Latest eNewsletter

Issue 712 - 25-feb-2018

What is something a teacher had done that you still appreciate?

Marie Lum is an animator who has 47,800 followers on twitter. (Take a moment to consider that potential level of influence – as a comparison Mark Scott, Secretary for NSW Department of Education which employs 49,000 teachers, and is the former head of the ABC, has 122,000 followers). On February 16 2018 Marie asked her followers the question “What’s something a teacher did that still makes you mad?” She had over 6,000 comments. Plenty of people had plenty to say about the negative role of teachers. 

The next day she asked the question “What is something a teacher had done that you still appreciate?” She had 319 comments. The contrast in volume is interesting. Bad news and negative stories were almost 20 times more likely to be retold than positive ones. That may mean we as school marketers need to be broadcasting 20 positive stories for every one negative story discussed in the school carpark.

Nilah Magruder @ ECCC P11 @nilaffle said 
“Senior year of HS, I decided I wanted to apply to art school. I hadn't taken a single art class and didn't have a portfolio. The WHOLE DEPARTMENT rallied around me to get me ready.” 

How many art departments could, or would, do that for a student they had not had in their class? You couldn't write that into a educational instructional teaching manual for your school. I love it .

What positive stories from your current and former students are you recording and sharing about your teachers. I would love to hear them. These past stories are not forgotten and years later will still be generating both positive and negative word of mouth for your school – but you may not know about it. Don’t be afraid to name, identify and honour the teachers who make a positive difference in the life of students. 

Make some time to read some of these positive and negative stories on twitter. You may get some ideas of what stories to be telling to your school community.

> Positive stories
> Negative stories

Source: Twitter users share scarring experiences with teachers that still make their blood boil today

Issue 713 - 4-mar-2018

New Parent Dinner builds community

What do you do to help welcome new families to your school? Nicole Nyhouse, Community Relations Officer at Mount Evelyn Christian School hosts a New Parent Dinner once a year in February.  The event is not compulsory but still well attended by our new parents.  There is no cost to parents.

Nicole sends out personalised invitations.  “If they can't make it in your first year, we invite them again a second time. We don't invite after the second year - by then parents have been at the school for a while and will have a lay of the land and made connections with staff & other parents.”

Senior staff and the school board attend as well as Foundation and Year 7 teachers. These are the main entry years for students. The Principal, board chair, and leaders give a short presentation. Nicole’s vision is to build community, enable connections and give new parents a snapshot of what is important to us and other sections of the school. “It is always a positive evening where parents leave feeling very informed and valued.”

Issue 714 - 11-3-2018

Sharing positive comments from the public about your students

When students misbehave in public it can undermine your marketing efforts and tarnish the school’s reputation. However when students behave well it can have the opposite effect. Sharing, and celebrating, those moments when the public notices the good your students are doing can be important in further creating a positive culture. 

On Narooma High School’s facebook they posted positive feedback from someone who had stayed in a caravan park with a bus load of students. The couple expected the worst – noise and silliness - and were surprised enough by the contrast to contact the school with their positive feedback. 

When you have good feedback like this facebook is a great place to share it.

Issue 715 - 17-mar-2018

Celebrate the individuals in your school

Are you aware of the interests and abilities of your students beyond school? What stories could you weave into your next School Tour or promotional video? It is often the unusual stories which people will remember.

This video, by the use of text on screen, highlights the diversity of the school community beyond the usual classroom academics. I love the statement “a great school should be a place of curiosity.” What mix of stories could you weave together as you explored your school with a video camera. This video also shows facilities, uniform and teacher interaction but without that being the focus.

Issue 716 - 1-apr-2018

Designing schools for future education

Sandeep Amin, an architect with DesignInc, introduced a recent presentation in Sydney explaining the responsibility he felt investing public money for future generations. He talked about two school projects:

  • Ultimo Pyrmont School
  • Lindfield Learning Village
The Ultimo Pyrmont School, on a steep block, was totally refurbished in 2002. Fifteen years later it is being demolished and completely replaced. With 300 students from Kindergarten to Year 6 the new facilities are expected to cater for 800 students.
So how do you demolish an existing school with 300 students and build another? A 'pop-up' school has been created across the road in a public park with the new school expected to be opened in 2020. This use of a local park I imagine would not be an option available to non-Government schools!

When surveyed it was found very few students lived in a house with a yard. Almost all lived in apartments. This is not surprising given that the school is located a few hundred metres from Sydney's Darling Harbour and Chinatown. Approximately 73% of students speak a language other than English with around 38% of students speaking Chinese. The inclusion of deep planting with trees and sunlit spaces was considered important aspects of the school in such a densely populated urban environment.
Incorporating public access spaces for a covered market area and a full basketball court means the local community will be able to use some of the facilities outside of school hours. This is something I believe more schools should explore.

The second project presented by Sandeep Amin was converting the former Ku-ring-gai campus of UTS (University of Technology Sydney) where I did my Business Degree into a school. “The building is heritage-listed and its adaptation will bring it up to current codes, accommodating around 2,000 students and 200 teachers. Its upgrade will harmonise with the existing building language, while additions will be clearly expressed in new geometries and materials.”

With many local public schools overcrowded this conversion will relieve some pressure but also potentially attract a broader demographic of the community with its innovative spaces and attempts at staged based, rather than age based, learning. The dramatic Brutalist architecture of concrete is being softened with colour, roof top playgrounds and learning spaces.

More information:
Design for new high-rise Ultimo Public School revealed
DesignInc Ultimo-Pyrmont Public School 
School Infrasture NSW School Overview

Issue 717 - 1-apr-2018

Positive media attention for school banning mobile phones

There was a time when schools always 'talked up' their use of technology. Parents seemed to expect interactive whiteboards, iPads and laptop programs to help them decide which school was better or more modern. Now in an age of Bring-Your-Own-Devices, wireless networking of schools, students listening to music with earphones while studying, iPads and laptops it may be easier to stand out from the crowd if your school talks about how it doesn't use, or rely solely on, technology for education.

Smart phone addictions are now common among students (and parents). Shore, the Church of England Grammar School at North Sydney, is "sticking resolutely to the no phones policy." Students are barred from using mobile phones all day. What's more they (apparently) are not complaining either. Student put their phones in their lockers and there are punishments, which are enforced, if they use their phone during the day. As it has become the accepted, and expected, culture it makes it easier for staff to reinforce the rule.

See more at > Teens embrace school's phone ban  (Note: This is a subscription newspaper 22/2/2018)

Issue 718 - 8-apr-2018

Finding different places to advertise your school

The local newspaper is still where you will find many schools advertising. It is an easy, predictable, choice for schools. The downside is that your school is often lost in the clutter of other schools with similar messages. Being seen in unusual places is often more likely to spark interest and conversations among both your current and prospective parents and students. 

Both Barker and Pymble Ladies’ College have advertised on the Weatherzone app. The advantages are that you can target prospective customers from State down to postcode level, set the time of day for an advert to be seen, or have it linked to a particular weather condition or forecast. 

While many advertising mediums are biased towards women this one is predominately male.
  • 78% are male
  • 22% are female
  • 43% are aged 30-44
  • 39% are aged 45-64
  • 88% have shopped online in the last year
  • 76% visit Weatherzone at least a few times a week
  • 45% visit Weatherzone at least daily
Your advertisement can be a static image or an animated gif of several images presented as a repeating slideshow.

Issue 719 - 15-apr-2018

Immerse the viewer into your school website

When you click on the home page of Christian Brother’s College St Kilda you, as a viewer, are in the bottom of a science beaker in the midst of a class experiment. You are then in a church, raft, and wood fired oven.

This immersive perspective seeks to puts the visitor to the website ‘inside’ the experience. It is engaging and clever – even if unexpected.

Take a look at 

Issue 712 - 25-feb-2018

Principal dyes his hair in response to fundraising goal

Principal Peter Randlov of St. Peter Catholic School made a promise: If the school raised $500 during Catholic Schools Week, he would dye his hair its original colour. Students got creative and raised $1,141 in seven days. The white haired Principal now has hair colour of his youth – orange!

This is a great example of a simple and memorable human interest story picked up by their local media. What unusual things have you done at your school?

Source: Principal gives school a hairy challenge

Issue 713 - 4-mar-2018

How does your Open Day / Night advertisement compare?

March in Sydney is obviously the time for schools to have Open Days or Open Nights. The local newspaper has several pages of advertisements. While the role of print media has diminished it can still be a powerful tool in the marketing mix. However when so many schools are promoting similar events it can be difficult to stand out. Often we create advertisements and they look great on our computer screen but then when displayed on a busy page they can be lost in the clutter.

Take a look at the collection of 22 advertisements below.

Some questions to ask:
  1. If my advertisement was on the same page as these which would a reader notice first?
  2. How much text works best?
  3. Can I read the text?
  4. Is a bigger advertisement better?
  5. Which photos stand out? Why?
  6. Are staged or natural photos better? Why?
  7. Who is in the photos (students / parents / Principal) and what does it say about the school?
  8. Could you replace your school name and be saying exactly the same thing, or do you have something unique to say?
  9. What Open time works best for both your school and visitors – morning, afternoon, evening?
  10. Is this advertisement a good use of a marketing budget?
  11. How would I measure the return on investment – ie will I ask visitors how they knew the Open Day was on? 
  12. Do you only include the website or promote social media channels?
  13. Do I mention the Registrar by name?
  14. Do people need to book / register?
St Augustine’s have at least three advertisements, each using a different image so when combined tell more of a story than simply repeating the same advert three times. 

Two of the schools have limited parking or access. One is next door to a major hospital construction site with their normal main access being restricted to a temporarily one way road. In response these schools both offer a shuttle bus for visitors.

One of the photos is cropped from a larger photo so actually becomes quite unnatural. See if you can spot the spare hand! It is easy to do but something to be careful with.