HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal
From the Desk of Bathea James, RAVSAK President
I hope that this fall has been most successful and that the children are enjoying their immersion in the best education available.
In our last issue, we covered the pivotal head-board alliance and role of the board of trustees. In this edition of HaYidion, we deal with another crucial aspect that directly affects the success of a school: the school’s ability to market itself effectively.
In looking at marketing in Jewish day schools certain realities need to be accounted for. These include:
- The recognition that nearly all independent schools in a given area are competing for the same limited number of Jewish school-age children in the community. This matter is exacerbated in communities with multiple Jewish day school options.
- For the majority of parents, public schools served them well and they do not automatically recognize the many benefits of children being immersed in a Jewish day school education.
- The cost of being a young Jewish family is overwhelming and well out of the reach of many families. The need to raise tuition – both for survival and to be aligned with other leading schools – will potentially make the school out of reach for many.
- Rabbis from the various denominations may be skeptical about the concept of a community day school and its ability to work successfully with a pluralistic community in which each philosophy of Judaism is validated.
Responses to these realities should include the following strategies:
- A strategic marketing plan must be developed, and constantly evaluated and revised.
- Schools need to forge alliances with the various synagogues and begin to collaborate on programming i.e. leadership training for the boards and shared faculty in-services.
- The head of school, members of the board of trustees and parent ambassadors need to represent the school positively and outreach to the wider community.
- The perceived value of day school education must be emphasized and placed foremost in all the school’s advertising. Parents will pay for what they believe is good quality and of benefit to their children.
- The “added value dimension”, “best of both worlds” and quality of the academic program must be reinforced. This, however, requires us to continually evaluate honestly whether the educational experience at the school is as good as they would be getting elsewhere for less, for more, or for free at public schools.
- Marketing requires internal as well as external marketing. Retention of students is a lot
easier than attracting new students, and just as important.
I hope you find this issue as stimulating as the previous ones. Remember that other schools prepare students for taking tests; Jewish day schools prepare them for life!
Wishing you and your families a Chag Chanukat Sameach.
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This issue of HaYidion was being prepared by the RAVSAK staff as most of us were getting ready to dip......