Enrollment Turnaround at Northside Christian Academy

It’s hard to believe that the enrollment at a school could decline so rapidly. Yet it did for Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, NC. From a high of around 800 students, to a low of 385 students just a couple of years ago, NCA lost over half of its enrollment in a decade.

Northside Christian LogoWhile there are many factors that contributed to this decline, the leadership of the school and the church played a critical role. With ineffective and inconsistent leadership, the parents lost trust in the school. Without this trust, families left the school and the enrollment declined.

When Tony Fajardo, now in his third year as head of school, came to Northside Christian Academy he knew that he wasn’t coming into an easy situation and that rebuilding the school’s enrollment and growing the school would be a significant challenge. Tony focused on rebuilding the trust of the parents and creating a closer partnership with the new pastor of the church. He also focused on improvements to the quality of the school that would make a difference in the educational experience of the students enrolled.

At the end of his first year, Tony reached out to Dr. Rick Newberry of Enrollment Catalyst to work closely with the NCA team to help turnaround this enrollment decline. This partnership began with an initial site visit, focus group meetings and a parent survey. Through Rick’s assessment of their effort, a marketing and enrollment strategic plan was developed to increase the enrollment.

Through Skype coaching meetings, Rick met weekly with Tony, Pamela Starkey, Admissions Director, and Jennifer Frye, AEL Director, to focus on strategies that would grow their school. These strategies included a focus on web-based marketing, including a new website and search engine optimization (SEO) through the partnership with North Star Marketing, word of mouth marketing, retention and internal marketing.

As a result, Northside Christian Academy experienced an enrollment turnaround. In 2012-13, the enrollment grew to 432 students as a result of increased retention of current families and the recruitment of additional new students. Enrollment Catalyst continues its partnership with the team at NCA by meeting on a bi-weekly basis.

“At Northside Christian Academy we have enjoyed working with Rick Newberry. Rick has an acute understanding of the challenges schools are facing and served as an active force in helping us to increase new student enrollment, which produced a 35% increase in inquiries this year alone. Enrollment Catalyst has provided a clear direction and consistent action plans that have allowed us to achieve goals ahead of schedule in 2012. We are excited to work with Rick again in 2013.” — Tony Fajardo, Administrator at Northside Christian Academy

To find out how Enrollment Catalyst can help your school grow and increase enrollment, contact Rick Newberry at Rick.Newberry@EnrollmentCatalyst.com.

About Enrollment Catalyst and Rick Newberry

Enrollment Catalyst partners with schools across the United States and Canada to provide coaching and consulting in enrollment management and marketing systems, strategies and solutions. The program is designed to provide school leaders with effective marketing and enrollment growth strategies as well as staff accountability, direction and results needed to grow enrollment.

Enrollment Catalyst President and Consultant Dr. Rick Newberry has 25 years of educational leadership experience in both higher education and K-12 levels, and has served as the executive director of development and enrollment management at a private university, as well as head of a large private school. Rick regularly writes in his blog at www.enrollmentcatalyst.com/blog and presents at many educational conferences around the country.