Part 1a: Why Marketing Matters

School Marketing Matters

Parents have a variety of choices outside of traditional public schools, including charter, private, parochial and home school options. Creating quality schools in every neighborhood is the foundation of the district's vision. Schools need to market themselves as the "quality choice" for both prospective and current families, as well as new staff members and potential community supporters. Marketing your school as the right choice means building a plan, which can often be incorporated into existing efforts, such as your Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).

An important note to principals:

School marketing should not have to fall solely on your shoulders. Some schools have strong alumni associations or foundations supporting them, financially and otherwise, that can champion the effort. Other schools do not but all schools have parents who are willing to help make their school a better place, they just may not know how. As one former principal noted:

"Once you establish good rapport with parents, it's amazing how powerful it can be to simply ask them, 'Our students need these things so who do we know that can help?' All of a sudden, parents are talking to employers, neighbors, relatives, local store owners, and the 'who you know' network begins to grow like wildfire..."

More than likely, someone in your school community is skilled at marketing or knows another individual or business that may be willing to offer their expertise and support.

Find them!

One important aspect of the SPSA is delineating strategies for parent communication and involvement, which relates specifically to school marketing. A school marketing plan can be incorporated into your SPSA with oversight from the School Site Council (SSC) or may be the responsibility of a separate advisory group, such as your PTA/parent-teacher group, or Associated Student Body (ASB). Be sure to involve all advisory groups (SSC, PTA, Foundations, ASB, GATE, ELAC, Special Ed, etc.) that should have input in a school marketing plan, especially when funding considerations are involved.

Schools can learn a lot from each other - what has worked or hasn't worked.

We begin with these simple questions:

Why? Why does school marketing matter? Why bother? (We've always been here....and we'll always be here. We're the public schools. Parents need us. Society needs us. We don't have time to do this "marketing thing" on top of everything else we're expected to do.)

Although these may be reasonable questions, there is one simple answer:

  • Communication leads to understanding.

  • Understanding leads to broader public support.

  • Broader public support leads to progress in education.