Penetrating the Public School Market: A Timely and Long Term Opportunity for Independent Schools

By Dr. Harry Bloom

In many respects, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on independent schools, but it has also opened the eyes of public school families to many of the benefits of private education.  In areas where public schools have either opened late or opened with distance learning, independent schools have picked up enrollment from public school families hungry for their children to have access to quality, in-school learning. 

Savvy independent school leaders recognize that these enrollment benefits might be fleeting and could largely disappear once vaccines and prevention stem the tide of this dreadful disease.  Therefore, they are deliberately planning to utilize data and research campaigns to make the gains permanent. 

The elements for diligent pursuit of public school families involves three key steps. 

  1. Learn more about your current public school families by acquiring additional data on their demographics, interests, and lifestyles. This will help improve targeting of your school’s marketing messaging at “lookalike” public school families (who are your school’s best public school prospects).
  2. Study your public school families’ social networks—feeder schools, employers, organizational affiliations—to better understand where to find more of them and focus your parent and student ambassador efforts at these prime market segments. 
  3. Conduct market research among representative public school families to find out in detail: 
    1. What were their school choice criteria? 
    2. Which schooling options did they consider and why? 
    3. How did they assess how well these options performed against their choice criteria?
    4.  Ultimately, what caused them to choose your school? 
    5. What do they believe your school could do to attract more families like theirs?

The results of this modest  three step process can be organized into a simple but highly effective plan for your school to systematically increase its public school enrollment. Measuring Success clients have achieved great success from following this formula, and we would love to help your school master it to make the 2020/21 recruitment season your best ever. Please contact to learn more about how Measuring Success can help you make the public school market a long term enrollment growth opportunity for your school.  

Perhaps most encouraging, the participating schools registered solid overall satisfaction marks from their parents, giving leadership and their faculty reassurance that their tireless efforts during these challenging circumstances are being appreciated by parents. 

For questions about these takeaways, or to find out more about Measuring Success’ tailored survey offerings, please email Harry.