Shared by Deborah Frye of Reputation Simple
Reputation Simple: How to Improve School Reputation for Private Schools | Reputation Simple
The experts at Reputation Simple note that it’s important to know how to improve school reputation, especially if you run a private or charter school in which parents are making a conscious choice when enrolling their children. A private school’s reputation is the sum of many parts. It reflects the quality of what happens within the walls of a school but also how the school is perceived by the community outside those walls. When we think about how to improve school reputation, Reputation Simple tells us to remember that a private school’s reputation is largely based on its students’ academic performance and its graduates’ success in college and beyond.
According to Deborah Frye, author of Secrets of Reputation Management for Educators, there are other factors to reputation management for schools as well:
What does your school’s online presence say about it?
How well does a school serve students with special needs or who are learning English as a second language?
What kind of extracurricular activities do students get involved with? How involved are parents with their children’s education?
At Reputation Simple, we know there are a lot of things to consider.
The ABCs of how to improve school reputation
A private school’s reputation is extremely important. It can make or break the school and greatly influence new enrollment numbers. Therefore, it’s important for private schools and charter schools to work hard to improve their reputations when necessary.
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Here are some ways a private school or school district can do this:
A – Act quickly
This is one of the keys to reputation management for schools, according to Deborah Frye’s most recent eBook. Private schools need to monitor their reputation and act quickly. If you do see a negative review, don’t ignore it or respond negatively. Instead, respond to the parent and try to fix the issue as quickly as possible. If there is something that can be done about the situation, then do so right away.
One of the best ways to do this is by being honest and transparent. Avoiding the issue will only make things worse. If there are problems, acknowledge them and be ready to explain why you took certain actions.
You don’t want parents of potential students thinking that their opinion won’t matter to you because this could possibly lead them away from your school in search of another option.
B – Be proactive
To reduce negative exposure for private schools, the pros at Reputation Simple suggest being proactive and responsive. Parents want to know that they can reach you and that their concerns are being heard. If they don’t hear back from you within 24 hours, then this could lead them to believe that their opinion isn’t important or that something is wrong with your school.
Here are some of the online reputation management steps to take:
- Create and maintain a website that is current, informative, and easy to navigate. Make sure the information on your website is accurate.
- Regularly post news and information about your school and school district so that the right information is getting out there and you’re the one controlling it.
- Use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote a positive message along with your school’s activities. Stay involved on that social media and interact positively with the larger school community.
- Create a hashtag for your private or charter school so people can follow its progress.
- Engage with prospective students, parents, and alumni.
- Share interesting content that’s relevant to your audience.
- Encourage parents of current students to write reviews on platforms like Yelp.
- If a problem arises, communicate clearly with parents and staff
- Deborah Frye, author of Secrets of Reputation Management for Educators: A Field Guide for Protecting Your Academic Reputation Online, also recommends being proactive in sharing information about new initiatives that have been implemented to improve performance.
C – Complete the picture
Bad cannot be entirely eliminated. The best course of action when it comes to how to improve school reputation is always to overwhelm it with the good.
- Ensure that teachers have up-to-date credentials.
- Provide students with a well-rounded education.
- Recruit the best teachers. In a competitive market, parents are more likely to choose private schools that have excellent teachers and an established reputation for academic excellence.
- Develop programs that enhance the learning experience for all students. Students learn best when they are engaged in activities that interest them and when their learning is connected to real-world experiences.
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What if a school’s reputation has already been damaged?
What if the private or charter school has a reputation for academic failure, low-test scores, or bad reviews online? You can still turn things around. Reputation management for schools can be done at any stage, according to the author of the Field Guide for Protecting Your Academic Reputation Online.
The first thing you need to do is look at the school’s reputation from a parent’s perspective.
Deborah Frye suggests starting by engaging parents in a discussion about what they want their child’s educational experience to be like. Find out what they expect from the school, and make sure that teachers know those expectations as well.
Then develop an action plan that includes strategies for improving instruction and student achievement. In most cases, there is still hope. All it takes is a concerted effort to make the necessary changes and improvements. This includes hiring new teachers who are committed to excellence, updating the curriculum and classroom materials, creating an environment that fosters learning, strengthening school districts, and more.
Invest in your school
At Reputation Simple, we have found that parents want to know that you care about their children as much as they do. By investing in your school and making sure that it’s up-to-date and well-maintained, you will show parents that you are dedicated to providing the best possible learning environment for their kids.
You could start by considering these questions:
- Are teachers qualified and certified?
- Does the school offer adequate support services such as tutoring and counseling?
- How much time do students spend in class compared with other activities like sports and clubs?
- What kind of curriculum does the school use?
Invest in your school community
There are ways to repair the damage and rebuild your school’s reputation. Here are some tips:
- Communicate with parents, students, and staff regularly
- Share information about initiatives that have been implemented to improve performance
- Solicit input from stakeholders
- Focus on improving academic achievement
- Take action quickly when problems arise
There isn’t just one solution for how to improve school reputation. There are several parts that need to be considered, from the online presence of private schools, to changes in how a school does things, all the way to being openly responsive to parent concerns.
Image credit: Geralt