Tips, tricks, and strategies that help small schools attract and retain families!
At our last Small School Leaders meet-up, an interesting question arose. What is a small school?
"I'm not sure this gathering is for me,'" said a colleague from a school with 400 students. This came after a school with 75 students commented that a school of 300 seemed large. Another colleague wondered, "Maybe my school is too small. We only have 47 students." And so the conversation went on.
What defines a small school? After working in the field for almost 20 years, I think this is a...
If I could come up with a catchy way to smush Retention + October together (Retentober? Octention?) I would. But nothing magical came to me.
Although retention should be a year-round effort, I feel like the official hard-core kick-off should be in October. If school started in late August/early September then parents have been in school for 4–6 weeks. The newness has worn off a bit...and we, as busy school leaders, may have gotten a little lax in our phone calls/outreach...
“Too often we substitute internal industry and product knowledge for customer input.” - Cindy Alvarez
Without feedback, you’re not going to know the issues parents have on their minds or what support they need. Communication is a two-way process. Without having a consistent means of giving feedback you’re missing out on the feedback that will help you fix issues early on before they sink the ship. If you’re not listening to what your parents are saying then...
“The process of exceeding a customer's expectations to create a positive customer experience with your product or brand to improve loyalty.” - Hubspot
“Surprise and Delight” is actually a psychological principle. It’s human nature to want to reciprocate when someone does something nice and unexpected. This can work in your favor.
When we are pleasantly surprised by something we actually experience the emotion of delight. And an emotional response to an...
I love this quote because it's so true. We live so much of our lives in fear.
Fear of disappointing.
Fear of failing.
Fear of hoping.
Fear of succeeding.
And when we listen to these fears, we end up not trying.
This can look like not trying a different marketing strategy or continuing to produce the same Auction format every year instead of looking at alternatives. I know that if we rise above our fears this year, we'll accomplish amazing things.
Tell me, do you have any new...
In schools, we often have this false belief/hope that there are actually lulls and "down time" in our roles.
After almost 20 years in the field, I can tell you that is rarely the case. Yes, there might be a dip here and there. And perhaps a little bit of a break over the summer. But mostly what happens, especially in small schools, is that there is an unexpected "fire" that takes up our time and energy during our "slow" time.
At our last Small School Leaders meetup, part of the discussion was about surveys, so I figured this might be a good topic to share. If our Small School Leaders are thinking about it, I bet others are as well. These common school survey mistakes are easily avoidable and make all the difference!
Inconsistency. By sticking to a survey schedule, you give parents what they expect and get easily trackable data.
Not using anonymous surveys. This is...
During this time of year, there's a lot that's unfolding — fundraising, annual funds, admissions events, open houses, and everything in between. We often forget that when we're planning out these seasons, we also have to plan out strategic connections
Because of the chaos of invites, donations, etc. we forget that certain constituents aren't involved in the day-to-day of your community and may not be seeing the value of what's actually happening at your school...
At our Small School Leaders meet-up, two important topics came...we chatted about why families enroll (see below!) and print vs. digital.
I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to be honest. Do you know why families enroll at your school?
No, I'm not talking about a conversation you had with families during the admissions process (they aren't going to be 100% honest because they don't know you and they want to get into your school).
Or the little multiple choice survey...