Archive for September, 2010

Eyes on the pilot

At the urging and with the aid of one of my consultants, I have been reconsidering my milestones these past few days, i.e. both what they are and what their role is.  At different times and in different ways the idea of managing my work through defined “milestones” has come up frequently.  Up until this point, however, I haven’t given it the attention it deserves.

“Let your milestones guide you,” is what I think Pras was telling me.  “The securing of pool facilities isn’t a milestone.  It’s an obstacle to your milestone.  Your next milestone is the implementation of a pilot program,” I am much more sure he said.  “What are your obstacles to running a pilot?” He definitely asked.

And so my eyes are on the pilot, my new next milestone.  What hindrances must I overcome?:

  • The designing of a curriculum
  • The securing of facilities/equipment
  • Legal stuff

I already have a group of kids to work with.  Is there anything else that seems overlooked?

1, 2, 3, Schooba!

My one pager, take 2

Let me know what you think … seriously.

The Schooba Academy

Teaching Science through SCUBA

Who we are:

The Schooba Academy has designed a curriculum that aligns the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver training to address 20 NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings.  In our program, students from low-income communities are paired with a screened and qualified mentor, and together they complete the Schooba course.  Throughout the program, the student receives 1:1 tutoring from their mentor on the science involved in SCUBA diving.

Why we work:

We believe that a knowledge of science empowers people to be critical and conscious citizens, and that an authentic, long-term engagement is the best foundation for this knowledge.  Unfortunately, students from low-income communities continue to lack skills and an interest in the sciences when compared to their higher-income peers.

The Schooba Academy’s mission is to foster a sustained engagement in science  for students from low-income communities through the learning of SCUBA diving.

What will happen:

A student that completes our program will become a student that sees science as an interesting and worthwhile investment.  This student will perform better in science academically, pursue careers and opportunities in science more aggressively, and be more critical and conscious in their decisions.

Partnership:

The Schooba Academy is looking to partner with various SCUBA related businesses.  We are in need of PADI Open Water Diver Manuals, SCUBA equipment, and the use of pool facilities.  In return, our partners will receive:

  • The opportunity of being a part of a new and innovative organization dedicated to helping young people in need
  • Positive PR and the opportunity of marketing their involvement with The Schooba Academy
  • Retail traffic
  • Exclusive Open Water training dive referrals for our partnering dive shop

Potential Sponsor?

The official toothbrush of The Schooba Academy … Has a nice ring to it.

best toothbrush ever!

Where good ideas come from

Good thing my office is in a coffee shop.

TED talk From Steven Johnson:

The NASA Neutral Buoyancy Lab

The past couple of days, I’ve been working on the lesson for Major Understanding 1.1d of The Physical Setting – Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the Sun and the Moon in orbit around the Earth.  I came across this this morning:

Astronaut training underwater.

NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab

My one page

The other day, I spoke with Steve Larosiliere, Founder of Stoked Mentoring.  If you’re unfamiliar with their program, check it out.  Their mission is to develop Successful Teens with Opportunity, Knowledge, Experience, and Determination through action sports and mentoring.

In a short period of time, they have attracted some very high profile partners and sponsors.  (Don’t believe me?  Take a look at their Partners & Sponsors page.)  On this, I asked Steve, “How??”

I gathered three steps from his advice:

1.  Forget the business plan for now.

2.  Write up one page  on who we are, what we do, how we will change our students, and what we need.

3.  Hustle.

Ok, so nothing earth shattering, but it does give me some direction.  I’m guessing my one page is a close cousin of my Executive Summary.  I’ve tweaked it a bit, but am still not sure which opening paragraph I like more.  What do you think?

Option A

At The Schooba Academy, we believe that a knowledge of science empowers people to be critical and conscious citizens, and that an authentic, long-term engagement is the best foundation for this knowledge.  Unfortunately, students from low-income communities continue to lack skills and an interest in the sciences when compared to their higher-income peers.  It is our mission to foster a sustained engagement in science for students from low-income communities through the learning of SCUBA diving.

The Schooba Academy has designed a curriculum that aligns the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver training to address 26 NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings.  In our program, students from low-income communities are paired with a screened and qualified mentor, and together they complete the Schooba course.  Throughout the program, the student receives 1:1 tutoring from their mentor on the science involved in SCUBA diving.

We foster an engagement in science by creating an experience where students are both learning and having fun.  The use of SCUBA diving as an engaging, relevant, and experiential vehicle for the learning of science, and the providing of 1:1 tutoring will ensure that this goal is met.  A student that completes our program will become a student that sees science as an interesting and worthwhile investment.  This student will perform better in science academically, pursue careers and opportunities in science more aggressively, and be more critical and conscious in their decisions.

All of the start-up expenses for the program have been covered by an investment of $20,000 by Zach Rome.  The Schooba Academy is planning to run a pilot program in March, 2011, and the inaugural class is planned to begin in September, 2011.  For at least the first year of operation, The Schooba Academy will serve only students from NYC.

What we need:

-       PADI Open Water Diver manuals

-       SCUBA equipment

-       Pool facilities

-       Exposure

-       $$$

Or,

Option B

The Schooba Academy is a soon to be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission of fostering a sustained engagement in science for students from low-income communities through the learning of SCUBA diving.  We believe that a knowledge of science empowers people to be critical and conscious citizens, and that an authentic, long-term engagement is the best foundation for this knowledge.  Unfortunately, students from low-income communities continue to lack skills and an interest in the sciences when compared to their higher-income peers.

The Schooba Academy has designed a curriculum that aligns the PADI Open Water Scuba Diver training to address 26 NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings.  In our program, students from low-income communities are paired with a screened and qualified mentor, and together they complete the Schooba course.  Throughout the program, the student receives 1:1 tutoring from their mentor on the science involved in SCUBA diving.

We foster an engagement in science by creating an experience where students are both learning and having fun.  The use of SCUBA diving as an engaging, relevant, and experiential vehicle for the learning of science, and the providing of 1:1 tutoring will ensure that this goal is met.  A student that completes our program will become a student that sees science as an interesting and worthwhile investment.  This student will perform better in science academically, pursue careers and opportunities in science more aggressively, and be more critical and conscious in their decisions.

All of the start-up expenses for the program have been covered by an investment of $20,000 by Zach Rome.  The Schooba Academy is planning to run a pilot program in March, 2011, and the inaugural class is planned to begin in September, 2011.  For at least the first year of operation, The Schooba Academy will serve only students from NYC.

What we need:

-       PADI Open Water Diver manuals

-       SCUBA equipment

-       Pool facilities

-       Exposure

-       $$$

Expenses Summary

From the business plan.  Please keep in mind that these are very rough estimates.  Anything seem to be missing?

Expenses

Due to the direct service nature of the program, the majority of The Schooba Academy’s expenses for the first year are payroll expenses (approximately 60%).

The following table outlines the annual expenses The Schooba Academy will need in order to operate for the year of 2011.

Annual Expenses FY 2011
Payroll $33,600
Marketing/Promotion $1,200
Rent $12,000
Utilities $1,200
Insurance $6,000
Other $2,400
————
Total Operating Expenses $56,400

Break-even Analysis

According to these estimates, if The Schooba Academy is to break even, it will need to generate a monthly revenue of $4,700.  The Schooba Academy plans to generate approximately 10% of its operating expenses from its Earned Income.  Consequently, using a conservative 8% ($376), The Schooba Academy will need to secure $4,324 a month from Government/Public Funding, Private Giving, and Fundraising Events.

More from Mik

Via Joe Romeiro.

You don’t want to miss this one.

Milestones

In my business plan, I outlined The Schooba Academy’s major milestones for the program.  Have a gander.  And then have a great day.

Milestones
Milestone End Date Manager Department
Website 7/1/2010 ZR Marketing
Business Plan 11/17/2010 ZR Business Plan
File for 501(c)(3) 12/1/2010 EB Legal
Curriculum 2/2/2011 ZR Curriculum
Pool 3/1/2011 ZR Implementation
Equipment 3/1/2011 ZR Implementation
Pilot Program 5/1/2011 ZR Implementation
Inaugural Course 9/15/2011 ZR Implementation
Breaking Even 8/1/2112 ZR, SR Finance

What’s in the water in Bali?

Evidently, a whole bunch of s!@#!!!!

Check it out, courtesy of Coach Mik.


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