As most Catholic Schools, we don’t have a communications director or PR person. So it’s up to us as teachers and staff to promote our school. We do this in a number of different ways that might be of interest or help to you, if you work in a similar situation!
First, throughout the year, we send press releases to the local and diocesan newspapers about our special activities and events. When we keep them informed about what we’re doing, they keep us in mind for other stories.
Second, we really try to promote Preschool and Kindergarten Roundup time. We send flyers to all the parishioners who may have a kindergarten or preschool student, inviting them to attend Roundup activities. We also invite the religious education families to visit at this time. Our principal sends invitations, and we have supportive parents speak at the parish masses the weekend before round up.
When families come to Mass, they see the students’ work displayed on a bulletin board all year long. At Roundup time, we display extra photos and info about our preschool and kindergarten classes. We offer handouts with test score results and and brochures telling makes us special as a school.
In school, I encourage the children to look forward to their kindergarten year. They visit the kindergarten classroom to deliver messages. We stop as as class to say Hi. We participate in activities with her class. On the one hundredth day of school, for example, the preschoolers joined the kindergartners to find candy with numbers from 1 to 100 that were hidden around the kindergarten class room. I took pictures of this activity and shared them with the parents, saying See what we did in kindergarten today!
But as always, it is our parents who are our best promoters. We encourage them to talk about us and share information with anyone they know with children old enough for preschool and kindergarten. We also give them an incentive for referring families to our school: they receive a break on the tuition for their own child! This year we added an incentive for new preschool parents as well: if they registered early, during Roundup – which has been a challenge – they would receive money off September’s tuition. We had the largest number of registrations the night of Roundup ever!
Hope some of these ideas help you. It’s hard to innovate new ways to get the word out on a shoestring – or less! – budget. But it’s worth the effort.