February is seen by the rest of the world as the last full month of Winter. Five years ago (2015), there was so much snow and cold that most of the nation couldn’t wait until Spring so that life could return to “normal.” Five years later, while the low is still around the freezing mark, it’s Springlike already…birds are singing in the morning, and there’s no snow at all on the lawn. Climate change may be the reason…and the climate in faith-based schools has also changed. It’s more frenetic than ever!
Those of us involved in education know that February is synonymous with insanity – budgeting for next year, processing financial aid applications, seeking more enrollment, and preparing for the development activities that take place in the Spring, like golf outings and themed dinners (not to mention getting our taxes done and completing those all important FAFSA applications if you have children in college).
Realizing all the things that have to be done, we may have to plan when we’re going to do those things, and that means carving out time to plan, rather than just “do.” And let’s not forget that budgeting, estimating enrollment and preparing for those development events all require plans of their own.
Recall the Yiddish proverb, “Mann tracht und Gott lacht.” Translated, it means “Man plans and God laughs.” Some time ago, a friend asked me to get involved with a project that sounded very exciting, but I had absolutely no time to devote to it. He shared with me his trepidation in getting involved because he was taking care of his parents who were both experiencing dementia, as well as his sister who was battling leukemia, all while looking for gainful employment! I asked him how he was handling all those things, and he shared four words: “All in God’s time.”
There may be so many things that we have to get done that we just don’t know where to start, and some things so large that they require a good plan. So, take time to plan! But before doing that, take time to change two of the letters in the word, “plan.” Change the “l” to and “r,” and the “n” to a “y.” Doing so results in “pray.” If we think it’s all in our hands, that’s a good time to fold them.
By the way…
Yard signs are now popping up announcing that PUBLIC schools are registering students for Kindergarten. There are three things to be learned from this:
1) If a public school district’s yard signs are your reminder to get your school’s yard signs posted in the community, you may be too late. Your school’s signs should have started appearing in yards 6 months ago, in September, when school began. That’s when parents start thinking about preparing for the following school year if their children are not yet in a school setting.
2) Public schools can register students. Registration implies all students will be accepted. However, if you have a parent that has a child confined to a wheelchair, and you have no elevator in your school, it may be very difficult to provide accommodation for them. Therefore, you must say that you are “Accepting applications,” or invite parents to “Apply now,” NOT register.
3) This is a sign of our times. Public schools are now seeing the need to market themselves since they’re facing competition from charter schools, cyberschools and cyber-charter schools and homeschooling. Some public school districts have started their own “Academy” program, with advanced academic subjects, dress code, code of honor and strict discipline. These programs have waiting lists of parents, and schools are pleased with the success of such programs. Students enrolled in the program follow the rules, and parents motivate their children to achieve to remain in the program since, if they leave or are dismissed from the program, there are other students ready and willing to take their place.
Are there students waiting to fill the desks in your school? Or are you seeking students to fill those desks? Perhaps the better question is, are you inviting parents to visit your school…or are you just hoping they stop by?
© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2005-2020 (Original Publication Date: 20050228)