Past Newsletters

Issue 723 - 20-may-2018

A Home at School – promoting boarding with a story

David Hayes, Media Communications Manager at Knox Grammar School shared with me their latest promotional video designed especially for boarders. 

He explained “we filmed a Knox Year 8 boarder, Mac, at his family property in western NSW and at school, telling his story of coming to Knox. This 90 sec version is accompanied by a 30 sec TV commercial on TV in rural NSW in the lead up to the Boarding Schools Expos in Dubbo, Wagga, Griffith and Narrabri.”

It is a clever video addressing common questions, anxieties and is told as a personal story rather than a promotional piece other than the “a home at school” tagline and branding at the end.

Dave worked with two former Knox students (Grainger Films) to film and produce the video.

Issue 723 - 20-nay-2018

No School on Fridays

When you are willing to do things differently as a school it is worth highlighting those differences. CREo School is a small school located in a rural area of Mississippi. The school doesn’t plan classwork on Fridays so students can spend time with family members or take extra lessons in a field they are interested in. 

The school is very deliberate in promoting the idea their staff are role models and not simply educators. They thoughtfully craft “an atmosphere in which proven Christian role models not only teach students but model life for them as they eat together in the community cafeteria, clean up alongside one another and, because of the small class sizes, engage in meaningful conversations throughout each day.”

They train students in archery believing it helps teach perseverance. I imagine as a small school they may not be able to offer a wide range of sports so celebrating what they do offer and why is important. 

This is a great testimonial about the school’s teachers. It is one which most schools may not choose to, or be able to, display… 
What makes me happiest at the end of every day, however, is that my children LAUGH at school – a lot. Besides being dedicated, compassionate and qualified, the leaders at CREō are just really, really funny and full of joy and wit. Every single day, my children reap the benefits of such abundant joy, and as a parent, I cannot be more thankful.

Issue 722 - 13-may-2018

Do we teach the BIGGEST subjects at school?

As part of a combined promotion for Catholic schools The Archdiocese of Omaha Schools created a “Love My School” website and campaign. They also appear to have registered the phrase “We teach the biggest subjects”

The website states “we teach the biggest subjects in our K-12 classrooms. Subjects like Faith, Character, Discipline, Kindness, Values, Honesty and Confidence, to name a few. These are enduring lessons that last a lifetime.”

Rather than talking about grades in Science, Mathematics, English or other usual subjects the campaign highlights the BIG subjects of life lessons which most parents really hope their children graduate with.

Issue 722 - 13-may-2018

Students cross the road for lessons of life and death

When a fifth grade class learnt a neighbour across the road from Central Wisconsin Christian School had cancer it started an important lesson. 

At first the students started putting signs up in their classroom window of support and encouragement. Then small groups would cross the road each day to sing to her and pray. Later the whole class would cross the road to sing and pray.

After six months of this developing relationship the 32 year old lady passed away 20 minutes after the group had sung to her.
The mother said “These kids have touched me, and this has touched the kids. Six months ago, it was just me and the family that knew about this; now most of the town does. So many people mention it where ever I go.”

Finding meaningful opportunities to connect with your local community is not a school marketing strategy. It is about real life lessons. Teaching life lessons can however generate conversations and positive word of mouth about your school.

Source: Central Wisconsin Christian School students comfort terminally ill woman with songs

Issue 722 - 13-may-2018

For the love of your child

The Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia have launched a video “For the love of your child” to promote Christian education and their group of schools.

Some of the ideas, or beliefs, the video raises are:
  • Education is never neutral
  • The goal is not just Christian education in the classroom but in the office, the hallway and on the bus
  • What children learn and experience at school should “spice” dinnertime conversations
  • Schools can celebrate what individuals are not good at so students realise they need others
  • Students are not to just “watch the movie” but to engage with and even argue against what is being presented to them
  • We are not to simply study but participate
If you are involved in a Christian school take a look. It may help you craft your own promotional video script. In a modern culture of “You can be anything you want to be” I found it refreshing to hear the idea of helping students understand what they are not good at so they discover they do need others around them.

Issue 721 - 6-may-2018

Would your local community miss you if your school closed?

Many years ago I was at a presentation that challenged the teachers and staff with the question. “Would your local community miss you if your school closed?” Naturally the parents, students and staff would miss you but would those beyond your immediate community.

I was encouraged this week to see Chairo Christian School Leongatha share photos of students who have volunteered to work on the garden at the local hospital. As a school in rural Victoria they already have their own vegetable garden and a strong interest in agriculture. This hospital garden is a project for the Secondary students. Rather they being a one off tidy up of the garden “they are also looking forward to maintaining the garden for both the patients and staff.”

How is your school serving your local community?

Issue 721 - 6-may-2018

School’s speech giving brought to life

What happens to the speeches students prepare as projects at your school? Imagine if your speech givers dressed up as the character they were researching, stood frozen in place like a wax model, and then when a coin was placed in a tin they came to life and gave their one minute speech. Each time another student or visitor adds a coin their speech is repeated.

This novel educational approach has been used by St. Pius X / St. Leo School for 10 years as part of their Famous Scientists Wax Museum. Fifth grade give the speeches and Kindergarten to eighth grade tour the ‘museum’ with their coins. The money raised is then donated.

Source: Wax Museum Helps Those in Need

Issue 720 - 29-apr-2018

Test drive a Buick car and raise funds for a school

Schools raise funds in all sorts of ways. Cornerstone Christian School raised $1560 when Buick, and their local car dealership, offered $20 for each test drive taken by parents and staff over a three hour period. With 78 test drives taken it is certainly a novel way of fundraising with minimal outlay for the school community. 

Source: Cornerstone Christian School Raises Money for Senior Trips by Test Driving New Cars

Issue 720 - 29-apr-2018

Catholic school leads the way offering pants and shorts to female students

Enforcing correct wearing of uniforms or changing uniforms often generates friction and controversy in schools. Dresses and skirts for female students are standard. However Santa Sabina College in Sydney is one of very few schools in the city which will now offer pants and shorts to all female students.

Beyond the introduction of pants the main school uniform colour will change from green to black. Year 10 student Grace Campbell said "If you're performing a scene or doing any kind of activity that requires a lot of movement then you do feel quite self-conscious [in a dress]. We're now wearing clothes that we could wear in the workplace and in our adult lives. I would feel a lot more grown up in the new senior uniform than the kilt, because it's a lot more modern."

Principal Dr Herrett said "We want girls to be comfortable ... I think with the littler girls particularly, to run around the playground, to turn upside-down and all that.”

I imagine in years to come having uniform options will be more accepted. By being among the first schools to embrace the change it is easier to generate media attention. 

Source: Power move: Why this Sydney private school is suiting up its girls

Issue 720 - 29-apr-2018

Servathon builds school community and reputation

Being generous towards others in need is something we learn through home and school. These life lessons can start very young. Each year, Camp Verde’s United Christian School finds ways to teach its students the difference between giving and receiving.
For nine years the school has held a series of service projects designed to benefit the local community. With the title of Servathon most of the projects are scheduled for a one week period as part of a month long focus. Projects include pulling weeds, picking up trash, picking up rocks, moving boxes, preparing meals and spending time with the elderly. 

Finding meaningful ways to serve – from a young age – is not only a valuable life lesson for students it can enable your school to generate goodwill, positive word of mouth and media attention. A day of serving may be more effective for your school marketing than advertising or updating a website. Making it a regular part of your school culture and annual calendar helps build your school reputation rather than being seen as a one off token event.

Source: Camp Verde United Christian School teaches students how to help others

Issue 719 - 15-apr-2018

Add an Art show to attract a broader crowd

School focused events may not appeal to those members of the community who are not actively looking for a school. Many people have older children, no children, or are content with their choice of school. However attracting more people to a school venue and event can help generate word of mouth in different sections of the local community.

St Philip’s Christian College have an annual Founders Day Fair. This is popular with the school community and both a marketing event as well as a fundraiser. The local media highlighted that the fair included an Art show of students, teachers but also local artists. It is the inclusion of these local artists being on display which can potentially expand the network of visitors.
What could you add to an existing school event to broaden the appeal?

Source: Art show will kick off St Philip’s Christian College Founders Day Fair

Issue 719 - 105-apr-2018

Schools and Daycare centres banned from commercial buildings

Many schools have stories of bureaucratic challenges and obstacles in regard to starting or expanding. Tree of Life Christian School  purchased a vacant commercial building to consolidate their multiple campuses and potentially enable them to double in size to 1300 students. 

The city officials however have banned the rezoning which was required for the school to legally use the property. As only 5% of properties are zoned commercial, which generates more tax revenue, the city officials want it to remain as commercial zoning. The school argued that other day care centres were already using similar commercial spaces. The city officials responded by also banning already operating day care centres.

So, if your school is facing challenges with different levels of government be encouraged that you are not alone.

Source: Judge lets city manipulate zoning to block Christian school

Issue 719 - 15-apr-2018

Immerse the viewer into your school website

When you click on the home page of Christian Brother’s College St Kilda you, as a viewer, are in the bottom of a science beaker in the midst of a class experiment. You are then in a church, raft, and wood fired oven.

This immersive perspective seeks to puts the visitor to the website ‘inside’ the experience. It is engaging and clever – even if unexpected.

Take a look at 

Issue 718 - 8-apr-2018

Author returns to the school which inspired her

A positive endorsement of your school from a former student in a newspaper is worth more than multiple paid advertisements. This is especially so when the endorsement is embedded in a human interest story about the student - rather than seen as a direct promotion.

Author of “Katie Watson and the Painter’s Plot,” Mary Elizabeth Blume Stead is including her former school Prince Avenue Christian School on her book tour. What she says about the school reflects well on the school's culture and dedication of teachers.

The article quotes her... 
“No matter where I am—on a walk in the woods or off to India—I am always on the lookout for the next story idea,” she said. “My years at PACS were so special. I’m indebted to so many wonderful teachers who inspired and encouraged me, both spiritually and academically. One person who stood out, she said, is her fourth grade teacher, Linda Gore, who let students borrow books from her personal collection, read “The Chronicles of Narnia” aloud and screened “Anne of Green Gables” during lunch period. Stead’s drama teacher, Candy Todd, helped her develop confidence."

What Alumni stories and endorsements have you shared lately with your community?

Source: PACS alumna and author visits school 

Issue 718 - 8-apr-2018

Proactively address negative perceptions about your school through video

What do ‘people’ in your local community say about your school? Are there perceptions, half truths, or misinformation circulating which stops prospective families even adding your school to their short list of ones to contact? It takes a brave school to be willing to not only admit but to verbalise what negative stories are being told. 

What are the risks? It may:
  • reinforce those perceptions
  • highlight and publicise negative perceptions beyond what may have been a limited audience
  • leave a doubt in a viewer’s mind
What are the benefits? 
  • recognises you are aware of public opinion
  • doing nothing won’t make those stories go away
  • it empowers your current community (students, parents and staff) to share something positive when the negatives come up in conversation
  • it isn’t your normal school promotional video so potentially more likely to generate interest, comments,  discussion and be shared. 
Take a look at how this school bravely addressed negative comments and perceptions. Note how they are raised naturally in conversations with the goal being to show these students are “reassuringly normal.”


Could you list five common negative impressions you need to address for your school? Try it now…

Issue 718 - 8-apr-2018

Finding different places to advertise your school

The local newspaper is still where you will find many schools advertising. It is an easy, predictable, choice for schools. The downside is that your school is often lost in the clutter of other schools with similar messages. Being seen in unusual places is often more likely to spark interest and conversations among both your current and prospective parents and students. 

Both Barker and Pymble Ladies’ College have advertised on the Weatherzone app. The advantages are that you can target prospective customers from State down to postcode level, set the time of day for an advert to be seen, or have it linked to a particular weather condition or forecast. 

While many advertising mediums are biased towards women this one is predominately male.
  • 78% are male
  • 22% are female
  • 43% are aged 30-44
  • 39% are aged 45-64
  • 88% have shopped online in the last year
  • 76% visit Weatherzone at least a few times a week
  • 45% visit Weatherzone at least daily
Your advertisement can be a static image or an animated gif of several images presented as a repeating slideshow.

Issue 717 - 1-apr-2018

Showcase learning outside the classroom

As school marketers we market what we can work with. Some school sites are varied. Some are flat. Some are steep. Some have ample room and others are compact. It is our role to help celebrate what we have, rather than wish for what another school may have. 

Newington College at Lindfield is a Kindergarten to Year 6 school surrounded by bushland. As their website says "On site we have a swimming pool, tennis courts, modern classrooms and beautiful gardens for boys to roam and feel free to learn in." In this promotional video they simply celebrate the outdoor learning spaces with the tagline "Learning is in our nature."

Issue 717 - 1-apr-2018

Knitting group helps school parents connect

What does knitting have to do with school marketing? If knitting helps build community then it can be an important part of your marketing mix.

The Knitting Group at Mount Evelyn Christian School was started by a Mum who wanted to support a specific new homeless mission starting out of local churches. Nicole Nyhouse, Community Relations Officer explained that since then they have increased the amount of missions they support because the group produce so many items! Nicole loves that Mums sit and chat and support each other during these knitting mornings.

As part of her community role Nicole support parents wanting to organise groups, events or fundraising. She offers practical support - choosing a day & time that works for everyone, put it in the school calendar, book the required facilities and promote these events in the weekly newsletter. The Knitting Group has a facebook group which they manage themselves.

Issue 717 - 1-apr-2018

Positive media attention for school banning mobile phones

There was a time when schools always 'talked up' their use of technology. Parents seemed to expect interactive whiteboards, iPads and laptop programs to help them decide which school was better or more modern. Now in an age of Bring-Your-Own-Devices, wireless networking of schools, students listening to music with earphones while studying, iPads and laptops it may be easier to stand out from the crowd if your school talks about how it doesn't use, or rely solely on, technology for education.

Smart phone addictions are now common among students (and parents). Shore, the Church of England Grammar School at North Sydney, is "sticking resolutely to the no phones policy." Students are barred from using mobile phones all day. What's more they (apparently) are not complaining either. Student put their phones in their lockers and there are punishments, which are enforced, if they use their phone during the day. As it has become the accepted, and expected, culture it makes it easier for staff to reinforce the rule.

See more at > Teens embrace school's phone ban  (Note: This is a subscription newspaper 22/2/2018)

Issue 716 - 25-mar-2018

What were the significant moments for you at school?

For many students there is a moment when they start to understand a new concept, discover a skill or passion for something or decide what their future career will be. In less than two minutes the “This is where…” promotional video for Stamford Endowed School celebrates five quite different milestones for students. While you can also observe the facilities, staff and uniform this the power of this video is to prompt a positive emotional response or memory for the viewer.