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Engage...and Retain!

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With a new calendar year upon us, the focus in many schools has turned from Christmas celebrations to planning, full-steam ahead, for the 2017-18 calendar year. In preparation for this pivotal time, LSA’s cluster meeting agendas in the fall of 2016 have centered on sharing ideas for retention: of both families and teachers. As retention of these two key constituencies of a school are inextricably linked, the two really do go hand in hand. Below, see ideas that have been shared, and look for more, coming soon in our website’s members-only portal.

Keep the right people on the bus:

  • If you can’t (as many school cannot) always offer a yearly raise or compensate as you’d like. Some schools offer more flexibility with personal time off.
  • Provide business cards for staff members. Those who receive them cite appreciation for the professionalism and respect it conveys.
  • Engage in informal conversation about performance early and often, as this book suggests.
  • Appreciate the staff. This need not be expensive: consider relieving teachers for a short break at a time when they might appreciate the extra breathing room. Or consider bringing around a cart of treats, coffee, or fruit. Give teachers a quick breather while they select their snack. Offer a small treat around Christmas or Teacher Appreciation Week. Small gestures can make a big difference.

Engage and retain current families:

  • Offer a “Look and See” event. Various LSA schools offer such an event, where current families are given the opportunity to sit in on a portion of a school day in the next grade level.
  • Build unity and culture. Offer evening events that bring together current families and provide an opportunity to collect feedback and complete re-registration paperwork. Be sure that some of these have the opportunity to just have fun!
  • Offer breaks in registration or tuition fees for returning families as an incentive to re-register by a certain date.
  • Engage and work with a group of parents that you train as the school’s ambassador team. Provide them with messaging and ideas for how to share about the school. This helps strengthen the bonds with current families, and provides the added bonus of perhaps bringing in more prospective families.

And, a combo idea:

  • Engage your staff as your school’s ambassador team. With those business cards listed above, consider offering a small bonus (some schools offer a gift card or a bonus in the next paycheck) if a family visits and registers a child thanks to a teacher’s recommendation.

More ideas? Email Jessica at jraba@lsany.org. And, LSA members, look for our new member portal, opening in early 2017.

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