Private: They’ve Got a Golden Ticket!

March 6, 2019

For their Catholic Schools Week success, the Advancement Director, Principal and community of Immaculate Conception School (Elkton, MD) didn’t rely solely on luck. The Healey Education Foundation Playbook Challenge winners worked cleverly and diligently to achieve 86% student re-registration by the end of the week and also to welcome new families to their school. (See the list of all Catholic Schools Week Challenge winners.)

Golden Tickets were given to Religious Ed, included in bulletins, and distributed by members of the Enrollment Committee to local businesses, day cares and libraries. Every child who came for a tour was given a free raffle ticket at Waffles & Raffles.

A page from the school’s Playbook Challenge submission

To guarantee a vibrant, busy atmosphere for their weekend Wonka’s Open House, they hosted it concurrently with the Parent School Organization’s annual Waffles & Raffles.

Historically attended by parishioners following Mass, the event this year drew many others who could go to Mass, enjoy a meal and tour the school all in one Sunday morning visit.

“For busy families, this was a huge benefit, ” said Emily Murphy, Advancement Director, ICS. “We also invited Mayor Alt, a board member, to serve his famous sausage gravy at the breakfast. He is larger than life, and we knew he’d create a draw.” 

Carrying the theme through every aspect of its programming helped the school generate energy and enthusiasm before, during and after Catholic Schools Week. Some highlights:

Waffles & Raffles attendees considering which raffle basket to bid on

  • The school made an enormous splash online. The Day of Giving video received 3,900 views and was shared over 30 times by parents, grandparents, parishioners, faculty and alumni.
  • The Open House was made possible by a full team effort. Faculty, staff and parents worked together to create an event that engaged both current families and prospective families.
  • That Sunday, 240 people came into the school. Current students were proud to bring their parents to their classrooms to see their desks, classroom projects and teachers. Of seven prospective families that toured during the Open House, three have registered at ICS for next year and a fourth family, with three children, scheduled a shadow day.  
  • The Day of Giving brought in 31 gifts totaling $1,942.
  • The Open House began a full week of activities, including an oldies dress-down day and school talent show.
  • Since Catholic Schools Week, the advancement office has been receiving inquiries and calls each day. 

“I’m going to a school where there were balloons and lollipops…EVERYWHERE!” — Newly Registered PreK-3 Student

All smiles in front of the lollipop and Wonka Bar centerpiece

While the festive atmosphere created to kick off Catholic Schools Week may not be an everyday experience at the school, the community spirit shared is always present.

“Immaculate Conception School is an amazing school that offers its students a tight-knit community, rigorous academics and individualized attention from caring faculty,” said Megan Famular, Director of Schools, Healey Education Foundation. “Families travel from as far as an hour away for this educational experience. High schools are eager to enroll ICS students because they are hard-working, thoughtful and socially aware.”

8th Grade Homeroom and Language Arts Teacher, Ms. Michelle Oberlander and alumni, Camryn Kilby (2015) and Aubrey Clarke (2018)

Theme rooms featured in the school’s Playbook Challenge submission

Photo Station at the Wonka Open House 

Family fun

Oompa-Loompas (the friendly kind)