School Growth During the Recession

Earlier this week I co-led a workshop at the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Conference with Rebecca Williams, Director of Marketing at Mount Pisgah Christian School in John’s Creek, GA. We examined three case studies of schools that experienced growth during the recession.

During the beginning of the workshop, we discussed many factors that can affect school growth including:

  • Environmental Factors — Location, competition, community demographics
  • Economic Factors — Local marketplace, income levels, housing market
  • Institutional Factors — Leadership, vision, quality of product, culture, faculty and staff, reputation, brand, plan for growth

However, as we argued, there are two factors that are critical for growth and were common among the three schools: Focus and Communication.

Each school that experienced growth had a leadership and marketing team who were able to focus on their brand, message and uniqueness to the community that they were trying to reach. Their message was simple, consise and consistent.

In addition, they were able to effectively communicate and market their school internally to their parent body and externally to their local community. They were able to tell the story of their school in a compelling way that retained current families and attracted new ones.

Growth is possible for a school in spite of a recession. During my next several blog posts, I will tell the story of each of these three schools. Stay tuned; there is much more to come.