Cultivating a Secret Day School Resource: Parents

May 14, 2014

Source: The Jewish Week


In a recent study, Learning from Parent Voices: How to Turn Positive Perception into Enrollment Growth, the private school consulting firm Measuring Success found that 59 percent of parents who contacted day schools for information were prompted to do so because of word of mouth. An additional 26 percent did so because their older children already attend the school or their child’s current school is a feeder school. Of their 6,522-parent sample, only 8 percent were drawn to the school through advertising, 5 percent through the school’s website and 2 percent became interested for other reasons. Further, the study found that only one factor increased enrollment: perceived quality.


“Schools attribute a lot of things to driving enrollment: price, new facilities, paid advertising, but the only thing that makes a difference is how good parents think the school is," said Sacha Litman, Measuring Success’ managing director.


Looking at the tuition of 200 day schools between 2005 and 2010, Litman found no correlation between lowering tuition and an increase in enrollment. The same held true for schools that built new buildings. Of the 40 Jewish day schools that built new facilities between 1995 and 2005, only half gained students. The other half lost them.


Finally, of 30,000 day school parents surveyed only half said they would recommend their school to other parents, and fewer than half think their school is stronger academically than the public, charter and non-Jewish private schools in their area. About 15 percent said they would encourage other parents not to send their kids there.


The study did not find that day schools are worse academically than their competition, only that the majority of day school parents believed them to be worse.


Read what some day schools have been doing to cultivate parent engagement to promote their enrollment in The Jewish Week

Updated: May. 28, 2014