All Are Welcome. Bring a Friend.
Summertime offers extra opportunities for schools to connect with their current and prospective families. Many Healey partner schools host community events, including those that promote their early education programs. Even though schools are not in session, they prepare diligently for next year, employing Summer Advancement Tactics for enrollment management and development.
A key goal for this time of year is to avoid or at least minimize summer melt, when students who have been registered don’t show up. The most successful schools also continue to recruit and enroll new families.
Community Building at its Best
Notre Dame Academy (Minnetonka, MN) delights current and prospective families through a range of free community events that tie directly to the school’s mission:
- to provide an innovative learning environment where each student has the opportunity to grow spiritually and academically
- to provide a caring and nurturing community for all
“We believe strongly in engaging the entire family,” said Joann Meyer, Advancement Director, Notre Dame Academy. “We also aspire to be a venue where all parishioners feel welcome whether they attend our school or not. So these events provide additional ways for parish families to benefit from our resources.”
Books and Bikes is offered every other Wednesday to the broader community and as part of the Summer W.O.W. Preschool Camps program. As she helps to supervise during the 60-minute interactive story time and biking events, Meyer often talks on the sidelines with new parents taking advantage of this early opportunity to see the PK in action.
The school also hosts STEM and sports nights and a bring-your-own-picnic evening at a lakeside park along with participating in an area parade. All these get-togethers happen before back to school night in late August.
By broadening the invitee list, Notre Dame Academy has nearly doubled participation at STEM nights this summer over last. The “bring a friend” reminder results in school tours by prospective families.
The school plans at least one event per month, including during the summer. “We aim to create touchpoints throughout the year for both current families and those who have inquired about the school,” Meyer said. “Events give us an additional chance to reach out… something else to talk about.”
The school’s summer activities follow a solid job on early re-registration. NDA offered a $100 incentive to register in December and achieved a 94% retention rate for grades 1-8. From PK to K, the school achieved a 53% retention rate, exceeding its 50% goal based on results for other sites in the area.
“Even facing competition,” Meyer said, “we see opportunities for attracting new families: in an increase in parish Baptismal records, through our recruitment of Latino families, and mostly through our own attitude to keep moving forward.”
Notre Dame Academy had achieved an impressive 8.7% enrollment growth in its first year implementing the Healey Advancement Methodology. With a current projection for a stable total enrollment heading into next year, the school hopes to achieve an increase over last year by the time the doors open.
As year-round activities, retention and recruitment continue over the summer as some families are still making decisions for their children. “These undecided families — whether current or new — can make the difference in a school achieving its enrollment goals,” said Lisa Anderson, Director of Schools, Healey Education Foundation.
“What’s crucial is that the mission-driven, data-informed approach that we teach becomes embedded into the school’s standard way of operating,” she said. “Notre Dame Academy has not only achieved such great strides in its early work with us but also shows promise for sustainability. This school is truly establishing a goal-driven culture of accountability to take charge of its own future.”