc. One school I taught at had a dance school owner come in and teach a dance unit every year. I’m not sure of her credentials, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t NYS certified to teach. She knew the right people and had to jump through some hoops.

    After school programs are a different thing. There are background checks and some regulations as far as CPR/FA and child abuse training type stuff. You’ve got to make a good case for why you want to teach it, the benefits of the school and students, and why you’re qualified. It’s like any other job in this regard, only it’s scrutinized a lot more due to incidents of adults around children. Their highest priority is making sure you’re someone they can trust with the students.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I had forgotten but this is Exactly how we did our programs. It was an integral part of the PE program and 'led' by the PE teacher. I was a guest instructor.
     
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  8. 333kenshin

    333kenshin White Belt

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    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for the wealth of information!
    Will mull it over and think through what it all implies about best next steps
    -Dave
     
  9. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    One of our friends has a pretty successful dojo/ fitness center/after school program.

    He has a bus and picks the children up from school. At the dojo, they have snacks and do homework then have different activities everyday with one day being some type of karate or self defense activity. This program runs til 5:45 pm.

    He has a fitness room for members and family to workout in and allows trainers to give private training or classes for a fee.

    Karate classes start in the evenings at 6 pm.

    He offers different packages to tailor it to what services the members need.

    The afterschool program and fitness room pays the bills and him while allowing him to run the dojo like he wants to without worrying about student retention.
     
  10. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, so long as quality MA teaching is there (I have no reason to doubt there is). The problem IMO becomes when those places have horrible teaching by people who are kids themselves, and are belt mills. And the prices are sky-high while telling the public they’re getting real MA. There’s a great example of that near me.

    But everyone’s entitled to go wherever they wish, spend what they want, etc. I don’t get to make the rules, and nor do I want to.
     
  11. 333kenshin

    333kenshin White Belt

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    OK so to recap:

    PE: rule out due to the level of credentials required - my undergrad degree was in computer science, and I'm not terribly keen on doing an entirely new bachelor's just to teach PE just to boost my new dojo.

    After school: wide range of options
    As @Blindside suggested, can reach out via YMCA or B&G Club America. Presumably these can be done both at their locations or directly at the school? I assume they have some sorta program officer who has a network of contacts at school to help facilitate landing the gig and arranging logistics
    As @CB Jones mentioned, another option is to run my own program off-site, with a shuttle picking up kids from school and karate being only part of the after-school curriculum, with normal karate classes starting later in the evening

    "supervised guest instructor: as @JR 137 and @dvcochran both mentioned doing in the past. Sounds like the level of vetting is roughly par with what's required for After School, which is fine by me. To me, the more interesting prospect is switching between schools on a frequent basis, which can provide a wider sales channel for recruiting new students to my new dojo (which is the point of this whole exercise).

    @JR 137 do you have any additional suggestions on how to land these gigs besides what @dvcochran mentioned above?
    "Build your curriculum/business plan. Present this to anyone who will listen. Get involved and get yourself known in your community. Meet & greet. Meet & greet. Meet & greet."

    Thanks all!
    -Dave
     
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  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    That’s pretty much the gist of it. Meet people from the local schools and talk to them and get to know them. Maybe you have a friend or a friend of a friend who works at a school. Maybe a board member. This is the easiest way to get your name across who’s in charge’s someone desk. An introduction by someone the principal or the like knows will get you so much further than going in cold. From everything I’ve seen, it’s all about getting that introduction more than anything else. Especially if you haven’t made a name for yourself in the community.

    Which reminds me - make a name for yourself in the community. Get involved in local stuff. Maybe there’s a charity thing or community event going on in the school. Or the police department. The smaller the town, the more critical and effective this can be. If they know your name and face, the better your chances of them giving you the time of day. Maybe there’s a senior’s center or kids’ rec center. Volunteer to teach there a little bit. That’ll open up plenty of doors.

    For all of this and/or anything else to work, you’ve got to look and act professional. Dress appropriately. Speak appropriately. Act appropriately and respectfully. Someone who’s well put together and seems to want to make a difference in their community goes a long way. Make sure you’re not coming off as someone who’s just in it for the money. “Give back” so to speak. And you’ll definitely have to give before you can take.123
     
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