Traditional public schools are seeing a decline in students all across the country. Gone are the days when public schools could sit back and wait for students to show up on the first day of school. Over the last 10 years, enrollment in charter schools has tripled. In this era of school choice, educators have to become proactive marketers to recruit, retain, and reclaim students for their public school. Here are three tips your district can use to recruit students back.
1. Earned Media
Charter schools use a variety of advertising tactics that aren’t standard for the public-school recruiting system. Earned media is publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising. For example, earned media may include press releases, op-ed stories, news coverage, or radio talk shows. Do you have an impressive STEM event coming up? Are your students working on something relevant to today’s politics? There are all kinds of things that the local media would be interested in coming to film, cover, and promote for your schools, but you have to put in the effort of gaining their attention and time.
2. Email Communication
Email communication is one of the simplest and most effective ways to communicate with parents and caregivers of your students. Parents and caregivers are more satisfied with a school the more they feel engaged with the leadership, teachers, and updates from their school. Sending out emails that continually provide information on what’s happening at the school, highlights what makes your school great, and connects parents and caregivers with the administration is guaranteed to increase satisfaction. Parents and caregivers need to be reminded often why choosing your school is the best choice for their family and what better way than to regularly send that reminder to their inbox.
3. Social Media
Social media is important but only if you can be consistent. One of the most common questions we get asked about social media is, “Should our individual schools have social media accounts or just one large account for the district?” Our answer always has been and always will be – do whatever you can maintain consistently. We see so many individual schools get excited about having their own social media, but they add the task to someone’s plate at your school who is already doing a million other things so the excitement and consistency of posting slowly begins to fade. Social media only works if there is consistent, engaging, new content shared by the user. We love social media but always encourage users to enter wisely with a solid, achievable plan in place.