Past Newsletters

Issue 731 - 19-aug-2018

The World Needs More Cowboys

“Restless curiosity… what ever happened to that?” is how the new promotional video for the University of Wyoming starts. The video “The World Needs More Cowboys” has created some controversy. It is a clever video. At 1 minute 24 seconds it is long enough to have the first 28 seconds set a very dull perception of society. From there the video speeds up, and speeds up some more.

“The world needs more wonder” is my personal favourite line.

Some complain that the slogan is sexist. However listening to the script I would question that sentiment. 

Source: Wyoming staffers say the cowboy is ‘sexist.’ In Fort Worth, we beg to differ 

Issue 731 - 19-aug-2018

Helping students record memoirs for others

Many schools have Grandparents Day. This year however The King’s School in Sydney has added a wonderful initiative. Eleven English and History students have been paired with eleven residents of a local retirement home. The students will help record, document and publish digital and print memoirs for these residents.

The brilliant advances in voice recognition technology and ease of online collaboration means the residents own family members can also be part of the process. The students are using Bookform  which is publicly available and may assist many schools and students in creating books.

Learn more at: The King’s School ‘Write of Passage’ Project 

Issue 731 - 19-aug-2018

Controversial donation system a bonus for a Christian School

The tax deductable status for schools is often controversial. When do schools become businesses rather than charities? Rules vary around the world.

Would your school accept a $500,000 donation from a car sales man who wears a cowboy hat and rides a bull? I expect most would still say “of course we would.”  Ted Earnhardt of Earnhardt Auto Centers choose to make the donation to support the local Payson Christian School. The donation comes under a tax credit program for corporations. Managed by a school tuition organization, a corporation may donate to private schools of their choice to pay for student scholarships to attend the school. The amount donated comes off the company’s state income tax liability.

For the school the donation is significant. “They walk in here and they want to be part of this. Then, in a short period of time, I see their hope-filled face fills with sadness when they realize they cannot pay for this school… As soon as I got off the phone (after hearing about this donation) I was able to call one of our parents that was in tears the day before to tell them it might be possible,”

Source: Earnhardts donate $500,000 to Payson Christian School 

Issue 730 - 12-aug-2018

Facebook advertising for schools

Two schools appeared in my facebook feed this week. One was giving some insights into their student trip to Cambodia as well as their Open Day. With a link to a special > landing page it was something the school could measure. I believe the combination of a news item with an opportunity to visit can be better than just one or the other.

The other sponsored advert was quite different. "The Institute for Drone Technology" was explaining how six students from Melbourne Girls Grammar had graduated with their Remote Pilot Licences. It wasn't the school paying for the advertisement but it still served to promote the school and the opportunities available to students. 

The lesson: If someone else can pay for your advertising and endorse your school with a positive link then it is worth exploring. Self promotion can be safer and less complicated if things go wrong - but self promotion is less believable than having someone else saying your school and students are great.

Issue 730 - 12-aug-2018

Press Release links outcome to classroom education

I enjoy reading articles in the local paper when students are taking initiatives and thinking beyond themselves. A recent "good news" story was about 10 year old Jack encouraging fellow students to dress as farmers as part of "A Five For A Farmer." This is in response to a widespread drought in Australia.  

The newspaper took a photo. What impressed me most with this article was how the Principal linked Jack's initiative to their "Challenge Based Learning Model." The Principal was quoted "Before our teachers start a topic they always show the children a clip of what they'll be learning to engage their interest and start conversations. It is important for us to have children learning on a call to action-like model."

The lesson: Newspapers like good news school stories. Explaining what your students are learning in class and linking it to the good news takes it from being a nice story to being a successful marketing activity for the school.

Issue 729 - 5-aug-2018

Bulletproof shields for school entrances

My teenage daughter recently expressed shock to see two armed guards at the entrance of a school as we drove past. She asked me why. As a particular faith based school I explained it was a preventative measure some school now see as necessary to protect their communities.

In Michigan a Catholic school, Mount Pleasant's Sacred Heart Academy, has attracted media attention by installing "the Boot" security devices to its doors to strengthen doors in a lockdown situation. The next stage will be bulletproof entrances. While it may be a tragic reflection on society being among the first schools to take these steps may be an added incentive for a prospective parent to consider the school. 

While many schools worldwide may now practice lockdown procedures, Mason County Central High School took this a step futher with two shooters entering the school. "The “shooters” were officers of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, and the “attack” was actually the first-ever active shooter training exercise to take place during school hours in the state of Michigan. And though the students, faculty and myriad first response personnel were all aware of this fact, it did not lessen the seriousness of the experience for those involved."

Source: Michigan Catholic school adds bulletproof shields to entrances and 11 ‘dead,’ but all in Boot classrooms safe, training finds

Issue 729 - 5-aug-2018

When school neighbours are nice to you

Many schools tell of conflict and opposition by neighbours as they seek to start, or expand. It was refreshing to read that Carinya Christian School in Gunnedah. "As part of the school’s DA, neighbouring residents had to be consulted and Mr Kentwell said they’ve all reacted “really positively” to the project. “They’ve all been great. No problems at all,” he said. “They’ve been really easy to work with.”

The decision to expand was driven by growing enrolments and to provide more options for families so it appears neighbours see the growth as a positive thing for their local community. 

Source: Carinya Christian School Gunnedah to introduce Year 7 in 2019

Issue 729 - 5-aug-2018

What do kids think about the opening of a new College

Some school videos make me smile. It is usually the ones which are willing to try a different approach. Horizon College in New Zealand are expanding to add a Secondary School in a new location. The viewer listens in on the conversation of two boys as they talk about the idea and what it means to them. By using students it feels authentic, natural - even with some of the big words the boys use - but it also engaging. It does then switch to the more normal type of voice over narration but by then I felt it was appropriate as the story had caught my interest.

The video invitation to a public meeting is also done by a student wearing a hard hat. The population of the area is expected to double which has also helped encourage the expanding of the college 

Enjoy the videos

Issue 728 - 8-jul-2018

Record, share and celebrate School Musicals

What will your students actually remember from school? School Musicals often create strong memories for the students involved. I still know the words from the musical I was involved in over 30 years ago. Recording and celebrating these experiences is so much easier now. I loved this facebook video by Belmont Christian College of their recent performance of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. 

The school wrote on facebook …"Beauty and the Beast! What an amazing weekend we had. Congratulations to the cast, the crew, staff and parent helpers. You gave your absolute all. The level of excellence was second to none and the sense of community/family was palpable. Enjoy just a glimpse into the production that was BCC's Beauty and the Beast!"

If your school is planning on performing a musical I encourage you to take the time and energy to record and photograph rehearsals and performances. Many shows (like Beauty and the Beast) cannot be videoed and shared in full but public compilations like this are a wonderful record.

Watch the video at

Issue 727 - 1-jul-2018

Former school sites for sale for very different reasons

When a former school site is for sale it can present a wonderful opportunity for others. It also makes me wonder about the back story. This week I read about two school sites for sale. One on the Gold Coast Queensland is because the school went into liquidation. The other in Victoria has outgrown their site. One closed. The other, housing 160 students and 22 staff, had outgrown the site and was one of 8 campuses around Victoria.

With the one which closed I wondered about its unofficial facebook page still being active. Who looks after social media sites after a school closes? Who “owns,” maintains or deletes it? Many schools close not because of poor marketing but simply not reaching the numbers of students in a time frame. 
Has your school taken over an existing site? 

Source: Gold Coast School for Sale Comes with Desks and Books

Issue 727 - 1-jul-2018

How does your teacher inspire you?

The NSW Department of Education employs thousands of teachers. They asked several students how their teacher inspires them. Enjoy hearing what they said. Watch the video.

This is a good model for an individual school or a group of them. I suspect students are more likely to listen to and believe other students talking about your teachers than if the Principal extolled how wonderful they are. 

Has your school made similar videos about staff?

Issue 727 - 1-jul-2018

What prompted your school to start?

In 1968, when prayer was taken out of public schools, the members of Faith Baptist Church, Independent were led to establish a Christian day school where the Bible would be the core of the instruction. Twenty-three members of the church decided to sell bonds and establish a school. When sufficient money had been raised, ground was broken for the school. Prior to that, the students attended school at the church.

In their celebrating 50 years of Faith Christian School school it was important to remind the current school community of their past. Knowing your school’s history enables you to look to the future with the same priorities – even in the midst of a changing society.

Source: 50 Years Later, Faith Christian School has the same mission

Issue 727 - 1-jul-20148

Video competition generates media attention

Many schools create promotional videos. They can be expensive and labour intensive. Yet entering a video based competition may be another way to generate wide media exposure and ensure student participation. 

The “Richie McCaw Milk Run Competition” judging panel was given the unenviable task of choosing the winners from 25,000 entries from around New Zealand. The winner was a very clever video entry by an 11 year old. It now has over 185,000 views. The school won – but in the process generated far more media attention and interest than they expected.

Issue 726 - 24-jun-2018

Could you reproduce your school in a new location?

When developers of new housing areas are planning they hopefully are thinking about important infrastructure such as parks, shops and schools. These ‘inclusions’ make a new release more attractive to families and investors. Yet developers do not want to run schools – and the Government may be slow to realise the opportunity so private schools are approached. In Donnybrook Victoria a new school campus of Hume Anglican Grammar is being built in a new housing development. This is both a wonderful opportunity and a stretch for any existing school to consider. Being the only school in an area ensures there will be local enrolments yet it is not without challenges – especially if your school has built a reputation over time and attracted a particular niche of the community.

Take a look at the video. 

Has your school had a similar opportunity?

Issue 726 - 24-jun-2018

EduTech 2018 School Marketing Masterclass

In 2017 I presented a one hour session at the annual EduTech Conference in Sydney on storytelling in School Marketing. This year Dr Arnaud Prevot ran a full day Masterclass on the subject. Carey Furze of Bookform attended and published a helpful summary of what was covered. 

All marketers know the 7Ps of Marketing: Product,Price, Promotion, Place, Packaging, Positioning, & People. But in the school arena they can be categorised as:
  • Program offerings
  • Promotional materials
  • Tuition & fees
  • Geographical location
  • Positioning
  • Buildings
  • Families & Staff.
He challenged school marketers to ask “How your school is different from all the others - this is why parents choose to send their kids to you. But, how do you communicate these Points of Difference?”

Read more at: School Marketing Masterclass 2018 

In 2019 I hope to again run a Two Day School Marketing Aforia  in Australia. My apologies to those who have been hoping to attend the past two years. Connecting with, and learning from other school marketers, can be invaluable investment. Would your school like to host a day of the Conference? If so please let me know.

Issue 726 - 24-jun-2018

Should your school be looking less Catholic?

Parent  Shannon Fitzpatrick lamented “In our time here, the word ‘Catholic’ has been removed from the mission statement, sacraments were removed from the curriculum, the lower school curriculum was changed to world religions, the logo and colors were changed to be ‘less Catholic,’ and the uniform was changed to be less Catholic.” The school has removed all but 18 of its 180 religious statues in an effort to be more “inclusive” and “forward looking.”

Why were these changes made? “Over the last few years we’ve had fewer Catholic students as part of the community and a larger number of students of various faith traditions. Right now about 80 percent of our families do not identify as Catholic.” The justification was “If you walk on the campus and the first thing you confront is three or four statues of St. Dominic or St. Francis, it could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn’t want to further that feeling.”

This is an interesting challenge faced by many schools. Often schools start serving one demographic of society but over the years end up serving quote a different one. Do you keep your original identity or adapt to cater to the 80% of your students? Were the 80% attracted to your school because of the original identity, or do they feel awkward with it? Sometimes we may think we are adapting but end up removing, or losing, what originally made our school distinctive and attractive.

Celebrate your distinctiveness. When all the schools look and feel the same it makes it harder to stand out and attract new families.
Sources: San Anselmo’s San Domenico School creates stir by removing Catholic statues
Catholic School Removes Jesus, Mary Statues Because They’re ‘Alienating’ to Non-Catholics

Issue 725 - 17-jun-2018

Christian School to close in Canada over use of scripture

A recent article highlights the diversity of schooling systems internationally. “The Battle River School Division voted last week to close Cornerstone Christian Academy in Kingman, Alta., southeast of Edmonton at the end of the school year.”

The main reason behind the dispute has been the teaching of certain scriptures about sexuality. The complication is that the Christian school is actually a public school so part of an overseeing school division. This arrangement is quite different to most countries. For the school to continue it may need to close and then reopen as a private school with teachers needing to leave the public education system and then be re-employed by the private school.

“Anybody familiar with the Christian Bible will recognize that there are many, many, many passages of Scripture that are offensive to even those of us who follow Christ.”

“Parents are already considering their options if the legal fight (to keep the school open) fails. Many different parents (are) doing many different things: some going to home schooling, some having to drive their kids 40 minutes to 45 minutes away,”

Issue 725 - 17-jun-2018

Radical enrolment policy keeps making a difference

In an age of selective schools, rising tuition fees and school competition I was surprised to learn of a school with the following admission criteria. Students need to be:

  • Living below the poverty line
  • Raised by a single parent (or less than that)
  • Academically gifted, as defined by admissions tests
At Girard College in Philadelphia all students receive a full scholarship and live on campus. How does that work? Well “Stephen Girard was thought to be the wealthiest man in America at the time of his death and since he and (wife) Mary never had children, he left nearly his entire fortune to charitable and municipal institutions of Philadelphia and New Orleans. Stephen Girard died on December 26th, 1831.

What an amazing legacy that for over 180 years one man’s donation could still be funding a school.

Learn more at > Behind the 10-foot walls of Girard College, where a whites-only legacy has been turned upside down 

Issue 725 - 17-jun-2018

Educating for Tomorrow, Today

What heading and text do you use in your print media? Is it clear? Is it too clever? Or is it something which ANY school could say? I opened a newspaper recently (yes they still print them) and read the heading “Educating for Tomorrow, Today.” The photo was good. The advertisement included the name of the Registrar, which I really liked. It even offered child minding for an information evening – which I thought was clever. It did not include a street address but included the website so I guess that works.

However, the heading “Educating for Tomorrow, Today” is something I personally feel ANY and EVERY school does. They always have. That is why we educate young people. To prepare them for their Tomorrow. So, take some time over the heading. 

What are some of your favourites?

Issue 724 - 10-jun-2018

School building named after someone convicted of a crime

What would your school do, if after naming a building after someone, they were later convicted of a serious crime?

St. Frances Academy in Baltimore has removed the name of its "Drs. Camille and Bill Cosby Community Center" after Bill Cosby was convicted April 26 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman. The letters on the building came down the same day.

"We removed the name immediately," Deacon B. Curtis Turner, principal, said. "We felt it was the right thing to do, given the conviction."

The administrator noted that the Cosbys were originally honored in 2012 in recognition of the strong support of St. Frances Academy from Camille Cosby, who was educated by the Oblate Sisters at her parish elementary school in Washington. Her husband's name was added as a courtesy, Turner said.

According to a 2005 article in the Catholic Review, Camille Cosby donated $2 million to St. Frances Academy in 2005 and had made significant prior donations to the school. In making her $2 million gift, she called the school an outstanding institution that deserves more recognition. The money was used help establish 16 annual full-tuition scholarships.

Following revelations against Bill Cosby in 2015, St. Frances Academy decided to keep the name on the building. At that time, there were no criminal convictions against the much-loved comedian and actor.

Source: Baltimore Catholic school removes Cosby name from building