Enrolling and Reenrolling Your Students!
February 12, 2015 9:36 pm
With families having so many choices in Michigan regarding schools, academies now, more than ever, are looking at strategies to enroll students throughout the year. Open enrollment periods during the winter and spring months are taking on more significance, rather than waiting for the fall. There is also an emphasis on reenrolling students and maintaining them as part of your program for years to come.
Here are some strategies and suggestions to help you with enrollment and reenrollment:
- Promote the open enrollment period with local media and through the school website.
- Have school leaders, staff and student ambassadors give personal school tours, instead of just having a packet available at the front desk.
- Have open houses between March and June, not just in the fall.
- Be clear and specific about grade level openings and capacity.
- Promote your PTA/PTO as ways for new parents to be involved and engaged to support the school.
- Promote after-school, extra-curricular activities and after-school programs that show your academy has extended learning opportunities for students and families.
- Promote the school as a safe learning environment, but also that the school has strong achievement data and growth for students.
- Be sure to let current families and students know how much they are appreciated and valued, and tell them you do not want any to leave.
- Have meetings with current students and families to show growth and success points during their time at the academy.
- Share good news stories and things happening at your academies with MAPSA so we may promote them too.
Some charter schools around the state have some great practices already implemented in their school:
At Uprep Science and Math, Principal Jennifer Spencer said that during their open enrollment period they offer applicants the option to enroll now instead of waiting for a possible lottery. She shared regarding reenrollment, “We ask parents for a recommitment form. We require all students to respond. We maintain at least 90 to 95% each year.”
Angela Romanowski, Superintendent at Trillium Academy shared that their academy focuses on student and parent engagement for enrollment and reenrollment. As a staff they look at ways to attract new families. “We have a Bring a Friend Night that is a family fun night. Kids get to bring a friend that doesn’t go to the school.” It provides the staff a chance to show the school and the positive learning environment.
Carolyn Boyer, Principal at Madison-Carver Academy stated, “We take the time to allow new families to get to know us. I am giving families personal tours. Our PTO president has a parent blog that tells parents news.” Madison-Carver Academy also has several open houses for current and perspective families throughout the year, in particular March through June; to keep engagement levels high with parents and stakeholders.
Machion Jackson, Chief Operating Officer for New Paradigm for Education, mentioned speaking to the needs of the neighborhood and even having one or two parents who can serve as ambassadors for the school. “Always let parents know how they play a role in the students education. Enroll around a school wide event such as a health fair. It is important to walk the talk and always be open to school tours and parent inquiries.”