GUEST COLUMN — Bob Hope School’s approach to establishing a new campus

Published 12:08 am Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Bob Hope School has a history of successfully launching new campuses, and this year marked the commencement of our fifth campus in Baytown, Texas.

As part of our growth plan, we are committed to opening three more campuses in the East Harris County areas, namely, Pasadena, Channelview, and Deer Park.

Initiating a new campus from scratch is a multifaceted process, and it all begins with the selection of the campus location. To guide us in this process, we enlist the expertise of a consultant well-versed in demographics and school districts.

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Our consultant provides valuable insights, pinpointing areas within Texas where a need for educational services exists, particularly in regions with a limited presence of charter schools.

Securing the necessary financial resources is the next crucial step. Funding for the new campus can originate from various sources, including our school’s fund balance, bond offerings and generous philanthropic contributions.

Sound financial planning is essential to ensure the project’s sustainability and success.

Architectural planning plays a pivotal role in shaping the future campus. Collaborative discussions with architects revolve around the selection of the building type and location.

Choices range from constructing a brand-new facility to renovating an existing one to meet our educational needs.

Engaging with our local board is another milestone in the process; their approval is a prerequisite for moving forward with the project. This step should be completed well in advance of the submission of any required documents to educational authorities, particularly in the month of January when amendments need to be filed with the Texas Education Agency for campus approval.

Additionally, the procurement of essential items such as furniture, supplies and curriculum is integral to the setup of the new campus. Approval from the board is required for any significant expenditures exceeding $50,000.

Selecting capable leadership for the new campus is of utmost importance. These individuals serve as the face of the school in its new location, and their early identification and involvement in the planning process are critical.

With our leadership team in place, the next step is securing projected enrollment figures for the campus. At the Bob Hope School, we conduct post-acceptance interviews with all students, providing an opportunity for our leadership to connect with students and parents personally.

For our Baytown campus, we leased an office space close to the school site for conducting interviews and other administrative tasks, making the transition smooth for all parties involved.

Finally, it is imperative to hire all required personnel, including teachers and clerical staff.

The projected enrollment figures help us determine the number of teachers needed. For our unique Montessori and Dual Language elementary schools, teacher training is an essential part of the process, ensuring they are well-prepared before the school year commences.

In conclusion, we firmly believe that establishing additional schools offers parents an invaluable and unique choice for their child’s education.

At the Bob Hope School, we view this work as transformative for communities, making the options we provide to parents indispensable.

Dr. Bobby Lopez, CEO, has served as superintendent of Bob Hope High School since 2010. Contact him at bobby.lopez@bobhopeschool.org or 409-983-3244. John McLendon is elementary campus director for Bob Hope School. He can be reached at john.mclendon@bobhopeschool.org.