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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to Market Your School to Other Parents

Six tips for encouraging families to enroll children in the urban school your kids attend.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team
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This how-to article accompanies the feature "Affluent Parents Return to Inner-City Schools for Educational Opportunities."

In Philadelphia, Kevin and Nancy Peter have long been boosters of public education and their neighborhood elementary school, C.W. Henry Elementary School, which their son attended when he was in grades K-4. The Peters's enthusiasm for the school has led them to reach out to other local families to encourage them to enroll their children as well. Here are their recommendations about getting out the message:

  • Be a champion. Time permitting, volunteer in the school and get to know teachers and administrators. Gaining their trust will encourage them to help you sell the school.
  • Host a conversation. Invite parents from your school and other parents considering school options -- and encourage them to invite others. Host the meetings in a parent's home: the more personal, the better. Parents believe other parents more readily than school staff or marketing materials. Encourage participants to ask questions, give answers, and communicate as concerned parents. Nothing will sell your school better than parents who love it.
  • Start a blog. (Or Facebook or Twitter your school.) Chronicle your experiences and those of other families (with their permission), and remember that your goal is to convince people to consider sending their kids to your great school. Be honest, but accentuate the positive, and stay on point. The Peters's blog about Henry has been a well-received source of information about their school.
  • Use the news. Write your own news -- editorials, commentaries, letters to the editor -- and help your school gain visibility. Get to know the education reporters for your local newspaper and television news program, and be a resource for them. Encourage them to write feature articles, which are great tools to help parents see the positive side of your school.
  • Be consistent. Meet with parents regularly and predictably; if possible, monthly meetings are good. When posting to a blog or to Facebook, or when Twittering, do so frequently. Weekly posts are good, but make it relevant and important rather than frivolous.
  • Prepare successors. No matter how effective you are, your child will eventually age out of the school. Who will carry the torch when you move on? Don't leave it to chance.
Russell Scott Smith lives in Connecticut and teaches at Norwalk High School.

Comments (6)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Sandra Halladey's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Public school reform starts with enrollment - it is critical for us to support public education - it builds the foundation for everything and cannot become a 2 tier system - in San Francisco 10 years ago, parents started a local chapter of Parents for Public Schools - to speak up for public education, encourage enrollment and at the same time work to bring the voice of parents to needed school reform! Quite a challenge - but the national network of parents in Parents for Public Schools chapters across the country was a huge help

check out and

Elizabeth Lockman's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This is a brilliant and useful piece..thank you so much!

ranamubasher's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Dear and Respected,

I just want to know that how can I get the donation for a running school or a new school.

Waiting for your positive response.

Beverly E. Shields's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This is an interesting strategy for recruiting students to attend urban public schools.

Joshua Hyfler's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Very nice.

The only thing that I might add is that it is important for parents to also stay informed about the goings-on in the school/district. I would also urge parents to attend Board of Ed. meetings and become booster members (etc., etc.) so that, when they are attempting to sell their school to other parents, they can informatively speak to what is being done within the district's school(s).

Lorienne V. Pallada's picture
Lorienne V. Pallada
Principal II at Andagaw Elementary School Kalibo District I

how can i encourage parents to contribute in the improvement of our school facilities?

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