Marketing Your School: How Visible Is Your School?

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Marketing Your School: How Visible Is Your School?
Your school's website and your social media sites are essential tools in your marketing program.

I am assuming that your school is well-known within your local community. But what about beyond that community? Are you visible to families looking for a school like yours? How will they know that your school fits their specific requirements? Well, there are several things you can do to reach that critical pool of families and potential students.

The Invisible Stuff

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a mystery to the uninitiated. It is one of those arcane sciences that webmasters everywhere have to be aware of. Unfortunately, the mention of SEO for the rest of us prompts most of us to start reading email and texting friends. It's all so technical. The truth is that good SEO can enhance your marketing efforts. It can make your school more visible to the audience which you are trying to reach. Weak or non-existent SEO will bury your site so that it is practically invisible. So, ignore SEO at your peril. At the least get your arms around the basics so that you can supervise your web management and design team authoritatively.

Some background

What is Search Engine Optimization? In its simplest terms, SEO is making sure that your site's meta tags and content are optimized so that parents and students can find your site easily when they type specific words into a search engine. For example, if you ask Google to show results for the words "private schools," it will oblige with millions of sites which have something to do with "private

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Mistakes Parents Make When Choosing A Private School
Choosing the right private school for your child is a lengthy process. I want you to achieve the success which you deserve without making these common mistakes other parents have made.

Choosing the right private school for your child is a lengthy process. I want you to achieve the success which you deserve without making these common mistakes other parents have made.

1. Choosing a school which is not a good fit

You know your child better than anybody. Never forget that as you begin the process of choosing a school for your child. As you look at school websites, don't be distracted by those beautiful, professionally-produced presentations. Schools will show you what they want you to see. That's not a bad thing; however, those websites may not necessarily address your specific needs and requirements.  Many times during the process of researching schools you will receive false positives. It's hard not to be impressed by beautiful photos of a campus and its buildings, particularly if it is an older school with impressive grounds and architecture. But don't the cosmetics take your attention away from what is truly important, namely, the curriculum, the sports programs, and the extracurricular activities. Always be asking yourself "How does School X blend these three important components so that my child will benefit from attending this school?" As Geri Coleman Tucker wisely observes in 5 Mistakes Parents Make When Picking a School, "Sure, you want to pick a school that is clean and attractive, with all the newest technology. But remember that looks aren’t everything. Some schools might not have the latest and greatest equipment. But they have engaged and well-trained teachers who can

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5 Changes In The Tax Act Of 2017 To Review
We identify changes in The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which impact not-for-profit private schools.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made many changes which impact charities and not-for-profit organizations such as private schools. Large private schools have expert tax advice at their disposal, as well they should.  However, small private schools may not have a fulltime accountant on their staff. The point of this article is to encourage the administrators and trustees of small schools to discuss The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 with tax and legal professionals at their earliest opportunity. These small schools need to understand what impact the new tax code has on their operations.

Here then are five items which I offer as talking points for your discussions.

1. The Impact On Charitable Giving

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What Nonprofits Need to Know by Sandra Cyr in Philanthropy Journal News offers some insight into how the Tax Act might impact charitable giving. I use the verb "might" advisedly, because it is too soon as of this writing in July 2018 to know what the real impact on charitable giving will be. We will have a better idea about that in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, I suggest that you discuss giving with your board and try to develop a realistic plan. Don't assume that giving will stay the way it has been. Assume that it will change and be prepared for that change. 

2. Doubling Of The Standard Deduction

The major change which impacts not-for-profits is

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A Parent’s Guide to Private School Entrance Exams
As you’ve been doing your boarding school research, you’ve likely seen ISEE/SSAT score submission requirements for your target schools, and understand how important scores are to the admissions process. Unfortunately, tremendous candidates can get bypassed because they were not able to demonstrate what they knew on test day.

There are many reasons why a private, independent, or boarding school could be the best option for your student. They typically offer thrilling academic challenges, extensive STEM or arts programs, or other remarkable resources. Their student-teacher ratios are excellent, and faculty may have advanced academic degrees and strong professional reputations. While only about 10 percent of students attend private schools nationwide, private school admissions is selective and competitive.

To help distinguish applicants, private schools use standardized testing. The admissions process, especially for those migrating from public to private, can be an eye-opening experience. The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) and Secondary School Admissions Exam (SSAT) are the most commonly used admissions tests for private, independent, and boarding schools. The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is often used by Catholic schools for entrance into grade 9.

The ISEE and SSAT are long multiple-choice tests lasting 2-3 hours and potentially covering above-grade-level content. For the 4th grader applying to private middle school, this might the first time they have undergone two hours of solid testing with only one or two short breaks. The best starting point is always to have your student take a full-length diagnostic test. It’s important to know where your child is starting from so that you can help them get to where they need to be.

ISEE & SSAT Similarities and Differences

Start by looking at the websites of your target schools or giving the admissions offices a quick call to

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School Choice in 2018
Many people thought vouchers would never amount to much. Not only have they amounted to a great deal more than anybody could have thought, but vouchers have encouraged several more education choices to flourish.

School choice has been a fact in American K-12 education since 1989. That year the State of Wisconsin passed a voucher program which aimed to help students from low-income families in Milwaukee. Since then 39 states have established school choice programs.  Depending on the state, school choice programs have expanded to include educational savings accounts, tax credit scholarships, and individual tax credit/deduction which parents can use to send their children to a private school. 

Most states also allow parents to transfer their children from underperforming public schools to higher-performing public schools. In addition, many states have permitted the establishment of charter schools as one more alternative to an underperforming public school.  Because allocating taxpayer funding to educational resources other than public schools is controversial, numerous legal challenges have been filed. Depending on the state, you will see a variety of workarounds including the afore-mentioned educational savings accounts, tax credit scholarships, and individual tax credits/deductions.

According to the American Federation for Children, the following states now have some form of funding for school choice program. In fact, several states offer several educational choice options.  For the latest information https://www.federationforchildren.org/

Other resources include Noodle which has assembled a useful guide to the various educational choice options on a regional and state basis. 

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Recent Articles
Your school's website and your social media sites are essential tools in your marketing program.
Choosing the right private school for your child is a lengthy process. I want you to achieve the success which you deserve without making these common mistakes other parents have made.
We identify changes in The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which impact not-for-profit private schools.