Tarbiyah Academy, the planned International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Howard County first announced in May, raised over $40,000 in Ramadan towards the $700,000 seed money they need to start the school in September 2013.
The planned school – described as “an American Muslim Leadership School” on its website, completed its business plan under the direction of Reed Sumida from the Independent School Performance Group in July. Only the executive summary was made public.
“[The business plan] will be made available only to select donors and supporters as it contains proprietary market research conducted by [Independent School Performance Group Services] and the Tarbiyah Academy Board. The relevant financial details pertaining to tuition, facility needs, projected revenue, and fundraising goals are publicly available and will be put our website soon,” wrote Tarbiyah Academy President Lailaa Jazouli in an email interview with the Muslim Link.
At a town hall meeting held in May, Tarbiyah Academy organizers said the school would not rely on donations to run. Asked if the Ramadan fundraiser was a change in strategy for Tarbiyah, Jazouli said no.
“One of our goals is to create a self-sustainable school that does not depend solely on fundraising to survive. However, any school needs start up capital in order to get established. The $700,000 we are trying to raise includes the initial capital investment as well as the next three years of operational costs. After we open, the school will be supported by tuition, with minimal fundraising. We are currently reaching out to the community to help raise the $700,000 by this September 30th in order to open on time in the Fall of 2013,” explained Jazouli.
The International Baccalaureate program Tarbiyah Academy aims to implement is generally regarded as more academically rigorous and more internationally oriented than most American public school programs. Tarbiyah plans to start with the IB Primary Years Program for grades K-5th in the first year of operation and then add one grade per year until 12th grade.
Tarbiyah Academy is currently looking to lease property in the Columbia, Maryland area. Based on interviews with parents, 83 students verbally committed to attending Tarbiyah Academy in the 2013-2014 school year, said Jazouli, adding that the number is very good for the first year. Tarbiyah intends to begin hiring teachers for September 2013 next month in September 2012; teachers must undergo IB training prior to the school opening.
Asked if a planned move to western Howard County by Al-Huda School will affect Tarbiyah's plans, Jazouli said no.
“We pray for [Al-Huda's] success and ours. Our decision to open Tarbiyah Academy in the Columbia area was based on strong market research. Currently, Islamic schools in the area are at full capacity and have waiting lists. Our community is in great need of more educational institutions as our population in only growing. Tarbiyah Academy also offers a different, unique educational offering through implementing the world recognized International Baccalaureate program,” said Jazouli.
Tarbiyah Academy Executive Summary
Tarbiyah Academy is a proposed new private Islamic School to be located in Howard County, Maryland. Tarbiyah Academy will be the first Islamic School to offer the International Baccalaureate Program, the gold standard in academic excellence, targeted towards the needs of the Muslim community. The objective of Tarbiyah Academy is to provide the highest caliber of education and a solid Islamic foundation to develop socially responsible, well-rounded American-Muslim children.
This project is founded by a Board of six people with talents and education ranging from education and engineering to business and medicine. Using their broad base of experience along with the expertise of a variety of community members will help to ensure that Tarbiyah Academy becomes the best educational opportunity for the community. The Board has assembled a team of people and specialists that have the experience and skills to help them successfully start and operate Tarbiyah Academy.
Tarbiyah Academy will be located in Howard County. Currently there are no Islamic schools in Howard County. There are two other Islamic Schools in the vicinity; however, neither school offers the International Baccalaureate program. In addition, Tarbiyah Academy will be the only Islamic school that is not directly affiliated with a mosque. This will be a school that is accessible to Muslims in Howard County as well as the surrounding counties of Montgomery, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s County. Tarbiyah Academy will be the one school to offer an academically rigorous program coupled with a strong Arabic and Islamic Studies Curriculum.
Tarbiyah Academy will function as a non-public private school. It will be a not-for-profit institute that is focused on the community and the needs of its children. It is not intended to be a profitable business. All income from the school will be returned into the school. The Head of School will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and will report to the Board. Qualified, certified teachers will be responsible for the curriculum and the students. Islamic studies, Arabic, and Quran will be taught by a trained specialty teacher. Staff members will be hired to operate the front office, as well as after school programs which will bring in additional revenue.
The school will be financially viable from the first day of operation. Based on the collection of primary data from a market study conducted by the school’s specialist consultants (The Independent School Performance Group), 83 students paying an average of $6,900 annual tuition will attend the first year. The enrollment is projected to increase to 105 in year two and then to 125 in year three of the school’s life. After all expenses are paid, including staffing, benefits, building fees, and materials, Tarbiyah will run a surplus starting in the first year of operation and experience greater surpluses in both years two and three.
To continue to drive enrollment, a comprehensive marketing strategy will be developed by the school’s consulting company, ISPG. The school’s marketing strategy will include a variety of best practices that ISPG has utilized at numerous other private schools and will position Tarbiyah Academy to be able to recruit a greater number of students than their competitor schools.
Tarbiyah Academy will require a capital investment to fund its start-up costs and operational cash flow needs for the first three years. Based upon the primary data, the school will run an operational surplus in its inaugural year. However, the costs associated with preparing the school to operate are additional. The initial capital investment is projected at approximately $700,000.00 to start up and provide operational cash flow for the first three years.
In order for Tarbiyah Academy to open in the fall of 2013, pledged funds must be in place by September 30, 2012. This will give the Board and its service providers 11 months to plan and implement the start-up phase of the school. If funding is not pledged by that date, the school will plan to open for classes in 2014.
There is a clear need for an alternative educational option for the Islamic community in Howard County. Tarbiyah Academy will deliver an academically rigorous, Islamic-based, education that will create the future American-Muslim thought leaders.
For more information please email