If I asked you to describe your school and what truly makes it a special place, what would you say? Would you tell me about your innovative curriculum? Or perhaps your beautiful campus? Maybe you would describe your championship sports team.
No matter what characteristic you start with, invariably, you will describe your wonderful faculty and staff and the incredible things that they do in the classroom every day. Your teachers are the greatest marketing asset of your school, and they are what makes your school a special place. Without your faculty, your school is just a building and some equipment and supplies.
Intuitively, you know this, but many schools fail to utilize the quality and the characteristics of their faculty in their marketing efforts. You need to talk about the quality of your teachers when you are marketing your school! Your faculty page, your social media, and your school tours should all reinforce the quality of your teachers and ultimately, the quality of your school.
What’s the best way to do it?
Gather data about your teachers
Including brief facts or data points about the quality of your teachers on your website is a great place to start. Messages such as: “At Imagine Charter School, our teachers average more than 15 years’ experience in the classroom”, or “72% of the teachers at St. Peters have a master’s degree”. These small little Reasons to Believe (RTBs) form very powerful facts for your website and other marketing vehicles
Send a quick survey to your faculty via a Google Form that includes questions like these:
- Where did you get your bachelor’s degree?
- Where did you attend graduate school?
- Do you have a master’s degree?
- How long have you been employed by the school?
- How long have you been teaching?
- What is your favorite memory of teaching at our school?
- Why do you love teaching at our school?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
Once you have gathered and collated this information, you now have a set of data points that you can use on your website or other channels like social media that talk about the quality of your teachers.
Improve the faculty page on your website
Many schools think about the faculty page as a place to share contact information for their staff. But this part of your website gives you an excellent opportunity to reinforce the quality of your teachers.
Having a well-designed and comprehensive faculty page can also help to increase the community in your school. Being able to connect with faculty members over shared interests is a great way to break down the barriers between parents and staff.
Lakewood Catholic Academy, a PreK-8th grade Catholic school in northern Ohio, is an example of a school that has taken a very innovative approach to its faculty page. The first thing that you will notice is that their pictures are not the traditional headshots, but rather they are three-quarter shots with props that represent that teacher/staff member and what they do.
Taking this approach allows the personality of the individuals to come out much more than a standard picture.
When you click on any one of the pictures, you then receive a brief biography or answers to some specific questions. From their favorite saint, a favorite moment at the school to activities that they enjoy outside of the classroom, you get a nice impression of the staff by how they have designed the faculty page. Also, note that they list the university where the teacher received his/her degree
What I love about the faculty page at De Smets Jesuit, a private Catholic High School in St. Louis, is the section before they list all their faculty members.
Note the use of the phrase “Why we serve”, denoting a servant mentality that is representative of teaching in a Catholic school. This is also reinforced by the multiple teacher quotes. This feature of their faculty page gives the reader a feeling of a committed set of individuals who care about students and want them to succeed.
If you think about the message that you want to deliver about your faculty, isn’t that the whole point?
De Smets then includes a directory of their faculty, denoting alumni status as well as the universities where they attended. This further reinforces the academic quality of their teaching staff.
Sabot Stony Point does a great job with their faculty page. What do you first notice when you scroll through their faculty pictures? They are all shown teaching kids! Interesting choice and it deliberately moves the focus from the teacher as an individual to one that is shown impacting the children around them.
When you read the descriptions, they show a cadre of caring and engaged teachers – especially when it comes out in their own words:
“Seeing my students explore and discover how our world works is what makes me love what I do. Teaching is […] about helping a child find what they love and letting them dream. It is about setting them up for success and helping them when they feel that they have failed. It is about helping a child discover what they love and what they are passionate about.”
What parent wouldn’t want that?
Promote them on social media
It can be hard to constantly be posting new content on social media. However, if you have completed step one and created profiles on each teacher – you suddenly have a lot of content that you can easily repurpose for social media by highlighting one of your great teachers on #teachertuesday.
Not only does this give you content that you can use to ensure a consistent volume of posts, but it also allows you to brag about your wonderful staff.
Include teachers as part of your recruiting efforts
I know that having tour visitors pop into a classroom can be seen as disruptive to the educational environment. However, as a prospective parent who is touring your school, I want to see some of your top teachers in action.
If your school tour does not currently show off how great your teachers are in the classroom then you need to rethink your approach. Prospective parents aren’t buying your facilities – they are buying the experience that their children will have in the classroom every day.
Also, utilize your teachers as part of your follow up protocol to prospective parents. Having the teacher who might have that prospective student in her class call to offer to answer any questions about the school can help influence a parent to choose your school.
Want more tips on how to improve your use of faculty in your school’s enrollment efforts? Check out these posts:
- Four Ways to get faculty involved in student recruitment
- How to use your teachers to turbo charge your school’s enrollment
Your teachers are what makes your school special. I still fondly remember my favorite teachers, as does everyone else. Emphasize the quality and caliber of your teachers, and you will give potential parents greater insight into your school and ultimately recruit more students.