Marketing the Small Private School: The First Steps

I suspect that most small private schools do not have much money in their sorely-stretched budgets for marketing. I further suspect that it is also true that most small schools do not have room in their budgets for a full-time marketing person. With those assumptions let's look at inexpensive ways in which we can market your school effectively.
 
In most small schools marketing tasks, such as they are, tend to be rolled into somebody else's portfolio. This article is aimed at those incredibly multifaceted professionals who have to juggle dozens of deadlines every day and still do a superlative job of getting the word out about their school.
 
What kinds of resources are available to help you market your school effectively? Probably more than you realize. Besides the old standbys such as consultants, books, blogs and affinity groups, popular social media has become a very effective part of any size school's marketing strategy. We shall look at each resource and see how it fits into your school's budget and your schedule.
 
Consultants
 
Having an expert review your marketing strategy is like going to the doctor.  It will cost you some money, perhaps even a lot of money. In return you will receive the benefit of years of professional experience and expertise when the consultant makes her recommendations. As a rule, hiring a consultant is not going to be as expensive as hiring an additional member of staff. You will incur a one time expense. If you plan to retain her services, of course, . . .read more
My late father-in-law, Dr. James Garnett Lyne, used to refer to what he called 'mass mediocrity' whenever he discussed education. Like me he was a product of a public school education. Neither of our parents could afford a private school education.

 

What did he mean by 'mass mediocrity'? He was referring to what he feared would be the result of a general lowering of standards in our schools. He argued that the less qualified teachers were, the less they were paid and the less demanding high school curricula were, the more we as a society would descend into 'mass mediocrity'. Dr. Lyne has been gone for 45 years. Yet his prescient words still haunt me. You see, back then, I had no clue what he was talking about. None. That scholarly father-in-law of mine was given to many well-reasoned pronouncements. I figured that this was just one more and filed it away in my memory bank.


Graduates lack basic business skills

 

 

 

 

 
In my own daily life and work I am well aware of what high school graduates - both public and private school graduates - bring to the table. The lack of basic business communications skills is appalling. And I don't think that Twitter and texting is the reason. I remain convinced until somebody can show me otherwise that most high school students are simply not taught how to write business communications. They might have had one short lesson on that skill in English . . .read more
 I thought it might be instructive to gather a dozen or so girls' schools' public thoughts about themselves and their missions. The words which I have quoted can be found on each school's web site. Hopefully if you are thinking about sending your daughter to an all girls' school, you will be inspired to explore the opportunities available to you in these fine educational environments committed to educating your daughters to be all they can be.

 

From Nightingale-Bamford School, New York, New York

 

 

 
"Founded by two bold, visionary entrepreneurs in the same year that women won the right to vote, the Nightingale-Bamford School has helped generations of girls to become strong, independent, confident women. We offer a rigorous, college-preparatory education from Kindergarten through grade 12 in a caring and attentive school community."

"Over the 90 years since our school was founded, we have graduated almost 3,000 alumnae, expanded our building four times, and adopted new disciplines and means of teaching. But throughout it all, we've retained the same guiding principles that Miss Nightingale and Miss Bamford instilled in those first students: truth, friendship, and loyalty."

The Nightingale-Bamford School offers grades K-12. The school serves approximately 570 young ladies.
 
From Saint Mary's School, Raleigh, North Carolina
 

 
"Saint Mary’s School has developed curriculum and employed strategies that capitalize on the strengths of girls on their journey to college and life. Girls’ schools support a culture, climate and community that . . .read more
If you have children in private school, then you are most likely looking at three months, perhaps even longer, which you must fill with activities of one kind or another during the long summer break. Your children are accustomed to structure during the other nine months of the year. It is a good idea to plan their vacation months. The structure will be there, just much more flexible and adaptable to the needs of the day. Let's look at some of your options for making summer a special time for both you and your children.
 
Young Children (ages 4-10)
 
Most schools offer summer sessions. Depending on its resources a school may offer all day sessions or just a long morning session running from approximately 9 until 1. If the school has had a summer session for several years, it probably has worked out most of the kinks. But keep an eye out for the quality of each activity. Is the school merely providing glorified babysitting or are the activities well-planned, well-organized and well-supervised by qualified personnel?
 

 
The advantage of sending a young child to a summer session at her school is that she knows just about everybody anyway. Even more important for your wee one is that the daily routine is similar to what she is already comfortable with. My biggest concern with summer sessions is the planning. Weather doesn't cooperate every day, so that refreshing time in the pool can't always be counted on. What's planned . . .read more
These are tough times for teachers. It doesn't matter whether you teach in a public or private school setting. You expose yourself to legal risks every single day on the job. 
 
So, let's look at liability from our point of view as teachers. (I am not an attorney, so read my general layperson's comments and observations then run questions by and seek advice from your attorney.) This mnemonic DIRE lays out some of the issues we need to watch for. Protecting yourself is so important. Nobody else will look out for your interests as well as you will.
 
Everyday risks
 
Your chances of getting sued are probably on a par with having an accident while driving. When you drive carefully, observe the rules of the road, stay alert and drive defensively, most of the time you will be OK. But, things happen for which you are not to blame. Like the time I came down one morning to get into my car to drive to work. Somebody had backed into the front end of my vehicle. Thank goodness I had insurance. Double thanks that the person who backed into my car left a note with her contact info and an apology together with a statement that her father would pay for the repairs.
 

 
On the other hand read Teacher In Hot Water For Taking Sick Student To Hospital, Footing The Bill  When it comes to students who are in our care and under our supervision . . .read more
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