Business-savvy entrepreneurs interested in improving the lives of children through education can find a new career thanks to Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the franchisor of The Goddard School preschools.
GSI is looking for the right people to help its growth in the United States. Goddard Schools provide year-round education programs for children aged six months old to six years and before- and after-school care for school-age children.
Headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, the education-based franchise has been in operation since 1986; franchising began in 1988. Currently, there are 450 Goddard School locations. Due to strong demand for quality early education and the success of existing Schools, the company is planning further expansion across the country.
In a recent interview with Franchising USA magazine, CEO Joe Schumacher stated that Goddard’s overarching strategic goal is to be the best franchisor in the United States. To reach this goal, the franchisor has established a robust support system for each Goddard School Franchise.
The success of each franchise is based on two key pillars: providing an outstanding learning experience for children and enabling strong business performance at each School. To ensure the success of these interrelated pillars, Goddard Schools use a dual-management system led by an on-site franchisee and an expert Education Director to lead implementation of the curriculum and to manage a faculty trained in early childhood education and/or childhood development. Further, GSI provides comprehensive support for both the education and business sides of each franchise.
CEO Joe Schumacher noted that, “Rarely do our franchisees have an education background.” He went on to say that “It’s really the business background we’re looking for, and we’re always looking for folks who want to be successful, who are willing to follow our system and always keep the integrity of the brand in mind. We also provide the support, training and expertise to empower the School director and faculty to execute the curriculum.”
Franchisees don’t run their School alone. GSI supplies comprehensive education, marketing, sales, communications, and operational support. “We have one group of folks who work with the franchisee on the business side and one group who work with the franchisee and the education director on the education side,” Schumacher explained.
Support is provided by headquarters staff as well as employees based in the markets in which the Schools are located.
Strong Support to Enable an Excellent Early Childhood Educational Experience
Schumacher stated that a key differentiator for GSI is its strong support to franchisees to develop each School’s educational excellence. GSI provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art educational program termed F.L.EX.® Learning Program, which stands for Fun Learning Experience. A play-based approach to learning, the F.L.EX. Learning Program is grounded in research that shows children learn better when they’re having fun.
Each School is required to have an Education Director who has been approved by GSI and by the licensing authorities of the state in which the School operates. The Education Director leads the implementation of The Goddard School curriculum and manages the faculty.
GSI also provides Education Support Specialists who work with the franchisee and the Education Director to address specific questions regarding the curriculum.
The Goddard School has its own Educational Advisory Board comprising childhood education experts who provide valuable guidance and help to shape the curriculum. The Goddard School also enlists the help of a third-party assessment firm, Children’s Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA), to see how well its students perform. CPAA data demonstrates that children enrolled in Goddard Schools become better learners.
Goddard has conducted its own studies of its students and found they continue to perform better through grades three and four than compared to non-Goddard School students. “If you look at what competitors say about their programs, it’s all very similar, but we actually have proof that we deliver,” Schumacher declared.
Comprehensive Business Support Enables Franchisee Success
Schumacher stated that GSI’s support of the business side of the School is equally robust. GSI also offers comprehensive marketing, sales and public relations for franchisees, while its operations department has Franchise Business Consultants, each of whom typically reside in or near the market where they work so they completely understand that market and can pass their local expertise on to the franchisee.
Each franchisee undergoes a two-stage training program. Phase one is conducted approximately six months before a franchisee receives a certificate of occupancy for the School. It includes training in The Goddard School’s education philosophy and marketing to the business community. Phase two occurs approximately three months after phase one. This phase is a two-week program that focuses on operations, customer service, hiring, training and quality assurance.
GSI also provides a week-long training program for education directors that all directors must successfully complete.
Every spring and summer the franchisor holds regional market meetings to provide global insights and best practices, as well as to understand the unique features of each market. An annual four-day franchisee convention is held every fall, which Schumacher described as a high-level business event.
Goddard Schools are present in thirty-six states. Given demographic trends, the current location of franchises, and the success of The Goddard School franchises, Schumacher estimates that there are an additional 550 available locations throughout the United States that are ideal for growth opportunities.
Areas of particular interest include Boston, Florida, California, Texas (especially San Antonio) and Illinois. The CEO also pointed to Manhattan and Long Island in New York as places where GSI aims to put more Schools.
The Goddard School has spread across the country, preparing tens of thousands of students for success in school and in life. Now the franchise needs more enthusiastic entrepreneurs to step up to carry on the mission of educating the next generation.