So you’re leading a school and putting on an information evening for prospective parents?
Here are some thoughts you might find useful based on my own attendance at one this evening.
1. Meet in a room that looks well organized and intentionally arranged for the purpose. The way you set up is your first impression. You are communicating something by how you arrange the room. If you choose to meet in a messy classroom with desks and chairs pushed aside randomly to fit people in then you tell those attending that they are unimportant and not worth making an effort for. You tell people that this is the tone of the school you lead. The word ‘sloppy’ comes to mind.
2. Smile and be positive when speaking to the group. If you are warm and confident then you will engage people and draw them in. If you just have a spiel to get thru on a night when you would rather be at home then people will notice…
3. Help me believe that you are in control of the school. When you speak of the concessions you have made in your behavior policies as concessions to poor behaviour in the kids, you tell me that they are setting the tone and you are being shaped by them. Hearing that there is a 20 min personal fitness session at the start of each day was encouraging. Hearing that fitness often means a ‘walk around the oval’, so that the late kids can get to school in time for the important subjects does not inspire anyone.
4. When a parent asks you ‘what is really good about this school?’ don’t choke on your response and then turn red from embarrassment. At least have some planned responses.
If you have nothing to say, you actually speak volumes. Parents aren’t after salesmen, but they do want to be inspired to believe that your school is worthy of the trust of their kids. They want to know that they are entrusting their children to people who are passionate about their vocation and the community they are part of.
Lets just say that after tonight we have eliminated one school from the equation in terms of high school options for our kids. Disappointing because I was hoping this one would work.