We are very excited that you are considering starting an SBS at your location. This is a basic letter for those in leadership at a YWAM center requesting an SBS. This should give you an overview of the requirements for a school and what it entails to start an SBS in a new location.
A. Leadership and Staff
1. An SBS leader must have successfully completed an SBS and have been on an SBS staff for a minimum of 9 months ( all three quarters). The leader should come with a strong recommendation from his/her SBS leader. They should also have a strong recommendation from the SBS leader of the school they staffed. The SBS leader should possess:a) Vision for the school, b) a gift in teaching, c)an ability to lead and ,d)in some cases logistic and administrative know -how.
2. To start a school you need more than just a leader. You need approximately 1 staff person per 4.5 students. All teaching staff must have successfully completed the 9 month SBS. You need a team to start an SBS. It is ideal if some of the staff have had previous SBS staff experience. It is difficult if you have inexperienced staff as the leader must then invest in training staff as well as overseeing the student’s work.
3. In some cases logistical, administrative staff have served the SBS. In such cases they would not need to have completed an SBS as their duties only include logistical helps.
4. The staff in the SBS do 90% of the teaching in the school. The YWAM Training center must recognize that this requires hours and hours of preparation and study. The SBS staff are not just organizers of guest speakers, they are the speakers. This is often not given enough consideration by the training center/base leadership when demands are placed on the SBS staff. This school is not like any other YWAM school in this aspect. Besides lecturing , the SBS staff attend class with the students. grade the students work and coach them through their studies. The average staff person grades approximately 5,000 pages of written work during the 9 months. Of course, there is also a normal load of counseling, one on ones or small groups and other logistical tasks pertaining to SBS.
B. Demands on the Student
1. The SBS Student spends 9 hours in classroom lectures each week. There is also the required worship and intercession as well a works duties and for some schools a weekly outreach. The students can expect to spend 40 hours a week to complete the required course work. SBS is an intensive course. We believe the priority for the student is for them to learn the Bible. The YWAM center should consider that the SBS student does not have a lot of free time of outside activities.
1. An SBS needs a designated place for the students to study. This could be the classroom or some other location. Each SBS student needs a desk or table and good lighting. The SBS needs a suitable classroom.
2. A library of some basic research materials is essential for an SBS. The basic library should include Bible Atlases, Background books, Bible Dictionaries, Concordances and Bible Encyclopedias, etc. Some of these can be purchased for the school as software for computers that are SBS only computers.
3. Other classroom needs are a whiteboard and a means to project notes during class. This is nice but not essential.
4. Students do not need to have a personal computer to do SBS. However there should be some SBS only computers for students to print out their vertical charts however this is not a requirement as the work can all be done by hand.
5. It is our opinion that a one language school works best. SBS does have bilingual schools, but they are extra work and a number of the staff would need to function in both languages. Remember everything needs to be translated lectures, notes, power points, tests, announcements, etc. As well you need the research materials in both languages.
6. The SBS should be registered and accredited with the University of the Nations.
D. Base Backing
1. A successful SBS requires the Base, Campus, Training Center support. An ideal situation is for the location to have logistical staff to oversee food, housing, finances and visas. As well, it is a real plus if the training location has a registrar to handle the applications. If an SBS is its own entity, not connected to a base facility, then extra logistical staff should be considered.
2. Base, Campus, Training Center backing is also need in the area of moral support. SBS staff and students need encouragement. Often the students get lost in the comings and goings of 2 or 3 DTSs and other programs. People forget them and what they are doing and at times don’t give them the honor they need. At times they are also joked about in condescending ways. For a school to succeed the whole community must catch the vision and value of the school. This keeps morale high.
3. We teach people to think for themselves. SBS students and staff may question and disagree with the status quo. This is often viewed as threatening by less than secure leadership. At times it has earned us the reputation of being rebels. We always welcome open dialogue in class and our goal is to teach people to think inductively. We feel this is healthy.
We would urge you to seriously consider all of these things as you prepare to invest into an SBS at your location.
Ron & Judy Smith