Key Ingredients for Enrollment Growth at Calvin Christian School (Escondido, CA)

Last week I co-presented a webinar with Terry Kok, Superintendent of Calvin Christian School in Escondido, CA. This webinar was presented to over 70 school leaders that are members of Christian Schools International.

Terry and I connected in 2010 when I had the opportunity to work with his school to conduct research and develop their marketing and enrollment plan. During the last several years, Calvin Christian had experienced declining enrollment. Since its enrollment high of 617 students in 2002-03, the school had declined to a low of 436 in 2010-11.

Terry knew that he and his staff lacked the marketing expertise needed to turn the enrollment around. He also knew that he needed to conduct research and to develop an enrollment and marketing plan.

As a result of this process and the initiative that he took as the school’s leader, Calvin Christian experienced an enrollment increase this year—12 students more this year than last.

In preparation for this webinar, I asked Terry his thoughts about the factors that contributed to this increase. His response included six factors, which I believe are key ingredients for growth:

  • The combination of cost-based tuition and financial assistance – Calvin Christian has been able to develop a budget that is cost-based while still providing tuition assistance for families.
  • Better retention – With a focus on keeping current families enrolled, Calvin Christian experienced an increase in retention.
  • School quality improvements – Improving the quality of a school is a key ingredient to enrollment growth. During this past year, they added Elementary Spanish to the curriculum and the math program changed to Singapore Math.
  • Enhanced Brand and New website – The Calvin Christian brand was enhanced by Cherry+Company that included a new logo and tagline–Connecting Faith and Learning. A new website was launched in the summer.
  • New director of enrollment and marketing – A full-time director was hired for the first time to focus on the enrollment and marketing effort.
  • Enrollment and marketing plan – An enrollment and marketing plan was developed to direct the leadership of the school.

These six factors are key ingredients to school growth. While certainly there were more factors, including Terry’s leadership and his willingness to take some risks and move in the right direction, Calvin Christian School is on the right path to experience continued enrollment growth.

If you are interested in viewing the PowerPoint from this presentation, you can download it here (it may take a few minutes to download):

Strategies in Marketing and Enrollment — A Case Study of Calvin Christian School, Escondido, CA