Hello everyone, this is Barbara Turner from the South
Carolina Department of Education. Welcome to Developing a Marketing and
Recruitment Plan for Schools of Choice. This webinar is designed to share
strategies that will help you learn from successful school practices, and be more
intentional in the marketing of your school choice program, and
the recruitment of interested families. Chris Swetckie, principal of
Howe Halls Arts Infused Magnet School in Berkeley County school
district will be presenting. Chris Swetckie is in his seventh
year as principal at Howe Hall. He earned his bachelor of science in
elementary education from the College of Charleston and his master of education in
educational leadership from the Citadel. Prior to becoming the principal of Howe
Hall, he spent three years serving as both a middle school principal and
elementary principal in Charleston County. Since we are recording,
all of your microphones have been muted. If you have any questions, you can type in
the chat box throughout the presentation. I’ll now turn the session over to Chris. This is Chris Swetckie
to check in real quick. If you can hear me,
just let me know by raising your hand, there’s a button up here at the top and that will signal me that you can hear me
loud and clear before we get started. So if everybody would just pop it. Thank you Ms. Riley Stevens, thank you Mr. Godfrey Ms. Barrineau,
are you able to hear me right now? As we go, obviously, I wanna thank Ms. Turner for the invitation and
the introduction. My name is Chris Swetckie. I hope y’all had a great day at school. The intent of this is to
really get through today and give you some information,
some pearls of wisdom, some nuggets. That can help you move forward. As we go, if there’s any trouble with
audio or sound please just type it in the chat move and I will do my best
to fix it to the extent that I can. Our session goals today. I want to discuss the need for intentional
marketing and recruiting efforts for schools of choice. Magnet schools, charter schools, private
schools, and other schools of choice. or reflect on best practices
using in business and real estate to recruit customers,
or in our case students. I want to talk about
some key resources and strategies that can improve
the marketing of your school, and I’m going to do my best to not
actually meet that last session goal. I know webinars can sometimes be a little
bit dry, so I will do my best to keep it entertaining and not just read slides to
you in a monotone voice for the next 59 minutes, so As that’s being said, I want
this to be as interactive as possible. So if you have any questions, by all
means, feel free to type them in the chat box and I’ll be happy to help them, or
help you with it to the extent that I can. As Miss.
Shared. My name is Chris Swetckie, I’m the proud principal of Howe Hall Arts
Infused Magnet School in Berkeley County. We’re located in Goose Creek. I’m I-26 over by
Charleston Southern University. This is my seventh year at the school. And my contact information is there. You are welcome to reach out
to me after the session. Or you can reach me through my cell,
direct line, or my email. A lot of what I’m gonna share today is
not my concept, it’s not my orignal work. It is things that I have learned
from having the opportunity to visit other schools throughout the state and
all over the country. There are wide,
varied network of magnet schools. There are lots of great things
happening at South Carolina. I’ve just been fortunate to visit and
meet some other great leaders. So I’m gonna share the tips and
tricks I’ve learned from then. When I can I’ll try to point you back to
the exact school or article or book or story that I kind of stole the idea from. I believe in educational espionage. Helping each other out and so I will try
to direct you Into the primary source of that, but some of these over time,
how to get all blended together. So a little bit about my school,
I am as my colleagues in Berkeley and Charleston call me,
the principal of Disney World. Howe Halls AIMS is in its 16th year. We have received the National
Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. We are Kennedy Center
Creative Ticket Award. We received
the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award. From Governor Haley back in 2015, and all the other bells and
whistles we see up there. We’re very proud of the program we offer
to our families and to our students. But, I should know that 16 years ago when
with the national Magnet School grant. We weren’t necessarily as popular. This school, like a lot of magnet
schools when you first start, they weren’t sure how popular it was gonna
be or if people were gonna even come. So we were there, we were trying to get things going and
we were able to build over time. Over the course of the last 16
years we’ve gone from being Kind of a science project to see if it
would work and popular in our district. And now we average about 800
to 1,000 applicants a year for roughly 50 spaces in our lottery. If you would, just real quick, I wanna make Make this as
purposeful as possible for you. If you can just type into the chat room
who you are, where are you from, and what type of school. And then any burning question or
thing you’d like to learn from today so I can kinda tailor this presentation in
a way that’s most meaningful for you. Mr. Godfrey, thank you. Thank you Miss Barrineau. Great. Was an interesting mix. So I will try to kinda do
the best I can to kind of cover everything you have there, but
I appreciate you all joining us today. So let’s start with the end in mind. Magnet schools, for the most part,
are just like magnets. Magnets need to attract metal or
else they’re useless. It’s just a piece of metal. That’s not doing any good. You can use it as a paper
weight on your desk. Magnet schools need to attract customers. They need a hook. They need a theme. They need a reason why people
want them to be there. Most magnet schools are optional. They are extra. A lot of districts could
function without them present, so I always work on making
sure that when I prepare my personal school that I am looking
to make sure I am very intentional, and that I am always doing everything
that I can to make our school shine. And to make our magnet the kinda place
where families want to come and stick. So that let’s talk about
being intentional. I’m a big fan of the show Chopped,
if you’ve ever seen Chopped it’s on Food Network and they give the contestants
baskets of strange items and they ask them to cook food and
I recall an episode a couple years back. In the first round I think it had a pear maybe some fish and some brocoli and the
contestants had to make an appetizers and one of the chef’s decided
to mix some bacon in it. It wasn’t one of the ingredients but
As luck would have it, one of the other competitors forgot an
ingredient, and this person got through. In the second round once again they
gave them three or four items. Bacon was not in the basket, and the chef went ahead and created a meal and
threw bacon into it again. This time, somebody burned their food, and that chef with the bacon made
it through a second time. The third time they’re
making a dessert course and on top of all the three ingredients, this
chef once again added bacon to the basket. And I remember this because Bobby Flay
finally stopped him at the end, and before they made the final judgement said, you
know, you’ve used bacon every single time. Tell me why you’re doing this cuz
it hasn’t been in the basket yet. And the chef said, we all know that
bacon makes everything better. And Bobby Flay stopped him, and he said, I wanna tell you that’s
not necessarily true. The intentional use of
bacon by a skilled chef in the right Way can
make something better. Just screaming the theme or screaming about your school is not
necessarily gonna make your school better. It’s not gonna make it more marketable,
it’s not gonna make it more attractive. And unfortunately, most principals, if you’re like me, don’t have
a background in advertising or marketing. We really have to kind of learn this
on the fly and learn from each other. So, The importance of this, to me though,
is you wanna be intentional. You wanna have a very clear goal,
a picture of your school, and making sure you’re using the right tools,
the right ingredients at the right time. There’s a Simon Synic that unfortunately
I know is not gonna pop up. But he talks about the why, how and what. And I think one of the things you need
to talk about with your school teams or your district teams is
knowing your schools why. What schools do is almost
always commonly the same. We’re all there to educate students and
getting them ready for Be active citizens and worried about
their postsecondary options and making sure they’re successful in life. But the thing about magnet schools and
schools of choice is our why, our theme, often drives what we do. For example, at our school,
we’re an arts-infused magnet school. We treat the arts on a par with
all the other core content areas. And they are embedded in every
single thing we do in the school. From the instruction to our
classroom management systems, you will see the arts all
throughout our school. And we do that because
we all truly believe. The arts are like Miracle Grow for
little learners brains, they help the learning stick, they give
it relevance, they give it importance and quite honestly the thing they do
the best is make learning fun. If you’ve ever visited my school or
if you ever choose to visit my school I think the one thing that you
hear most frequently is our theme makes it enjoyable, kids are learning they
don’t even realize they’re doing it. I would say you wanna make sure when
you’re seating down to plan on marketing, know the why behind what you’re doing. One of my favourite stories
I tell goes back to the day I got hired in We’ve
just finished the board meeting, I was a nervous notably young principal
and at the end of the board meeting one of the board members came up to me and said,
Chris You just inherited Coca-Cola. We don’t want New Coke. There’s no more pressure than the board
members patting you on the back and saying that as they send you off to start
at a new school, in a new building, in a new district. And so I spent the whole first year here
at Ames kinda studying what we do and what was going well. And there were a lot of things
in place that were going great. Unfortunately, there were a couple
things that we needed to improve. And I didn’t want to mess anything up and
invent new coke. So I started by talking to all the staff,
the families, community members, students, anyone who had any
interaction with the school trying to find out what that secret recipe was. At the time at the end of each year or the
start of a new school year We’re expected to give a kind of a state of a school’s
address to the board members, and the superintendent, and the cabinet. And I had the pleasure of starting first. And so I want you to picture this in
your mind, I’m sitting in a boardroom. Imagine your boardroom in your district. And I walked in and I started by saying,
The members last year. One of you pulled me aside and said you
know, I just inherited new Coca Cola, you didn’t want new Coke. Well I have spent the entire first year
here at trying to figure out what our secret formula is. And I think I have got it narrowed down. But what I realized is that
the ingredients we have aren’t much different than any other
school in the state or the nation. Well, here’s what I do
know that’s different, and I started by pulling
out a can of Coca-Cola. And I said this can of Coke,
and it was true, had been sitting in my car all day long. Next I pulled out a small bottle of
plastic bottle Coca-Cola And I said, this bottle of Coca Cola has been sitting
in my refrigerator in my mail room, for the last three, four hours. Then I reached down to a little cooler I
had by my feet and pulled my hand deep down into the ice, and I pulled out
a glass bottle of Coca Cola and I shared with them that these glass
bottles of Coke that have been on ice for the last 12 hours. And I popped the top off and
a little bubbles popped out And then I asked the members in the audience,
I asked the board members which bottle of Coke they would
like to have for a snack with then. And of course unanimously they all
wanted the glass bottle of Coke. I so I asked them I said well you
know it’s interesting they all have the same product inside, they’re all made
from same ingredients, They all have pretty much the same volume, what made
them choose the glass bottle of Coke? And they automatically went back, each person told a story, it stays colder
that way, it tastes better that way, it’s the way my grandmother used to
serve it to me when I was at her house. And then one of the members finally said
it’s just the best way to enjoy Coke. Our goal as, not only but I think our
goal as educators and as principals and leaders, is to make sure that we’re always
giving people the glass bottle experience. You can have books and desks and
students and teachers at any school. The ingredients are all gonna be the same. Your why or your reason behind it,
that’s gonna be your recipe. That’s gonna be your secret
blend of ingredients. And how you use those ingredients
to get the final product. I think the one thing that sets us apart,
in terms of our marketing in our school, is we make an intentional effort to
put our best foot forward every day, all the time, in every moment. We want every student, every parent,
every guest, every visitor that walks through that door,
to get the gold, red carpet treatment. And, that cold,
last bottle of Coke experience. That, this is the best a school can be,
best foot forward. And we want them to walk
away impressed and- So, one of the things you need to start with,
depending on where you are in the process. There are schools that, I know some of
you here are just starting your programs. There are schools that have been
magnet schools for a while, you may have lost your theme or
lost momentum over time. And then sometimes, I see schools that
I like to call anointed and appointed. They come to me and they say, Chris,
We’ve got problems in our school. Our attendance is declining. People don’t speak very highly of us. And really, we need to try to go magnet to
recruit people back to a school they’re not coming to. And I think Think you know,
when you go there, you have to start by assessing
where are you on the spectrum? And then I think you’ll also need to
look at how solid is your product? There’s nothing more disappointing than
thinking you’re getting one thing and being sold one thing and
getting something else. You wanna make sure that
the product you have forward That you put forward is true to what
you’re advertising in marketing. If you’re an arts magnet school and
you say that arts are essential to everything we do, then when we go out
there you should see the arts present. When you say you are working for,
I saw someone say IT career and tech ed, if that’s what you’re
pushing with your theme, those options need to be really strong and
they need to be really obvious. If you’ve maybe taken over a school where
scores have dropped, unfortunately. Attendance has dropped, and you’re not
necessarily in vogue in your own district. You may have to go back to the drawing
board and really reinvent yourself, and think about your. Theme so what you are advertising
in marketing is quality. You can sell some things, we’ve all bought
something that we thought was good and been disappointment. I think of stuff I bought out of
comic books when I was little. And I always had all these grand hopes for when they showed up and
I was always disappointed. I always think of that movie A Christmas
Story, where he buys the decoder ring. He sits there and he’s so
excited to get it and when he finally realizes what it is,
he’s disappointed. I think one of the things you need to make
sure you start when you’re Planning with your team and you’re going through
this process and see where you are. What is the quality of our product? What is the quality of our school? How tighter are we with our theme? How good are we at offering our options
compare to other schools like us? I think one of the best place To do this,
if you haven’t already, is go out and find schools like yours. Go out and find schools that either have
the same theme or a comparable theme. Or even just a comparable structure. You might not be an arts magnet school,
but you might be putting into a lottery. Find other schools. Around the same size and
the type of same settings. And look out and look at the processes, so I think visiting schools is one
of the best ways to do this. But I really think you need to start
by being honest with yourself and your team about is this a new
conversation, a continued conversation. Do we need to change the conversation? Or do we have some problems we
need to fix before we sell it. The question I always get. We get visitors here all the time. We average over 1000 classroom
observations by visitors and guests each year here at Hall. I just had some of you who are on this
webinar were out visiting me last Friday [INAUDIBLE]. We always enjoy that. But the question I always get,
especially from principals. Is where do I start, Chris. I’ve just been named a magnet school or the board just voted that we’re
going to be a partial magnet school. We’re gonna be taking over
a brand new charter school. And I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know where to begin. What do I do? Here’s the good news. You already have what you need in place. How we talk about in visual art,
the concept of negative space. And if you haven’t seen this before,
I’m sorry I’m gonna ruin this for you. But every FedEx truck that you see for the
rest of your life is about to be ruined. Negative space is about Seeing the things
that are there, you already have, but you may not realize it. So for example, if you look at the FedEx
logo you have in front you, if you look closely at the white part between
the E and the X, you’ll see an arrow. That arrow has always been
there in every FedEx logo and every FedEx truck you’ve ever seen. Some of you may never
have seen it until today. And like I said, I apologize, cuz now Every time you see a FedEx logo,
you will see that arrow. But you have things in your school that
you’re already using for marketing. You have people in your school
that are great at this. Most schools already have newsletters,
they have call-out systems. They have colleges and universities in
the area with professors that come and visit and talk about your school. Most schools have access to Facebook,
Instagram, social media right now. The one thing we all have in
common is we all work in schools. We all have customers or
in this case our students, our parents, our employees who are going to be
the people who share that news. And I think one of the most intentional
things you have to do when you’re trying to build your school or build your
school brand, is making sure you start by sitting down with those groups of
employees and saying, okay, talk to me. I recently had. To take my car for a service repair. And when I was going to pay the bill,
they looked at me and said, no, you’re gonna get a call tomorrow. Is there any reason why you couldn’t
rate our service four stars? I was satisfied with it, no. They were like, okay, when you get a call tomorrow, You know
please rate us four stars, and that I did. When do we ever sit down
with our teachers and say hey is our school a four star school. Is this a school that you can
say everything is awesome. And if it’s not, what can we do to fix it. Sit down with your students,
you know there are parents, if you google your school,
if you havent done that yet. Though all kind of reviews about
everybody’s school, and I would encourage you to reach out to your customer base and
reach out to your staff and employees. And have them post the good
news about your school. It’s the most common thing people do these
days and then the other thing is making sure that they know that the conversations
they have Out at restaurants, in public, at church, with friends and neighbors. Those are powerful conversations. Teachers are regarded as obviously
the experts of your building. If they’re out and they’re not talking
about your school in a positive light that can do more damage than any positive,
any good marketing plan can do. So really making sure
that your employees and yourself are always putting your school
forward in the best possible light. I want you to take a second and
I want you to look at the Hot Now logo. Krispy Kreme Donuts. And I want you to try to think the last
time you saw a Krispy Kreme ad on TV. And try to sing the Krispy Kreme song. Now luckily you don’t have microphones, so I’m not gonna ask anybody to
join in here and sing it. But the good news is, you can’t, there is no Krispy Kreme
jingle, there’s no Krispy Kreme song. And interestingly Krispy Kreme Is
one of those businesses that does not spend a lot on
intentional advertising and marketing. But I’m willing to venture that
most of us in South Carolina have seen the HOT NOW sign pop up and
have gone in and had a doughnut. Usually it’s because of word of mouth. I remember when I first moved to
South Carolina in the late 90s, I was traveling through Charleston. And someone saw the sign. They’re like.
You ever had a Krispy Kreme doughnut? I was like, no. And they’re like, you’ve gotta go. And the experience was
obviously fantastic. But it was how I found out
about Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It wasn’t from an ad. It wasn’t from a coupon. It wasn’t anything on the newspaper or
on the radio. It was just word of mouth. And one of the resources you’ll see
at the end of the presentation is a book called MAKING DOUGH. The 12 secret ingredients of
Krispy Kreme’s sweet success. And I would recommend
if you’re looking for just some good strategies
on basic marketing and word of mouth of advertising, it is one
of the great resources to consider. Because obviously we all
know we love the doughnuts. But at the same time We all love
getting something for nothing and so if you can use free resources
that’s definitely important. The other thing where you know that you
want to steal from real estate is you know go outside and
visit your building as a guest you know obviously I’ve got a little joke
up on there but, There are a couple things you have that kind of market your
school just to people driving by. Use that sign to kinda tell
the story of your school. Maybe any little success,
student of the day, teacher of the week. Our students did this, our students did, any chance you have to
highlight your school even if it’s not necessarily to your current families
will be a great opportunity. Think of the number of people who
drive by your school every single day. Use that front sign to tell the story and
make sure it’s intentional. Make sure you are highlighting
the things you want to highlight. I also encourage you to really make sure
you’re working with your custodial staff To make sure your building’s neat and
clean. Obviously, it sounds like a simple thing,
but when you go to buy a house, they spend a lot of time, effort and energy making
sure your yard is always mowed and the house is always clean and
picked up and everything looks nice. You wanna make sure that
that first impression, that exterior impression of
your building is a sharp one. Even if it requires getting
your local beta club or some of the high schools to come out. And help out with a clean up day, but really making sure that when you drive by
that school there’s that sense of pride. It looks like a place where people say,
wow that’s where I’d want to send my kid. Because they’re trusting us with
their most prized possessions and it’s very important to make
sure you have that curb appeal. I’d also encourage you to
have that online curb appeal. The number of times when I get calls
from schools and they say, Chris, we’d like to come visit, we’re having some
trouble starting up our magnet program or process, we’re having trouble getting
people interested in coming to the school, what would you recommend? One of the first places I view, and
I mentioned just a second ago, is Google. But after I google,
I usually go to the school’s web page. And the numbers of times I don’t see web
pages that are either parent friendly, student friendly, or
more importantly, current. And I think one of the things you’ll
notice if you ever choose to go to our school’s website is
the information is always current, the pictures of recent performances. When you go to meet the principal,
I may be the only principal who does this, but We you go to the Principal’s page, you
got my bio, my cellphone is right there. I give my cellphone I don’t mind, my cellphone is part of my signature,
in my email. It says not only are we open and
available as a school but personally and professionally as a Principal. I’m available to there for
my parents, community members. I’m there to answer questions. There are no buffers or walls between
the lines of communication between me and the community I served itself. Everybody would choose to do that and
certainly I’ve had my share of funny stories of people taking
advantage of that cellphone Unusual times. It’s a good practice. Of making sure that your website is up and
current. Making sure if you have a Facebook page or
an Instagram account that you’re posting consistently
enough to keep people interested. But you don’t want to bombard them. You know, there are times when
we have to kinda slow down. I’ll get a request from my PTA Post
this information on Facebook and then my media specialists want
to post about Dr. Seuss Day. And then I’ll have someone
from the district, Chris, you really need to post the lottery. And we can end up posting three messages
in 24 hours and we cancel each other out. And the message never gets really through,
or highlighted the way we want it. So making sure you’re posting
consistently, but you’re not bombarding or flooding your customer base. One of my favorite books
Title The Fred Factor. And once again, it’s linked at the back,
so I’ve got the story there for you. But The Fred Factor talks,
it’s a story about a mailman, and it’s a story of customer service. And I won’t get into too much detail,
but in the simplest terms, the author moves into a new town,
and his mailman walks up and introduces himself and
says My name’s Fred, and I saw that you’re new here, and how can
I help make your mail delivery the best? And he goes, well, I happen to travel. No problem,
when I see that you’re traveling, if you don’t remember to fill
out the card to hold your mail? I’ll kind of bundle it all up, I’m gonna stick it right down
here behind your screen door. That way, no one knows that the mail’s
piling up and you’re out of town, it’ll be there for you. And he really goes above and
beyond to show quality customer service. It is a great quick read. There’s a video series on YouTube
that you can look up as well and I would really encourage you to do it. We don’t often think about customer
service in public schools. We don’t think about marketing and
recruitment, and those little interactions. One of my favorite places
to take my three boys. I’ve got a seventh grader,
a fifth grader, and a third grader. We love going to Disney. And when we go to Disney, customer service
is at the forefront of everything they do. Every interaction you have with
every employee in those parks, for the most part. It’s positive, it’s pleasant, and it’s about how can we serve you
to the best of our ability. I talked earlier about the glass
bottle Coke experience. It’s about giving that glass bottle Coke
experience to as many students as we can. It’s more than just
knowing people’s names. It’s going the extra mile. I’ll give you a real simple
example of something we do here even when it’s flu season. We have a system in our district
that if you’re not marked present it will automatically call you out,
call you up and notify you that your
child was absent today. It’s nice and it serves a purpose,
but we take it one step further. Each day when we get the absence list, my secretary calls each one of those
families to A, ask if the child’s okay. And B, if there’s anything we can do
in terms of getting homework together, sending it home with a neighbor, getting
some assignments at the front desk. It’s just a small, extra,
little step we choose to take. It takes us a lot more time,
quite honestly. And there are days when we struggle to
get through all the names on the list by the end of the day. But, it’s something we hold as important. And it shows our families that, yes you’re
absent, but your child was missed and we care, and
we wanna make sure that they’re okay. We do things like that
with our lottery process. Like I said,
we’re on pace to have between, 800 and
a thousand lottery applicants this year. only 50 spots and you know every single
one of those applications as soon as they come in, the first thing we
do is pick up the phone and call and make sure they know that
we received their application and ask if they have any questions about
the school, the process, or the program. It’s about establishing
a personal connection. True, 750 of those applicants, those children will never
set foot in my At my campus. But when you call and you leave a message,
and they know if they have any additional questions they can call back
the principal on a cell phone. It sets a tone that carries over forever. And so I would encourage you to really
make sure that when you sit down and you’re coming up with your marketing and
your strategic plan, go ahead and make customer service a priority. It’s once again,
it’s more of a business thought. But it is really will pay dividends. Once again,
look at your free advertising sources. word of mouth is always gonna be the best. And if you don’t know what do
parents say about your school, you’ve got to start asking. I love walking in grocery stores and when I see kid’s with my
shirts they always know me. But when I first got here and
I first got the job and I was meeting people, if I saw people
with a Howe Hall shirt out at Walmart, I would go up and introduce myself and
ask them what do you think of our school? What can we do better? When I sit down with my teachers
you know one of the things. Saw those awards earlier, but one of the
things we battle here at Hal Hollings is we never want to be complacent. We always want to be doing things
the best we can without messing up that secret recipe. So we are always asking our
teachers what’s going well, what could we do better. And one of my favorite things
to do is talking to students. You know a few times a week I’ll just
pull my chair up to the lunch table And ask them what they’re thinking. You all know if you work with kids,
they are wonderfully honest about everything that’s going on and
the good and the bad. I always joke about the news. People always talk about,
I don’t wanna be on the news. Well, I always talk about,
I wanna be on the news. But I wanna be the last 30 seconds,
not the first 30 seconds. The first 30 seconds of the news,
if you’re on there, leading off tonight, something has probably gone
wrong at XYZ Elementary School. But the last 30 seconds, that finally
tonight, Let’s hear about these kids who were the readers of the week at
Halhall Ames elementary, or finally as we close out the broadcast here’s the steel
drum band from Halhall Ames, or highlight the chorus. It doesn’t have to be a big
deal to be a big deal. Making sure that if you have a local news
paper that you are sending those pictures highlighting kid’s achievements. If you have local sports teams. We are very fortunate in this area. Between local colleges and
professional teams, they’re very generous in terms of just letting our
choir go out and sing the National Anthem. There’s nothing better for
advertising than getting your students up, acting proudly, displaying great manners,
for all the community to see at a sporting event Even if you don’t
have local sports teams in your area. Volunteering to serve as ushers at
the local high school football game or singing the anthem there that
can change the conversation and show your students in
a very positive light. You know one of the things we do is we do seek out awards recognition
to frame the conversation. There are tons of awards that
are available out there that you can apply for. Not all of them are necessarily the most
prestigious things in the world, but it gets you, once again,
looking at your program and trying to compete and, And people
like going to things that want them. I always tell people, one of the things that’s on our list
before is we came in second one year. We were the runner-up from
our subdivision of ‘s finest. And my kids, not my own personal
children but our students at school. All kind of disappointing. It reminded me a lot of
the Olympics I’ve been watching over the last couple of weeks. I’m sure you have as well. And there’s a big difference
between somebody who gets upset. And says I lost the gold. Don’t think of it in terms
of I’ve lost the gold. think of it in terms of I won the silver. You can always frame
the conversation from two aspects. Negatively and positively. I think it’s very important when
highlighting your school and talking about your school Making
sure you highlight the positive. We won the silver. We didn’t lose the gold. And then once again, if you have not
Googled your school lately, I know this is a recurring theme with me, but it is
one of the number one things people do. We got a lottery applicant from Alaska. Just last week because the parents,
our military, they’re moving down to
the Charleston area and the first thing they did was Google
schools in the Charleston area. And then they Googled
our school specifically. So I would encourage you to make sure
that you’re looking at what’s out there. And once again, if reviews aren’t great,
go back to that conversation, is there something we need to
fix first before we market it. Or do we need to get some of the people
who are fans of our school commenting on there as well. People who are happy don’t tend to be
the ones who write the google reviews or the school digger reviews, so
you want to make sure that you You got people who are fans of your school,
speaking on behalf of your school as well. I have seen through my work
here at I’ve been privileged to serve as the chair of the arts and
basic curriculum’s peer to peer network. And I have seen Dozens of
schools in the last few years. I’ve had the privilege to tour
some quality magnet schools and art schools all over the country and
I see people at different points. Usually when they come to visit us Most
of them are at the starting point, and I love this picture of Walt Disney. And it’s one of my favorite quotes. It hangs on my wall. But it’s kinda fun to do the impossible. When we came here, like I said, 16 years
ago I was not the first principal. We had a brilliant leader
by the name of Bonnie Dill. Bonnie and I still keep in touch. And she tells me about those first
few years when the magnet grant money ran out and the district wasn’t
sure if they were gonna keep the program. When they didn’t have books for
the library and all the parents donated the books. One of my teachers tells me about the time
They couldn’t find a carpet for her classroom so she went out and was dumpster
diving, believe it or not, other schools to find a carpet that she could clean up
well enough to have a classroom carpet. This program was almost entirely
housed in trailers as they were doing construction once. There have been lots of challenges,
but I think the thing that’s nice is If you were to talk to anyone at
my school, they’re here by choice. And that’s the nice thing
about schools of choice. If they’re there, they want to be there. So they’re more likely to be
an advocate for your school. Don’t gain all of the awards and
recognition and Have all the wonderful [INAUDIBLE] that we’ve had [INAUDIBLE]
upon us without being intentional making sure that
the fans and advocates at their school are out there purposely telling the good
story and sharing the good news. So here are some resources to consider
I’ll talk a little bit about each one. Made to Stick,
I was put onto this book this summer. Made to Stick is a great business book. It talks about creating sticky messages,
and the way to kinda brand and market. Once again, like I said, most principles
don’t have that business background so if you have not taken the time. Take a look at make to stick. Tipping Point by Mr. Gladwell. A lot of us have read that, but it also
talks about gaining the momentum, and that’s what I love about magnet programs. When you look at the numbers of our
schools historically, one again, they were trying to get people in,
trying to get people in, trying to get people in Now the tsunami. We are well beyond the tipping point. The Krispy Creme book I referenced. Another great book that most of us heard,
Mr. Vollmer’s Schools Can’t Do It Alone. And then The Fred Factor
that I referenced before. Another great article that has some of
these pieces that you may want to look at It’s from Principal magazine, the National Association of
Elementary School Principals. Their journal back in September, October
this year was about public schools and schools of choice. And in there there’s a Telling Your Story
article on Sanfelippo and Sinanis and it is one of the better ones I have seen
in terms of this topic and this concept so I would really encourage you to go there. So at this time, I’m gonna open it up for
any questions you may have, any comments, any concerns. As well as my contact information. We can do that as well. So are there any questions out there?
>>Chris, this is Barbara. I see that we have a couple of
district people on the webinar. How have you been able to work with
your school district office for marketing?
>>That’s a great question. We are very fortunate. We have a large district
in Berkely County. We’re very large and
diverse geographically. Berkely County is roughly the size
of Rhode Island in square mileage so we’ve got all kinds of different things. A couple of things we do
that are really beneficial. I’ve got a great relationship
with my Office of Communications. And they are fairly open
to us sharing things. Matter of fact, I think there’s one
thing all schools have in common, whether [INAUDIBLE]. Principals love to brag on their schools. So they do a great job of retweeting and
reposting things that we put out there. They’re always great with helping me
with impressive relationships and making sure that I have an event upcoming,
which just even something simple, they are usually the front line of
people talking to the global media. And I know there are times they get
calls from news stations saying, hey, do you have anything
interesting going on? So, making sure I keep them informed
Our calendar of our events. And sometimes,
we may not have something going on but we have enough great things at our
school where I might get a call from my community relations director saying,
hey, channel five for example wants to know if you have anything
you like to highlight today [INAUDIBLE]. Throw our steel drums together and
they’ll come by check that out, or our drum line or our dance troop. Really making sure they’re informed. And then making sure you’re
transparent with your processes for magnet schools and
making sure [INAUDIBLE]. Make sure that our lottery
guidelines [INAUDIBLE] website so I can see them. We have the frequently
asked questions that, They have at their in case they get calls. But you know, really making sure
that they know what’s going, and I’m glad you asked the question there. A key part of what we do and success we have [INAUDIBLE]
>>Okay.>>Any other question? Okay.
>>As I said, this is my contact information. Do not hesitate to reach out to me and
like I said, if you’d like to come down and visit or if you just find
yourself passing through the area, do not hesitate to just Shoot me
a text and say, Chris can I drop by? I may not be able to give
you the tour personally, but we’d love to have you out here. If you call that cell phone and
a little boy picks up, fuss at him and tell him that you’re not supposed
to answer daddy’s phone, and then they will pass it over to me. But, I have really enjoyed the opportunity
to share the little bits and pieces we’ve learned here in my last 7
years here with you and Like I said, I’m a true believer that
teamwork makes the dream work. And if we’re really gonna push
things forward in South Carolina, we’ve got to help each other. So even if your school has
a different theme from mine, or a different setup from mine,
reach out to me. And if I don’t have the answer,
chances are I probably know somebody who’s comparable to you that has
been that I’ve talked to. So once again, thank you for
your time today. I’ll turn it back to Barbara.
>>All right, thank you so much Chris and
thank the rest of you all for joining us. And if there are no additional questions,
you all have a great evening.