You know your building like the back of your hand. Laughter fills the hallways, students trust their teachers, projects showcase serious learning, colleagues support one another through the ups and downs, and fan-favorite annual traditions encourage comradery (and even a little competition).
These details are the DNA of your campus. But how do you summarize the thousands of ways your school is special in just a few simple points? It’s essential to clearly articulate how your school stands out as you seek to attract new students and staff at any point in the school year. Here are some ideas to highlight.
Start with your mission
The “why” behind your school drives everything from academics to extracurricular activities. If your school doesn’t have one,
create a mission statement that captures your campus vision and purpose. If you already have one, revisit the statement and ensure you fully understand the key pillars of your school community.
Encourage your staff to memorize the school’s mission to clearly explain how their work supports overall goals. If prospective families tour campus, your faculty should be able to confidently share real-world examples of how they support the mission statement in classrooms, the cafeteria, or the sports field.
Display your mission in all classrooms so students also become familiar with the language. Create a dedicated section on your school website devoted to the campus history and vision, and provide real-life examples of how daily school life connects back to those factors. Testimonials, photos, and even video interviews can help bring this section to life.
Where to showcase your school
Whether you're aiming to boost enrollment or hire rockstar teachers, your school presence must be visible online and in the community.
School website: Update your website to look fresh and modern with correct brand colors, school logos or mascots, and recent pictures. Create pages for school life, academics, extracurriculars, staff, employment, and other necessities. Incorporate language from the mission statement throughout the website for cohesive messaging.
Email outreach: Create a weekly or monthly newsletter to showcase what’s happening at your school. Include academic achievements, community involvement, and upcoming dates that prospective families would be interested in, such as registration windows, application deadlines (for private or charter schools), or a prospective family night.
Local community: Advertise with flyers and other marketing materials at libraries, community centers, realty offices (for new families moving to the area), city hall, local theaters, day camps, and sports centers. If you run an elementary campus, promote your school at daycare centers and Mother’s Day Out programs. These young students will soon be searching for primary education, and your school can be top of mind with purposeful marketing.
Social media: Your school needs to engage parents and educators where they’re already interacting: social media. Be sure to have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles that are informative, eye-catching, and fun. Highlight school accomplishments with posts, sponsored ads, and frequent engagement with users. Explore sponsorship opportunities on local blogs or Facebook groups to reach young parents who live in your immediate area.
How to ace teacher recruitment and attract staff members
Your students deserve stellar teachers and support staff. Here are some points to communicate to find the best of the best.
Emphasize community: Candidates are determining if they’d like to join the greater school community of coworkers, students, and families. From field day to monthly staff dinners, morning meetings, or that annual retreat– whatever those “stand out” elements are, it’s your job to communicate them. Interview current staff about why they love working at your school, what makes their team special, and how they would describe school-family partnerships. Talk to students and parents for additional insights. Capture these quotes on a one-page flyer and add them to your school website so potential candidates can get an authentic glimpse of the culture for themselves.
Define curriculum and materials: Standards, curriculum, learning targets, district goals, textbooks– these are all a big part of a teacher’s day-to-day job. Understand the specific curriculum sources, pacing guides, textbooks, and supplemental tools each grade level team uses. How much autonomy do teachers have in the classroom? How do teams plan horizontally and vertically? Have all of this info at-the-ready for each specific job opening at your school to better answer candidates’ questions.
Spell out schedules: Is the position you’re hiring for part-time, full-time, self-contained, or specialized? For teachers, determine the number of planning hours in the school week. Are staff members expected to substitute teach for others during planning periods, sponsor an after-school program, teach an elective, or coach a sport? Be honest about all of these time commitments from the beginning.
Talk technology: Are you a one-to-one device campus? What digital resources do your students use? Do teachers use document cameras, digital smart boards, iPads, or Chromebooks? Call out all tech currently available for students and staff, and explain funding opportunities should a teacher want to purchase new equipment or online learning tools for their classroom.
Connect with colleges: New graduates are often passionate and excited about starting their teaching careers. Meet with local colleges and universities to learn about their student teaching programs, career fairs, and online job boards. Submit well-written descriptions of your school and current (or potential) job openings. Include website, social media, and application links so new grads can explore and apply on their own time.
Highlight mentorship and growth: Coming to a new school is intimidating, no matter a teacher’s experience level. In interviews and job postings, emphasize how your school supports new teachers with mentorship, frequent check-ins, or other buddy systems to support staff in learning the building, procedures, curriculum, and daily school norms. Explain professional development opportunities (and requirements) and how you support personal career growth as an administrator.
How to increase student enrollment
Parents want a safe, supportive, and enriching learning environment for their children. Keep that in the forefront when showcasing your school to boost enrollment.
Communicate your culture: Potential families seek an overall “school fit” where their child can grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Highlight the things that make your school unique from student and parent viewpoints. Showcase how guardians can get involved with their child’s education, including parent-teacher organizations and volunteer opportunities. From the student side, show how learners receive a well-rounded education, from academics to after-school clubs. Perhaps your school has a color or house system, special mottos, or beloved traditions. Clearly define these experiences with testimonials from school families.
Showcase academic rigor: Summarize the curriculum, goals, and required testing. Explain how student outcomes are measured by teachers and communicated with families. Be transparent about national and state testing results, and emphasize your desire to never stop improving. Include any awards or recognitions your school has received.
Share staff expertise: As education options continue to expand, be sure to highlight the quality, expertise, and longevity of your staff. Are all teachers certified by the state? Have any staff members won district or national education awards? What percentage of teachers have advanced degrees? How long have teachers been on your campus? Have these facts readily available to brag about the professionalism of your team.
Outline special supports: Summarize the additional resources offered at your school, such as special education services, small group interventions, remediation support, counseling, tutoring, mentoring, test prep tools, and more. Define all morning and aftercare offerings.
List extracurriculars: Real-life lessons and friendships form through after-school activities. Keep a comprehensive list of your school’s sports, clubs, theater, art, and other activities. Include important recognitions, awards, and pictures to bring the student experience to life.
Show the big picture: Connect back to your mission statement by demonstrating how an education at your school prepares children for their next academic opportunity. If you lead an elementary school, how do students leave your doors prepared for middle school? For middle school, how is your building preparing students for advanced high school learning? And in high school, it’s crucial to outline how your campus supports students for college and career readiness. No matter the age level, bring in real-life examples of past graduates, alumni success stories, and parent quotes to paint the bigger picture of what a foundational education provides.
You know your school is special. Now it’s time to share it with the world!
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