Filling Every Classroom Seat for Next School Year

April 11, 2017

We love springtime! This season offers additional opportunities for Catholic schools to continue their year-long, cyclical process of managing enrollment. Following the heightened activity during Catholic Schools Week, Healey partner schools are working toward filling every classroom seat for next year. (See Spring into Action for Retention and Recruitment for a handy list of tactics.) 

“Focusing on re-registration as a fall activity allows Advancement Directors to create more specific recruitment strategies in the spring,” said Kathy Link, Senior Director of Schools, Healey Education Foundation. “Now is the time to really zero in on those grades that have empty seats to fill.”


When Every Yes Counts

Hosting targeted events continues to help schools focus on grades with openings. Similar to the Middle School Night planned by Notre Dame Academy (Minnetonka, MN) earlier in the year to reach current students, these experiences can also be planned to engage and welcome new families.

St. Dominic School (Northfield, MN) hosted an Easter Egg Hunt geared toward children ages 2 though 6 and featuring games, activities and a photo op with the Easter Bunny. (The promotional tagline: Seek and Ye Shall Find.) The event brought out 60 families, including 81 students.

Be personal and purposeful in communicating with prospects who have inquired about your school. Engaging these families leads to greater success in driving registrations.

At St. John the Evangelist School (Hydes, MD):

  • Students wrote personal notes, sharing their thoughts on why they love St. John’s, to all inquiries.
  • Teachers wrote personal notes to students who would be in their grade next year, telling them about their class and how much they look forward to having them in class next fall.
  • Parent ambassadors made calls to parent prospects, by grade, to ask if they could answer any questions.

To date, the school has 19 new registrations (in a school of 173, with a focus on individualized attention and Meeting the Needs of Students Where They Are).

Results: Beating Your School’s Best

Mater Dei Catholic School (Lansdale, PA) continues a strong enrollment performance. Always striving to improve and better serve its families and the community, the school grew from 412 students in 2015 to 487 in 2016 to 546 students in 2017. In a recent comparison of this year’s data to last year’s, Mater Dei:

  • generated 57 inquiries, almost triple last year’s 22
  • cut in half its number of “uncertain” families (this year at 0 opens and 15 pending re-registrations compared to last year’s 33 opens and 5 pendings)
  • quadrupled Kindergarten inquiries (from last year’s 5 with 50 registered to this year’s 21 with 57 registered)
  • improved upon last year’s PreK inquiries (from a combined 7 for PreK3 and PreK4 last year to a combined 28 this year)

Students of Mater Dei Catholic School (Lansdale, PA) delight audiences at four performances of Mulan Jr. The spring musical offers an ideal opportunity to showcase the school’s arts programming and sense of community to current and also potential new families.


See related Success Story and Case Study on Tuition Transfer Grants.