7 Strategies for the Final Stretch
When mid-July hits, it is the final stretch in your push and preparation for a new school year. Last summer, many schools experienced a surge in last minute interest from parents frustrated with their local options and their response to COVID. This summer, the demand continues with the push to finish the enrollment cycle strong in a few more weeks.
As I work to coach my school clients through the final stretch, there are seven strategies you should consider now before the first day of school begins.
1 – Summer Recruitment Blitz – I encourage school leaders to implement a recruitment blitz. This is a concentrated push to create buzz and interest in your school over a condensed period of time. This is your last push to generate additional interest that should include paid search and social media ads, live interviews on Facebook, opportunities to share posts, storytelling campaigns and more. The concept is to blitz your local market by implementing several strategies at the same time to have an exponential impact.
2 – New Family and Faculty Storytelling – With many new families and faculty joining your school community, you can take advantage of this storytelling opportunity. Every new family and faculty hire is an opportunity to tell their personal story of why they chose to enroll or work at your school. This can be a great social media post that includes a family or faculty picture (think vacation photo of the new family) and a quote sharing why they selected your school. These personal stories bring your school to life by focusing on real people that are part of your community. The First Academy (Orlando, FL) is highlighting new family stories on their Facebook page this summer.
3 – Countdown to the First Day of School – You can be creative with a 10 or 20-day countdown to the first day of school on your social media channels. By involving students, faculty, parents and administrators, you can post the number of days that remain until the first day of school while featuring an individual or a group from your community.
4 – Connections – If you haven’t on-boarded your new families yet by connecting them to mentor families, you still have time to build these relationships. These connections can include welcome phone calls and emails from ambassadors to small group get-togethers for ice cream or play-dates. You can also launch a closed Facebook group for new families to connect with one another and to ambassador parents. The goal is for the new family to arrive at your school on the first day with relationships already built.
5 – Roll Out the Red Carpet – With the first day of school around the corner, how will you roll out the red carpet for your parents and students this year? What will the first day of school look like? Could you do something memorable and out-of-the-box to celebrate the return to your community? Some schools have actually rolled out a red carpet on their first day and welcomed families back by having them walk down the aisle surrounded by faculty and staff cheering them on. What will you do to make the start of this school year like none other?
6 – Personal Phone Calls and Welcome Videos – What if the leadership team, including your head of school, took some time to make personal phone calls or to record personal videos through a program like Bonjoro to individually welcome all families back to your school? Your returning and new families are the reason why your school exists; they are the focus of your mission. This is a great opportunity to connect with them and to personally welcome them to your community before the school year begins.
7 – Yard Signs, Welcome Gifts and Banners – Depending on your budget, you could consider yard signs for every family, a welcome gift box with swag, as well as banners on your campus highlighting your brand and theme for the year. These touches can make an impression on your families and can set up this school year for success.
What strategies will you implement in the final stretch as you push towards the first day of school?