A three-step, do it yourself guide, to marketing your school

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1 A three-step, do it yourself guide, to marketing your school

2 The business of The School District of Palm Beach County is educating the children and young adults in our community. We know that in order to recruit and keep families in our schools we must offer a quality product. Teachers, leaders, and individual school communities in Palm Beach are working together to provide a world-class education with excellence and equity to empower each student to reach his or her highest potential with the most effective staff to foster the knowledge, skills, and ethics required for responsible citizenship and productive careers.

3 The district s commitment to marketing schools. CONTACT MARKETING SPECIALIST, BONNIE SKOP, FOR THE FOLLOWING SUPPORT: In today s competitive school environment, where the district must vie with private schools and charter schools for students, marketing efforts are crucial to the district s goals to win over parents and show them the district-run schools are their best choice in Palm Beach County. Analysis of enrollment trends Marketing advice and guidance Marketing templates Connections to quality vendors Bonnie Skop Marketing Specialist (561)

4 Three Steps to Marketing Your School Define your school experience Retain families attending your school Grow your enrollment Anywhere you see this icon, click to view corresponding resources

5 1Define your school experience Begin the marketing process by clearly articulating what makes your school stand out. Answering the following questions collaboratively with school staff, parents and students will ensure that everyone talks consistently about your school experience. 1 What words would you use to define your school experience? 2 What unique programs and services do you offer? 3 Why do families choose your school? 4 What does the community value and expect from your school? Access the define your school experience worksheet here. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When schools have the look of being cared for, it is assumed that the inside of the school including the students are cared for. The first visit to your school establishes the tone of the relationship between the school staff and the family. Are your front-line staff image builders or image breakers? Developing a welcome packet or online resource that answer common questions is a great way to greet new students and parents. Click here for guidance on what to include in the welcome packet. Note: Information contained here can be found on pages of Principals in the Public a product of NAESP/NSPRA.

6 PRIORITIZE PARENT COMMUNICATION 2Retain families attending your school Retain the families in your school by letting them know they are valued and asking them to stay. Click here to access sample retention letters. Customize these template letters at different points in the year to Thank families for choosing your school. Share the unique experiences that your school offers. Articulate the commitment you and your staff make every day to the school s students and their families. Parents have an everyday interest in what occurs in your school and they make major decisions that can affect your school, such as whether their student remains enrolled. You should be especially sensitive to their communication needs. 1 Consider the following: Teacher introduction letters and/or home visits at the start of the year to outline expectations. Share the good news. When the school does well and when students do well, let parents know. Anticipate and provide information that parents want and need (e.g., grading policy, homework requirements, discipline policy, ways to contact their teacher). Include parents on your list of those to be nurtured and recognized. 1 Principals in the Public, Effective Communication Tools, page 63 Note: Information contained here can be found on pages of Principals in the Public a product of NAESP/NSPRA.

7 MARKETING TACTICS 3Grow your enrollment Go for the quick win by focusing marketing efforts on transition years. You are An elementary school A middle school A high school Focus on Early childhood providers Elementary schools Middle schools Obtain student lists for schools in your feeder pattern, within close geographic proximity, and from area charter schools in order to target your marketing. Target transition year teachers. Share information about your school and obtain information about their students. Invite them to experience your school during the school day. Invest time in cultivating and sustaining these relationships. Hold events for transition year students at their school and at your school. Provide opportunities for students to visit and experience your school during the day. Create a one-pager about your school using your defined school experience Audit your web presence; edit descriptions of your school to best reflect your school experience Mail/ recruitment letters to prospective students using lists provided by the district Hold an open house for prospective families Utilize staff and parents to go door-to-door in your neighborhood to promote your school Ask parents to host meet-and-greets in their homes for prospective families in the area OUTREACH To spread the word about your program consider mobilizing your Parent Teacher Association and arming real estate agents in your area with information. If you are considering paid advertisements, local community newspapers and Home Owners Association newsletters have the best chance of reaching your intended audience. Click here to access do s and don ts of school marketing.

8 2014/15 School Marketing Timeline DATE TACTICS PURPOSE August/September Welcome Letter to Families Retention October Showcase of Schools Grow Enrollment November/December Targeted student recruitment* Grow Enrollment December / January Transition year teacher marketing Choice Application Deadlines Grow Enrollment Grow Enrollment Mid-year Retention Letter Grow Enrollment March / April Assess enrollment projections / add l Grow Enrollment targeted student recruitment April/May End of Year Retention Letter Retention IncomingClass 2016/17 Student Marketing Transition Year Teacher Marketing Grow Enrollment Grow Enrollment

9 Marketing Workbook Access these workbook resources Research on What Parents Want Why Parents Choose Charter Schools Define your School Experience Worksheet Do s and Don ts of School Marketing Welcome Packet Checklist Marketing Essentials Click here to access sample retention letters.

10 Research on What Parents Want What Parents Want: Education Preferences and Trade-offs A National Survey of K-12 Parents August 26, 2013 By: Thomas B. Fordham Institute Dara Zeehandelaar, Ph.D. and Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. Click here to view this research. A few key goals and school attributes rose to the top of almost all parents lists features such as a strong core curriculum in reading and math; an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and the development of good study habits, strong critical thinking skills, and excellent verbal and written communication skills. These preferences persisted across parents of different races, household incomes, and political ideologies, and were consistently ranked highly by parents regardless of whether their student attended a traditional public, public charter, or private school. Yet parents are far from identical. Once their non-negotiables are satisfied, many start looking for something special. Some do indeed seek high test scores. Others want vocational training. Some want diversity. Others value art and music. Some want their kids going to top-tier colleges. Others are satisfied with job skills. In the end, it s not unlike people s view of cars. Pretty much everyone wants a vehicle that s reliable, safe, and affordable. But once those requisites are supplied, drivers and purchasers have dramatically different preferences as to roominess, sportiness, seating capacity, gas mileage, and, of course pace Henry Ford color and style.

11 Why Parents Choose Charter Schools It appears that a significant number of parents/guardians are running away from neighborhood schools as opposed to being drawn to charter schools. (see 4 below) Utah Charter School Study Prepared for the Utah State Legislature Executive Appropriations Committee November, 2006 By Andrea K. Rorrer, Ph.D., Charles Hausman, Ph.D. and Cori Groth, Ph.D. Click here to view this research. Individualized attention In this case, individualized attention translates to the child wanting to attend a school with a specialized mission and programs suited to his or her interests. At the classroom level, parents also believe the student will get more individual help as a result of smaller class sizes. 2The quality of the academic program This quality is reflected by the school s academic reputation, teachers, 3principal, and achievement test scores. School climate Specifically whether it is safe and inviting. The safety dimension is reflected in such items as discipline, the school is safe, and the school teaches values that traditional public schools do not. 4 Dissatisfaction with previous school Repeatedly, they emphasized public schools failure to help my child succeed, and the lack of challenge for their child as why they chose a charter school.

12 Define Your School Experience Worksheet (Page One) In one sentence, how would you describe our school? Why do families choose to attend our school? BRAINSTORM Two to three points of pride: Unique programs/services: What is important to the people in our community? Two words we want everyone to use to describe our school: Write the ideal front page newspaper headline about your school:

13 Define Your School Experience Worksheet (Page Two) DESCRIBE Using page one, write a oneparagraph description of your school. EVALUATE Once you have a description, ask yourself Does it feel right? Are quick associations positive? Does it tell a good story? Will it resonate with your community? Is it memorable? Does it accurately reflect what you offer today? Tip: Balance accurate with aspirational when describing your school. Aspirational may bring families to your school, but it won t keep them there.

14 Do s & Don ts of School Marketing DO S Do be consistent by always using the same language to describe your school Do use approved photos of your students, teachers, and parents; ensure the photos reflect the diversity of your school and are of high quality Do feature quotes from students, teachers, and parents Do emphasize the safe environment your school provides Don t use acronyms or education jargon Don t make errors in grammar or spelling Don t embellish your program or school DON Ts Don t make disparaging remarks about other schools Don t use poor quality photos

15 Welcome Packet Checklist Consider making the following information readily accessible. QUICK TIPS School contact information School hours / Sample daily schedule Welcome letter from the principal Welcome letter from PTA Safety practices / procedures Communication School calendar From the school newsletters, online portals To the school how to communicate with the schools / my child s teacher School directory Extracurricular and enrichment opportunities School committees and programs Have at least two people proofread all information to avoid errors. Make as much information as possible available on your website. Have a few hard copies available for families with limited online access. Station a computer in the front office so information can be accessed by prospective families who drop in. While idle, run a slide show highlighting your school s students and programs. Have a one-page promotional flyer available for distribution on demand. Annual events

16 Marketing Essentials COLLATERAL Glossy one-sheet Brochure Advertisement Well designed stationery with dual logo Welcome packet for families Newsletter (hard copy or electronic) Direct mail piece Exit Survey Form Marketing Video Questionnaire Every school should have: An engaging website with fresh content promoting positive news and dynamic engagement and their value proposition High quality photos and logos A nice display Also, consider customer service training for front-line staff. Social Media Guidelines MARKETING TACTICS Paid advertisement Conduct open houses Participate in recruitment fairs Door-to-door recruitment efforts Direct mail or campaigns Enlist the help of a marketing professional

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