The most important piece of a marketing plan is for the principal/teacher to keep the day-to-day functioning of the school in very good order.
Creating a marketing plan for your school requires team effort on the part of the board, constituency, pastor, principal/teacher, students, and parents.
The ultimate goal of your marketing strategy is to convey that your school is:
Effective marketing tools are those that clearly translate the messages stated above into formats that are easily understood and accessible to your targeted audience.
The most important piece of the marketing plan is for the principal/teacher to keep the day-to-day functioning of the school in very good order. Students who demonstrate satisfaction, contentment, academic growth, and success are the most valuable marketing tools.
Happy families will be your very best promoters. Word of mouth goes a long way Quote the comments of very satisfied parents on your website and in your school brochure, with their permission. Solicit parents who would be willing to give a reference about the school to prospective parents. Remember to tap the recent alumni population for testimonials as well.
The board is responsible for locating and delegating tasks to other individuals who will help make the implementation of the marketing plan a success. The prayerful support and energy of all is essential.
When developing a brochure, gather and study brochures from other Adventist and private schools to identify the strengths of each one. Determine your target audience and what information needs to be included. Carefully consider the words used. Be especially careful to avoid using unique Adventist “lingo.”
Appoint someone to take high quality photographs depicting a spiritual focus, hands-on learning, and genuine smiles. Select pictures that “speak volumes.” Do not overlook simple, everyday occurrences such as students raising their hands, singing, or engaging in a nature lesson. Pictures are a powerful means to convey the fact that tuition is well worth the investment.
Make certain that you have up-to-date photo releases for all students included in any photos that are used. Never identify students by name in such publications.
The board may choose to have a professional develop a brochure for your school, or they may put in place an ad hoc committee to work on it. Drafts should be presented to the board for final approval before printing takes place.
Adventist School Connect provides a free website and design for all churches and schools in North America. They offer free website hosting, free technical support and training, professional design options, the ability to customize by adding images, and more. This is an easy, cost-effective way to create a high quality, interactive website for your school. Make certain that you have up-to-date photo releases for all students included in any photos that are used. Never identify students by name on a website.
Many local Chambers of Commerce will set up a live link to your website for a small fee.
Ask the school board to appoint an individual to create, update, and maintain your school’s website. It would be wise to have the school board review the website multiple times a year.
Families rarely seek out a school based solely on an advertisement in a local paper. Newspaper articles and stories, however, are known to be an influential means to acquaint the local community with your school and to highlight the distinctive quality of Christian education. Visit your local newspaper office to:
On a regular basis submit articles to the church newsletter. Post the same article on your website for a wider audience.
Announce school events in the church bulletin.
Occasionally create a special bulletin insert to communicate about special events such as:
Articles can also be submitted to the Local Conference Communication Department for inclusion in Local Conference and Union publications. The communication secretary for the local church is a good resource person to help make these connections. Include photographs whenever possible with these articles. Make certain that you have up-to-date photo releases for students included in any photos used.
Keep a scrapbook of new stories and articles about your school. Display this at an Open House event or in the church foyer.
There are populations in every area that have unique educational needs that you may be able to serve. Learning of their needs and connecting with them will enhance your school’s reputation and will broaden the outreach and influence of the school.
Parent-School Communication System. On-going parent-school communication is important. Send students home with a weekly folder that includes announcements, calendars, field trip permission slips, and some of the same information that you have submitted to other entities (i.e., newspaper, church newsletter, school website). This means of communication will be appreciated by busy parents and will also often be seen by grandparents, friends, and neighbors.
Local Radio/TV. Inquire about public service broadcasting for schools in your area. Register to have your school name announced with other schools in the event of schedule changes due to inclement weather or emergency-related events. Hearing your school name announced with those of other programs will help listeners in the area become more familiar with your school.
Don’t overlook opportunities to get free publicity on local radio or television stations. One small school contacted the local television station when two students were riding horses to school. The station used it as a closing story. This was followed by a story in the newspaper and was picked up by a major radio station. Another school invited the local television station to come and do a story when a student returned to school after surgery and all the classmates wore a bandana to make him feel more comfortable. Simple events can be newsworthy.
Community Outreach. Seek opportunities to put faith into action by inquiring about needs in the local community. Your school’s participation in community outreach and service projects will foster positive public relations.
Constituency Awareness. Create a portable presentation or bulletin board display that includes sample projects and student work to display at fellowship dinners or in the church foyer so that the constituency may be more aware of current school events and student accomplishments.
NAD Marketing Materials. Look for marketing ideas on the NAD Website (i.e., Adventist Education logo, flyers, brochures, bulletin covers, postcards).
Grow My School. A marketing initiative for Adventist School Leaders. Here you will find tips from Dick Duerksen with simple "how-to" ideas for improving the image, effectiveness, and enrollment of your school.
The Adventist multigrade curriculum enables learners to develop a life of faith in God, and use their knowledge, skills, and understandings to serve God and humanity.
A well-planned behavior management and organization system is key to creating a classroom conducive to learning, while establishing norms of behavior that help each child feel safe and protected.
Ongoing learning opportunities for teachers, staff, and administrators are provided by professional development products and experiences.
Being a Seventh-day Adventist teaching-principal is an awesome opportunity and responsibility to serve God, change lives, and further the mission of the world church.
Standards are what learners should know (content) and be able to do (skills), and serve as the framework for curriculum development.
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