The start of the school year is an ideal time to support secondary schools. August and September (education marketing cycle) offer a rejuvenated staff and a calendar with established timelines for projects, initiatives, and workshops. Timing, however, is only part of the equation. More important is the development and communication of a strategic, flexible plan to your current stakeholders and future partners.
A successful message will deftly introduce the solutions and opportunities your organization can provide. Moreover, detailing your agility to be both proactive and reactive will resonate with educators who must navigate both planned and unexpected pathways and obstacles. So, what are some of those start of the school year possibilities? Being prepared to assist in the scenarios below can make you an instant friend on campus.
Inroad 1: New School Year Surprises and What’s on the Horizon?
Schools want to start the year in stride. But from staffing and supplies to curriculum and community, the unexpected will make itself known. How can you help predict and problem solve for the school?
Do your homework! What has changed since last school year? School board meetings and county announcements will detail strategic plans and document public voices. Once you identify those, prepare a list of targeted questions that ask how the school has prepared for the unexpected. Once you start to have that conversation, your inquiry-based mindset will become an informed adviser to the administration.
Inroad 2: The Teachers’ Lounge
Schools and educators want to do what is good for students. One sometimes overlooked factor is doing things that are good for teachers. A happy, supported staff can impact the teaching and learning in classrooms.
Cultivating a positive the morale of a school builds networks that can be leveraged into exposure for your organization to the staff. Sponsoring even the smallest event – department coffee, teacher appreciation gifts bags, after school specials – indicate that you care. And teachers like to engage with people who care. Does the teacher’s lounge need a new microwave, sofa, or table? Sponsor a furniture drive. Are teachers short on paper? Donate some. Is there a new teacher orientation? Provide the coffee. A supportive mindset creates memories that last across budget cycles.
Inroad 3: What do Students’ Want?
Input from students about school is an invaluable commodity. Access to students, however, can still be difficult. Still, it is essential to have student voice as part of your presentations, training and marketing efforts, and discussions. Without this perspective you will sound like an adult selling something to an adult to be used by an adult. And that’s not good.
Students are increasingly being asked to present their learning to authentic audiences. Teachers, in turn, try to provide those experiences for students. Offering your time to be on a panel to listen to student presentations, be a judge at the school or district wide science fair, partake in a “shadow a student” event, or tutor students probono will give you an authentic audience. With that comes an informed mindset which can articulate view of the most important customer – the student.
Nurturing the relationships with administrators, central office curriculum specialists, students, and teacher leaders like department chairs is essential for a successful year for your company. By casting this wide net you are developing not only your own educational mindset, it likewise provides access to the mindsets of these stakeholders.
By: Craig Perrier
Get the data and contacts you need to follow these steps and have a successful back-to-school strategy. Reach out today!