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École Saint-Landry: Increasing Enrollment as a New Charter School

6 min read
Mar 23, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Read below to learn how École Saint-Landry Charter uses SchoolMint Engage for their school’s digital advertising.

École Saint-Landry is an elementary charter school located in Sunset, Louisiana. What makes this school unique is that they’re a French-immersion school. This means all of their courses — except for English-language arts — are taught in French.

Why French specifically?

Before I talk more about École Saint-Landry Charter, why value propositions are important, and all that other enrollment marketing stuff, I want to tell a brief story: the history of a language here in Louisiana.

A History Lesson on Louisiana’s Cajun French

South Louisiana has a rich heritage that, throughout the state’s history, has drawn from French, Spanish, Caribbean, African, and Native American cultural influences.

The state’s French heritage stretches back to 1755, when the British exiled the Acadians from present-day Nova Scotia. Some survivors of this expulsion made their way to Louisiana, bringing their culture with them.

As these French-speaking Acadians settled into the region — a place now called Acadiana — and interacted with the aforementioned cultural groups, the Acadians’ French evolved into a new dialect: Cajun French. Influenced by all who lived here at the time, Cajun French became unique to the region.

But over time, the spoken language dwindled, sparking fears of extinction. Today, roughly 2–4% of Louisiana’s population speaks French at home.

Yet just as recently as two generations ago, more than one million Louisianians spoke Cajun French as their first language. My great-grandmother was one of those people. Her daughter, my grandmother, then grew up speaking both Cajun French and English.

However, she — like many others of her time — faced harsh discipline at school for using the language. This outlawing of Cajun French in schools and other public places drove the decline.

But this decline is changing as many organizations and schools seek to preserve the language — schools just like École Saint-Landry Charter.

Challenge #1: Being a New Charter School

École Saint-Landry Charter is helping keep their region’s linguistic culture alive by immersing kindergarten-aged children in French. As a public French-immersion charter school, they’ve made themselves stand out. 

And keeping in line with some best practices for school websites, the fact they teach both French and English — as well as the benefits of children being bilingual — is clear across their website:

Screen Shot 2022-03-23 at 10.09.22 AM

Their website even proudly states, “Within the first week of classes, your child will come home speaking a few words in French.”

However, despite their strong value proposition (selling point) for parents and guardians, École Saint-Landry faced a big problem for the 2021–2022 academic year: They’re a first-year charter school.

This meant local families would have no idea their school existed or have an idea of the school’s reputation.

Since word-of-mouth marketing, academic achievement, and other variables are important to how families choose schools, École Saint-Landry had to get the word out about their French-immersion education and how they’re helping preserve cultural assets.

Additionally, they face high competition for students in their community. As a public charter school, École Saint-Landry has to compete with nearby district schools and a number of well-established private schools.

Challenge #2: Having Limited Staff

École Saint-Landry is run by two administrators: one full-time and one who also teaches. These two administrators handle everything, including recruitment and enrollment.

Like many of SchoolMint’s single-school customers, École Saint-Landry is stretched thin. And this means they have limited time and experience to effectively manage their digital marketing activities.

In the beginning, because of the dual challenge of being a new school and having limited staff, École Saint-Landry’s website presence had suffered. In fact, their website didn’t optimally support their recruitment and enrollment efforts.

They needed help.

A Partnership Forms: SchoolMint x École Saint-Landry Charter

École Saint-Landry partnered with SchoolMint for our newest platform, SchoolMint Engage — an affordable, end-to-end recruitment and digital marketing solution designed to make attracting families and enrolling students easy.

With Engage, SchoolMint and École Saint-Landry worked together to create a student enrollment microsite. This microsite was laser-focused on the needs of families wanting to enroll. It guided them easily through the process and gave them only the information they were interested in.

When a prospective parent or guardian lands on their main website, an enrollment banner greets them and encourages them to visit their enrollment microsite:

Engage also helped École Saint-Landry improve their search engine optimization (SEO) with Google, run targeted ads on social media, and do search engine advertising.

A combination of local SEO and digital advertising helped boost their visibility and make École Saint-Landry known to families in their community as a public school for a culturally rich, French-immersion experience for elementary kids.

7 Weeks Later: The Results

Seven weeks after launching SchoolMint Engage for École Saint-Landry, we reviewed the results of our digital advertising efforts:

  • 1,000 visitors viewed more than 2,000 pages on their enrollment microsite.
  • 70% of that traffic arrived from the school’s main website, and 30% came directly to the enrollment microsite.
  • 50% of the traffic on the enrollment microsite visited the enrollment landing page — the page where families actually apply for enrollment.
  • That, among other things, led to 31 applications in the first five weeks of open applications.

For their first year, École Saint-Landry Charter enrolled 54 students. And the reception from families has been great.

As they look toward the 2022–2023 school year, they plan to add 72 new students and increase by one elementary grade level each year.sunset high school building that will be ecole saint landry's campus

“École Saint-Landry is also using SchoolMint Connect and SchoolMint Enroll, and they are very excited about the positive results they’re getting,” says Mike Spears, SchoolMint’s executive vice president of strategy and innovation.

“I asked if they were happy with SchoolMint Engage, and here was their response: ‘We’re very happy with the SchoolMint solution. One of the things we love is that now we’re able to make much smarter decisions.’”

What’s YOUR School’s Value Proposition?

École Saint-Landry Charter has a strong selling point: their French-immersion program. They understand the significance of Cajun French in Louisiana and understand why families would want their children to attend a French-immersion school.

By telling this story across their website, they’ve successfully set themselves apart from competing schools and made their value proposition clear to prospective families.

Knowing your value proposition is critical to positioning your school in your community and, ultimately, increasing enrollment. You want families who are considering your school to choose you over others. But for them to make that decision, they need to know why they should choose you.asian-parents-and-little-kid-use-telephone-video-c-2021-12-09-14-52-01-utc

Here are some tips for creating your school’s value proposition:

  • Think through your existing value proposition. It should be easily understood by your prospective audience. This is not the time to use academic jargon. 
  • If you don’t have a value proposition, make one! This should be a description that resonates with prospective families and makes them want to learn more.
  • If you’re in an area with several other school choices, think about what your school offers that families can’t get at another school. It’s critical to differentiate yourself.

Describe your school in such a way that your audience can instantly grasp the benefits of their child attending your school.

If you do that successfully, you’ll reap the benefits of healthy, sustainable enrollment.

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