You might not think that you need to promote your school, but the fact of the matter is that you do. Although your school is part of the fabric of your local community, there are other schools in the neighborhood. Many times parents do have choices in terms of where they place their children.
You want your school to be the first place parents consider when determining the education of their children. You want your school to be the place community leaders cite as an example of a quality education.
There are several avenues for you to promote your school:
Get Your School Press Coverage
You’ve probably heard that there’s a ton of press releases being distributed. There’s a reason for that, it works. In this world tremendous amounts of information are shared every day. Traditional and new media outlets are constantly looking for new stories. Set a schedule at the beginning of each school year. Promote something in the media each month. This helps your community see you as an important and leading player in your district.
Build a solid relationship with your local neighborhood associations. Most of these groups disseminate information about what’s happening in the neighborhood through their own emails or newsletters. Local reporters scan for information from these associations. Journalists then create stories to place in media.
Partner with Local Businesses
Businesses want to be good corporate citizens. One of the ways they get to burnish their own reputations in the community is to do something for a local school or nonprofit. In many communities, schools partner with local businesses. They do so especially during the holidays. Sometimes businesses sponsor for a certain number of days a percentage of sales (typically 10 to 15 percent) to schools and charity.
In return, schools can issue press releases and even promote their events on their websites and social media.
Get in Front of Local Politicians
Let’s face it, local politicians want to get votes. You can like them or not, but they always want to look good to their constituents.
Politicians can serve as good amplifiers for your school. The fact they’re always looking to get in the news can be a good thing for your school. If you invite politicians to your school, you can promote it, but so will they. Invite your local state senator or council person to be principle for the day (or at least the morning).
Don’t Lose Track of Your Alumni
High schools are good about keeping in touch with their alumni. But, just because you work at an elementary school it doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to alums. Many people have very good memories of their schools. You can use this to your advantage.
Make it a point to find one or two key people in every class. Reach out to them. Ask them to help you connect with other alums. With the advent of social media, so many schools have Facebook alumni pages grow organically. And, when you do find these alums, consider creative fundraising and opportunities to keep them engaged (e.g. fun fundraisers, mentorship programs, class fundraising, etc.).
Feeder Schools Are a Great Natural Ally
Feeder schools should be viewed as strategic partners beyond offering a pipeline of students. Relationships can be leveraged to the benefit of your school and theirs.
Always keep good relationships, but think about complimentary programs that you can promote together. Consider events you can both do, get your community to support and participate, and promote these events together. Think of joint fairs, fundraisers and special unity days.
There are other constituents to help promote your school, such as your own students and parent groups. But, the bottom line is to always seek to keep your school front and center in your community. Remember that all of your constituents are amplifiers and can’t help you spread the good word about your school.