Starting a Private School in Tennessee


Regulations, Resources, & Support

Our team has curated the best resources and information available about starting a private school in Tennessee. Enjoy!


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Regulations

We’ve curated the laws and regulations about starting a private school in Tennessee.


Resources

What resources and associations are available to help new education entrepreneurs?


Starting a School Guide

See what else you need to know about starting a private school. From your curriculum to your marketing, and everything in-between.

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Tennessee State Regulations


General Regulations


Tennessee State

  • In order for students to satisfy the compulsory attendance laws, they must attend a public school or a non-public school, which includes home schools. The State Board of Education Rule defines six categories of non-public schools:
    • Category I schools are approved by the State Department of Education. Special purpose schools encompassing some Pre-K programs and short term medical or transient care facilities may be approved as Category I.
    • Category II schools are approved by a private school accrediting agency, which has been approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education. Schools holding full accreditation status with an approved agency are also approved by the State Department of Education.
    • Category III schools are accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies.
    • Category IV schools are church related schools as recognized by associations.
    • Category V schools are Acknowledged for Operation.
    • Category VI provides for International schools associated with the state universities.
  • Accreditation is required for category II and III schools. Approval is required for category I schools and is optional for category IV schools.
  • The Tennessee Department of Education has assembled a page of detailed requirements for private schools.
  • The US Office of Innovation & Improvement has assembled a summary of regulations for private schools operating in Tennessee.
  • Parents must provide a curriculum plan, hours of instruction, and qualifications to teach in order to homeschool their student(s).
  • The Tennessee DOE has no published requirements for school insurance — consult a professional for guidance in this area.

State Funding Sources & Support


Curriculum Requirements


Teacher Certification & Hiring

Food Services / Lunch

In Tennessee, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Department of Education.


Length of School Year

  • Schools in Categories I, II, IV, V and VI must be conducted for the same length of term as public schools.
  • The State Board of Education Rules do not address the length of school year or days in Category III schools.

Recordkeeping & Reports

Healthy & Safety Requirements

Students must be immunized or provide proof of religious or medical exemption. Schools must hold monthly fire drills and must be inspected by the fire marshal annually.


Transportation

Transportation is not provided by the state or district.


Testing

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Tennessee State Resources


State & Regional Associations

Read the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Private School


We've put together one of the most comprehensive guides to starting a private school. Ready to open your school? Read our free guide!


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Guide Quick-Nav



Introduction to Starting a School

Introduction

We’ve developed these 10 topics to help you along the way. Take them all in at once, or start with the areas most relevant right now.


Creating Your School Identity

School Identity

There’s plenty you can do to develop your own brand, starting right from your personal ideals and goals for your school.


Creating Your School Curriculum

Curriculum

Our curriculum pages include ideas on where to go to find materials, and different associations and educational models you may want to consider.


Legal & Operating Requirements

Legal & Operating Requirements

You need to know the requirements at both the federal level and for your state. Here are the basic details for every state.


Introduction to Starting a School

Funding & Finance

Here we share ideas for possible funding sources, and ways you might be able to start with less than you thought necessary.


Creating Your School Identity

Business Plan & Budget

Having a plan for how you’ll operate and a budget to predict and allocate funds is critical for all businesses, schools included. We’ve pulled together resources here to help with both.


School Facilities

Facilities

What facilities are right for your school? We encourage new schools to get creative, and have compiled some considerations to take into account.


School Staffing

Staffing

How can you find and recruit the right talent for your school? What qualifications or certifications are required?


School Policies & Procedures

Policies & Procedures

Here we share ideas for possible funding sources, and ways you might be able to start with less than you thought necessary.


Marketing & Online Presence

Marketing & Online Presence

Having a plan for how you’ll operate and a budget to predict and allocate funds is critical for all businesses, schools included. We’ve pulled together resources here to help with both.


School Associations

Associations

What facilities are right for your school? We encourage new schools to get creative, and have compiled some considerations to take into account.