The state of Indiana, where I live, just recently passed a large expansion of its school voucher program.
The expansion will take the program from about 37,000 students to 48,000. It will also mean that 90 percent of all Hoosier families will now be eligible for the program and schools will receive more funding for each student it they enroll.
Clearly, school choice is here to stay.
And that means, schools, including public schools, are now in a bit of a competition for students. This is a place that perhaps they are not used to finding themselves. They are not used to having to “market” their school.
In this new competitive world, there is one thing schools can do to keep and attract students:
Engage families through effective communication.
If families have a choice, we want them to choose us. And we do that by using our words to build relationships that are based on trust, mutual respect, and understanding.
And it’s not just our words we have to think about. It’s our tone, the information we provide, our body language, the way we handle tough situations…they all factor into how families feel about our school. And, no family is going to pull their students out of a school where they feel they are valued and included.
What that means is that in the years ahead, schools need think about investing in family engagement professional development, customer service training for staff, and ongoing education around effective communication practices.
Now is the time to make the investment. This educational competitive landscape is not going away.
Providing these types of trainings and PD for staff doesn’t just help us “win” students.
It’s the actually the right thing to do, too.
It will ensure that our students are successful…by helping us build the relationships with their families that are crucial to that success.
If you are interested in investing in your staff development by providing communication workshops, I’d love to connect with you.
Check out my site to learn more and sign up for a free consultation. It never hurts to use good communication and have a talk!