Understanding who came from what school allows you to begin to make a qualitative judgment on the quality of the schools that feed into yours. For example:
If you know that students from feeder school X are particularly strong academically, you can then focus on that school to try to recruit high-achieving students.
If you know that students from feeder school Y are well-behaved and you are looking to attract serious and attentive students, then spend more time with school Y.
This is a bit of a change in culture.
Targeting the attributes of a student rather than just hoping good students come to you is not how K-12 schools normally work.
But if you think about how colleges (who have a targeted feeder school list) do it, it’s a similar concept.
Understand All of Your Potential Feeder Schools
Knowing your existing feeder schools is just the first step. Your next step is to identify all of the potential feeder schools that you could tap into. A great resource for this is the website GreatSchools.
Using this website, enter your school’s address, and the site will identify every school within a five-mile radius.
It’s very easy to set the search for preschools if you are a K-8 school seeking to grow your base or to set it for elementary schools if you are a high school trying to make sure you are covering all of your potential opportunities.
While you may think you know all of the schools around you, you may be surprised.
Once you have this wider list, review it with your staff to identify which schools should be a target for your relationship building efforts.
Build Relationships with Feeder Schools
Now that you have your shortlist of potential feeder schools, it’s time to create relationships with those schools.
Contact either the principal or guidance counselor — or, in the case of a preschool, the center director.
Offer to provide them a school tour or to meet with them to help them understand the specific benefits of your school for their students. You should always be able to articulate who your target student is when you are discussing your school with a potential feeder school.
This is critical for elementary schools.
Being able to recruit a strong kindergarten class is often a key area of strength for an elementary school. But many schools don’t actively reach out to the preschools operating in their area.
Now that you have identified your feeder schools and made initial contact, it’s important to continue to deepen that relationship.
Here are some ideas for how you can partner with feeder schools.
Feeder School Partnership Ideas
Offer a shadow day for their students at your school
Offer to link to their school’s website from yours
Match up your early curriculum requirements with their curriculum
Conduct joint service projects together
Invite their students to your athletic or art events
Include them in your art shows, or create a spot for their children in your school play
Have one of your teachers do a “pop-up” educational lesson on STEM or art for their school
Share feedback with them on how their students are excelling at your school
Allow them to use your facilities if they have a large event
There are many different approaches you can take, so try them all to deepen the relationship and figure out what works best.
Establishing school feeder relationships is an easy and free marketing program that will pay huge dividends as you attempt to recruit and enroll more students and should form the base of your enrollment marketing efforts.