Part 3a: Know and Serve your Audiences

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Now that you have completed your research, it's time to develop a school marketing plan.

Administrators and educators should think of school marketing in terms of demonstrating accountability:

Demonstrate what students experience while at your school and
what parents can expect their children to gain by going there.

According to, an independent, nationwide service which helps corporate employees find schools that match the needs of their children, the following characteristics are what most parents want in a school:

  • Academically solid, but not so rigorous as to intimidate their children

  • Accredited

  • Competitive in academic test scores

  • Recognized for excellence

  • Above-average expenditures on pupil instruction

  • Above average teacher salaries

  • Above average library and media services

  • Small class sizes

  • High expectations of students

  • Results-oriented

  • Special programs offered to meet students' needs

  • Good curriculum for their students

  • Open, warm atmosphere

  • Accessible staff

  • Positive communication

  • Academic and athletic achievement

  • Involved parents

  • Safe neighborhood

  • Location convenient for parents

  • Alumni speak well about the school

The National School Public Relations Association lists the following benchmarks for a school of choice:

  • High expectations for all students

  • In a neighborhood where realtors sell the most homes

  • Businesses decide to locate and the tax base increases

  • Bureaucracy is minimal and decision-making is local and flexible

  • Accountability is communicated

  • Access to staff is easy

  • Communication is responsive and two-way

  • Community and parent involvement is the norm

  • Recognition for both adults and children is a priority

  • Alumni programs flourish

  • Parents want their children to go to the school

  • Students want to go to the school

  • Teachers want to teach at the school

Successful marketing is always results-driven. The most successful schools have an operating plan for how their school will function during a designated period of time - this is the Single Plan for Student Achievement at San Diego Unified. Incorporating a school marketing plan into your SPSA can be accomplished through the following steps:

In developing your SPSA, under the area concerning Parent and Community Involvement: Major Strategies/Action Steps, include a section for a School Marketing Plan and utilize the district School Marketing Plan template to describe strategies and action steps, and/or attach the plan as an addendum item to your SPSA. The template allows you to create your own school's plan with a four-step process to make and market your school as a school of choice:

Step 1: Identify Target Audiences
Step 2: Identify Desirable School Characteristics
Step 3: Cater Messaging
Step 4: Develop, Implement and Evaluate