Kindergarten Enrollment Strategies to Boost Enrollment
As another school year winds down, we’re reflecting on the unique ways we’ve supported districts throughout one of the most rewarding—albeit stressful—times of the year: kindergarten enrollment.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the timeline in which families make school choice decisions, and we predict this trend is here to stay. The good news is that this gives districts more time to leave a positive impression on those making school choice decisions.
Take a look at how CEL has provided an array of districts with strategy, direction and hands-on support for kindergarten enrollment initiatives spanning digital, print and in-person communication tactics.
Branding & Campaigns that Last
Connection is key when communicating with prospective kindergarten families—and with the help of CEL, Princeton Public Schools was able to achieve that goal through a creative “Wild About Kindergarten” campaign. This campaign utilized in-person, direct mail, social media, grab-and-go and virtual information to help the district communicate that it was a great choice for families. These tactics, combined with simplifying the online enrollment process, left Princeton Primary School with a 97% recommendation rating from families.
Leveraging the district’s tiger brand, the Wild About Kindergarten campaign provided endless creative opportunities to help Princeton engage families and build brand awareness. A tiger-themed activity book was both beautifully designed and gave some of the district’s youngest learners opportunities to engage in learning that prepared them for the start of school.
For suburban Robbinsdale Area Schools, a CEL-led brand refresh provided the backdrop for a vibrant enrollment campaign that perfectly captured the whimsy, joy and happiness of starting kindergarten. A charming new brochure outlined important information for kindergarten families—including early childhood screening, immunization requirements and how to enroll—and was an essential component of an integrated marketing campaign that also incorporated web, social and direct mail channels.
Immersive Online Experiences
Enhancements to the Robbinsdale Area Schools website also proved critical in the district’s kindergarten enrollment marketing campaign. An “All About Kindergarten” page was added and served as another resource for prospective families and information seekers. In the first six months of the 2021-2022 school year, this page ranked within the top 25 most-accessed web pages districtwide, showing just how crucial it was to the district’s overall kindergarten enrollment strategy.
CEL was also proud to partner with neighboring ISD 279-Osseo Area Schools to launch new district and school websites, a careers site, and a staff portal during the 2020-2021 school year. Shortly after launching its websites, Osseo Area Schools saw a unique opportunity to connect with families and start registering new kindergarten students—even in the midst of the pandemic. Because its annual in-person Kindergarten Information Fair wasn’t possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, the district enlisted CEL to help transform the typically single-day event into an immersive online experience that families could attend at any time.
Through an interactive section on the district website, families had on-demand access to a series of short videos introducing them to teachers, explaining the registration process, and encouraging young learners to participate in fun, educational activities. Given the diversity in language and culture throughout the district, the site content was made available in five languages—each individually translated by a district specialist for accuracy and cultural relevance.
A Bus Like No Other
“Loud and proud” resonates exceptionally well with the students and families of Reading, Pennsylvania. And with CEL leading the way, Reading School District pulled off a one-of-a-kind, interactive day in May 2022 where it formed strong connections with kindergarten families and showcased the opportunities available to all learners. CEL’s thoughtful approach to this kindergarten enrollment campaign—from theme development (“Red Knight Ready!”) to campaign creation to implementation—helped the district establish trust with stakeholders and set the stage for positive interactions in the future.
This multi-channel enrollment marketing campaign engaged families in several key ways. Flyers, posters and short videos created numerous touchpoints with parents and caregivers, while bookmarks and an activity book catered to the future students. Outreach to local media and influential voices in the community helped build awareness of the campaign’s most unique element: the Reading Swag Bus. Outfitted with reusable key message banners, the Swag Bus toured six locations throughout the city and helped staff make stronger connections with prospective families. Students were allowed to board and explore the bus at each stop and also received swag bags filled with activity books, Play-Doh, pencils and stickers. Postcards with easy-to-follow enrollment instructions ensured families had the information they needed to register their children for kindergarten. Finally, a jumbo Facebook frame provided fun for families and was a quick win that allowed Reading School District to build rapport (and brand awareness) with stakeholders.
Integrated Marketing to Increase Enrollment
As a growing number of families sought high-quality, flexible online learning options during the pandemic, CEL partnered with Bloomington Public Schools to rebrand the district’s online program and recruit for open enrollment students. Bloomington Online School became New Code Academy, and CEL then stepped up to the challenge to deliver clear key messaging, fresh designs and digital marketing tools that positioned the academy as Minnesota’s premier district-affiliated, tuition-free online K-12 school.
Enrollment marketing efforts encompassed lead-nurturing emails, digital billboards, a new website, print collateral templates, social media guidance and content, blog content, digital flyers and more—and this integrated approach proved successful. By early September 2021, New Code Academy exceeded its target of 20% new enrollment with 25.6% growth.
Put Us to Work
The CEL team brings a track record of excellence in K-12 public relations, including experience with marketing tactics that have increased enrollment at schools and districts of all sizes. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach your communications, branding, marketing or enrollment goals!