Past Newsletters

Issue 702 - 15-oct-2017

Helping students address significant social issues

Six Year 9 students from Kirrawee High School helped create a video on domestic violence. Titled ‘Beneath the Skin,’ the video was shared on NSW Department of Education’s Facebook page and generated over 250,000 views. I feel the most challenging part of the video is when students realise how close to home the topic actually is.


The video also generated positive media attention: Schools domestic violence film hits 250000 views 

Issue 702 - 15-oct-2017

The variety of our School Marketing roles

As school marketers we often wear many hats. Depending on the size and budget of the school our roles can be varied. I considered this during the recent school holidays as I spent a day cleaning and preparing large toys for the visitors to a children’s concert we were hosting. The purchase of these large toys several years ago has helped us create a great excuse for people to linger, to chat, to play and connect. 

While we all may like to be able to delegate certain tasks it is a choice to embrace the variety with a smile and help make your school a more inviting and special place for the community.

Thank you for what you do – seen and unseen.

Issue 702 - 15-oct-2017

How to introduce a new school Principal

Changing a Principal can be very significant for schools. Parents, staff and students will have many questions. When Wycliffe Christian School introduced their new Principal David Johnston they chose to create a video. This allows the Principal to be heard and seen. Rather than have him talking to camera he interacts with students of a variety of ages and answers their questions. They also explore the school facilities which acts as a promotion of the school.

As a Christian school they emphasise this aspect of the Principal's faith. Overall, I thought it was a very good production to reassure their current community, set expectations, not be overly formal, answer common questions and showcase the school. 
Do you have examples from your school of introducing a new Principal, or thanking one as they depart.

Issue 701 - 17-sep-2017

Two school videos – big budget and no budget

The Marketing Department at St Anne’s Diocesan College  in Hilton, KZN, South Africa created a short video of its 140th Birthday Celebrations to share the festivities of Foundation Day. The goal was to create community amongst the St Anne’s girls, staff, parents and alumnae.

Jenna McKenzie, Marketing & PR shared that “in the same week that the professional video was filmed, the St Anne’s girls, under the banner ‘Ladies in Blue’, were also hard at work, filming and editing their own ‘home-grown’ video to celebrate Women’s Day. With no budget, the girls themselves produced a video that captures the essence of what it is to be a St Anne’s girl, tackling issues that women face on a daily basis.”

Jenna says “both videos have been widely shared on social media and have allowed viewers a rare glimpse into the life of the girls in our College.”

Issue 701 - 17-sep-2017

Start your school term with a smile

At the beginning of every term Deidré Proxenos, Marketing Manager at Dainfern College in Johannesburg South Africa decorate their main entrance and two reception areas with balloons. Deidré says “It is a welcome back to all our staff, parents and students. We have had the most amazing feedback about it and it just lifts the spirits of everyone - after a long holiday, having to come back to school.”

This is a simple, colourful and low cost way to create a better atmosphere for your school community.

Issue 700 - 3-sep-2017

End of School Year Thanksgiving Service

At the end of the year does your school look back and say thank you? Often we can always be looking forward that we forget to stop, remember and show gratitude.

At St Philip's Christian College’s end of year Thanksgiving Service they showed a 10 minute “Our Principal's Report.” This is a wonderful way of remembering what happened and helping other students, parents and staff look forward to the coming year together. It takes work and forward thinking to record this type of video footage throughout the year. It will also create a wonderful long term record of student activities for the school’s archives.

Could this be a project you start now for the end of year?

Issue 700 - 3-sep-2017

How does your school cater for the visually impaired?

The home page of Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation allows you to:

  • Increase the font size
  • Change the colour of text 
  • Change the background colour

This helps visually impaired visitors engage with, read and navigate the site. It is a simple yet tangible demonstration of their inclusive education. Their promotional video also includes a student using sign language.


Issue 700 - 3-sep-2017

Celebrate the passion of your enthusiastic teachers

Most of us will have memories of a few teachers who stood out for their skill, passion, enthusiasm or advice. Having a diversity of teachers means students have a variety of role models. Mariah Calman is an art teacher at Ambarvale High School  near Campbelltown Sydney. Her unconventional teaching methods of including rap gained attention of artists, local and national media.

One of her students said "I've got to say one of the best classes I've ever had is an art class. Some days even if I don't have art it's why I come to school." Mariah Calman says "The rap was created as a way for students to retain in-depth concepts for deconstructing artworks. I think they see how devoted I am to my subject and enthusiasm is contagious."

I encourage you to read the articles and watch the ABC story
> Macarthur Advertiser - Creative teacher finds new fans
> ABC - Is this 'fearless' rapper the best art teacher on the planet?

Issue 699 - 27-aug-2017

Video helps promote district of schools

This bulletin has an international audience and it is always fascinating to me how different school communities tell their story. Maria Bond, Director of Community Relations at Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation enjoys reading the newsletter, and shared their recent welcome video. Located in Fortville, Indiana the video promotes their five schools of approximately 4,000 students. It includes a mix of interviews of students and narration while showcasing their facilities and learning opportunities.

Issue 699 - 27-aug-2017

Unusual ways to raise funds - tape your Principal to the wall

Schools raising money for charities is often reported in local media. Yet many of these articles can sound very familiar. How do you increase participation and be more likely to generate media interest? Why not offer to tape the Principal to a wall if they pass a fundraising target? That is what Covenant Christian School in West Lincoln Canada did. Principal Joyce Koornneef set a target of $9,000 and the school raised over $12,000. As promised she allowed students to tape her to a wall and let her dangle mid air.

See: Covenant Christian School students tape principal to the wall 

Issue 699 - 27-aug-2017

Does the homepage of your school website grab a visitor’s attention?

The first thing I noticed about St Andrew’s School website was an upside down student’s face. It is unexpected so engaging. 

The homepage features 20 students of different ages, interests, ethnicity and uniforms. Each high key photo on a white background includes an aspect of the student’s personality such as problem solver, diplomat, dreamer, whiz kids and smart cookies. A small cartoon and quote adds to the message. I believe the variety of students and their interests is a celebration of diversity and hopefully one where a prospective parent feels their own unique child will be accepted and encouraged.

Take a look at:

Issue 698 - 20-aug-2017

Annual Anniversary Week at St Paul’s School

When all your students and faculty live on site your school community is naturally going to be different. Possibly this plays a factor in why the annual Anniversary Week at St Paul’s School is so successful.

The event, Friday to Sunday, includes an Alumni Parade where former students march together behind a sign of their graduating year. In addition there are performances, services, and Reunion dinners. “While some events are planned specifically for Forms marking a special anniversary (25th, 50th), all alumni are welcome to attend. Anniversary Weekend draws to a close on Sunday afternoon with the Graduation and departure of the Sixth Form.” Each graduating class is therefore being celebrated and watched by some of the 8000 other former students who attend the anniversary. Combining reunions with graduation may be logistically difficult but it may be an idea worth exploring.

Learn more at: St Paul’s Anniversary 

Issue 698 - 20-aug-2017

When three school videos are better than one

Who is your target audience when creating a promotional video for your school? Rather than trying to appeal to all audiences it is sensible to identify a specific audience and communicate to them. Rosemary Wilke, Marketing & Events Manager at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town realised it was better to create three videos which could either be viewed together, or stand alone at an event or expo. Her three themes were: A Day in the Life of a Bishops Boy, Bishops Community and Bishops Legacy.

Rosemary says "It was wonderful to showcase our Community which touched on the staff at Bishops as well, as they play such an integral part in our school. The Legacy video was aimed at showcasing our wonderful alumni association, which spans 7000 young and old men across the world. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did when helping put them together."


PS: Personally I love that there is still a physical bell to ring to start the day and wake the boarders! I also feel that honouring the grounds staff, cooks, security and other support staff - beyond teachers - is a wonderful gesture.

Issue 697 - 13-aug-2017

Virtual Reality video sets a new benchmark for school promotions

David Hayes, Media Communications Manager at Knox Grammar School shared a new 360 degree Virtual Reality video titled ‘With Me Now.' While the uniqueness of this video may be the modern 360 degree viewing it is also a well crafted story showcasing the school’s facilities. The video includes interviews with various students taking about their interests, favourite teachers and what they may like to do after school. This means it works for all viewers.

David’s advice is “to get the most out of this video, watch it on your phone via the YouTube app, turn on the sound and move/tilt your phone, or, better still, use a Virtual Reality headset.” Or you can simply use your mouse to rotate the scene. The video features a music soundtrack performed by the students of Knox. It has already had a great reaction on social media and was showed to prospective families at a Boarding Schools Expo. 

Thank you David and well done to the team at Knox Grammar. Has any other school used VR video yet?

Issue 697 - 13-aug-2017

Apple crumble video proves popular for St Andrew’s School

When your Early Learning Centre kitchen has a lady like Marie Drewett it is worth celebrating and sharing. Karin Dunsford, Director of Development at St Andrew’s School explained “Marie designs and prepares all of the meals for the boys and girls from the age of three year in the centre and they love everything she makes. Parents are always amazed that their children are so keen to try different foods, and they often prefer Marie’s recipes to the ones at home!” In response they made a video of Marie making her famous eggless apple crumble so that parents could make it just like the children have at school.  The video was shared via Facebook and YouTube and now is possibly the most popular recipe with their school community.

Karin also mentioned how “Young children can often be fussy eaters for their parents but at our ELC tables they enjoy the different menu each day. The children are also the ones who set the table and clear away afterwards and at the same time learn about table manners.”

What simple ideas from your own school community could you share in the same way?

Issue 696 - 6-aug-2017

A few minutes work makes a difference in media photographs

Sometimes I see media reporting on schools and don’t know whether to laugh, cry or cringe. Some local media are desperate for stories and schools can be a good source of simple articles. An article > “Heartland Christian School renovates classrooms, sees enrollment growth” is a very positive local news story about a small yet growing school improving its facilities. The article includes many quotes from the Director. However I felt the photo could have told a better story. It is best not to assume that a media photographer will take the time to stage a better photo so it is often up to us to help them in their role. 

It only takes a few extra minutes but to reinforce this schools promise of “Inspiring Excellence in Education” I would offer the following suggestions on improving the photo:
  • Include students (it is holidays so understandable they are absent but inviting some students for a sneak peek of the classrooms would make a better story)
  • Student work displayed on the walls (it is a new room so not always possible)
  • Not having chairs on the desks
  • Not having ‘artwork’ leaning against the wall on the floor
  • Staff member not wearing an IOWA t-shirt (though some may say it sends a positive message of being part of the community)
  • Not having keys around the staff member’s neck
  • Not having an unnatural pose – what is the teacher doing with her right hand?
  • Consider if there was a better angle to take the photo of the room
If you are going to the effort of creating a Press Release or inviting media to your school take a moment to help ensure they have something good to work with. I do understand also that sometimes photographers turn up at the most awkward moments and you need to make do with whoever is available. Local journalists and photographers can be a positive source of word of mouth marketing if treated well as they tend to know, and see, a wide cross section of your community.

Issue 696 - 6-aug-2017

Is your school canteen menu worth media attention?

Does your school canteen and menu form part of your marketing mix in setting your school apart from others in the area? The canteen menu at Northern Beaches Christian School has raised the benchmark among schools and the news was picked up by several media outlets including TV and radio. See  > “No more devon and tomato sauce sandwiches! High school CANTEEN menu featuring turmeric lattes, smashed avo on artisan bread and vegan salted caramel”  The gourmet menu includes “artisian fruit loaf, tapioca pudding, Vietnamese rice paper rolls, 'Nonnas meatballs', deli sandwiches on sourdough, as well as turmeric and chai lattes.”

Several years ago I consulted for an Adventist School. They offered a vegetarian canteen menu in keeping with their beliefs. This menu raised an interesting and unexpected cultural challenge. Having a vegetarian menu was proving attractive to the local, and growing, Hindu community. The positive word of mouth among the Hindu community about the school – and its canteen menu – meant growing numbers of this one local ethnic group were being attracted to the school rather than a wider multicultural cross section of the changing community.

What does your canteen say about your school? Are there unexpected opportunities to use it as part of your proactive marketing?

Issue 695 - 30-jul-2017

Dedication videos St Philips Christian College

How do you set the tone for each new year at your school? How do you help your community – both new and returning - know what to expect? Video is one effective way. St Philip's Christian College record video throughout the year and create compilation videos to show during their Dedication Service at the start of the new year.

Video can help create excitement, set a culture, showcase facilities and are easy to share beyond the event. These videos incorporate many students, include time lapse, slow motion and drone footage with a simple backing audio of song. These are not dry historical records, but can also include some humour, yet they do form a rich part of the school’s archival record for the future.

Dedication Video 2017 from St Philip's Christian College on Vimeo.

Dedication Video 2016 from St Philip's Christian College on Vimeo.

Issue 695 - 30-jul-2017

What message does your school fence and signage send to your community?

I recently did a road trip in Western Australia. While most normal people may drive straight past schools I find myself slowing down, stopping and often taking photos for fresh ideas.

Two schools stood out by doing something out of the ordinary. Pemberton District High School (K-10) offers horticulture. Outside their school gate is a permanent fresh produce stall. Even though it was winter, and during school holidays, there was still lemons and parsley available for the local community to enjoy.

St Bernard’s Primary School have decorated their front fence with large colourful poppies painted on metal. These long lasting symbols, along with the words ‘Lest we forget’ create a permanent display honouring those who served in the Australian forces. This simple display on a busy road helps reinforce the school as a local landmark in the community.

Has your school done something different with your school fences and entrances? I would love to hear from you and share it with the network.

Issue 694 - 23-jul-2017

Have a family tell others the advantage of enrolling in your school

Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing for any school. Video is a way of harnessing and amplifying this. On The Scots College website is a section titled The Scots Advantage. In it they have several stories from former students – some recent and some decades after they graduated. One of these is the Quigley Family

They write…
"The Scots Advantage for me is all about persistence and tenacity; that in this game things can get pretty tough at times. I think Scots teaches you that self-reliance, self-resilience and tenacity to see it through to the end. Scots boys never give up." Tony Quigley
  • Class of 1978
  • Farmer, Trangie NSW
  • Senior Boarder Prefect
  • Sons Tom, George, and Richie all graduated from Scots as Prefects, and Senior members of the Pipes and Drums band, Rowing, and Rugby squads.
You can then watch videos of The Quigley Family's story in beautifully crafted documentary style and interview format. The repetition in each video of the distinctive school emblem helps tie the series together.