How to use your teachers to turbo charge your school’s enrollment

 

Think about your school and what makes it special.  Is it your brand-new facilities?  Maybe it is your engaging and creative curriculum?  Or perhaps your inspiring mission statement?

While those are all important and hopefully you are talking about them, I am sure that you would agree, that it is your staff of talented and caring professionals that truly makes your school unique.  Your staff must become a prominent component of the marketing of your school.

Here are some ways you can promote your teachers to get parents excited about your school, and ultimately, for them to enroll.

 

Have teacher profiles built out on your webpage

Don’t make the staff section of your website be an afterthought. This section of your site is likely one of the first sections a prospective or current parent will check out as they want to know all about the person who is going to be spending 35 hours a week with their child and helping them grow as a student.

 

It is important that you get this right!

 

A school that I think does a great job on this is Lakewood Catholic Academy.  LCA is a PreK-8 Catholic school near Cleveland, Ohio.  This is a competitive marketplace with many great charters, public and private schools for parents to choose from.

 

LCA has done a great job of using their teacher profile page to convey a sense of quality teachers and a caring environment.

 

How did they do this?

First, you will notice that all the pictures are three-fourth shots of the faculty, and each picture has the faculty holding a prop that represents them.

From a globe to a microscope to a plunger for the maintenance man, all of them exude fun and caring.  The props also allow folks to feel more comfortable with the ¾ shot rather than just a head shot.

 

Next, read some of the biographies.

 

Here is the one from their 7th/8th grade English teacher:

ALLISON BOEHM, 7TH AND 8TH GRADE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE

Favorite Saint: St. Gemma Galgani because she endured painful times at such a young age and never lost faith. In actuality, her challenges brought her closer to God.

Favorite Moment At LCA: The welcome ceremony with bagpipes and drums in the courtyard on the first day of school.

Favorite Outside-Of-Work Activity: Taking advantage of the diverse food scene in Northeast Ohio by checking out local food and music events, such as the Cleveland Flea Market.

Favorite Children’s Book: I love anything by Shel Silverstein, his creative stories, as well as the illustrations, remain interesting and engaging even as an adult.

Favorite Place In NEO: The Westside Market or Rocky River Park, where my dogs can swim in Lake Erie!

Qualities Your Favorite Teacher Possessed: Fair, humorous, relatable, and very approachable.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English, minor in American Studies, Ohio State University; Masters in Education (Special Education, AYA Integrated Language Arts), Baldwin Wallace University

What did you gather from reading this biography?

The school established quality by listing her advanced degrees.  It gave the readers an insight into the culture of the school with the favorite moment at LCA section.  It created an understanding of how this person is going to teach with the qualities of your favorite teacher question.  And finally, it allowed the staff and the reader to connect on a personal level with their favorite places and out of work activity.

 

After reading their biographies, I feel like I know them and more importantly, I feel like I like them

 

This approach is easily replicable.  You can use those categories or add some others (why they became a teacher, their favorite teacher when they were in school and why, etc.) and have all your staff fill it out over the summer.  Then, prior to school starting for the year, have a professional photographer come in and take shots of your staff (you likely have a parent who would volunteer his/her time).

 

Upload this section to your website and voila, you have now created an engaging page on your website that showcases the quality of your teachers and has helped to give prospective parents an insight into your school and its culture.

 

Promote your teachers on social media

It can be challenging to constantly be producing content for your social media channels.  But if you used the previous tip on teacher bios, you have instantly created great fodder for posts that you can use again and again.  Lots of schools do #teachertuesdays where you make a post that highlights your teachers.  You can easily lift content from your faculty page with these engaging photos to create a post that talks about the quality of staff at your school.

#TeacherTuesday picture from the International School of Orange County

 

Not only does this help the people reading your social media understand what great and quality staff members you have, but it is another way of telling your teachers that you appreciate them.  Having your school brag about you is a great feeling for your hardworking teachers.

 

The International School of Orange County does a great job of #teachertuesdays.  Actually, they are also a wonderful example of a school that does Facebook right!

 

Create marketing material highlighting the qualifications of your staff

I love infographics and other easy to understand marketing materials for schools.  When you gather all your information for your staff section on your website, make sure that you are gathering where they went to school, degree(s) that they have received and how long they have been teaching.

 

You can use this information to easily highlight and call out facts about your instructional staff in a marketing piece.  It could be that your staff has a combined 600 years of teaching experience or that you have four teachers who graduated from an Ivy League school or 30 percent have master’s degrees.  Little data points like that are like gold to a parent when they are evaluating your school.  You have the information; you just need to gather it and use it in a promotional way.

 

Include them in your school tours

I usually conduct about ten secret shopper projects per year.  These engagements have me posing as a prospective parent who is touring the school because I am interested in enrolling my children.  My analysis of their tour process gives the school a wealth of information on how to improve the tour process and increase their enrollment.

 

Though I have 25 specific metrics that I evaluate, one of the things that I always want to see is the inside of a classroom and a teacher in action, after all, the quality of teaching is a key consideration for enrolling in your school.  I want to see an engaging teacher that is reaching the students in her classroom.  I want to envision my child in that class.

 

Some of your staff might push back on hosting a prospective parent during their class time.  They will tell you it can be disruptive.  We can all appreciate this perspective, but I think if you are honest and tell the teacher that you are trying to showcase the quality of the instructional staff and that they are a great example of a super teacher, that they will be more likely to deal with minimal disruption.

 

Make teachers a key part of your enrollment process

Imagine you are a parent who is selecting a school for the first time.  Or a parent that is trying to decide if they should change schools.  You have done your research and completed a school tour, but you are still on the fence.  Now, what if you get a phone call or email from the school and it is the teacher that your child would have if he/she started at that school?

The teacher makes herself available to answer questions about what goes on in the classroom and also tells you how excited they all are that you are considering their school.  Wouldn’t that make a big impression?

 

One of my clients, St. Pius X of Indianapolis added a phone call from the future teacher to their follow up process after a parent had toured the school.  Though this created a few additional phone calls that the teachers had to make in the evenings, St. Pius reported that this increased the number of students who enrolled after a tour from 75 percent to 96 percent.  In real terms, they enrolled six more students by having these phone calls after a tour- a pretty good investment in time.

 

Making teachers the stars of your school’s marketing is a smart way to give parents a look into your school, and it gives them the credit that they deserve for making your school a special place.

Nick LeRoy

Nick LeRoy

Nick LeRoy, MBA, is the president of Bright Minds Marketing and former Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board. Bright Minds Marketing provides enrollment and recruitment consulting to private, Catholic and charter schools. For information about how Bright Minds Marketing can help your school improve its’ student enrollment, send an email to nick@brightmindsmarketing.com or call us at 317-361-5255.

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