Office of Catholic Schools Enrollment Marketing Newsletter  
December 2011

Marketing & Enrollment Newsletter

December is here and the countdown to Christmas has begun!  We know this is a hectic time at your schools, but please continue to follow your marketing plan.  If you cannot send a full press release this month, consider sending a photo with a short caption of your Christmas celebration to the local paper. You can also share it with us on Facebook at:   Don't forget to invite prospective families to your Christmas celebrations.

Catholic Schools Week is around the corner.  Many schools kick off Catholic Schools Week with an Open House.  Open Houses are great for marketing and retention purposes (which is why it is a good idea to host them more frequently). This edition of the newsletter, focuses on tools you'll need to prepare for and host a successful Open House. We also include ideas for following up with families after the Open House and some other tips and suggestions.  We are always here to help, so please be in touch if there is anything else we can do as you prepare for Catholic Schools Week!

SEND US YOUR OPEN HOUSE INFO! Fill out the form here to share Open House information with our office.

Open House
Click on the links for sample documents that will help you prepare for Open House.

Tips: Make invitations as personalized as possible and consider incentive to increase attendance.

Follow Up


Other Ideas/Tips
  • Parent Ambassador led tour
  • Student Ambassador led tours
  • Keep it interactive- activities in classroom, basketball practice, students demonstrating a science lesson
  • Passports to encourage parents to visit each room- prize at the end if you have certain number of stamps on passport
  • Activities to keep smaller children busy while parents take school tour
  • Invite current parents as a retention activity and also to ensure that there is a crowd
  • Recognize the gifts of your teachers and utilize them appropriately
  • Consider a theme
  • Offer incentives for current families to bring a new family or prize for attending
  • Be prepared to register new families if they want to register day of  open house
  • Entrance sign and welcome/have students in uniform wait by door to guide people to main office
  • Ask parent ambassadors to wait outside of church and direct people to school
  • People available who are bilingual
SEND US YOUR OPEN HOUSE INFO! Fill out the form here to share Open House information with our office.

For more info and resources please visit:
We appreciate all of the hard work that you are doing and want to continue to support you as much as possible. Please contact us if we can be of any assistance. 
Be Creative!  Think Beyond the Traditional Open House

St. Hyacinth School has experienced enrollment growth in recent years. In 2009, they had 119 students and today there are over 180 students enrolled in the school. This success is due in large part to their strong academic programs and their creativity and dedication when it comes to marketing the school. For many years, St. Hyacinth relied on the traditional Open House format, but they noticed that the attendance was consistently low.

AnnMarie Mahay, school Principal and Tatyana Rodriguez,  Development Director, decided to change things up. Tatyana writes, “As changes continue within our society, we at Saint Hyacinth have to change to show that we are a leader in education amongst our area elementary schools. We believe the typical  'Open Houses' of years past are no longer a successful way to advertise and sell our school.  Schools are more than a building and a walk through for prospective parents…it is, and should be, a search for a lifestyle. Many people consider the search for the perfect school for their children as a purchase similar to purchasing a car or a new home.”

St. Hyacinth decided to move away from the typical Open House. In January 2010, St. Hyacinth held their first Family Fun Night.  The turnout was relatively small, only 35 current families came in support, but it showed potential to be great.  St. Hyacinth continued hosting Fun Nights and in the 2010-2011 school year attendance tripled. Last winter, St. Hyacinth hosted a Winter Wonderland Family Fun Night that brought in 85 current families and17 new families. Two families from the Family Fun Night signed up their children for the new Preschool classroom that opened in January.

The strategy for Family Fun Night is to have the Student Council meet with the administration and design the events for the students and children from the neighborhood to participate in. They tend to come up with 5-7 different room activities. Some of the rooms in the past include:
. Movie Room-themed around the season or holiday
. Craft Room-themed around the season or holiday
. Game Room -games that can be played with teacher supervision, some are played on the Interactive Whiteboards to showcase the school's technology; or family games like Bingo/Family
. Computer Game Room-educational games are played in the computer lab equipped with wireless Internet: This also allows the school to showcase their technology.

St. Hyacinth's vision and creativity in developing Family Fun Nights not only improved school spirit, but also opened the door for more prospective families to visit the school. If your school has been experiencing a decline in Open House turnout, is it time to be creative and think beyond your traditional Open House? 

Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: On December 12, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.  We commemorate the apparition of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, to a poor Indian in Mexico in 1513. Juan Diego, to whom Our Lady appeared, was one of a small group of Aztecs who had taken up the faith of the Franciscan missionaries. The apparitions was the source of several breath-taking miracles and the conversion of over 8 million to Christianity.
 Suggested school activities from

 Display the Image of Guadalupe:  Obtain a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe and post it in the classroom. Be sure the children understand that the cloak of Juan Diego with the image of Our Lady is displayed above the main altar in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Bring in roses to place near the image, or have the children make roses out of tissue paper or colored cellophane.

 Color the Picture: Using an illustrated image of Our Lady, make copies for the children to color. Display the pictures today and then let the children take them home to tell their families the story of today's feast.

 How-to-draw free printable activity :


December Projects

-Begin to plan for Open House (see OCS newsletter for ideas)
-Invite prospective families to Christmas event
-Send Christmas Card to RE families
-Be sure plans are in place for Catholic Schools Week- advertise winter open house and/or Catholic Schools Week events
-Place announcements in church bulletin
-Update website

New Family Sales

 -Update school answering machine to reflect break dates
-Be Prepared to call and follow up with any families who call over break
-Include Christmas break information on website
-Track potential families and follow up appropriately

- Email current families with any news
-Send Christmas card to your families thanking them
- Follow up with families regarding Satisfaction Survey SAMPLE


· Follow Up from Satisfaction Survey SAMPLE· Christmas card to your families thanking them·  Email current families with any news
 · Christmas card to your families thanking them· Follow Up from Satisfaction Survey SAMPLE 
· Email current families with an

Archdiocese of Chicago
Catholic Schools

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Chicago, IL 60611