The Final Stretch
The days following spring break are among the most important days of the school year for it is the time that re-enrollment is open for the upcoming school year. Given the financial environment, investing in another year of Christian education is one of the biggest decisions families will be making in the next few weeks.
The Big Question
Thank God it is not a $64,000 decision like many parents face when they send their children off to college. But for many families with two or more children, it becomes a $12,000 to $25,000 decision. Over four years, the money parents could save by not attending private schools could be enough to send their child to college.
Consider this question parents raise, “Is placing my children at a Christian school really worth it? Is it worth going through financial sacrifice when there are so many demands pressing to capture every dollar we earn?” For example, some parents pay $200 to $300 per month just to transport their children to a private school.
Looking for Reasons
Parents need to have a very good reason before they are willing to decide to re-enroll their children at your school. Even those parents with strong convictions on the importance of raising their children in a Christian school environment may struggle with the decision to return for another year. Even these points of conviction may not be enough to overcome all the points of contention that may accumulate over the course of the year; they can become wedges that separate a family from re-enrolling.
Knowing that parents are going through these financial decisions and weighing the benefits of attending a Christian school, it is extremely important that we do everything possible to ensure that we are offering great customer service to our families. We need to work at being professional, cordial, hospitable, attentive, appreciative, and helpful in our communication and contact with them.
Often, it is so easy to get focused on the tasks of teaching and miss opportunities to build relationships with our clientele and enhance our image. One answer is to train ourselves and our staff to work at interacting with parents as they walk through the building. Keep your head up, make eye contact, and engage them with— “Hello, I am glad to see you. Can I help or assist you with something?” Do not forget to say, “Thank you for being here” or “We really appreciate your involvement, support, help, etc.” It takes effort to make these kinds of contacts regularly. However, as we do, it strengthens our school.
We need to make sure communications—letters, emails, are done professionally. When people are asking for help or expressing a challenge instead of simply saying, “That’s not my area. You need to see so and so.” We should respond with something like, “I certainly can see that is an issue for you; let me see what I can find out and how we can best help you.” We need to take responsibility and be proactive in helping people even if it is to help them through a difficult solution.
Please consider the following actions:
At the start of every day, encourage your students to speak to their parents about enrolling.
Do everything you are expected to do as a professional teacher—lesson planning, web pages posted, returning graded papers, phone calls, and emails.
Be willing to work with students and parents to complete missed work or to improve their grades.
Listen to students and parents and what they say. Ask questions to ensure you understand what they are saying.
It takes an entire staff working together to communicate to parents that re-enrolling for the coming school year is worth it.