Now that you’ve determined the three to five traits that make your school “remarkable,” or, perhaps, “distinctive,” in the minds of parents of prospective students, remember that they must be truly remarkable traits about your school. There are private Christian and Catholic schools which still believe that because they espouse Gospel values that they are remarkable. In this day and age, that may be enough when the enrollment choices are either the local faith-based school or the local public school.
However, there are many choices today – public, private, parochial, cyber, charter, cyber-charter, and, if NONE of the schools in the area are what the parent believes is the best educational environment for their child, then the choice can be home schooling. The case is more obvious, however, if there are three Catholic schools and a Christian school within a four-mile radius of a child’s home. Saying that the number one remarkable characteristic about the school is that the curriculum is infused with the message of the Gospel is a moot marketing point because all four schools can say that – or at least, have the potential to say that. If you build your school on that singular quality, please note that other schools have done the same thing…and are no longer open. Christian values are EXPECTATIONS in a Christian or Catholic faith-based school. That’s like buying a car because it can go in reverse and stop when the brakes are applied.
If you’re considering that to be your distinctive marketing trait, and there are other schools in the area that consider that to be their distinctive marketing trait, then, in the mind of the parent, there is “no significant difference” between the choices. When that happens, the school with the lowest cost or, the best financial aid package, wins.
Now – do you still have five remarkable traits? How about this – make sure you have three. Want examples? Here are some:
– Even though our school is located in one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas of the city, we have some of the highest test scores in the county!
– Our jump rope team has started a national trend, has performed at the White House, and two members went to the world championships in England last year!
– We have a weekly all-school Mass at 1 PM on Friday afternoons, followed by an Open House!
– Our average SAT scores are among the highest in the county, and all our high school seniors pass the National Latin Exam and the National Greek Exam!
– We have a buddy-system at our school where we pair up students in the higher grades with “little buddies” in the lower grades. Rather than sitting with their class at Mass, they sit with their buddies, sometimes have lunch with their buddies, and work on special projects for their parents in art class together! Because of this, there are no issues with bullying in the school, since we live and teach community.
Remarkable or distinctive traits are ones that will make parents go, “Whoa….!” Excitement is a great thing, but when one is truly emotionally and powerfully impacted, the reaction is not necessarily demonstrated by jumps and screams. Sometimes, it’s a stunned silence with an agape mouth. Once again, these remarkable traits must be yours and only yours. If someone else is doing it too, you may be perceived as an imitator rather than an innovator.
Next week, we’ll get to the three places where these remarkable traits should be published, and then where two of those printed publications should be placed.
If you’re still having trouble finding what your school has that no other school has, there is always one thing that your school has that no other school in the world has! If you’d like to know what that one thing is, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “One Remarkable Thing” in the subject line.
© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2006-2017