An inescapable part of all our jobs is public relations. We’re all in the business of marketing our superior schools so that people truly understand who we are and why we believe our Catholic schools are the best choice for their students and are worth the financial sacrifice. We form students in a family environment that emphasizes excellent academics, high moral standards, and religious truth.
Now is the time to gather data such as surveys, focus groups, or interviews in order to figure out what you need.
It’s time to plan for our next enrollment cycle in order to get our pastors, advisory councils, faculties, staffs, and current parents behind these new ideas.
Engage your current parents:
1. Is someone keeping your website up to date? Parents need to know where to look for schedules, announcements, calendar, etc.
2. Is someone engaging your parents on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? These are all good ways to show the good things happening in your school. Parents love to see pictures of field trips, art projects, PE classes, etc. Your teachers can provide the content. Can you post one thing a day?
3. We seem to have forgotten our dads. Have you thought about a “Dads and Doughnuts” day to get the dads together? Or a Kindergarten “reading with Dad” day?
4. At your major events like Christmas programs, do you honor your parents with a badge saying “Proud Parent”?
5. Are there real opportunities for parents to help out at school? Are you posting what you need in the newsletter or on Social Media?
6. Are you giving parents some content in your weekly newsletter? Are you explaining accreditation, your SLE’s, your testing cycle, your homework policy, your expectations, etc?
7. Have you thought about an incentive for recruiting new families such as a free month of tuition for current parents? By adopting this, you are sending the message that you value their role as recruiters.
8. Is your door (or email inbox) open for parents to share their concerns?
Attract new parents:
1. Is your website up to date and inviting? This is the first place prospective parents go. Is there a “portal” or a special menu to welcome them?
2. Are you having a variety of open houses at different times of year and different times?
3. Are you having specific information nights for pre-K and/or Kindergarten?
4. Do you have someone designated to give tours? Do you make a point to meet all new parents?
5. Do you thank prospective parents for coming in with a thank you note? Do you keep a database of all prospective parents? Do you follow up with them to answer any questions?
6. Do you have an outreach to local parishes to reach the families in each parish? Have you invited local pastors to visit?
If you take the lead in marketing and recruiting, surely your faculty, staff, parents, and advisory council will follow. The Good News will spread.